We're glad you joined us for ToGather. No matter where you are, please know that God's people from all around the world are joining you in worship. (Find out more about ToGather.)

Opening with Praise in Word and Song:

We join our hearts with each other as we raise our praises to the throne of grace, mercy, love, and power by uniting our voices with the Promise Keeper's chorus to sing, "Let It Rise":

Let's practice the truth we just sang. Please say these words from the apostle Paul aloud and offer them as praise just as he invited the Ephesians to join in praising God:

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ (Ephesians 1:3).

Focusing on the Scriptures:

For ToGather this week, we are focusing on our love for our fellow Christians and our unity. This love and unity are not always easy but they are essential, even with others who are very different from us and who may have opinions with which we don't agree. Christian love isn't merely a feeling but a way of relating to others. It is submitting to them, sacrificing for them, and doing what is best for them regardless of how similar or different we may be (Ephesians 5:21; 1 John 3:16; Philippians 2:3-4). Likewise, unity is not necessarily about agreeing with each other on everything, but rather agreeing with and supporting each other in our commitment to Jesus as Lord and Savior (Romans 15:5-7).

Our theme of love comes from our Verse of the Day:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).

Jesus, and then Paul, would not have needed to teach about love for each other if it were always easy. Even the wording, "bearing with one another," or as the NLT says, "making allowance for each other's faults," indicates that having love for each other is not always easy.

Paul's words in Ephesians 4 were to the house churches in Ephesus, and probably all of Asia minor. His words mirror the thoughts and emotions of Jesus' prayer on the night he was betrayed (John 17). The emphasis is on loving each other in action, seeking to maintain the unity of God's family brought together in Christ Jesus.

We join the Newsboys in singing "Love One Another," as we call each other to put into practice our hallmark characteristic of people who follow Jesus. As he said, "everyone will know you are my disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:34-35):

Phil's message picks up this theme of our song and Scriptures as we commit to lovingly bless others as Jesus has lovingly blessed us:

Loving one another is a command from Jesus (Matthew 22:37-39) that was elaborated by the apostle Paul when he wrote "be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." Our desire to be like Jesus should motivate us to display these loving characteristics to each other since these are attributes our Lord Jesus displayed throughout his earthly ministry. Paul wrote more about what this love looks like in our fellowship with each other:

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others (Philippians 2:3-4).

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling, and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, God forgave you. Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God (Ephesians 4:31-5:2).

As hard as it sounds to be more concerned about others than ourselves and to live these other demonstrated qualities of love, Jesus poured the Holy Spirit into us to empower our love for each other (Titus 3:3-7; John 16:13; Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:13-23). Our worship and submission to each other release this love into the lives of our brothers and sisters (Ephesians 5:15-21).

Sharing The Supper:

To prepare our hearts for Communion while continuing our focus on loving each other, let's sing "The Greatest Commands" with the Littleton Church:

Our love must be demonstrated and unifying, graciously reflecting the love Jesus has shown us!

Phil and Donna Ware share how Jesus touched people and demonstrated his love for them and now calls us to do the same:

We can touch others in the name of and with the love of Jesus, too! We can be Jesus to everyone we meet. We make this commitment as we sing "The Least of These" with the Zoe Group and encourage each other with Randy Gill's words of exhortation:

We conclude our Communion time reminding ourselves again of the Verse of the Day from the apostle Paul:

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love (Ephesians 4:2).

Closing with Praise:

As we close our ToGather worship, let's "Raise A Hallelujah" with Bethel Music in triumphal anticipation of our future victory and reunion with all God's people.

Special thanks to The Lumo Project and Free Bible Images for images related to the ministry of Jesus.