One to Another

droadflint | December 6, 2015

Helping-Hands Resize 1

Pt. 1 What is Community?

Over the last 3-5 years the Lord has really stirred a hunger in my heart, a hunger for something more than the Sunday gathering, a hunger for life lived together with other believers, and by God’s grace He led my family and I to become a part of a beautiful family of believers in which we could flesh out that idea.  In that, we were introduced to the “dreaded” word “community”.  I described the term as “dreaded” not because there’s anything negative about community but because there are so many negative misconceptions about what community means, how it’s played out, and how it changes the course of our lives.  Community, in summation is something God has called all of us to as believers, that God uses to shape us, and that God uses to make himself known.  Yet this rich, robust idea has become a cliché title that has (in it’s misconception) hurt many.  There are so many opinions and understandings of what community is but it’s important for us to know that God in his word has much to say about community and how it’s played out within the body of Christ.  It is such good news to know that His word is full of instruction on how we as believers and as a local body are to live amongst one another!  Just recently in listening to a sermon online, I was blown away by the fact that there are 50+ “one another” verses in the New Testament that speaks specifically to the body of Christ.  I was intrigued and so came the Strong’s Concordance search and yes, right there in black and white I saw the term one another again and again.  Just an FYI, repetition in the bible means pay close attention folks!  The “one another’s” are screaming for our attention.

For clarity’s sake I want to start first by addressing what I mean by “community”.  According to the dictionary one of the definitions for community is a feeling of fellowship with others, as a result of sharing common attitudes, interests, and goals.   My paraphrase: within community, a group of people are able to have fellowship or a sharing of ideas, lives, etc. based around a common end goal.  So let’s walk through this definition and/or paraphrase.

  1. What group of people are we talking about?  We, who proclaim Christ as Lord at salvation, become a part of the body of Christ.  Romans 12:4-5 states, For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. The Greek word for body in this passage is used to describe a large or small number of men closely united into one society, or family and often used to describe the New Testament church.  So Romans 12 speaks specifically to the local gathering of believers; Christ breaks every barrier i.e. age, sex, ethnicity, income bracket, etc. and unites us as family.  We are no longer independent individuals but now a part of a much larger family and get this…the bible says we belong to one another!  That is a loaded statement to meditate on but when you look at it from a natural sense; every one of your limbs belong to your body. We belong to one another in that we NEED one another to sustain a healthy spiritual life in Christ.  
  2. What fellowship do we share in that creates community?  1 John 1:3 states, We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us.  And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ.  Community experienced within the body of Christ is initiated by the fact that we are all indwelled by the same Holy Spirit at salvation and that connectedness with God connects us with one another.  It is truly the spirit of God operating in all of our lives that allow for that deep and intimate fellowship experienced within the body of Christ.  
  3. Lastly, what do we share?  As previously mentioned we share the fact that the Spirit of God indwells each of us as believers; that Spirit that cries Abba Father (Galatians 4:6).  Where does our desire for Christ, our love for him, our desire to walk in a way that honors him come from? The Holy Spirit! It is the Spirit of God that not only unites us to Christ but aligns our hearts with one another.  

Though we are all individuals with our own struggles, sins, and hang ups God has united us by the blood of his Son and the power of his Spirit.  He has made the way clear for us to experience a true sense of community that is rich and life giving.  So the burning question is, in light of community being characterized so beautifully, “Is it easy to live in community”?  Absolutely not, which is why there are over 50 “one another’s” that we will be looking at in the bible?  Community is a challenge because we are all individuals learning how to be family not according to this world but his kingdom principles.  However, it is a guarantee that as we behold and gaze upon our beautiful Christ, the head of the church, together we will be conformed into his image and likeness and in turn will be able to actually live out community the way God desires.

 

Grace & Peace

L. Hunter