Summary: The intorduction to 40 Days of Comunity campaign
40 Days of Community
April 15, 2007
Intro: As humans, we are created to live together.
This past week, Paul Watzlawick died. He was a revolutionary psychotherapist who believed that the key to overcoming emotional issues in life was not self-analysis but effective communication with others. In other words, relationships were the key to mental well-being. He believed individuals can’t go it alone and that the key to well-being is found in communication.
In many ways, Dr. Watzlawick’s work reflects some very key aspects to the community relationship of the church. In order to be fully healthy and fully alive, we must be connected with God and with one another. Today we want to begin a study that over the next few weeks will help us to understand how we can live out the Christian life to its fullest.
This week I was involved in a conversation with some other men about the importance of relationships. We all noted the need for truth, and trust as a key to relationships. The same is true of the church as a whole.
“As a prisoner for the Lord, then, I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. 2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. 3 Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. 4 There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called-- 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:1-6 (NIV)
God designed Christians to live in unity.
Paul notes that the life worthy of our calling is necessarily tied into relationships with other believers.
Five Keys to Unity:
Humility- We put others ahead of ourselves.
“When you do things, do not let selfishness or pride be your guide. Instead, be humble and give more honor to others than to yourselves.” Philippians 2:3 (New Century Version)
Gentleness- We treat others with respect.
“A gentle response defuses anger, but a sharp tongue kindles a temper-fire.” Proverbs 15:1 (The Message)
Patience- We accept people where they are.
“We ask you, brothers and sisters, to warn those who do not work. Encourage the people who are afraid. Help those who are weak. Be patient with everyone.” 1 Thessalonians 5:14 (NCV)
Love- We love without condition.
“Hatred stirs up quarrels, but love covers all offenses.” Proverbs 10:12 (NLT)
Peace- We seek to resolve conflict.
“A heart at peace gives life to the body, but envy rots the bones.” Proverbs 14:30 (NIV)
The opposite of unity is confusion.
When the church is not united, it has no focus, no purpose and there is no change in people’s lives. When the church is not united, our primary goals and focus are lost.
How to keep a focus of unity
1) Recognize that God called us to be one.
“There is one body and one Spirit-- just as you were called to one hope when you were called” Ephesians 4:4
One body recognizes the church as one visible community compared with the multiple cults of the day.
2) Focus on what we have in common.
“one Lord, one faith, one baptism” Ephesians 4:5
The key is to focus on the centrality of Christ.
3) Keep God as our main focus.
“one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” Ephesians 4:6
God reigns over all in sovereignty; works through all in creative power and dwells in all in personal relationship.
What does unity look like?
A united church will worship, study, serve, fellowship, and share together.
Unity happens when we realize we are better together.
I want to read to you some letters I have received from some church members who have recognized the need to connect with others here at LifeQuest.
Illustrations: letters from church members
Application: Are you connected with others?