Summary: God has given us His Church to be our support system. Through Christ we are bound together in a community of faith. Belonging to Christ, we belong to each other. Through Christ, God has made us a family, a community of faith. This is our God-given support
The huge redwood trees in California are the largest living things on earth and the tallest trees in the world. Some of them are 300 feet high and more than 2,500 years old. You would think that trees that large would have a tremendous root system, reaching down hundreds of feet into the earth. But that is not the case. Redwoods have a very shallow root system. The roots of these trees are, however, intertwined, tied in with each other and interlocked. Thus, when the storms come and the winds blow, the redwoods still stand. With an interlocking root system they support and sustain each other. They need one another to survive. So do we! God has given us His Church to be our support system. Through Christ we are bound together in a community of faith. Belonging to Christ, we belong to each other. Through Christ, God has made us a family, a community of faith. This is our God-given support system. As such, it is intended to meet some crucial needs in our lives, the need for connection. Connections are essential.
First, connections are the essence of life. Your body’s organs, muscles, and bones only work because they’re connected. If they weren’t connected, your organs would wither and die. Now that’s true in life too. The person who says, “Well, I think I’ll go over to Dove this week and next week, I’ll go over to the Cathedral and the next week I’ll go over to Believer’s Life” are reattaching to a different body every week. They become attenders, not members, spectators, not participators, consumers, not contributors. As a result, they never really grow in their faith or their relationships in the body of Christ and miss the essence of life.
Second, we need connections. Rick Warren put it this way: you were created for relationships. We have this longing for belonging. That’s why loneliness is so painful. The very first thing God said was it is not good for man to be alone. Whether you ever get married or not is irrelevant but you need a spiritual family. You were made for connections to God and to other people. When you’re not connected, life is empty. Third, connections teach us to love. That’s why when Jesus was asked what mattered most, he said, “Love God and love your neighbor as yourself.” Love is what connects us. But we are not called to love as the world loves but as God has loved us. And the only way to learn that is through relationships in the church. Fourth, connections help us understand life. You cannot understand what life is all about without connections to others. Connections enlarge our perspective. It’s through our relationships with each other that we come to have a deeper appreciation of ourselves, our purpose and others.
Fifth, connections empower us. Power flows through connections. A disconnected toaster produces no warmth. A disconnected television has no picture. It is the connections that empower us, and without them, you don’t move forward. If we are disconnected from God, or each other, then we cannot grow and move forward in life. Sixth, connections keep us growing. Knowing the right thing to do is rarely enough. How many of you know you need to be healthier? You need to exercise, eat better and get more sleep. But knowing what to do is never enough. The same is true with your spiritual life. I can tell you on Sunday, You need to be in a Bible study, you need to pray, you need to witness, you need to worship, you need to fellowship, you need to serve others. Knowing what to do is rarely enough. To do it and keep doing it over the long haul, you need partners, people to whom you are accountable. It’s the way we keep growing. Seventh, connections help us balance our lives. Life is more than about yourself, your job or your family. Without a connection to God, we’re powerless. Without a connection to each other, we become lonely and self-centered.
Eighth, connections increase our confidence. We’re better together. The less connection you have, the more insecure you are. The more connected you are, the more secure you are. We gain assurance in knowing that other people love and care for us. Ninth, connections make us more productive. “Two are better than one.” Why? Because we can accomplish more when we work together. Your life will largely be determined by your personal connections. And the better connected you are, the greater impact you’ll have with your life.
Tenth, this is a big one, we have to learn how to connect. Nobody teaches us how to connect. Making the right connection with God and making the connection with other people is neither natural nor automatic. That’s why God sent Jesus, to do what we could never do. Jesus is the connector. He is the mediator. He connected us to God. And God gave the church to connect us to others as He intended. We don’t connect as the world does but as God has connected to us. We have to learn how to connect like that and that comes only in the body of Christ. That’s why one of our values is building family because we believe in the need and vital role connections play in our lives and our journey of faith.