Summary: From a series on our church’s Core Values
Trinity Baptist Church May 14, 2006
Community among believers
Hebrews 10:24, 25
Some of you have heard an illustration which pictures two ways Christians can relate to each other.
One ways is we can be like a bag of marbles. You throw a bunch of marbles into a bag -- they impact each other -- ricochet off each other -- but when you take them out again, each remains intact, distinct and individual. When Christians operate like marbles, they get together, and then go their separate ways, and everyone’s still the same as when they arrived.
The alternative is Christian community. That’s pictured by a bag of grapes. Put grapes into a bag, and apply a little pressure; the grapes break open and all their flavors get mixed together -- they influence the others and are influenced -- they become one -- what’s certain is they’ll never be same individuals as when they began.
The marble mentality grows from individualism. Individualism which is totally foreign -- foreign to the NT and foreign to the way God created us as human beings. Rick Warren hits it on the head when he says, “We’re formed for family.” Both God’s design and God’s plan indicate that we flourish spiritually and emotionally only in the context of Christian community.
The Bible says before we knew Christ we were alienated, not just from God, but from each other -- but now, since we believed in Christ, we have been made one -- with Christ and with His Body. Scripture says when we come to believe, God positions us into Christ’s Body, the Church. The upshot of that is, we just can’t function separately and individualistically -- because we’re members of one another.
We’re spending 8 weeks examining Trinity’s core values. We finish this series next time.
I’ve said to you that these values are principles -- ones which we believe God has begun build into us. They’re part of who we are as a body. We’re not there yet -- but they are values we pursue -- we teach them and they shape our ministry.
The value for today’s study is again both on your outline and in the worship folder.
It’s “Community among Believers”. The explanation in the worship folder says, “We believe people develop best in an atmosphere of being together. We should be part of smaller contexts (smaller groups) than what we experience Sunday morning, caring for the needs of one another and sharing our gifts, time, homes and hearts with each other.”
This value flies in the face of much of what our culture offers. For example, our busy-ness. There’s hardly a person alive who doesn’t try to impress others with how busy we are.
And of course, both our natures and our culture have pressed us in the direction of pursuing selfish objectives. So, anything that sounds like serving, or giving, or sharing our time and baring our souls to others in the context of community threatens selfish urges, and comforts and pleasures. One author says three cultural components combat community:
individualism, isolation and consumerism.
And yet, the NT portrays Christ’s Body as the vibrant and vital alternative to pursuits which drive us apart. It describes Christian community. I want to look at a couple of verses which give us a handle on the concept.
The context of the 2 verses is Hebrews 10:19-25, the verses you heard read. I’d encourage you to take a look at them with me, and jot down a few notes. Hebrews 10 is packed full of great news to the Jewish people it addresses. It declares that God Himself qualifies us to worship him directly through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ. It asserts that Jesus is the only One perfectly qualified to enter into God’s presence. And so, by His pure sacrifice on the cross, He flung open the door to God’s presence when nothing else would have. So if we’re Christ’s, we too can come freely into God’s eternal and holy presence.
Building on that foundation of access, the writer urges his readers to respond in three ways;
Beginning with verse 19, look at the 3 times you see the words let us:
Therefore, brethren, since we have confidence to enter the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way which He opened for us through the curtain, that is, through His flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful; and
let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.