Summary: part 1 of a short series about the need and benefits of Community in the church.
January 8, 2017
I wonder if I took a survey from you of what I preach about the most, what would you say? I’m not sure if you’ve ever thought about that. I actually never did until I started writing this message. I’m not sure if you’ve ever thought, “UGH! He’s preaching on that again? Why am I here!?” It’s like the person who comes to church one time and I’m preaching about giving, and the assumption is, they’re always asking for money, that’s why I don’t come!
I believe the focus or recurring theme always needs to be the Good News of Jesus Christ — it’s really the great news that ~
16 God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him. – John 3:16-17
I believe this is the main point of scripture and everything flows out of this central truth - - -God loves you, He sent His Son for you, He died for you, because He didn’t want to condemn you!! He wanted to save you!!
Yet, the sad fact is many people, even Christians have a difficult time with this passage, as too many people believe we are reconciled to God on the basis of our good works, not on the atoning sacrifice of Jesus.
After we move through the GREAT NEWS, there are lots of others themes to talk about. And as we start the new year, I believe two main topics or themes we need to look at - - - are community and worship.
So, for the next 6 weeks or so, we will look at these two topics. About 3 weeks talking about the need and importance of community, what it is and why we need it. Then, we’ll look at worship and ask and see what worship means for us.
So, I want to look at a scripture we’ve looked at and talked about before. I believe this is the best scripture to describe what the early church looked like when it came to community. Luke wrote the book of Acts, and we’re going to look at the last 6 verses of Acts 2. Luke tells us ~
42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles.
44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common.
45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.
46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,
47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. – Acts 2:42-47
Church is not a social club. Sometimes we develop great friendships at social clubs, I’m not against them. But, the fact is, we live in a broken world. A world which is filled with sin, hurt, pain, injury, illness and ultimately, death. We often don’t find the comfort and community we desire by going to a meeting, instead, we find what we need when we are surrounded by people who are like minded. We have to be intentional about cultivating these relationships and friendships.
You see, when we talk about making friends with people, forming a community at church . . . I’m going to say something which may shock you . . . for the most part, community and friendships do not occur in this room. There are just too many of us in here and there is not enough time to sit and talk and really get to know one another . . . and form those friendships. This room was designed for worship, not necessarily community. Yet, we worship together as a community. Tt doesn’t mean you can’t find friendship in worship, it’s just more difficult.
I want you to be able to nurture deep friendships with a handful of other Christ followers who push you closer to God, who know the good and the bad about you, and whose love is not contingent upon either, people you can call at 2:00 a.m. if you’re in a crisis. This should be one of the joys of being part of a church.
I really believe, deep, enriching, and real friendships are part of God’s plan for His world.
Acts 2 talks about how devoted the early church members were to one another. Listen to some of the phrases Luke uses to describe the early church ~