Summary: We are created for community. We can only grow spiritually towards maturity in a God-ordained environment called the church. We stand strong because we belong to a community of faith.
The huge redwood trees in California are amazing.
• They are the largest living things on earth and the tallest trees in the world.
• Some of them are 100m high and more than 2,500 years old.
• You would think that trees that large would have a tremendous root system, reaching down deep into the earth. But that is not the case.
• Redwoods have a very shallow root system.
• The roots of these trees are, however, intertwined. They are tied in with each other; 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!
We Need the Church.
Hence, God has given us His Church which is the body of Christ on earth.
• When one is baptized into Christ, one is baptized into the body of Christ.
• Through Christ we are bound together in a community of faith.
• Because we belong to Christ, we belong to each other.
From Genesis to Revelation – the Bible paints a picture of community, from the Garden of Eden to the Jerusalem City at the end.
• God Himself is a triune God. We are created for relationship, for community.
• The church is God-designed support system.
• As such, it is intended to meet some crucial needs in our lives.
Let’s look at the picture painted for us in Eph 4:11-16. • [Read Eph 4:11-16] God will rise up leaders (these 5 offices) and give them to the church, so that believers can be trained.
• Growth will take place. But always in a context – note v.16 – as a whole body.
• Growth can only take place in an environment; and this place is the church.
• In order words, we cannot grow without the church.
• We are created for community.
Some want to be Christians apart from the Church.
• They want to have the benefits of being saved, but nothing more.
• They don’t want to share their lives with anyone. Have nothing to do with the church.
• They don’t want to be involved in people’s lives, just like Cain: ‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’
• They want no responsibility. They date the church; no commitment, no responsibility.
This is not God’s plan, according to the Bible.
• In fact, you can be sure that you will never really grow in maturity if you are away from the constant presence of God’s people.
(We cannot obey all the “one another” commands in the Bible)
• You will not realise this until something happens. Growth or decay is not perceptible. You will only know it after a period of time.
• This is why we make such a big deal about faithfulness in attendance.
• Even if you’re going through a dull time, struggling with some problem or sin, the last place you want to be is away from God’s people!
• The church is one of God’s means to bring grace and strength back into your life.
• THE CHURCH IS IMPORTANT!
Henri J. M. Nouwen, D. Morrison, and Donald P. McNeil, in COMPASSION:
“We have lost the simple but difficult gift of being present to each other. We say, “Why should I visit this person? I can’t do anything anyway; I don’t even have anything to say. Of what use can I be?”
“We have forgotten that it is often in ‘useless’, unpretentious, humble presence to each other that we feel consolation and comfort.
“Those who offer us comfort and consolation by being and staying with us in moments of illness, mental anguish, or spiritual darkness often grow as close to us as those with whom we have biological ties.”
“Our God is a God-with-us – a God who came to share our lives in solidarity.
It does not mean that God solves our problems, shows us the way out of our confusion or offers answers for all our questions. He might do all of that, but His coming shows that He is willing to enter with us into our problems, confusions and questions. That is the good news of God’s taking on human flesh.”
Jesus entered our world. Jesus is God’s compassion made visible to us.
• He is still doing that today when man receives Him as Saviour.
• He enters our life and expects us to do the same with others around us.
• Acts 2:44 says, “…ALL THAT BELIEVED WERE TOGETHER…”
Notice something – the picture that stands out from ACTS is not a picture of a strong Christian, but rather a strong CHURCH.
• Believers were under persecution. Yet they were able to overcome the odds because they were TOGETHER, often together!