Summary: “How do you fit in at church?” “Do you feel a part of our church?” “Are you part of the Body of Christ?” “Are you an active part of the community?" [Adaptable by adding your own church activities]
HOW to FIT IN at CHURCH
Acts 2:42-47, Others
INTRODUCTION… How to Fit in at Almost Any Church (www.bluefishtv.com) (02:29)
I. DEFINITION OF COMMUNITY
(all definitions and such: Horton, Paul. Sociology. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1972. pgs 437-438)
I would like to begin this morning with the definition of the word community. A community is “a local grouping within which people carry out a full round of life activities.”
A community includes:
(1) a grouping of people
(2) within a geographical area
(3) with a division of labor into specialized and interdependent functions
(4) with a common culture and a social system that organizes their activities
(5) whose members are conscious of their unity and of belonging to the community
(6) who can act collectively in an organized manner
For it to qualify, its members must be able to experience all or nearly all aspects of the culture within its boundaries. I submit to you this morning that our church is such a community. We meet those qualifications as set out by sociologists. Don’t take my word for it. The Bible describes the church in this way. The New Testament describes the church and uses the term “the Body of Christ” over and over and says many of the same things that a sociologist might say in describing a community.
1 Corinthians 12:12-14, 18-19 says, “The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit into one body-- whether Jews or Greeks, slave or free-- and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Now the body is not made up of one part but of many. 18 But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”
The Apostle Paul describes a group of people coming together for a common purpose. Our faith Jesus Christ is what binds us together as a church. The Holy Spirit joins us together in unity. Each of us has many different backgrounds, but we were all given the same Spirit and we all worship the same God. This binds you to the person sitting next to you. It binds you to the person in front of you and behind you. We here today form one body.
Ephesians 4:11-13 also says, “It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12 to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13 until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.”
The sociologist would say there needs to be specialized people and division of labor and some people with differing functions. Ephesians tells us the same thing! There are those among us who are pastors and teachers. There are also servants and musicians and those that can work with their hands. There are those that can sing and those we wish would not. And yet, all of us are preparing ourselves for works of service dedicated to God. We all are unified in our desire to become mature in Jesus Christ and have a fruitful walk with Him. There are many other passages that speak of differing jobs for different parts of the Body of Christ. Each of us is needed to complete the Body here at this church.
Colossians 3:12-15 tells us plainly, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.”
As a community, as the Body of Christ, we are chosen by God to be His. That is amazing! We commit ourselves to a common community of compassion and kindness and humility and gentleness and patience. We want to create a community here that is one of forgiveness. We want to create a community here that helps people to find Jesus so that He rules in their hearts!
I hope you see that a church is indeed a community that is bound by faith, hope, and love. I hope you see that we are indeed a community of people seeking after Jesus Christ and are here for a common purpose. My question for us this morning is a simple one, but I want to ask it in several different ways so that we all can ask it of ourselves: