Summary: Discover community connections were integral and primary in Jesus’ ministry.
Building Authentic Biblical Community: Jesus in Community
21 September 2003
SUBJECT: Jesus in Community
RESPONSE: Discover community connections were integral and primary in Jesus’ ministry.
HOW TO/HOW LONG: Sign up for a Small group during this series.
Last week we learned that God exists in community—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. As men and women of God, made in his image, we too have been made to be in community. It is “wired” into our spiritual “DNA.”
This morning, as we continue our series on Building Authentic Biblical Community we see that being part of a small group, a Small Group, was important and primary in Jesus’ life and ministry.
Let’s start with a true/false quiz:
• I am growing in my intimacy with God and faithfulness to his word.
• I am growing in real relationships with others in a small group.
• I am growing in my service to God and others.
• I am growing in reaching my pre-Christian relationships for Christ.
• I am growing in my sensitivity toward the training of leaders and planting of groups and churches.
Now I believe every person in this room probably wants to answer “Yes!” to all these questions. What follower of Jesus does not want to grow in intimacy, faithfulness, service, outreach, and seeing God’s church grow through training and growth?
But brothers and sisters, from my experience, both personally and as a pastor, we all struggle with these areas. Probably most of us in this room would say we’re not where we or God wants us to be yet.
I believe the best place to see this kind of growth happen is in a Small Group. Again, as we mentioned last week, being in community is part of what it means to reflect the image of God in our lives.
This morning we have the best role model possible—the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Listen to God’s Word from the Gospel of Mark.
Jesus withdrew with his disciples to the lake, and a large crowd from Galilee followed. When they heard all he was doing, many people came to him from Judea, Jerusalem, Idumea, and the regions across the Jordan and around Tyre and Sidon. Because of the crowd he told his disciples to have a small boat ready for him, to keep the people from crowding him. For he had healed many, so that those with diseases were pushing forward to touch him. Whenever the evil spirits saw him, they fell down before him and cried out, “You are the Son of God.” But he gave them strict orders not to tell who he was. Jesus went up on a mountainside and called to him those he wanted, and they came to him.
--Mark 3:7-13, NIV
As we read this text, it’s easy to focus on the fact that large crowds followed Jesus. After all, Jesus heals the sick; he frees people held captive to evil spirits. But did you notice how this passage began and ended?
“Jesus withdrew with his disciples…” and Jesus “called to him those he wanted…”
Jesus spent about three and half years ministering from the time of his baptism to the time of his death and resurrection. Did Jesus spend most of his time with the large crowds that followed him? I don’t think so. Did he go to stadiums like Fenway and lead mass evangelistic meetings? I don’t think so.
I believe Jesus spent most of his time with a Small Group—his small group of apostles whom he taught, shared his Small with, and equipped to carry on his kingdom ministry.
Remember those questions I asked you a few minutes ago? I said I believe all of us would want to answer yes, but most of us probably would admit we haven’t arrived yet.
If you and I want to grow in intimacy with our Lord and faithfulness to his word, we will join Jesus and some of his disciples in a Small Group. Yes, I said join Jesus. I believe just as he called the twelve, just as he withdrew to a quiet place with them, he desires to do the same with you and me. Listen, I love our worship services here. I love our music, I love standing up here and looking out at your faces. But brothers and sisters, it’s hard to see intimacy in a room like this. It’s hard to ask each other how we’re doing in living by God’s Word in this setting. I believe the best place to see this take place is where Jesus spent his time—with a small group of people who walked with him, talked with him, learned from him, and shared with him and each other—a Small Group!
If you and I want to grow in relationships with brothers and sisters, I must tell you, it most likely won’t happen sitting in pews looking at the back of the head in front of you. The Bible is filled with “one another” passages. We are to love one another, pray for one another, forgive each other, encourage one another, bear each other’s burdens. Where will that happen best? In a community of followers of our Lord—a Small Group!