Sermons

Summary: We need to go from being single as Christians to acting and living in the plural.

Our Community in Our Intimacy

Unity, Harmony, and Community – Part 4

John 17:20-26

We have been talking about unity, and harmony for the last couple of weeks. We discovered that we must be in unity in our belief. This means that we all believe not just in God, but also in His Son Jesus Christ – to whom God has delegated all authority.

We talked about harmony and the fact that harmony is important because it displays our differences. When we discover our differences and then share them with one another, it can be like a song that other people want to hear.

Today I want to talk to you about community. Jesus expected us to act in community. Just like I said last week, we need to go from being single as Christians to acting and living in the plural. This means that we need to learn to grow and be with one another.

Community is made up of two words come and unity. When we come together in unity, we can be in community. But community also sounds likes this phrase: Come, you need me. You need me, and I need you. We need each other.

In these verses today, we see that the key ingredient for community is one word: love. The verses 23 and 26 form a book-end to the concept of community. This is not the only place where love take the most important role in our relationships.

Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13, I can have all kinds of spirituality, and I can try to be in harmony with others, but it I don’t do it with love, I sound like a clanging bell. Love is the defining value for community. You can act alone without love. You can work with other people on a superficial basis without love as well. You can come in and say hello with you co-workers. You can finish your job and go home. You can sit in front of the TV or on your chair and read the newspaper. You can find yourself very alone even in your most intimate relationships. You can do that. But that is not community. Community demands that we love one another. Loving one another demands that we get closer to one another. Love demands intimacy.

“In an effort to get the work of the Lord done we often lose contact with the Lord of the work.” A. W. Tozer

Community means contact, and contact requires intimacy. Intimacy means connection from the innermost areas. You need community and contact with others and with God. You need intimacy with others and with God.

FIVE TESTS OF INTIMACY

I know I am intimate with the Lord when.....

1. I fearlessly worship Him.

Worship is a lack of self-awareness in God’s presence

1)expressed love

2) sacrifice

3)confession

4)surrender

2. I instinctively understand His heart.

Because I spend time in the Word

Because I spend time in prayer

3. I honestly communicate with Him.

About my sins

About my needs

About my doubts

4. I selflessly pursue His priorities.

1)Worship

2)Evangelism

3)Fellowship

4)Discipleship

5)Service

5. I constantly experience His ....

Presence

“Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Matthew 28:20

Peace

“These things I have spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace.” John 16:33

Power

“But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” Acts 1:8

Perhaps you need to ask yourselves these questions. Then you can see if you are experiencing real community.

Let me give you a simple illustration:

Someone has drawn a helpful analogy about the importance of unity and community in the church to the life of a honeybee. As I understand it, honeybees cannot live in isolation. You always keep bees (plural), you never keep a single bee. If you isolate a bee, you can give it the most favorable temperature, you can give it plenty of water and plenty of food ... but the bee will die within two to three days. There is something about the community of bees that keeps individual bees alive. You can keep bees, but you cannot keep a bee.

In a sense that is also true of the church. One of the chief sources of our strength is our unity. If we are not as vital in our witness as we might be, it is probably because our bonds of love are not as strong as they might be. The church at Pentecost had an intense fellowship.

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.

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