Posted by Rod Neufeld on June 16, 2015
What is the community as it relates to the local church? As far as I can see there are 2 communities that our focus should be on.
Community part 1:
First, the church community. By this I mean the local church, the body of believers that gather regularly for worship, praise, teaching, fellowship and spiritual refueling.
Now, I’ve heard all the lines: “I don’t need to go to church to worship God, blah blah blah!” It’s a true statement. Like all true statements made to avoid doing something, there is more to it than that. We need to gather to not only worship God, but also to lift each other up, to support and encourage each other, to grow and sometimes to be rebuked and corrected. Usually people leave when the latter happens but we need that part too. I have included a large section of scripture here to expand upon the fellowship we should have with Christ and with each other.
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ, Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do. And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. And be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn them that are unruly, comfort the feebleminded, support the weak, be patient toward all men. See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit. Despise not prophesyings.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. Abstain from all appearance of evil. And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be reserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Brethren, pray for us.
Greet all the brethren with an holy kiss. I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-27 KJV)
You cannot do this alone, and how we gather and treat each other reflects DIRECTLY on our relationship with Christ!
Community part 2:
This should be simple but sometimes people get this confused.I have seen the confusion first hand in my time in the fundamentalist Christian religious system (It’s a long story).
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. (Ephesians 5:11 KJV) Most stop reading at the comma!
I have seen this used inappropriately multiple times. So often this is used to scare people into hiding from the world. My question is, how do you share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the world He came to save if you hide from it?
The answer is simple, DON’T HIDE!
You see, the other facet of community is the community around us. A mix of unbelievers and believers. We are not called to sit in our living room waiting for the lost to seek Christ. Nor are we called to sit in
our comfy churches waiting for the lost to seek Christ. They will not break down the doors looking for salvation! We are to go out into all the world preaching the Gospel to the lost.
This is one of the reasons I am so thankful that the Lord blessed us this past Saturday with a great multitude of people at our church’s family fun day. We were blessed with the opportunity to share a glimpse of the love of Christ with the community we live in. We need to help the world understand that WE ARE NOT BETTER THAN THEY! We just have been saved and granted eternal life with the God of all creation, thanks to the love and sacrifice of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Right now non-church going unbelievers will almost always agree that they perceive church people as pushy, arrogant finger pointers that think they are too good to talk to them. When they do talk to them, it is in ridicule or judgement.
I handed out about a hundred gospel tracts and had some great conversations this past Saturday. Not bragging, just pointing out how easy it is for a coward like me to show love to the unloved, to show comfort to the hurting, to show Jesus to those who don’t know Him.
Today, I ask all of my brothers and sisters in Christ one question. I want you to answer in your heart honestly and then react accordingly.
Will you put your arms around the adulterous woman and shield her from the stones that are flung at her or will you be throwing the stone? Read John 8:1-11. Don’t miss the part where Jesus says, ”Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.” (John 8:11 KJV)
You see, bad things happen in all communities and there are so many needs in our own. Let us be the ones that bring love and healing to ours. Put judgment aside and be a builder of communities rather than a divider of communities.
There is no middle line here, you are either for Christ or against Christ! So let us then go into our community and make a difference with the love of Christ and the Holy Spirit as our guide.