Posted by Brad Quiring on September 16, 2015
Here at Abundant Life we are beginning a new series that will carry us through to the end of November. The series is titled, “Community.” It is based on the six core values of Abundant Life, which you can find by clicking this link.
From the beginning God had intended that we be together. Together with Him and together in a family and community of those who believe in and love Jesus.
Being together has huge implications. God wants us to live life together, serve others together and celebrate together. Together is the key to living the full Christian life. Is this even possible?
Community all starts with Jesus. It exists through the work of Jesus. It has its ultimate goal to honour Jesus. This community is called “The Church”. In reality, church has nothing to do with buildings, programs, institutions or styles. It has everything to do with Jesus who put it together. This world-wide community finds its representation in a local congregation, which also calls itself, “church.”
How does this community come about? Let’s take a look at a teaching from Paul, who founded many of the first communities within the larger community of church:
11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)— 12 remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.
13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility,15 by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, 16 and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.
17 He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18 For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
First of all, Paul makes it clear we were not part of this community from the beginning. He uses terms like, “separate from Christ, were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God.” This sounds stark and is far worse than that. Worse because this separation from God lasts forever.
Community comes by way of Jesus himself, because we are completely unable to save ourselves. Jesus died for our sins to pay the penalty for our wrong-doing. Keeping religious laws and regulations could never satisfy God or give us peace.
Now, through Jesus’ person and work, we can have peace with God. Now with this peace with God, we also have peace with one another. There is no hostility between people because of Jesus.
To top it off, no matter what your past, through faith in the person and work of Jesus, we get direct access to God the Father through the Holy Spirit – same Jesus, same Father, same Spirit. All because of Jesus.
This is community.
Do you have faith in this Jesus? Read all of Ephesians 1 and 2 to get the full story.
Follow this blog in the next weeks as we take a look at what this new community really looks like, how it acts and where you can fit in. Better yet, join us every Sunday at 10:30AM at 1396 Plessis Road in Transcona, Winnipeg.