It Takes a CommunityGenesis 1-3
2015 - Non-Series Sermons
February 22, 2015
Christian community is the incubator for discipleship. It is only within the context of authentic community that a believer will mature into the person God wants him or her to be. There is no Christian maturity without Christian community. The story of mankind’s creation and fall into sin provides us with three clear reasons this is true.
First, God created you for community. When God saw Adam living in solitude, He made the declaration that “it is not good for man to be alone” (Gen. 2:18). The reason for this is because man living in isolation can never fulfill the primary purpose for which he was made: reflecting the image of God (Gen. 1:26). The Lord is not a God of solitude or isolation. He is a God of interpersonal relationship; He is a Trinity. There was a time before mankind existed, but there has never been a time when relationship, love, and community did not exist among the persons of the triune Godhead. The Lord is a God of community, and thus, when He created people to bear His image, He created them for community. We are relational because we bear the image of a relational God. You were created for community.
Second, sin makes you run from community. In Gen. 3:1-7 we see the results sin had upon the relational intimacy enjoyed by Adam and Eve. Sin led to shame and shame led to separation. The fig leaves were their attempt to distance themselves from one another by covering their own shame. Whenever we resist intimacy with God or with other people, this is always the result of sin. Community is God’s design for humanity; isolation is the curse of sin.
Finally, we know there is no Christian maturity without Christian community because Christ is restoring you to community. In Gen.3:21 God sacrifices the life of an animal to cover the shame of Adam and Eve. This foreshadows what He would ultimately do on the cross. The blood of Christ covers our shame, restoring us back into a right relationship with God and other people. At the center of what God is doing in your redemption is restoring you to authentic community with other believers. The church is a manifestation of God’s original design for humanity; it is a place where community as God intended is restored. Community is not a secondary aspect of your redemption; it is at the heart of what God is doing in your life. You’ll never be the person God wants you to be without community.
The New Testament word that describes what community looks like is “fellowship.” What is fellowship? Fellowship is participating in one another’s spiritual lives. It includes encouragement, admonition, rebuke, confessing sin, bearing one another’s burdens, etc. It is not the same thing as eating together, Bible study, or a program within the church. While fellowship can occur in each of these contexts, you have not fellowshipped unless you are participating in another believer’s spiritual life.
Here’s my challenge to everybody: Every week an interaction and every interaction an opportunity. There are two parts to this. First, every single week find an opportunity to interact with another believer from our church. Second, see every interaction with other believers as an opportunity for fellowship. Dinner with friends is an opportunity for fellowship. Girl’s night out is an opportunity for fellowship. Every week an interaction and every interaction an opportunity.
There is no Christian maturity without Christian community. Let’s wage war on the sin that is causing us to resist authentic community, and let’s embrace the community that Christ died to give us. When it comes to making a disciple of Jesus Christ, it takes a community. Begin today!
Community, Fellowship, Relationship, Worship