Jesus says that the main way people will believe that Christians have found the love of God is by seeing the quality of their life together in community. Being connected to other Christians is an important way of sharing the gospel! There are a couple reasons why, when Christians live in community with one another, it pleases Him.
First, community shapes the development of our character. Our character is mainly shaped by our primary social community. Jesus spent time eating, walking, talking and laughing with his disciples. Jesus example alone suggests that we best learn and apply what we are learning in the context of Christian community like a small group and among friends.
Most of the ethical principles in the bible are not simply codes of behavior, they are descriptions of a new community that bears the spiritual fruit of love and holiness. It’s harder to live godly in isolation than it is to live godly lives with other like-minded people. This is positive peer pressure, or accountability.
Second, community is essential to spiritual growth. The early church passionately followed Jesus' teachings. Acts 2:42-46 gives us a really clear picture of the Christian community the early church experienced.
“42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:42-47
A person’s life primarily revolves around three things: Their home, their career, and a third place. For many people, that third place is a bar, sports events, the shopping mall, a friend’s garage, or church. We want Freshwater to be the third place. Why? Because we want to be like the early church in Jerusalem who raised the spiritual climate of their community.
What would happen if Freshwater reached 10% of our community for Christ, just 10%? How much would the spiritual climate of our community change? It would change in dramatic ways.
Christian community is perhaps the main way believers bear witness to the world. Jesus tells us that the best witness you can give is to love other believers. That’s what Jesus said in John 13:34-35: “…Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
In conclusion, the author of Hebrews writes: “Let us not give up meeting together, as some as in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:25 I challenge you to seek out and even create more Christian community in your life. Here are a few ideas as to how to do that.
1. Meet for lunch with another believer
2. Start a weekly bible study at work
3. Ask someone to pray for you
4. Ask if you can pray for someone
5. Find a mentor
6. Join a small group
7. Start a small group
8. Start a mom’s group. Meet at the same time and place every week to let the kids play and you can talk about life together.
9. Go out to dinner with another person or a couple.
Here is one that is not on the list: Serve together. Gallup survey: 74% indicated “volunteering and serving together” helped them develop friendships.
I see Freshwater as a safe place for us to connect as believers and live out our faith. I want Freshwater to be a place of love, grace, and hope; a light in this community. Let’s live out our faith together because in God’s eyes this is what pleases Him and brings joy and peace to us.