|Dear Friends, |
Ever wonder what real community is about? Ever heard the word koinonia and wondered what the heck people were talking about? If you are anything like me you might have in the past or even today wondered what the New Testament really teaches about it. I know in my early days as a new believer, I didn’t have a clue as to what God intended for me to know and to be shaped by and for.The word koinonia just means to have something shared or deeply held in common. But where does this kind of shared life in the church come from?
For the first several years I believed that it was just Jesus and me with a sprinkling of church in my life. It wasn’t till years later that I realized that truly myself and all Christians needed other people in their lives. God used my time in seminary, good and bad churches, and the relationships within those churches to show me what he really wants for his people. We are made for community! We are made to be a community that gathers together to worship God, hear His Word, and re-believe the Gospel every week. But we are also made to remain a community as the church scatters throughout the week. But what is the basis for this type of ongoing community?
The community we are intended to be is rooted in the very person and character of God, namely, his Trinitarian nature. Because God has existed for all eternity in joyful fellowship within the Godhead, as image bearers we are to reflect much of the relational aspects that God calls us to and demonstrates. We know that God is love (1 John 4:8-10), that God is patient (1 Tim. 1:16-17), and that He is forgiving (Ps. 86:5). This is not an exhaustive list but definitely some of God’s communicable attributes that we can also display. We as his people are called to be in a growing relationship with him and others that reflects who He is and how he deals with people. Community that is rooted in sharing life and joy together and reflecting God’s character to each other in all of our interactions, however imperfect, is a window into the heart of God. For if that is how God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit have been in relationship with each other, it would be for our good and God’s glory if we lived and moved in those ways.There is an impact that the Trinity itself is meant to have. This doctrine is not merely reserved for the ivory tower academic or the monastic hold overs from the dark ages. The relationships, unity and mission of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are both an example to the church and a transformative power for real Gospel change. The nature of God informs the foundations of Christian community. Both the unique roles and the unity within the God-head speak to the individual and corporate aspects of Christian community. Biblical community should have deep roots in the character of God, supported by Scripture. Not only that but, the relationships within the Trinity inform how Christian community should function.
As Christian communities look to God for their identity, it is in the shared, connected life of the Trinity that those communities find the call and encouragement for their life together. Through the Gospel change the Trinity brings about, people are united to God in Christ by the Spirit. Flowing out of this union, groups of transformed (and transforming) worshippers form in a connected life of “having all things in common”. These communities are to radically define themselves as connected to each other through the triune connectedness of God. This was the natural occurrence in the book of Acts as God changed people through the Gospel. Those people were united to other believers and a rich life began to be shared with practical implications. This shared life can both draw from and image forth the unique nature of God to encourage one another and a world desperate for the realities of God. As these communities recognize and remind each other of who God is and the union He has within Himself, the members can guard and facilitate a deepening connection to one another centered on the Gospel.
As we journey on toward reengaging this fall in community, my prayer is that you will taste and see the goodness and triune joy of God in our times together in our small groups. But not only to experience it and enjoy it for yourself, but to extend it to others in the group and by God’s grace to others outside of your group. If you are not currently in a group, ask yourself, why not? Is it a sinful desire for self centered autonomy? Is it because you think that your are doing just fine spiritually? Or maybe you just haven’t considered how much each of us, introverts included, need other people to grow to be more and more like Jesus.
Groups start back the week after Labor Day. Hope you will find a group that helps you walk out your faith and to help your life be the aroma of Christ.
NxTGen is our group for young adults at Redeemer that meets on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday each month for a time of fellowship and learning and growth. Contact Pat Howell with questions.
Next Monday, July 31, we’ll be splashing around and enjoying pizza together at our end of July pool party! Make plans to join us with your family and use the address below to get to the right pool! Bring your own drinks. We will cover the pizza and paper goods.
*Please note that Google Maps does not show the location correctly, but Yahoo Maps does. If using Google Maps, please use the pinned location link below. If parking lot is full upon arrival, feel free to park along the street. https://goo.gl/maps/sb1uRHWXNQgkS9As9 )
Our students are also going to be starting the Fall off right with a great time of fun, food, and a Bible study series. Make plans to join and invite a friend!
Parents! It’s almost Awana time! Registration is open for the fall. We will be having a Kick-off night on August 30th for parents and kids. Hope you will join us!
And you can register for Awana here: https://redeemerlr.churchcenter.com/registrations/events/1833857
Thanks for all your encouragement this past Sunday. Hope your hearts continue to be set on things above. Ever wonder how the life of faith continued forth from Abraham in to Isaac and Jacob? We will take a look this Sunday.
See you in church.
Grace and peace,