by Pastor Marc
See Part I- “What is Community?”
- WHY community matters
But some might think “I don’t need a community in order to be a Christian. So why does this matter?” Well, it is true that you can be Christian without community. But you can’t be all that you were made to be without community and either can the rest of the community. You see, whether you like it or not, as a Christian, you are part of something bigger than yourself. This is called the church of God, the family of God, the called out assembly of God’s people, the bride of Christ. And with this calling come responsibilities and blessings.
The Bible gives us two helpful illustrations to help us see why community matters. One such illustration is found in 1 Corinthians 12. Paul used the imagery of the church as a body and the people as members or parts of the body. He expressed that there are many members, with many gifts, but all are part of one body (v. 20). He tells them that the members belong to one another (vv. 1-20). This means the members of a body are inseparably linked. He also stresses that the members need one another (vv. 14-25). A member singular serves little to no purpose if disconnected from the other members and the body. Finally, Paul explains that members affect one another ( vv. 26-31). This means we are not independent but rather interdependent (v. 26).
We were made for community, to be with other people, we need a place to gather, we need a community that calls us out of sin into repentance, who stirs us up to love and good works, who sharpens us. We need each other.
The other illustration can be seen in 1 Peter 2:4-5,
As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Here the imagery is living stones (Christians) which are assembled to create the spiritual house or temple with Christ as our cornerstone. Peter is stressing the point of our role and necessity in this spiritual house. If we furthered this analogy, what would happen to a brick wall if we were to haplessly remove bricks from the wall? Answer: It would be compromised, it would not be as strong as it once was or was created to be. The strength of the wall depends on all the bricks staying put and doing their job.
Let me ask you… have you ever experience a relationship like this? Where your presence and involvement is crucial to success? We may understand this in the family unit, yet many do not see this in the church. Instead they see the “church” as a take it or leave it proposition. These illustrations serve to express the importance and significance of each member or stone. Without each member or each stone the body or the wall is incomplete and less than it was made to be, so too with the community of God’s people. Despite our fears and desire for privacy we are better together.
C.S. Lewis writes in his book “Four Loves” a chapter on Friendship. In this chapter he briefly describes the change in other relationships after a close friend died. He is explaining the meaning, profit and broad impact of friendship and connections.
“In each of my friends there is something that only some other friend can fully bring out. By myself I am not large enough to call the whole man into activity; I want other lights than my own to show all his facets. Now that Charles is dead, I shall never again see Ronald’s reaction to a specifically Caroline joke. Far from having more of Ronald, having him “to myself” now that Charles is away, I have less of Ronald…. In this, Friendship exhibits a glorious “nearness by resemblance” to Heaven itself where the very multitude of the blessed (which no man can number) increases the fruition which each has of God. For every soul, seeing Him in her own way, doubtless communicates that unique vision to all the rest. That, says an old author, is why the Seraphim in Isaiah’s vision are crying “Holy, Holy, Holy” to one another (Isaiah VI, 3) The more we thus share the Heavenly Bread between us, the more we shall all have.”
It is true, we are better together. We are more with each other. I need you to be all that I am made to be, that’s know God designed it to be. We actually need other people to be who you were made to be. And other people need us to be what they were made to be. We cannot know God by ourselves. We know God more and better, together. And in grace, God has given you a community in order to know Him.
We need you. You need us. We all need one other!
Next week: Part III- How community works
About the contributor: Pastor Marc has been serving at First Baptist Church since September 2002. He is a graduate Summit University of PA (B.S. 2000, M.A. 2015). He has 15+ years of pastoral experience. Marc married his wife Amanda (Rendon) in December of 2002. They have four children: Paige, Luke, Johanna & Owen.
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