The Bible has so much to say about community: how God created us for it (Genesis 2:18); how sin fractures community (Genesis 3:1-13); how Christ restores community (Ephesians 2:1-22) and how critical it is that we participate in community. But, I want to focus on some of the practical aspects of community.
Hebrews 10:19-25 says, “And so, dear brothers and sisters, we can boldly enter heaven’s Most Holy Place because of the blood of Jesus. By his death, Jesus opened a new and life-giving way through the curtain into the Most Holy Place. And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”
– “let us hold tightly” – when doubts creep into our heart about the promises of God, our friends / our community of faith remind us of God’s promises & help us to hold tightly to them.
– “let us think of ways” – other translations read “consider.” Ponder and reflect. Look at the friends around us and ask, “How can we help one another?” Be intentional in helping others grow.
– “motivate one another” – “spurring” / “stirring” up. Irritate. Disagree sharply with and confront. Someone who isn’t afraid to get all up into our business and challenge us about our sin. Too often, we are blind to our biggest sins. I need my brothers / sisters in Christ to “motivate” & “spur” me toward righteousness.
– “acting” – acts of love and good works. If you go to biblegateway.com and search the phrase, “one another,” you’ll be blown away by how many times we are commanded to simply love one another. Be loving. And, let that love show up in good works. Practically help each other. If there is a need, respond – do what you can.
– “encourage one another” – come alongside; empathize. Put yourselves in another’s shoes & support them. This is the opposite of the “motivating.”
James 5:17 – “Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.”
The context of that verse is praying for healing – the sick. But, aren’t there many kinds of illnesses that we pray for all the time: physical, spiritual, emotional, mental, etc.
And, I think its fair to say that we don’t confess our sins to just anyone, right? Our sins – the worst part of us – we don’t put out there for everyone to see. We share those with the people we trust will love us, despite our sins. We are supposed to confess our sins to one another. Ugh. That doesn’t sound like fun. Why? What purpose does that serve?
There is something deeply significant about finding acceptance, forgiveness, and accountability in our relationships / in our community. It helps us believe those things about God – in a concrete way; not in a random, abstract way.
We say we believe God is always with us. Do we feel it? We definitely do when we call a friend in a moment of crisis. We say we believe God forgives our sin (and He does). When do we know it? When someone we love forgives us for hurting them. As we begin to heal of all the brokenness that exists inside of us – as a result of sin – we grow. We mature. We become more like Jesus.
Since our Life Groups are starting this week, I pray that God makes each of us more aware of our need for biblical community. Make sure to go online and check the groups out online.