Gospel in Community
Sanctification (growth in holiness as a follower of Jesus) is a community event. God designed ii that way as we “image forth” Jesus the light of the world – together in community – loving and encouraging one another and on mission together.
There are levels of community that Jesus’ followers need and in which they serve and partake.
1. The most intimate level is with Jesus HImself. Every believer needs to commune with God – listening to Him (through the Bible) and talking to Him (prayer) and responding in worshipful obedience. Jesus always took time to be alone with His heavenly Father. Do you have a plan for regular time with God prayerfully in His Word?
2. Secondly, it is incredibly valuable for every believer to have a one on one or a small group of 2 or 3 where you develop a love relationship – where you can be real, held accountable, gospel one another, and invest in another person’s life on a deep and caring level. Jesus did this with John. Jesus also had his 3 – Peter, James, and John. Who are you discipling or who is discipling you? Who would God have you invest your life in right now?
3. Third, every believer needs to be in a group of often diverse individuals to live out being the church together. These groups can be anywhere from around 6 to 20 or so people who share life together and seek to be on Jesus’ mission together – formed by the Gospel and for the Gospel. Jesus had His 12. Are you plugged in as a part of a community group? In Grace Fellowship our community groups are at the heart of what it is to be the church of Jesus together.
4. Fourth, there are larger gatherings where believers and unbelievers hear the Gospel Word proclaimed. Jesus taught the multitudes. Jesus’ sermons and parables heralded to the larger group, were then explained and applied interactively in smaller groups (His disciples). For us, we are currently meeting in the Galaxy Theatre that we might reach out into the city, make the presence of Jesus in and through His people known, and gather others to hear the Word of God … for faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. That Gospel truth is heralded in our songs, in our preaching, and proclaimed in our partaking of the Lord’s Table. This larger gathering of corporate worship unites us around the Gospel and the once for all delivered faith, and around the mission for which Jesus has gathered us and sent us out into the world.
All of the above aspects of community are necessary. There may be times in individual lives where one or more of the above are lacking for a time (hopefully never the first one!) due to specific short-term reasons, but as a general rule, all need to be a part of our lives as faithful, devoted followers of Jesus to the glory of God.