Updated: Mar 4
In this series, we consider the question, "how do I walk closer with the Lord?" Our last lesson discussed the Importance of Prayer. Continuing, how does understanding community help us draw closer to the Lord?
As Christians, we are connected as the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:12-31). The apostle Paul talks about how we each are individual members of the body, but the members form together as one body. Each part of the body is essential for the health and maturing of the body. This unique community, created in Christ, is vital for our growth. As members of the body, we cannot grow apart from the body.
With the advancement of technology, the church has had opportunities to expand the message of Christ. I am old enough to remember debates about watching church on television. However, in recent years, video, podcasts, streaming platforms, and interactive apps have increased access to sermons, lessons, and devotionals. I am very thankful for this technology and think the church should use every opportunity available to share the hope of Christ. After all, that is part of the purpose of simplyrevised.org. However, these should not replace being connected in community. If we are concerned about growth and walking with the Lord, we will be joined together in community.
Reasons We Are Out
I imagine if we were to list all the reasons people choose to remain disconnected from the body of Christ, the list would be quite long. I have heard reasons such as family commitments, leadership conflicts, hypocrisy, and abuse. I understand these reasons. It could be that you have experienced personal hurt and deep pain from other Christians. If that has been your experience, I am very sorry that you have had to endure this. I encourage you not to let the past actions of others hinder your growth in the Lord today. I hope you find a community to support and encourage you. A community that genuinely lives in the character and nature of Christ.
Devoted To One Another
The early church devoted themselves to one another. They were connected in community.
Acts 2:42–44 (NIV)
They devoted themselves to the apostles 'apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.
This type of fellowship should be a pattern for us today. Christians grow in the Lord when they are connected. The word "fellowship," as used above, was not simply about pot-luck meals. The word means partnership and participation. The early church was in partnership with one another as they participated in the kingdom of God. They experienced purpose—a purpose found in the community and the mission of Jesus. They were devoted to one another as the body of Christ. The early church demonstrates for us a pattern of being connected.
Consider One Another
The author of Hebrews writes about our opportunity to minister to one another.
Hebrews 10:19–25 (NIV)
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
Having Christ as our High Priest, we have the opportunity to minister to one another in love. As the body of Christ, we are to encourage one another in godly living. But, unfortunately, some had abandoned the community of Christ. They had given up the habit of "meeting together." In doing so, they neglected the body of Christ and risked falling away from the faith altogether. We should understand the importance of community, the family of God. Understanding this, we should encourage one another "all the more as you see the Day approaching."
A Place of Connecting
Within the church, Christians enjoy the blessings of connecting. We can show our love for one another (1 John 4:12), encourage one another in godly living (Heb. 10:24), serve one another in love (Gal. 5:13), and teach one another for the equipping of the body in works of service (Eph. 4:12).
In our desire to walk closer with the Lord, we need to be connected to the community of Christ.
Scripture quotations are from; Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.