10 Be devoted to one another in love.
Romans 12:10 New International Version
If our community building is based on human efforts and reliance, like the Tower of Babel, it will disintegrate and fall apart. If it is centred on the grace of Christ, then the impossibilities of community become possible. This is because, by the power of the Spirit, Christ is incarnate in us so that we can mirror and manifest His life with one another.
Genuine community is rooted in Christ, who says: “I am the Vine, and you are the branches” (John 15:5). Our love for others is fuelled by Christ’s love for us. However, we live in an age where many believers are heeding to a competing gospel, that is, the gospel of individualism. The emphasis is on “I don’t need the church to have a relationship with God”. That is partially true, but it does not accurately reflect what the gospel tells us about the church.
Without community, our faith becomes weak and hollow.
The life of community within the church, according to the Scripture, calls us to adjust our focus from ourselves to others. We are to bless each other with the same love and generosity God blesses us with and we truly do so with grace, hospitality, and acceptance.
Genuine community involves the recognition of the other and the contribution each person makes and the commitment to love and serve each other. When that happens, that community becomes a safe and healing and helpful community for the outsiders.
Our society is desperate for community and connections. If the church is not the best and most suitable place for authentic friendships and authentic conversations to flourish, then we need to hear the gospel again and again. If we are not as faithful to the gospel as we would like to be—then we would not be as strong through Christ as we can be.
If our church can live more faithfully according to the gospel and demonstrate that the truth is in us, then our witness to the world will become more significant and more impactful.
© Copyright Richard Tan, 2019.
All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version®.
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