It's been awhile since I've written a blog. As I've been getting back into a habit of studying (outside of school work) I have been focusing a great deal on what the church is supposed to look like. I believe that when we look at the Church in its earliest years, the New Testament Church, we can determine that there are some things that they did much better than we do now.
One of the things I see time and time again in the New Testament is the idea of a community who was completely bent on following Jesus at all times. Sticking with the common consensus I will agree that we (as a culture) are failing at community. Our world as a whole has started to fall into disillusion because we believe that the skin deep relationships formed on social media are in some way worthy of being called friendships. Why do I say this? Because a friendship (for the Christian) is meant to lead both parties closer to Jesus.
Paul Tripp wrote "True friendship calls you out of the darkness of personal privacy into the loving candor of mutual concern. It moves you from being a sealed envelope to being an open letter." Wow. What an idea... A friendship that is focused on moving each other closer to Jesus? Moving each other closer to the way life was intended to be? This idea seems provocative because we live in a culture where shallow relationships are okay and admitting our failure is seen as being weak. Or even worse, admitting failure in the Christian community could lead to judgement or even loss of friends.
I think we are missing the mark. In regards to the early church Matt Chandler wrote “With their individual gifts, resources, and levels of faith, these early believers built one another up into maturity. They encouraged one another, blessed one another, rebuked one another, disciplined one another, outdid one another in showing honor, taught one another, and trained one another in the gospel.” There was a lot more to the early Church than potluck dinners, volleyball games, and Sunday morning worship service. The early Christians were okay with saying what needed to be said. They were okay with tough and awkward conversations. They were okay with admitting their sin so that others could help them through it! Ultimately the early Church community was intensely more focused on following Jesus than they were about following people on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!
Why is this type of community important? Why do we need to have these deep relationships with the people in our church? Because when we are complacent in battling sin alone, we will fail. God has established the Church as a community of people that we can rely on to help us through the toughest times in life. In relationships where transparency and accountability are used to grow closer to the Lord, we will find an overwhelming sense of peace. This accountability will bring us closer to Jesus and closer to the “life to the full” that He offers in John 10:10. A joyful life.
May our church be a place of safety, a place of forgiveness, a place of honesty, and a place of pursuing the Lord in a new way.
Questions to Consider