As summer winds down, we resume specific rhythms in our church's life, one of which is gathering together in Community Groups. This week, we remind ourselves of how God is calling us to live with and relate to one another. God's plan and design for every believer is be a part of the family of God, the church. His purposes and plans for his people are beautiful and for our good. God is calling us to warmth and affection for one another and for our relationships to be growing in devotion and love.
In Acts 2:42-47 we are provided with our first summary glimpse at the interior life of the early church. While not an exhaustive description of the local church these verses do provide us with a wonderful vision of vibrant, loving and hospitable Christian community - the kind of community that all Christians should strive to see realized in their own churches, homes and neighborhoods.
Our text this week paints a picture of what Christian community ought to look like and how we can achieve it. Colossians 3:12-17 points to our motivation and model for right conduct within the family of God and also shows us the only means by which we can hope to grow into the kind of community God desires.
The Christian life is not meant to be lived in isolation. Rather, the Christian life and persevering in our faith is a team effort. If you are a Christian, you have been brought into the family of God and it is precisely in that family that you are to exercise love, sacrifice, good works and bear one another’s burdens. Together we are called together to fulfill the law of Christ, namely, to love each other as ourselves. So fulfilling the law of Christ cannot be done alone. It must be done in the context and crucible of Christian community.
In the book of Ephesians, Paul explains that those of us who have been redeemed by God have been given a new identity as members of the body of Christ. In Ephesian 4:1-16, Paul then transitions into showing us what it looks like to live rightly as church members. As members of the body of Christ, we are called to unity, we are equipped for ministry and we are to be grown up in maturity.
The way we treat each other in the church should be informed and modeled after how God in Christ has loved and forgiven us. We are to walk in love with one another, forgiving each other, giving no room for the devil to divide us. One of the primary ways the devil brings harm to the church is through angry or evil speech. However, our speech should be wholesome, not self willed and useful for building others up.