(NOTE: This sermon series and devotional series is based on a book by Randy Frazee entitled, “BELIEVE.”
You may choose to download or purchase the book as a supplement to your worship and devotional emails.)
A biblical community is a community of grace.
Or is it?
I hope it is. However, truth be told, it easier to believe and teach love and forgiveness and grace than it is to practice love, forgiveness and grace.
But you and I wouldn’t be the first to struggle with this.
The Apostle Paul wrote these words to a group of Christians in the region of Galatia:
Galatian 5:15 If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.
Like a human family, a family of believers can struggle to get along at times.
We can be mean.
We can hold grudges.
We can be judgmental of others.
We can be critical.
We can be condescending.
We can be cold.
We can be unforgiving.
We can be ___________________.
Who wants to be part of a community that has these characteristics.
I wouldn’t think anyone does.
Charles Spurgeon once said, “Beware of no man more than of yourself; we carry our worst enemies within us.”
The reason a biblical community can “bite and devour each other” is because each person has a sinful nature that is wreaking havoc on the work of God’s Spirit. The sinful nature leads us to all of the above reactions.
So what is the solution? How about working with God’s help to do the following:
- Ephesians 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen… 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
- Colossians 3:12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.
The reality is Satan wants to destroy a biblical community and he will work inside each of us to love grace for ourselves, but fail to show grace to others. He will get us to treasure forgiveness for our sins, but invite us to hold grudges against someone who wronged us. He will allow us to bask in the love Jesus has shown to us and give us excuses why we don’t have to show love to others.
So to develop and maintain a biblical community, we must seek the Spirit’s help to do the following:
James 4:7 Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 8 Come near to God and he will come near to you.
Did you hear the promise in this? Grow closer to the love of God and God’s love will come closer to you. And as God’s love, grace and forgiveness fills you, you too can be part of filling a biblical community with his love, grace and forgiveness.
Apply: Which attribute encouraged in the passages above would make a difference to your church community if you intentionally worked to do better yourself and encourage others to do the same.
Prayer: Lord, help me with your Spirit to be a catalyst against Satan and for your Spirit to develop a biblical community that focuses on and lives out your love, grace and forgiveness. AMEN.