Devotions this week based on the Message: “BELIEVE: Week 16: Biblical Community”
(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.)
What does a biblical community look like?
I remember a segment on the morning news years ago called, “Shabby or Shiek.” The viewer had to look at two models and determine which one was wearing a very expensive outfit and which one had an expensive look, but at bargain prices.
It was hard to tell because they looked very similar.
Expense isn’t the point, but experience is.
Can you tell a biblical community from any other community?
If one were to take a snapshot of the community in which you live and a snapshot of your church community, could you tell the difference between the two? Perhaps similarities would be in demographics and the type of people which are in each (although that is not always the case). But could you tell the difference in how people interact in each? How people are treated in each? How people engage in each?
Let me start this week’s devotions by being the first to repent of ways I have not exhibited the love and grace in Christ in our church community and ways that have left the experience in church not much different than the community around us.
Let me start this week again in the grace of God and asking for his Spirit’s help to be part of and build a truly biblical community that is both encouraging to those who are part of it and attractive to those who interact with it.
Immediately after Pentecost, the group of Christians were described in this way:
Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
Three things stand out about this group of Christians:
- They grew in their faith as a community.
- They shared all aspects of life as a community.
- They readily welcomed others into the community.
The community of believers was the place where faith and life intersected. The cross of Jesus and his saving work was realized by all and was the place to which and from which all the activities of the Christian church originated.
God designed and formed this community by the power of his Spirit. He designed people to be in community with him and with each other. It was what he created at the beginning and desires all to enjoy on earth until the ultimate manifestation of community is experienced in heaven.
But Satan wants to destroy this community. He wants Christians to look just like the rest of the world and the church to look worse than the rest of the world.
So this week we are going to ask the Spirit of God to start in each of our individual hearts to strengthen our community with the Lord. From that point ask him to strengthen the community of believers we are part of so we too experience the blessing of growing in faith together, doing life together, and welcoming others into the family of faith.
Apply: Evaluate the three areas of Christian community in the place you are. Which is strongest? Which can use some help? How can you be part of strengthening the biblical community you are part of?
Prayer: Lord God, thank you for creating and designing the church to be a community that comes together around the cross of Jesus to do life and faith together. Help me to grow in my relationship to you, my connection with others, and to be a catalyst for strengthening the bonds of faith in the community in which you have placed me. AMEN.