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Live in Community

September 23, 2012 Preacher: Jeff Medders Series: Vision Series (2012)

Scripture: Colossians 3:1–3:17

 

Take your Bible and go to Colossians chapter 3.

Today's sermon is the part three of our Vision Series, where we are going over who we are as a Church and by God's grace what we want to be about and do for the rest of our lives.

We are doing this series to remind those of us who have been at Redeemer for awhile what our church is about — and the kind of church that we want to be — and we do this to welcome all of the new faces at Redeemer, and to introduce you to what our church is all about.

Church can be about a lot of things — but the main thing, must be the gospel.

It's all about Jesus, and what Jesus has done for us sinners. He died on the cross for us and rose again from the dead for us and it's by faith in Jesus alone that anyone is saved.

We love the gospel. It is the good news — The gospel of God is not an op ed piece — it's news. It's a report. An announcement that we stake our entire lives on.

Our mission — we are committed to MAKING DISCIPLES AND MAKING MUCH OF JESUS.

Making disciples, comes right out of Jesus' words in Matthew 28 and it means to help people follow Jesus. We want to see people who don't know Jesus, to get saved by Jesus and walk with him for the next 10 billion years. And those of us who follow Jesus, we want to help each other follow him.

Making Much of Jesus — we want to exalt Jesus with our lives, words, worship, actions. We exist for the fame of his name.

Vision is the kind of church we hope to see: Mission is what we do. Vision is result of the mission.

We want to be a COMMUNITY THAT IS GROWING IN THE GOSPEL AND BRINGING THE GOSPEL TO THE COMMUNITY.

We want to do this by doing four things, I hope you'll have these memorized soon. . .

  • Worship Jesus
  • Get Trained
  • Live in Community
  • Be on Mission

This is the picture of a disciple of Jesus - a picture of maturity. If you didn't hear the Worship Jesus and Get Trained sermons, go online, grab em, get our podcast. Today, we are going to look at Living in Community. We were made for this.

Let me pray for us and we'll get rolling.

- - - - - - 

Big truth for today: You and I were created from Community, to be in Community. God has always been in community. The Trinity has always had their small group, where the exaltation of God is the goal.

Remember when Jesus calls the first disciples? He tells them, "Follow me." And do you notice what else happens? Jesus called them to himself and to life with the other disciples. They were to follow Jesus, and to follow him while in a community of other Christ followers. When we come to Christ, we are united to Jesus — and to other Christians.

Look at Colossians 3:1-17. We'll read, explain a few things, and tie community together.

It's my hope that we will have a revived vision for what community can be and should be by the grace of God.

v.1

If you are a Christian today, notice how he describes what that is —"If you have been raised with Christ." That's important. Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, very God of very God — died on a Roman Cross in the place of sinners, taking the punishment for their sins, that whoever would believe in will no perish but have eternal life.

And Jesus didn't stay dead, we don't follow a religious leader, who had a lot of guts and is still dead — Jesus is alive!! He rose again. And Paul says here to the Colossians, when Jesus rose from the dead — you rose with Him. You are alive too. He rose for you.

Christian, you have a new life, a new identity. As surely as Jesus is alive, so are you.

Let's keep moving (1-3)

v. 4

"Christ, who is your life." Paul is adjusting our minds to see what Christ is our entire life — he is the center, he is the hope, he is everything — it's all riding on Jesus.

Here's what all of this means —

WE HAVE A CHRIST-CENTERED IDENTITY.

Died with Jesus, rose with Jesus, our life is hidden in Jesus, Jesus is our life. And since this is true, pick up in verse 5-8.

Since we are new in Christ — we are pursuing holiness, Christ-likeness. It looks like verse 5 "Killing Sin." Because Jesus is your life — don't live in sin. Live in Christ. 

Now, that sounds like a good place to end right? Verses 1-8 that is a good sermon. Pray and let's go work on that this week. But look at where Paul goes next, there is a seamless flow here. . .

v. 9

"Don't lie to one another." Lie about what? What's the context? Pursuing Holiness! Pursuing Growth. Don't lie about your putting off the old self and putting on the new! Don't lie about your sin.

But don't miss the huge implication here. The Apostle Paul says don't lie to one another — assuming that we are talking to one another about our lives, knowing we would be tempted to do so.

Christian, you are designed for community. You cannot obey the majority of the New Testament without a group of Christians to live it with.

You need other Christians. There are at least 30 unique "one-another" passages in the New Testament. How will you obey them? You can't do them all on Sunday. "Love one another, serve another, be kind to one another."

There are four in this passage! (9, 13 (2x), 16). If you have a Christ-centered Identity (vv.1-8), you are to also have a Christ-centered Community (vv.9-17).

Look at the end of verse 9, "Christ is all!"

Here's what the Christ-centered community is supposed to do — Read vv. 9-17

WE NEED A CHRIST-CENTERED COMMUNITY (VV. 9-17)

Christ-centered Identity means we are to have a Christ-centered Community.

Here's what at Christ-centered Community does. . .

1) Be real and a real friend (v. 9)

All of us, we need real, Bible-believing, sin-identifying, Soul-caring, Jesus-exalting friends — that we will be honest with & hear me — that will be honest with us.

Community has to be a safe place of trust. We've been burned by people — and it's horrible. Many have been burned in the name of truth. That's not the gospel — that's not grace. The gospel doesn't burn people who confess sin and looking to grow. It gives hope. Jesus goes the distance with sinners who are wanting to change. Hasn't he with you?

Don't let a horrible experience rob you from what God intended. You ever had bad cheesecake?

We need real friends — gospel friends. Friends who will remind us of Jesus. Friends who give us good news before good advice. Friends who remind us of God's grace. We want the people of Redeemer to Live in Community, because we need friends to grow.

Pagans know how important friends are.

"What would you do if I sang out of tune,

Would you stand up and walk out on me.

Lend me your ears and I'll sing you a song,

And I'll try not to sing out of key.

Oh I get by with a little help from my friends" 

Biblical Friendship is a gift from God.

Is any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of Christian friends by fire?. . . Friendship is the greatest of worldly goods. Certainly to me it is the chief happiness of life. If I had to give a piece of advice to young man about a place to live, I think I should say, "Sacrifice almost everything to live where you can be near your friends." - (C.S. LEWIS)

You may not buy it and maybe because you've only had companions.

We don't need more companions, affinity based friends — those are built on the sand. When the storm comes, they aren't built high enough, to handle real-life — but biblical friends, Gospel giving, life-breathing, soul bearing friends — that's what we need.

Prov. 18:24 A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.

Prov. 17:17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.

Companions don't show up when times are tough, when help is really needed. We need gospel friends — that love at all times. "Break glass in case of emergency” friends – are not friends. Friends that are there at all times, not just for the bad seasons. But are there for the good times too. 

Friends that will call our bluff and show us our sin are essential! I’d be more sinful than I am without these kinds of friends. We may not want to hear about sins in our life — but we need to. We need the truth — the truth sets us free.

Community can be painful, like putting a broken bone into place or getting the flu shot — it's uncomfortable — but it's for our good.

Prov. 27:5 Better is open rebuke than hidden love. 6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy.

You need a community of friends that won't let you go and give up on you. And you need to be that kind of friend.

Frodo and Sam from the Lord of the Rings have an epic friendship.

Frodo has to carry this evil ring to Mount Doom, and they are almost there, and his strength is gone — he can't do it anymore. He's given up. Sam, looks at him and tries to remind him of home, the grass, the food, the flowers, saying "We are almost there Mr. Frodo." Frodo tells him, "I can't remember any of it Sam, the darkness is coming over me, I can see him (the bad guy) burning in my eyes." The Ring is too much for Frodo now.

Sam, then cries, "Let's get rid of it — once and for all! I cannot carry the ring for you — but I can carry you!"

That's a nuclear powered friendship. Who doesn't want that? And for this kind of community to work v. 8 has to happen

2) Look Beyond Yourself (V.11-14)

v. 11

Paul gives the extreme of each scenario here. All differences are gone. Racial, American or Arab, socio-economic, political, upbringing, Age, Aggie or UT, intelligence — none of that matters! See why? CHRIST IS ALL! It's about Jesus!

Christ is the center of the community. In the Christian community, there is no boasting, no sizing one another up, no pride — Christ is all and in all his people.

I've never understood when people say, "I want to have community with my peers." In Christ, Christians are your peers. If there are Christians around – you have peers.

Living in community works as long as you get over yourself and put up with each other.

vv. 12-14

Live verse 12 to one-another, compassionate hearts (no eye-rolling) — invested heart. Genuine interest.

Living in community is difficult, people are crazy right? You are too! So am I! Which is why verse 13 is here. .

"Bearing with one another." — Literally, put up with each other. Deal with it. "Oh that person is so difficult, they just get under my skin. Okay Mr. Perfect, bear with them.

Realize, people are putting up with you. If you don't put up with anyone, everyone is putting up with you.

We are one in Christ, but we are different people. We have quirks and oddities about us. Usually they aren't sinful — but when sin happens, work it out and forgive each other like God in Christ forgave you. The gospel operates in the center of community.

But don't blow up over the quirks. We gotta get over our pettiness and our ridiculousness. We are all different members of the body of Christ. Some are hands, feet, toes. You think the feet are interested in gloves? Think the hands are into shoes? No! But they know they need each other.

Bearing with one another isn't, "Yes, they are ridiculous. I'll be the bigger person." Rather, it sounds like, "I love this person and I want to serve them like Christ has served me."

This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. (John 15:12–13 ESV)

Jesus calls us his friends, he laid his life down for us, he loves us, and now we lay our lives down for each other — because we love each other.

Who are you laying your life down for? Here's how you know you have community: Who do you lay your life, preferences, desires, and schedule down for?

We want you to Live In Community — because you need each other, to teach each other, to encourage each other, to stir each other.

3) Encourage Each Other (vv.15-17)

Be thankful that you are one with other Christians, don't take it for granted. Don't ignore it.

See what we are supposed to do . . ."Teaching and admonishing one another." I'm not the only one who is supposed to teach the saints at Redeemer. Preaching, while one of the important voices in your life — it's one of many.

Prov. 27:9 Oil and perfume make the heart glad, and the sweetness of a friend comes from his earnest counsel.

Speak truth to one another, hard truth too. Notice, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you." For what? To teach and admonish one another.

The writer of Hebrews nails it. . .

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. (Hebrews 10:24–25 ESV)

We keep saying this, because it runs so counter-cultural to American Christianity.

We are to live in community not just for ourselves, but for one another. To stir up others and have them stir us to love Jesus and spread the fame of his name. Our default is, “What will I get out of this?” What you get is loving and serving others.

Have you neglected the Christian community? If you have been raised with Christ (v. 1) — live out vv.9-17.

The biggest hindrance to living and thriving in the Christian community isn't others — it will be yourself. We will be our own roadblock.

HINDRANCES TO COMMUNITY

You won't live in community . . . 

  • If you lie about the state of your soul (Colossians 3:9)
  • If you look for the differences in others (Colossians 3:11)
  • If you have a prickly heart and composure (Colossians 3:12)
  • If you don't bear with others (Colossians 3:13)
  • If you don't forgive (Colossians 3:13)
  • If you are unloving (Colossians 3:14) [see 1 Cor. 13]
  • If you aren't thankful for other Christians (Colossians 3:15)
  • If you don't care about the growth of other Christians (Colossians 3:16)
  • If Christ is not your all (Colossians 3:11, 17)

Are you neglecting community? Is your community missing the mark? See if it's you?

In Ancient Greece, when warriors were being trained for the army, at the end of their training, they would get fully clad in their armor, line up, stand across from another man in the army. They would clasp arms, look into each other's eyes and say the ATHENIAN OATH.

I will never bring reproach upon my hallowed arms, nor will I desert the comrade at whose side I stand. But I will defend our alters and our hearths, singlehanded or supported by many. My native land I will not leave a diminished heritage but one greater and better than when I received it. I will obey whoever is in authority and submit to the established laws and all others which the people shall harmoniously enact. If anyone tries to overthrow the constitution or disobey it, I will not permit him, but will come to its defense, singlehanded or with the support of all.

I will fight with you & for you. I won't abandon you or our mission together.

LIVE IN COMMUNITY

1) Become a Member of the Church

Have you joined the church? Sign up for the membership class. Become a member. Membership doesn't save, but biblical church membership is how the pastors care for those who are saved.

Membership is saying, "I want this church to be my home, and I want you Pastors to know me, care for me, and help me."

A church worth attending is worth joining, and if worth joining, it's worth pouring your life out for.

If you aren't a Christian, become a member of Christ. You can be churched and not be in Christ.

Repent of your sin, confess your need for Him, believe that He died for you, rose again — so that you could escape the wrath of God and live with him forever. Just believe.

2) Join a Group

We have community groups all over the area and all throughout the week. Join one. CG's are the main avenue we are providing so that everything I just talked about can happen in your life.

And hear me, we might not have a group that works with schedule or geography. We get that. But that doesn't excuse you from having community in your life. Get it. GT class?

3) Pray for it.

Pray for gospel friends — be this kind of friend. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you. Pursue this kind of friendship & community.

Don't give up on it. If it takes 2 years, 5 years to get there — take the 2 years, take the 5 years.

Let's be a community growing in the gospel together, making much of Jesus together. And the world will see our love for one another and know that we are his disciples (John 13)

CHRIST BE PRAISED.

More in Vision Series (2012)

September 30, 2012

Be On Mission

September 16, 2012

Get Trained

September 9, 2012

Worship Jesus