SERIES: Balancing Act
Sunday, January 14, 2018
- Many people are choosing to go solo vs. go to church
- Barna Report = 10,000,000 self-proclaimed, “born again” Christians have left the church over the past few years
- “How do you raise a Christian without going to church? My wife and I are Christian and we have a ten-month old daughter. I want her to have Christian beliefs and thoughts but I hate organized religion. I pray on my own. I thank God when good things happen and I pray over difficult things. I got by background from church obviously, but I hate it, always have. I have always seen going to church as a waste of my day. I don’t need to sing and all that stuff to believe in Jesus. If it was just the sermon I could deal. We’ll take our daughter to church like twice a month. I work six days a week and If I go to church the day is shot. I can’t work in the yard or just relax on my only day off. So, my question is, ‘Can I give my child a good Christian background from home?’” – Yahoo Answers message board
The Bible best understood in community.
- While Paul is in Ephesus, a Colossian named Epaphras believes in Christ and takes it home – the Colossian church begins
- There is heresy, a false teaching about Jesus, going around in the church. Paul writes this letter to set things straight. In the letter he gives them instructions about living the Christian life – it is in the context of unity or community
- Be Real (vs. 9-11).
Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. – Colossians 3:9-11 (903)
- Genuine community requires authenticity
- Paul has just encouraged them (earlier in chapter) to “put to death” the stuff from their past (quite a list) – now he’s saying, “Don’t keep doing these things and try to fool each other.”
- One of the scariest things about community is our fear of authenticity – that people will get a peek behind the curtain that we’ve elaborately woven.
- “In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and He lives in all of us.”
- Be Patient (vs. 12-13).
Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others.
- This is vital, because it is in the context of community that we have to live out our faith in “real time.”
- Because we’re working this out in real time and because we won’t get it right all the time, Paul tells the church (tells us) to bear with each other and forgive.
- How can we forgive like that? As the Lord forgave you.
- Think of your worst moment. The absolute worst moment. That’s the moment Jesus gave His life for.
- Paul: That’s what makes forgiveness possible for us.
- As followers of Jesus, we need community because we need to live out our faith in real-time together.
- Our relationships with each other help reveal our level of discipleship.
- Be Encouraging (vs. 16-17).
Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.
- When we are together in community, we encourage each other and help each other to grow by teaching and counseling each other.
- We can teach each other by sharing what we have learned on the journey.
- We counsel (give good advice to) each other by challenging each other to move forward in our faith
- Iron sharpens iron (Proverbs 27:17) / Spur on (Hebrews 10:24)
- There are a lot of reasons that community can be a challenge, but I want to encourage you to keep trying – the risk is worth the reward
- “If you consider yourself a follower of Christ – you need to know this: The church is not here for you. You are here for the church, your community. And your community, the church, is here for the world. Jesus did not die to make you into a sanctified consumer. He died to bring you alive to God and to a desperately needy world.” – Bob Hyatt, Escape from Consumer Church