Take the Next Step - Facebook Live
Here's the notes from last Tuesday's facebook live recap of my teaching on Take the Next Step. You can watch the recording on Facebook - @cornerstoneclyde.
We're going to discuss last Sunday's teaching. It was called Take the Next Step. We discussed the next steps in our journey to spiritual maturity.
THREE STEPS TO MATURITY
God's goal for us is this: we will be conformed to the character of Christ - his love, his service to others, his wisdom and surrender to the Father.
Last Sunday, we traced the journey to maturity in Colossians 1:28. The second half reads like this: "... present everyone fully mature in Christ."
In those few words, we see a road map for the journey to spiritual maturity:
We reach maturity IN CHRIST. When we receive Jesus as God and Savior, he comes to live in us. All that he is and all that he has done now becomes available to us as a spiritual resource. For example: He is the crucified Christ, so he is the resource for victory over sin in our lives.
We reach maturity IN COMMUNITY. Two things happen in community with other Christians. First, we receive the support we need to stay on track. Second, the road to maturity is relational - it's learning to love others. We can only grow spiritually when we grow relationally. It's not a solo project.
We reach maturity IN CHARACTER. The word mature has to do with what's inside of us: what we love and worship; what directs us and motivates us. Jesus wants to change our hearts before he changes our habits.
MATURITY IN COMMUNITY
In the rest of our time together, I'm going to discuss the community aspect of spiritual growth. We grow like Christ together.
This probably sounds like great news for people who have a ton of extra time and an extroverted personality. What could be better? Living like Christ is hanging out with my friends :)
But community is a real challenge for busy people and even more of a struggle for the introverts.
Let me give you some community theory and then we can talk about some practical ideas for investing in community - even if you're busy or introverted.
The Letter to the Ephesians presents a "communal vision" of Christianity. It's not addressed to individuals but to the church as a whole.
In Ephesians 2, Paul describes the church in four metaphors - all communal metaphors:
One new humanity in Christ - 2:15
Fellow citizens with God's people - 2:19
The household of God - 2:20
A temple building for the Spirit - 2:21-22
The community of the church is a living illustration of the reconciliation Christ obtained on the cross.
In Ephesians 4-5, Paul explains how the Christian community is to function. He uses a Greek word that we translate "one another."
Bearing with one another - 4:2
Be kind and compassionate to one another - 4:32
Forgiving one another - 4:32
Speaking to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs - 5:19
Submit to one another - 5:21
The "one another" phrase is used 48 times in the NT to teach us how to relate to each other in the community of the church. Eleven times, we're told to "love one another." Gene Getz wrote a great book about the one anothers - Building Up One Another - where he organizes them into twelve basics of community life.
Christ made us a church because community is the best venue for developing the character of Christ: loving, serving, forgiving, encouraging, and so on.
Now, let's talk about some practical ways to enjoy community.
Practical Ways to Enjoy Community
First a word to the extroverts: your biggest challenge is to grow deeper in relationship with a few trusted friends. You might be spread a mile wide, but your relationships are only an inch deep.
In fact, you might be using your sparkling personality and your multitude of friends to hide from deeper, more transparent, more accountable relationships.
Now, all you busy or introverted folks. I've got three insights:
If you make a commitment to find community, you will find it. You might not know how it's going to work, but you want it to happen. Making that commitment is a big hurdle for some of us.
Then, remember this: one size does not fit all. Community happens in a million different ways. For some, one on one connections work best. For others, a small group of 6 or 8 people is best with lots of conversation and prayer time. Then there are people who find their connection on a ministry team, serving together. Find the kind of community that works for you. Know yourself and don't feel pressure to be in something that doesn't help.
My third insight is this: don't overlook your family. God puts husbands and wives together for spiritual support and encouragement.
Here's the thing: whatever your personality, whatever your schedule, if you want to grow spiritually mature, you can only do it in relationships with others.
What to Do in Community
Talk honestly together.
Do a project together.
Give and receive wisdom, support, encouragement together.
Be accountable together.
Confess sins together - revealing is the first step to healing.
Go places together.