September 5, 2021
Love for the Day is Near
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Tim McVay brings an assessment of the current state of the "community of the kingdom."
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An assessment of the current state of the “community of the kingdom”
Where are we in history?
Romans 13:11-14 (NIV)
11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.
14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh.
Matthew 24:12 (NIV)
12 Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,
God is providing the prescribed external environment for us to think and act.
Pandemic: isolation has heightened our awareness that we need one another desperately.
Financial pressures drive home a similar point.
Social movements, unrest and governmental changes highlight the instability of the world outside of being united in Christ’s love.
The rise of the Anti-Christ system galvanizes our formation of meaningful community and cooperation.
Importance of Christian Community
Social Relationships and Health: A Flashpoint for Health Policy
Debra Umberson and Jennifer Karas Montez
“Social relationships – both quantity and quality – affect mental health, health behavior, physical health, and mortality risk.”
“While social relationships are the central source of emotional support for most people, social relationships can be extremely stressful (Walen and Lachman 2000).”
** Only the Church potentially provides the necessary ingredient of agape love to promote individual and community well-being. Essentially, Icannot be healthy unless WE are healthy.
Agape love: the necessary ingredient for Christian community.
Agape: term used in the New Testament and refers to a love not of emotions or feelings but of the will and of choice. This type of love can be defined as the steady intention of the will to another’s highest good. It is an ongoing benevolence – willing (-volence) what’s good or best (bene-) for another
God is the source of this kind of agape love: “We love, because He first loved us” (1 John 4:19).
To be more clear: …God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. (Romans 5:5)
** To reference last week’s truth: your life of abiding in Jesus will color and coat your relationships (the reverse is also true).
Jesus’ command to his disciples (community of the kingdom)
A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. (John 13:34 ESV)
One implication: love must include the one who is not like us. The stranger, the foreigner, the one who opposes, the one who we do not readily embrace through phileo, the one who objects – you can add your own particular version of “different” to the list – love of these is the hallmark of Christian community.
How do we apply this?
Loving one another (living in agape community) assumes:
Your life of abiding in the Vine (Christ’s presence in you) is ongoing.
Your allegiance: first to THE KING and His people.
Proximity to one another.
What you bring to the table – this gets real practical.
What do you need to do?
If you lead in any way: equipping ministries, administrative and leadership gifts, please pray for wisdom and “action steps” to be taken under the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Groups of leaders meeting specifically about this issue will be more effective than multiple individual efforts.
All followers of Jesus: pray and ask the Father who He would connect with you in a smaller/vital community expression and be patient for Him to arrange the relationships.
Romans 12:1-3 (NIV)
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,
2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
Tim McVay, Community