Have you ever known anyone who struggled with proper blood circulation? Some of the symptoms include numbness of the hands, feet and fingers or painful leg cramps. Sometimes even the color of the skin is affected, turning a bluish or even black color. Poor blood circulation is usually a result of lifestyle choices that we make (our diet; exercise routine), that effect the function of our hearts. J.I. Packer draws a comparison between the human body’s need for circulation and the body of Christ, and her need for community. He writes: “…one of the reasons why great sections of the modern church are so often sluggish and feeble, compared with our counterparts of one or two centuries ago, is that the secret of fellowship has been lost…A body in which the blood does not circulate properly is always below par, and fellowship corresponds to the circulation of the blood in the body of Christ. We gain strength through fellowship and we lost strength without it.”
This Sunday we will be continuing our three part sermon series on the church,The Body and Bride. This past Sunday we considered the foundation of the church, namely the gospel and all of its implications for who the church is. The church is made up of those who have been brought from death to life, redeemed from slavery to sin and purchased with the righteousness of Christ. But, what is the outcome of living out the gospel in this corporate way? What ought to be produced by this pool of grace and mercy, called the church? Billy Newhouse seeks to answer these questions this week as he considers Strengthened through Community from Ephesians 4:1-16.
Are there any symptoms of a lack of spiritual circulation in your life? Are you utilizing the opportunities for fellowship and community that are available to you through the church? How involved are you in your Care group? Is it a priority or an optional activity each week? Are you building meaningful relationships, or seeking to hide behind superficial conversation and quick exits after the last “amen” is said? British theologian Alister McGrath summarizes the importance of community well when he writes: “The Christian is not meant to be, nor called to be, a radical and solitary romantic, wandering in isolated loneliness through the world; rather, the Christian is called to be a member of a community.” That community is the local church. I hope that you will join us this Sunday as well continue to trust God in building a gospel community at Redeemer.