The Circulating Effect of Community

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.

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One thought on “The Circulating Effect of Community

  1. Jon G says:

    Very interesting and, I believe, on target analogy drawn by JI Packer. Fellowship amongst brothers and sisters in Christ is so dear to me!

    Phillipians 1:3-11 (NKJV)

    I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.

    It is right for me to feel this way about all of you, since I have you in my heart; for whether I am in chains or defending and confirming the gospel, all of you share in God’s grace with me. God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus.

    And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

    “The more I experience the gospel, the more there develops within me a yearning affection for my fellow Christians who are also participating in the glories of the gospel. This affection for them comes loaded with the confidence in their continued spiritual growth and ultimate glorification, and it becomes my pleasure to express to them this loving confidence regarding the ongoing work of God in their lives.

    Additionally, with the gospel proving itself to be such a boon in my own life, I realize that the greatest gift I can give to my fellow Christians is the gospel itself. Indeed, I love my fellow Christians not simply because of the gospel, but I love them best when I am loving them with the gospel! And I do this not merely by speaking gospel words to them, but also by living before them and generously relating to them in a gospel manner. Imparting my life to them in this way, I thereby contribute to their experience of the power, the Spirit, and the full assurance of the gospel.

    By preaching the gospel to myself each day, I nurture the bond that unites me with my brothers and sisters for whom Christ died, and I also keep myself well-versed in the raw materials with which I may actively love them in Christ.” – Milton Vincent, A Gospel Primer for Christians

    Blessings,
    Jon

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