the church


Home is the ultimate small group for growth and mission in this world.  Think about it.  Home life provides a context of discipleship unlike any other where parents serve as primary pastors to their children.  Mark Driscoll writes,

Because parents love their children the deepest, know them the best, and are with them the most, they are best suited to be a child’s primary pastor who gospels them, teaches them, loves them, prays for and with them, and reads Scripture to them.

I would only add that the home ought to be a place where parents model a missional life to their children.  But let’s be careful not to go too far with this idea of home as a small group.  Though it’s true that parents are the primary teachers and shepherds for their children, it doesn’t mean that the Church is secondary and unneeded.  On the contrary, our temporary, earthly family is part of a bigger, eternal church family that reinforces and supplements the biblical instruction we ought to be giving in the home.  Our home small group is not the church.  It is part of the church, indeed, part of the body that grows and adds members through it’s common mission.

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Could it be that one of God’s purposes in this recession is to reveal whether we are living in true community with one another as Christians?

In Acts 4:32-33, the early church is described as having “one heart and one soul” and God’s “grace was upon them all.”  They were truly a gospel-centered community.  But the evidence of their community is shown in the next verse.  Verse 34 says,

There was not a needy person among them …

Wow.  According to this verse, one way to guage whether we’re living in true community is if anyone is needy in our body.  Jesus said that all people will know that you are my disciples if you love one another.  Loving one another includes sharing our money with those who are needy, perhaps those who have just lost their job.  Contrary to Cain’s response in Gen. 4, we are our brother’s keeper.  We all are connected to one another.  So, we of all people ought to hold onto our money and resources with an open hand and give to those who need it more than we do.

John Piper sums up the challenge of this recession with a word to the church:

[In these days ahead] God will test to see if we are a church or a club. 

  • Read Piper’s sermon, “What is the Recession for?”

Ephesians 5:29 says, “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”

  • How does Christ nourish and cherish his church?
  • How should we then nourish and cherish our wives?

I tried to answer those questions here … knowing I have a long way to go in loving my wife this way.

Jonathan Dodson:

Many people in America approach “church” as a community of convenience, as a product that exists to service their spiritual needs, on their terms, in their time. The Bible, however, holds out a very different concept of church, a community of grace, an imperfect people who forbear, forgive, and love one another. The community of convenience stands in the way of a community of grace. 

Last week I preached on Our LIFE Together at LBC.  It was Part 3 of a series on the mission of our church.  My particular message was aimed at how we can grow in our relationships with believers.  I spent a little time in John 13:34-35 to show how this passage is the foundation for all the other “one another” passages in the Bible.  From there I challenged our people to be involved in a LIFE class to practically do life together so others may live.

(LISTEN or WATCH here)

My friend, Jonathan, writes a helpful article on the church as a gospel community.

My friend, Jonathan Dodson, always encourages me in his quest for greater community in the church.  He planted a church in Austin, Texas and has written several published articles for Boundless and Acts 29.  Take a look at his post on community and give your two cents.  He’d love your input.

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