Knit Together- The Blessing of Community

THANKSgiving 

Knit Together-The Blessing of Community 

Sunday, November 21, 2021

 

Welcome: 

When you think of how a church is built-every brick, block, board, nail, window, door, light, outlets, heat vents, furnace, fans, pew, chair…every single part of building the structure of a church building and all the pieces within it work together to make the church this beautiful, functional, warm and inviting place to worship and gather right? It’s very complex when you really think about all that is holding this building together and functioning right now to allow us to do what we do in here as we gather. Wonderful! 

But none of that would matter if there were no people in this building. If it solely becomes an empty building the beauty will fade away because if it’s not enjoyed by someone for its intended purposes then the meaning and value are lost. If the building is not used to gather the hungry and seeking together in worship, in prayer and songs of praise; if not used to teach our little ones to know the love of Jesus and how to follow His voice; if not used to provide opportunities of service and care for one another and to serve the surrounding community, then the true beauty fades. 

What makes a church truly beautiful is so much more than pretty stain-glassed windows or rustic charm; it’s the life of the Body in motion within and through the church that is most beautiful. It is watching the Body serving in harmony, every person having a role, every person using their gifts to glorify God and love on others, every person fervent in the spirit, contributing to the needs of the saints. Now when this is happening, what a glorious sight to behold! In fact, there is nothing more beautiful to God than to see His Church alive in the Spirit, moving in rhythm with Him and one another-all parts engaged and contributing-understanding their position is crucial to the entire workings of the Body-the Church. It’s a knowing that we are fashioned together and we have a commitment to one another.

It’s a different love and bond than anything we experience in this world; for it is not of this world. It is of the Spirit, binding us to Christ and to one another. 

This is the blessing we give thanks for today! This is a gift we have and we praise God for how He has knit us together. 

Let’s pray: 

Let’s look today at teachings from the apostle Paul and God worked through him in many ways to ensure the early churches, and all churches yet today, operate in His truth and for His divine purposes. We must always look to the Word of God to find our way. His Word tells us we are bound together and we must function in harmony. We must genuinely love one another and honor others above ourselves. For this is the will of God and this is what brings us all to spiritual maturity. This is what advances His kingdom. 

Romans 12: 3-13 NASB                                                                       

  For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another. However, since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to use them properly: if prophecy, in proportion to one’s faith; if service, in the act of serving; or the one who teaches, in the act of teaching; or the one who exhorts, in the work of exhortation; the one who gives, with generosity; the one who is in leadership, with diligence; the one who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. .Love must be free of hypocrisy. Detest what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor, 11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. 

 

Look at the graphic of this church (in the slide), each piece represents one of us and all who God calls to be grafted into His Church. We can look at this as the Church as a whole-all Christians across the globe. We all have a purpose in furthering His kingdom-every one of us-in however He calls us. We all hold the Church together as we’re doing our part. We can also look at this as this church-the one we have all been called to. It’s not by happenstance you are here. God called you for this time, to this place, to use your unique giftings to strengthen and grow His church-this church. You are one of those pieces in this church. You matter and you are needed. 

Ever play Jenga?  The goal is to remove one piece at a time from the tower being built without it falling over. You have to be very careful and steady-handed, but eventually, the tower will fall right? It always falls, because the foundation becomes unsteady. While in the game we all laugh and scream with fun for whoever knocked over the tower, if we liken that to the church, it’s no laughing matter. 

The church will crumble and fall as people disengage, sit on the sidelines, or opt-out completely. Maybe you have thought it won’t matter if I’m there or not-no one will miss me.  The church still functions just fine whether I’m there or not. We need to understand though that’s not a contributor mindset that’s a consumer mindset. Believers are not consumers, we are contributors because we are part of the Body and know we all have a part. The truth is we miss the opportunities to be used by God to bless others. Those opportunities are only realized when we show up, engage and embrace how we all fit together. 

Here are three truths about who we are as Christians who live within a Body.

  • We all need the church and the church needs all of us. 
    • Our engagement matters no matter how big or small we feel our part is-we are all significant.
  • We are built to be connected to and live in the community. We are designed to contribute. Because we are part of a Body.

We are one body made up of many parts that function together in harmony. When in harmony-it’s wonderful beyond description. This is a gift from our heavenly Father who loves us. The blessing of being joined together is both the strength we have that is drawn from others and the great joy we share by caring for one another. There is nothing like it. Let’s be reminded of the great gift of the community today and hear how we uphold this gift.

  • One in Body (vs. 4-5)

1 Corinthians 12: 12-14 12 For just as the body is one and yet has many parts, and all the parts of the body, though they are many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free, and we were all made to drink of one Spirit. For the body is not one part, but many.

We are all joined together by one Spirit that binds us together in peace. And this is by God’s ordaining and good pleasure. 

I want to share a relationship between two spiritual brothers that we can model in terms of understanding this bond we have to one another, to the church. It is the relationship between David (who would become King David) and Jonathan, who was King Saul’s son-the predecessor to David. 

From the very moment they met, after David killed Goliath and was brought before King Saul to be praised and honored, Jonathan and David were connected with an unbreakable bond.                                    

1 Samuel 18:1 After David had finished talking with Saul, Jonathan became one in spirit with David, and he loved him as himself.    

This was certainly ordained by God to bring these two young men together-just as it is by God’s choosing to draw whomever He desires to this church; but it was also a choice to extend love for the other-a protective, caring, giving love. He loved David as he loved himself. They would endure much together. There would be great trials, heartache, sacrifices made and there would also be an incredible joy experienced as they honored one another throughout their lives. There would be victories realized, strength and courage found that would develop from this love and shared spirit. 

We experience these same blessings in the church when we realize we are one in spirit and choose to love others as we love ourselves.                                                 

  • Honor One Another (v. 10)             

Paul teaches in Romans that we are to honor one another.     

10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor,

We see a similar message shared to the church in Philippi.                                        

Philippians 2:3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,  

Jonathan and David both demonstrated honor for the other at different points in their lifetime. Jonathan knew that David had been anointed by God to be the next king after his father. Being Saul’s son, he should have been the next in line for king-but God said otherwise. Jonathan didn’t let his ego guide his heart. He was tuned to God’s will and saw the spirit of God upon David, and he honored him, as future king, but also a beloved friend. This is what we do when we love one another-we lift them up higher. We exalt them to a place of honor. We make commitments from our hearts to be there for one another. We celebrate as God reveals His gifts and purposes within our brothers and sisters and we make space for them to use their giftings.                                                                                                            

1 Samuel 18: 3-4 And Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. Jonathan took off the robe he was wearing and gave it to David, along with his tunic, and even his sword, his bow, and his belt.

This was a very bold statement Jonathan made for all to see. This involved great humility, spiritual maturity, and understanding of God’s will, as well as love for a brother who had been called by God to serve His kingdom. Jonathan modeled the way for others in the kingdom to follow His example of honoring David and honoring God. 

This is what we’re all called to do-notice who God is calling for His purposes (by listening to the Spirit), in unique ways and not only honor them, but rejoice with them. For when we do this, the Body as a whole is surely blessed!  And as we do this for one another, there is a wonderful joy that rises within us too, for we are then in the will of God and it’s our joined spirit rejoicing together for the fulfillment of His will!                                                                                                        

  • Extend Genuine Love (vs. 7-9, 13)

In whatever ways we are each gifted, we should be using them properly to strengthen the church-this church we are joined to; to keep it operating in rhythm, to send healing to an area that is wounded or sick, to be light in the darkness. 

Jonathan and David faced difficult and dark days. They endured great challenges. But knowing they had each other helped them endure and gave them a feeling of peace and comfort that far surpassed the hardship they encountered. So it is with the Body of Christ. The Church has been persecuted since the very beginning, but its strength is found in the faithful commitment of believers who make up the Body-who join together, who pray and stand upon the Rock believing the gates of hell will not prevail, who stand firm in their faith and march forward arm in the arm holding on to the hope of Glory we talked about last week! 

2 Corinthians 4: 8-10 is our truth as the Body: We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.

We don’t have to look back very far to see how this has been the case within this part of the Body, and yet praise God, thanks be to the community He has placed us in, we are not crushed, we are not abandoned, we are not destroyed. We endure, we overcome and we remain in hope. 

Because this is what we are built for. 

Proverbs 17:17

17 A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.

This is the power of the Church.  

With the Holy Spirit dwelling in us, every one of us is equipped to endure and overcome adversity. We have the victory of Christ in us! With the blessing and strength of the Body (our community), we are held up, shown the way, and reminded we are not in the battle alone. 

 

Coming back to Jonathan and David- as you likely know the story, King Saul became incredibly jealous of David’s growing favor with God and the people of Israel and Saul wanted David dead. David knew it but Jonathan didn’t want to believe his father would kill David. David asked Jonathan a risky request to let David escape and hide out for a few days to see how Saul would respond-saying he had to go home to see his family for he had been staying at the palace in service to Saul. If Saul responded in support of David’s leaving for a bit, then all would be well, but if Saul became irate that David wasn’t there then they would know he had death on his mind and David should surely run and hide for good. Now, this meant Jonathan siding with David, over his own father, the king. David wasn’t sure if Jonathan would want to make that kind of deal or if he would uphold it. This is how Jonathan responded to David’s request: 

1 Samuel 20:13 13 If it pleases my father to do you harm, may the Lord do so to [me and more so, if I fail to inform you and send you away, so that you may go in safety. And may the Lord be with you as He has been with my father.

Jonathan remembered their covenant, tuned to the spirit that joined them together, and felt the love he had for his brother David and said I’ll do it. He even honored him again with a blessing, for the calling he knew full well was on David’s life. 

This is sacrificial love in action. This is seeing the bigger purpose of God’s will and understanding how we all fit together; how we need one another. David absolutely needed Jonathan’s support and help at that moment and Jonathan knew Israel needed David as their future leader.  

 

Romans 12: 9-10 NLT  Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other. 

 

I have seen all of this in motion as I reflect on this past year-just to look back in recent times. I see it in times of crisis and great adversity where our community rallies around the ones in need-using their giftings and what they have available to serve and care for one another. I see it with those in need humbly requesting that help and support knowing the Body is joined to them and strength is found in connecting. I have seen it in the great joy in preparing for events and gatherings we host to ensure those who attend are richly blessed in countless ways. I have seen it in the fellowship and laughter shared as people attend Sunday worship, small group studies, and prayer group. I have seen it in serving to bring the Word of God to us all every Sunday. I see it in generosity to give to God’s workers who take the Gospel around the country. I see it in phone calls made, cards sent, and hugs given to let others know they matter. 

 

There is nothing more beautiful and powerful than a Body in motion and all parts working in harmony-extending genuine love and affection. 

 

ConclusionPrecious is the gift of being knit together as the Body of Believers through the Spirit. In this union there is abiding, protective, and understanding love, strength multiplied, and hope unending. Let us give thanks for the community and let us care for the community we are joined to all the more-knowing every role we play matters. 

 

If you are newer here-know you have a place in this Body, in this community. You matter. Your presence matters and your gifts are needed and welcomed. You are here on purpose, by God’s calling and we thank God for you! 

 Let’s pray:                              

 

Offering: 

 

Announcements: Wed night 6:30 pm please join us if you can! Missionaries coming next Sunday-please come and welcome them. This is our mission focus for November so let us pray and see how God wants us to bless and support them. Advent also begins. 

Christmas Eve will be at 4 pm. 

 

Final Blessing: 

Colossians 3:15 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful.

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