This Sunday at Community we'll continue unpacking how we believe the Gospel impacts and shapes the lives of Christians, both individually and corporately. I'm calling it "Community in 4D" - define, delight, depend, declare. The first week we defined the Gospel; last week we looked at what it means to delight in Christ; this week we examine how we depend on Christ.
I believe the idea of "depending" on Christ is most applicable as we examine relationships. Even in our church vision statement (to proclaim the Gospel to our hearts, our home, and the hopeless) we make reference to relationships. When we say "home" we mean two things ... our biological and spiritual families. Obviously we're to proclaim the Gospel to our biological family but we're also to proclaim it to one another here in the family of God / the church. Just because a person is a church member doesn't mean they no longer need to hear about the Gospel truths of repentance and faith. In fact, church members often need to hear it more aggressively due to the numbing effect of years of exposure to church and religious activity. Believers often disconnect the process of sanctification from the event of justification. Sure, we theologically believe that justification is by grace through faith, but we functionally believe that our works of obedience somehow merit or earn our sanctification (growth in Christ). We proclaim the Gospel in the church to one another by insuring that our sermons, curriculum, small group studies, and all other contexts are faithful to promote the glorious truth that salvation, from start to finish, is all of God and by His grace.
This grace emphasis obviously has profound implications concerning our relationships. As we "delight" ourselves in Christ by proclaiming the Gospel to our own hearts, we will each recognize our own sin and not seek to blame or accuse others or defend ourselves. Forgiveness, rather than condemnation, would characterize relationships. Our strength in relationships would not come from superior intellect or age or physical domination, but would come solely from our absolute dependence on Christ and His merit rather than our own.
With this in mind we will examine Paul's instruction to the church in Corinth found in 1 Corinthians 1:10-18. Please prayerfully read through this text prior to Sunday and come prepared for the Holy Spirit to perhaps challenge you in how you view relationships within your church family.