Jesus Church
Called To Community (Part 4 – Grace and Fellowship)
February 6, 2022

Called To Community (Part 4 – Grace and Fellowship)

February 6, 2022

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Catch up on our series HERE

 

Called to Community

(Part 4)

Welcome to Jesus Church here and online

We are one month into our series on community

  • We believe that healthy, engaged community is God’s intention
    • That God himself from beginning shows that He is a community
    • Jesus built a community around him – through relationship
    • And the early church was a healthy/relational community
  • Last week we talked about the glue that holds community together
    • Which is HONOR… we must be a culture that honors each other
    • And that’d difficult because we live in a culture of contempt
  • Honor is recognizing and acknowledging the value of others
    • Also talked about glory… which is the value we are given by God
    • Regardless of if others recognize it or not
    • So Honor is just embracing the glory of those in our community

Jn 17:22 (NIV)

I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one.

So glory… or value that the Father gave the son has been give to us

  • In that he says “that we may be one as they are one”
    • That’s community… and it happens through honoring 1 another
    • And is the glue of a healthy community
  • But we live in a culture of contempt
    • Contempt is where you look down on others as less than
    • And the ugliness of contempt is that we unify around it
    • And create culture counter to God’s will through that contempt
  • But when we honor one another… we see that we open ourselves up
    • To the blessings of everything God has put into that person
    • To be shared as a gift to everyone else
    • But to receive that… we must honor them
      • And that’s where we see a community thrive
      • And ministry take place… out of an honoring community

And in that community… unity is found in what we are gathered around

  • We use cult of cross-fit as a good example because it’s a community
    • But what we gather around isn’t a idea… concept… event
    • We gather around a person who we believe is alive & real
    • And he is at the center of everything we do
  • We gather around our living Lord and Savior in the center
    • And we are all looking towards him in the center
    • And believe that he is looking back – Guiding us
  • Which makes the church a literal a living thing… 100’s of connections
    • All of us connected through Jesus and many to each other as well

Tag: Open to Act 2 – Luke’s narrative of community

[Pray]

Many know I use to work in sales

But while I was still in school – I also sold diamonds

  • We would buy diamonds from New York
    • And sell them here on the west coast
  • When you sell diamonds… you get to know the inside of a diamond
    • And the beauty is how many ways the light is refracted thru it
    • Same light – but endless ways it is reflected

Thought on scripture

The scriptures are like a diamond. As you turn the diamond you see an endless number facets that reveal the same truth. What is reflected in the diamond is the same, but how you see it will change with every turn. The scriptures are the same way. You can read something 10 times and each time reveal something different depending on where you are at in life at that moment.

Acts 2:42-45 (This is in response to sermon Peter gives)

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

So out of this teaching: 4 habits adopted by the church

Devoted to teaching / Breaking of bread / Worship / Fellowship

  • Through those habits we see what?
    • Signs & wonders – Evidence of the Spirit
    • Unity (everything in common)
    • The community growing more healthy
  • This is what happens when you devote yourself to Jesus
    • You see the church be everything Jesus calls it to be
    • From seeing salvations… to freedom… to power
  • Followers of Jesus literally adopt a whole new set of habits to live by
    • And that’s part of what it means to follow Jesus
    • To adopt a new set of habits/routines/mindset
    • And as a church we have to grow in that same way

And I want to focus in on one habit that stands out to me… life changing

  • Devoted to teachings… so habit of learning and thinking
    • How do you learn to live day to day life as a disciple of Jesus
  • Breaking of bread… gathering to eat/eating in homes/communion
    • These are connected because disciples would come to a home
    • As a part of fellowship and dinner – Remembrance of Jesus
    • Committed to (big or small groups) being together – Intentional
  • Prayer… Worship – Our response to God’s revelation to us in Jesus
    • This we talked about last week a bit
    • Our worship gives honor to God for His glory
  • Fellowship… which is one of those Christian Code words
    • Only time we use the word fellowship is in church circles
    • When was last time you called someone a “Fellow”

Want to really focus on that word Fellowship

B/C fellowship means to a lot more than just hanging out together

  • And hanging out is GREAT… but that’s not the concept of fellowship
    • Fellowship in Greek is – Koinonia
    • Which is much more than just hanging out

Acts 2:44

All the believers were together and had everything in common (Koinonia).

  • Koinonia as Acts describes is a bunch of things (verse 44)
    • Gave their time to one another (gather together)
    • Gave their individualism to one another (Everything in common)
    • Gave their possession to one another (sold their stuff)
    • Gave their food to one another
  • So Luke is saying this was a priority & commitment – Regular practice
    • And Luke points out that everything is about: Sharing
    • My life… my time… my stuff

Again a few stories later… Luke gives another description of church life

Act 4:32 (ESV)

Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul…

  • This is over 3000 people… that’s pretty amazing to be able to say
    • Because this is 3000+ people from all over Mediterranean
    • In town for a festival: Different cultures… languages… classes
    • And a ton of these people encounter Jesus – Never leave
  • Couple months go by and they are forming this unified community
    • And this is a KEY PART of what Koinonia is
    • Its realizing we are all connected in a unique & important way

… and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.

  • There’s that word again… guess what it is in Greek: Koinonia
    • Everything was subject to this deep unifying value as community
    • That we are all connected “IN JESUS”
    • And it changes everything about how they think/see the world

Acts 4:33

And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great grace was upon them all.

And some would use this to promote socialism…

  • That’s not what this is talking about at all
    • If you look how this played out – People who decided to sell stuff
    • They would bring it to the church… disciples would distribute
    • Do don’t worry about someone asking for ur car keys after service
  • There was an awareness of needs in family – Something I don’t need
    • So they would sell that and the church would help those people
    • And the community would grow in faith because of it
  • Its not sharing like my house… everything subject to Koinonia
    • My son has always loved to take what’s mine (even as a baby)
      • I had dummy phones for him to play with… nope
      • Dummy remotes to play with… nope
    • Even now he loves to take things from me
      • Spot on couch/fav food/last drink
    • That’s not what this is talking about… People just show up
      • I’m gonna crash on your couch because whats yours is mine
      • Or someone is gonna take your care and leave you stuck

And Luke is sharing this with us… so he thinks its important – WHY

Luke 1:1-4 (ESV)

Inasmuch as many have undertaken to compile a narrative of the things that have been accomplished among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the world have delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having followed all things closely for some time past, to write an orderly account for you, most excellent Theophilus, that you may have certainty concerning the things you have been taught.

  • Because there was a power in this mindset of community
    • That was inspiring them to do things people don’t normally do
    • It wasn’t so much about the stuff being given out
    • It was the transformation in the mindset of those following Jesus
  • What was that power that changed everything

Acts 4:33

And with great power the apostles were giving their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and GREAT GRACE was upon them.

How do you know “that” grace was on them… that’s what follows

  • This is important pairing of ideas… Koinonia and Grace
    • Grace in the Greek is Charis
    • Charis – Defined around this idea of a “GIFT”
    • And GRACE is at the core of the GOSPEL
  • What is God’s response to us who’ve been given this amazing world
    • But we know we have ruined it and ruined each other
    • What is God’s response to us who continually reject him
  • His response (key word in new testament) is grace
    • He doesn’t give us what we deserve… but what we don’t deserve
    • Which is the concept of a gift
    • And that’s the base understanding of grace in the New Testament

But when Luke uses GRACE > it goes into a little more detail

  • When it says: There was great grace on them… not forgiven by Jesus
    • The way he uses it– “Only way I can describe this generosity”
    • The only thing that could describe why… is Charis (grace)
  • So Luke uses grace not just as something that happened for us
    • But what happens when you accept that gift… it changes you
    • And it creates all these habits of the early church
  • So grace WASN’T just something done for us… but a power in us
    • Meant to change our lives – Motivate us to live like Jesus

TAG: So GRACE is given to us… it motivates us to give to others and it…

 

Becomes the act of giving itself – Generous with my life

Luke says: Only way to explain this… God’s grace was messing with them

  • Gift given > empowers me to give grace > give of my life to others
    • So the church goes on and Luke continues the narrative
    • And the church is exploding… growing… expanding
    • Paul starts all of these churches around the Mediterranean Sea
  • But in Jerusalem… there’s this huge famine that hits the church hard
    • Paul decides to go to all his churches for a fund raiser
    • As an act of Koinonia – demonstrate their unity through giving

2 Cor 8:1-4 (Paul telling a story about Grace & Koinonia)

And now, brothers and sisters, we want you to know about the GRACE (Charis) of God that has been given to the Macedonian churches…

  • Imagine I was gonna tell you a story of grace in this church
    • What type of story would you expect
    • Probably one of hearing the gospel and accepting Jesus right?
    • But that’s not the story Paul tells

…In the midst of very severe persecution, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty well up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us to the privilege of sharing (koinonia) in this service to the Lord’s people. (Church in Jerusalem)

  • So now not just Luke… but Paul as well uses this unique word
    • What happened to all these disciples of Jesus
    • Grace happened to them… and it caused Koinonia

2 Cor. 8:7

But since you excel in everything – in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in compete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you… see that you also excel in THIS grace (Charis)

  • So being a disciple of Jesus and accepting his gift to me
    • Its not just some legal transaction and I’m off to do my thing
    • No… it starts to change you
    • If you join a community of faith making Jesus the center
      • Koinonia will ALWAYS follow
  • Because when we become Christians – Not just “don’t go to hell”
    • No… now God lives with and in you – Bound to us through Jesus
    • And the Holy Spirit lives in you… Spirit of God is giving by nature
  • Paul says you were given the gift of grace
    • You were given power to change your self and your mind
    • And SEE that you grow in THIS GRACE as well
    • Because this is now who you are

2 Cor 8:9

For you know the grace (Charis) of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.

And as the community of Jesus – this is who we are

We are called to be generous in the grace Jesus has given us

  • And if we refuse that… refusing the Spirit of God living in us
    • So I think there are 3 implications in understanding this
    • As the community and disciples of God
    • Within the community of a church body

1 – Being a part of a church means commit to be a part of the church

  • And if you need to heal from a past experience at a church
    • Maybe just became a Christian
    • That is awesome – Just come and be a part
    • We are totally ok with that
  • But what we aren’t ok with… That to be the rest of your life
    • Not for us… but its not good for you
    • Because you can grow in a lot of areas
    • But you won’t grow in the Grace that Paul & Luke talk about
  • There will be .][]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]]][ and undeveloped
    • If you do not become a person who gives
    • That means relationships… time… effort… finances
    • We are called to (Paul says) grow in this grace too

2 – Think of language in both stories – Its all about giving away

  • But in both stories they give… but are given something first
    • Both stories they are given a grace
    • And that empowers them to do something
  • And we all know that there are a million things we can give to
    • Paul tells us that a grace (gift) was given to them
    • And that brought them to be compelled to give
  • So maybe you just need to pray about God giving you that grace
    • To give of yourself… your time… your resources… your knowledge
    • Because we need to grow in that grace too
    • And if we don’t – we will never grow into who God calls us to be
      • So ask God to give you a grace for something specific
      • Kids ministry (give me a grace) Foster care (give me a grace)

3 – Emphasis is that these are average normal people

  • When grace happens: Ordinary people capable of extraordinary stuff
    • Because its not what you are capable of anymore
    • It’s the grace gifted to you that is empowered to do that
    • To help there… invest in that relationship… engage that group
  • And what does that mean to you?

 

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