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Called to Community (Part 1)
January 16, 2022

Called to Community (Part 1)

January 16, 2022   /   Jesus Church

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Called to Community

Part 1

 

Welcome back: Great to see you here and online

Today we start our first series for the year

  • And last year we focused on understanding the Word of God
    • I want to start this year off talking about the community of God
    • We know God himself is a community

Gen. 1:26 (NKJV)

The God said, “Let US make mankind in OUR image, in OUR likeness…

  • So we believe that from the beginning God’s plan was community
    • God is community… desires community… creates community
    • So to be like God… is to be in community
  • Yet we live in a world today where people are starved for community
    • We can go days w/o interacting with people if we want
      • From garage > Starbucks drive thru > Cubical
      • To Chick-Fil-A drive thru > garage > to bed
      • And tomorrow rinse & repeat
    • And with the world we are all use to now
      • Even drive thru’s & cubicles are quickly becoming outdated
      • Someone can deliver my food/groceries to my front door
      • And I can work from my bedroom
    • And that is a dangerous place to be if you aren’t careful
  • 1st thing we think of is church attendance – Down 51% from 1950’s
    • Easy to just write that off to society… secularism… last days
    • But what isn’t accurate about that: It isn’t just the church
    • Harvard Study: Any community that requires commitment

And even though our world is more capable of connecting than ever

  • We find ourselves more isolated than ever… and it is affecting us
    • UK appointed a “Loniness Minister” a couple years back
    • Study showed 9 million brits (20%) identified as lonely

Prime Minister Theresa May

“For far too many, loneliness is the sad reality of life”

  • And the US is just as bad if not worse… 35% say cronically lonely
    • Only 8% say have had a convo w/ neighbor in last year
    • In 1984 average American had 3 confidants
    • Today 25% say they have ZERO

George Gallup – Largest statistic gathering company in the world

“Americans are the most lonely people in the world”

  • And loneliness brings a ton of health problems… studies have shown
    • Worse than smoking 15 cigarettes a day
    • Greater impact on life span than obesity
    • Tied to heart disease… dementia… anxiety/depression

Beyond personal… loneliness destroys society as whole

Loneliness will usually lead to tribalism (seen this over last 2 years)

  • What is that: Tribalism is sorta the evil brother to community
    • Community based on mutual love > Tribalism is mutual hate
    • Community based on what we are for > Tribalism is what against
    • Community love diversity > Tribalism is conform or be eliminated
  • If God desires for us to live in community
    • The enemy would want to steer us into a tribal mentality

Tag: So with that… Question: Does life of Jesus that speaks to this (pray)

Matt. 4:18-19 (NKJV)

And Jesus, walking by the Sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. Then He said to them, “Follow me and I will make you fishers of men”

  • That’s not a pun or cheesy line by Jesus
    • Actually “fishers of people” was 1st century saying
    • Meant a great teacher who captured mind/imagination of hearer
    • Jesus saying: I’ll make u a brilliant teacher of you generation
  • This is why they drop their livelihood and career to follow Jesus
    • And it happens again with James & John
    • Early in the story you quickly learn… to follow Jesus
    • Is to live in community… Jesus didn’t call 1 disciple… but disciples

Jesus continues calling people to his community – We see there’s a cost

Matt. 8:19-20 (NKJV)

Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, Teacher, I will follow You wherever you go. And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head”. (Terrible PR)

Matt. 8:21 (NKJV)

Then another of His disciples said to Him, Lord, let me first go and bury my father…

  • That’s not a literal saying right there.. what he’s saying is
    • Let me go back and wait for my father to die
    • So I can get my family inheritance… first ever FOMO
      • This is why Jesus tells him…

…But Jesus said to him, Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.

  • And I love that because the story doesn’t say what happens next
    • Instead this is an invitation for us to identify with this person
    • And ask where am I with this invitation of Jesus
    • Point… Some gave everything to join Jesus’ little community
      • But for others… it was too much

Matt. 9:9-13 (NKJV)

As Jesus passed on from there, He saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax office. And He said to him, “Follow Me.” (Matthew gets up right away) Now it happened, as Jesus sat at the table in the house, that behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. And when the Pharisees saw it, they said to His disciples, “Why does your Teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners”? When Jesus heart that, He said to them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: I desire mercy and not sacrifice. For I did not call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.

  • Love this because Matthew gives the makeup of Jesus’ community
    • There are some who are very mature in the ways of God’s law
    • And then you have tax collectors… Judas Iscariot
  • Apparently Jesus is more interested in level of commitment
    • Than he is in the level of maturity

Matt. 10:1-4 (NIV)

Jesus called his twelve disciples to Him, He gave THEM authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness. These are the names of the 12 disciples: First Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother, James and John his brother, Philip and Bartholomew, Thomas and Matthew the tax collector, James and Thaddaeus, Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

This is a very odd group of people across every cultural boundary

  • Let’s talk about 2 that we’re given extra details on (Matt & Simon)
    • Zealots were a right wing Jewish insurgency group –
      • Violent terrorist attacks on Roman soldiers/buildings
      • All with the goal of Israeli independence
    • Matthew is literally on the payroll of Rome
      • So use your imagination on what that was like
      • You think your family holiday’s are awkward
      • Think how things must have been over morning coffee
        • Good morning “Traitor”
        • Good morning “Murderer”
  • Be like trying to create this 3 year community to change the world
    • Get some of the young most influential people to live there
      • My 1st call is Ben Shapero
      • My 2nd call is AOC
    • Can you imagine what conversation around dinner would be
      • That seems crazy… this was way more crazy
      • Just 1 of many social dynamics they face in community

Matt. 20:20-27 (One more story)

Then the mother of Zebedee’s sons came to Jesus with her sons and, kneeling down, asked a favor of him. What is it you want? He asked. She said, Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.

  • What she is thinking is power… Jesus is gonna fight off Rome
    • They will get their kingdom back and Jesus will need commanders
    • So She is trying to lock in position for her family
    • Make one Vice President – Other Secretary of State

…You don’t know what you are asking, Jesus said to them. Can you drink the cup I am going to drink? (metaphor for suffering – Christian leadership is a suffering love) We can, they answered. Jesus said to them, You will indeed drink from my cup, but to sit at my right or left is not for me to grant. These places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father. Now when the 10 heard about this (so they snuck Jesus away) they were indignant with the two brothers. Jesus called them together and said, You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave.

  • Meaning to live in this new community under God’s rule
    • Is 2 live under a whole new set or relational dynamics than world
    • It’s to be ruled by love… not power
    • And the community of Jesus is where his people come to learn
      • How to be in community the way Jesus sees community

Three thoughts on how community looked to Jesus

1 – Jesus lived in community

  • Think on that… not a monk in the mountains with white beard alone
    • Jesus basically lived in a mobile housing community
    • And the call to follow Jesus was to join his community
    • So apparently we can follow Jesus alone

2 – Not everyone accepted the invitation

  • And there wasn’t guilt/shame from Jesus…
    • But notice those who were willing to follow him
      • Many different stages of maturity
      • From across socio-political spectrum
      • Got into regular conflict

3 – Main goal of Jesus community was to mold others to be like him

  • To be passionate about serving… loving… pursing God
    • That was community to Jesus

Might not be our thought when it comes to community

FIRST REASON – We mistake connectivity for community

  • You might think you are more connected than ever before (digital)
    • But with all the ways to connect… loneliness is on the rise
    • Study: Direct tie between social media and loneliness
      • We take more time thumbs upping photos
      • Than we do smiling at anothers face

Professor from MIT (Reclaiming Conversation: Connection v conversation)

Face to face conversation is the most human and humanizing thing we do. Fully present together its where we learn to listen. Its where we develop the capacity for empathy. Its where we experience the joy of being heard and being understood.

  • She argues we were made to keep connected with so many people
    • Many studies show through many years
    • 100-150 is max number of people we can have relationship with
    • Yet via technology we are connected to way more than that
      • So connectivity is way up… community is way down

SECOND REASON – We mistake chemistry for community

  • Sometimes you have an instant connection with someone like you
    • And maybe some of that is narcissism… like people like me
    • Common interests/life goals/personality – of course you gravitate
      • I’ve got a buddy I’m very close with – Lives in Portland
      • We have a ton of good life giving conversations
    • But he lives in Portland… so he’s not my community
      • He’s my friend
      • Don’t do life together… see each other maybe once a year
      • Not day in… day out – Grumpy… tired… busy life stuff
  • There are people who are in our community… might not be as similar
    • Can’t talk about how much we love the Seahawks
    • Can’t laugh at all of the same inside jokes
      • But we are here in community together
      • If you’re having a bad day and I see it on your face
      • I can say “hey lets grab coffee & talk”… that’s the difference
  • Point: Community can happen even without tons of chemistry
    • Can have chemistry w/ people we have little community with
    • So while they overlap (best case) they aren’t synonymous

TAG: So if community in Jesus isn’t connectivity or chemistry… what is it?

The Greek word is Koinonia

That can be translated: Community/Fellowship/Partnership/Sharing

  • English Translation: People of common interest in a specific area
    • Which means you really need more than just online
    • Community by definition is people you live near
    • But it’s this idea of “Common interest”
  • That’s why Cross-fit is a legitimate form of community (also cult)
    • Why a local school is a form of community
    • Why even like a dog park is… it’s a common interest in proximity
    • Its people you live near and have something in common with
      • Like they even have drifting communities (Fast and Furious)

For us in Jesus: What do we have in common that makes us community

  • For us it doesn’t need to be anything other than Jesus
    • It’s not political persuasion
    • It’s not our culture or ethnicity
    • It’s not where we fall in tax bracket
  • The one common denominator with every one of us here: Jesus
    • So community is a very simple idea… hard work but not complex
    • It’s people you live by AND follow Jesus with

And Community is right at the center of what Jesus is about in the world

  • Scholars even say community of Jesus / kingdom of God are same
    • Make a strong case: Two most important practices of Jesus
      • Silence and Solitude
      • Community
    • Because these are the 2 containers that hold everything else
      • Best time of breakthru/victory/revelation/encounter w Jesus
      • Are either when we are alone in quite
      • Or together in community (around table… at church… convo)
  • Reading the life of Jesus… easy to see that Jesus went back & forth
    • Silence & Solitude – Retreat to the quiet place
    • Community – Engage fully in community
  • But for many of us we actually don’t do either very well
    • Want silence… yet use it to scroll social media or think on things
      • So we end up not having silence at all – Just more noise
      • Which leaves us worse off than we started
      • But we are scared to go into the REAL silence and just listen
    • We want community… but on my terms and w/o vulnerability
      • Which will end up creating little value
      • And not be the life giving gift God created it to be
      • Again because we are scared of what it might mean
    • Many of us just live in a sorta Suto-Community
      • Come to church… have Christian friends… but hold back a lot

Reasons we struggle with all of this

First is Individualism

David Brooks

We live in a culture of hyper-individualism. There is always a tension between self and society, but over the past 60 years we have swung too far towards the self. The only way out is to rebalance, to build a culture that steers people into relation, community and commitment. The things we most deeply desire are underminded with our hyper-individualistic way.

  • Key word here is commitment… and that’s really the issue
    • To live in community takes commitment (deal breaker for many)
    • Because what if something better comes along… and it will
  • And we don’t like to be told how we should live… its our culture
    • So to say this is something I have to do b/c Jesus says so
    • That’s not something we like to hear
    • But to live under the Authority of God is to commit to community
  • Which means living in community: Can’t just do whatever/whenever
    • You have to give up some of that for love
    • Which is not easy in a world that is hyper individualistic

Second is Idealism

Dietrick Bonhoeffer (Killed fighting Nazi ideas coming into church)

The sooner we realize that walking in community because of Jesus isn’t easy, the better it is for the individual and community at large. Every human ideal that we bring into community must be thrown out and rejected. He who loves the dream of community more than the community itself becomes a destroyer of the latter. Even if his intentions are honest and sacrificial, the one who fashions an idealistic form of community demands that it be realized by God, others and by himself. He enters that community with his demands, sets up his own law and judges both God and the community accordingly.

  • And this destroys a kinds of community
    • Marriage I think is under the greatest attack
    • Greatest reason marriage fails is wildly unrealistic expectations
  • And many of us make the same mistake with larger communities
    • Especially in Jesus community… Already have high expectations
    • Way more than a community at the gym/PTA/HOA
  • Just like marriage the danger w/ idealism and community either…
    • People want to wait around for perfect and it never comes
    • They bounce from community/relationship/church
      • In search of the ideal which is a myth
      • Its so easy to destroy reality of what is in name of idealism

Third is Intimidation

  • At the root this is the main problem… its fear of rejection
    • And regardless of if you are introvert or extravert
    • Those have nothing to do with how relational someone is
    • Introverted doesn’t mean you hate people
      • Some of the most richly relational people are introverted
      • Some of the most lonely, superficial people are extraverts
  • But the fear is that in both Silence & Solitude as well as community
    • There’s a chance you’ll be seen for who you really are
    • And that is a vulnerability that we do everything to avoid
  • But we are at our best & our worst with those we love the most
    • If you were to put a camera on me 24/7 like facebook does
      • You would see my best times
      • You would see my worst times
    • And the sins you would see (this point in life of my mouth)
      • They would be directed mostly at my wife and kids
      • Those I love the most
      • Why… because these are safe people
    • And its not that this is even my worst self… its my real self
      • If you want example – Ask about when I’m losing at Catan
      • But in those moments of failure… It is my job to repent
      • Trusting that it will be accepted and forgiven
        • But there is that fear of rejection we all deal with

The most important parts of healthy Jesus community

Vulnerability & Accountability

  • Community cannot happen without communication
    • Community happens when we communicate with each other
    • There can be no vulnerability without risk
    • But there can no community without vulnerability
    • That’s dangerous because you might get hurt…
      • Rejection, Criticism, People want to just fix you
  • Also dangerous b/c you might be held to what you communicate
    • Sometimes I don’t want to say what God is showing me
      • Because then you can hold me accountable to that
      • And I want the ability to throw that out if its too hard
  • And we need both if we are going to make it in community
    • If all you have is a vulnerable place… totally safe… compassion
      • Then there is no change
    • If all we have is accountability… becomes a place to get beat up
      • And we never trust or go to those dark places
      • And again there is no change

Need both… Which is why the center point for a healthy Jesus community

  • It isn’t the stage – building – Event… it’s a table
    • It’s in community
    • Look through the New Testament
    • Countless verses assume this is how we live

 

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