Jesus left us here after the ascension so that we would become one and so that THE WORLD MAY KNOW that Jesus was of God and that God loves everyone. (John 17)
Romans 12:4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function, 5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
What is the prerequisite to become a member of this body or community?
There is only one! Faith in Jesus’ Gospel. The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This faith compels us to obedience and allows us to BELONG to each other.
Belong = I fit AND I’m possessed by/the property of.
Over the next three weeks, we will be talking about the 9 core practices of Biblical Community. We get these truths from all the “one another” passages.
Today, we tackle three practices are all about affirming one another
1. In Community, We Affirm one another’s Strengths, Abilities, and Gifts!
Romans 12: 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.
Be much more concerned to praise, affirm, honor, and celebrate others than you are to receive the same. Christians should be people who are quick to praise and celebrate what others have done, who love to praise, appreciate and make supportive statements.
We deliberately identify the following in others:
- Where they are growing and making progress. (Do you see them growing in their ability to handle problems, difficulties, and criticism? Do you see them growing in peace, joy, self-control? Affirm and speak to them about it.)
- What talents and gifts they have that benefit others. (Do you see them ministering in ways that benefit others spiritually? If you see a pattern to how they do it, is that a gift or a talent they should be cultivating? Affirm and speak to them about it.)
- Which sacrifices they are making to do the right thing, even though others may not be aware of it. ( Are they perhaps making great sacrifices to honor God? Notice the ongoing sacrifices and affirm their obedience.)
1 Corinthians 13:6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Think about it from the reverse perspective: What would happen to your depression, anger, stress, anxiety, if you lived in a healthy community and were affirmed!
2. In Community We, Affirm one another’s Equal Importance in Christ
Romans 15:7 – “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you”
When we are gospel-changed we can accept one another like Jesus accepted us. We are all so different. There are so many races, backgrounds… Some of us are “rich”, “poor”, “middle class” There are many things that the world uses to divide and separate us.
Galations 3:29 For in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God through faith. For as many [of you] as were baptized into Christ [into a spiritual union and communion with Christ, have put on (clothed yourselves with) Christ. There is [now no distinction] neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s offspring and [spiritual] heirs according to promise.
To Accept someone equates to becoming vulnerable (to allow in). To open up… If we are always “Alright or OK” when someone asks us, or we ask them, we will never grant them access to our heart… We keep them at arms length. Keeping someone at arms lengths KILLS COMMUNITY and diminishes opportunities to bless or be blessed!!!
1 Peter 5:5 “Clothe yourselves with humility toward one another”
Pride is the exact opposite of humility and is another barrier to building community. In fact, it kills community and keeps you from connecting with others.. Pride puts us above one another. We we are prideful we overestimate our status, title, merit, abilities, race, etc… Pride causes us to always try to one-up each other… We should not be in competition with each other.
Humility puts others above you. The term “Clothe” in 1 Peter 5:5 comes from the Greek word “egkomboomai” which means to wear a servant garb that identifies you as being a servant. In biblical times this was the white scarf or apron of servants, which was fastened to the belt of the vest and distinguished servants from freemen. Therefore, 1 Pet 5:5 (“gird yourselves with humility as your servile garb”) encourages Christians to show their subjection one to another by putting on humility. Are we doing this?or are we FREEMEN?
Right before his crucifixion, Jesus removed his garments and put on a servant’s towel and washed His disciples feet. Peter said no! Jesus answered him, Unless I wash you, you have no part with in Me [you have no share in companionship with Me].
John 13:’34“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
We can only really have community if we clothe ourselves with humility and love each other. This can only be fulfilled as we yield to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
3. In Community We, Affirm one another through Visible Affection!
Communicate love and affection in a visible way.
Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. (in Christian Love) Affectionately greet one another.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 And may the Lord make your love for one another and for all people grow and overflow, just as our love for you overflows.
James 1:19 Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters: You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. 20 Human anger does not produce the righteousness God desires.
LISTENING is one of the best ways to visibly show your affirmation. Hearing vs Listening
1) Since you think about four times faster than a person usually talks, do you use this time to think about other things while you’re keeping track of the conversation?
2) Do you listen primarily for facts rather than ideas when someone is speaking?
3) Do you avoid listening to things you feel will be too difficult to understand?
4) Can you tell from a person’s appearance and delivery that there won’t be anything worthwhile said?
5) When someone is talking to you do you appear to be paying attention when you’re not?
6) Do certain words and phrases prejudice you so you cannot listen objectively?
7) When listening are you distracted by outside sights and sounds?