We have the joy of experiencing Christian community. We share life together under the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Praise God, He never intended for any of us to live the Christian life alone!
Reading through Scriptures, we will hear many exhortations that bring our attention to the way we should relate to one another. These are our Lord’s expectations. In His love, He graciously provides a community where we have the opportunity to “motivate one another to acts of love and good works” (as expressed in NLT) in our Christian walk.
We are to:
Love one another (John 13:34)
Stir up one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24,25)
Encourage one another and build one another up (1 Thessalonians 5:11)
Admonish one another in all wisdom (Colossians 3:16)
Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another (Ephesians 4:32)
Confess to each other and pray for one another (James 5:16)
Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
This is just a short list of the many “one another” exhortations, but they adequately convey that we need the community of faith to grow up in Christ. When we come to faith in Christ, we find ourselves in community.
We recognize fellow believers as “brothers and sisters in Christ”. We’re bonded to one another in Christ – as fellow recipients of His grace. And in the Lord’s marvelous design, the Christian community is the place where we continue to grow into the “fullness of Christ”. We need one another to help us grow (Eph 4:11-16).
The practice of Christian community provides us the opportunity to live out the gospel. It strengthens us to live the life to which we are called. We complement one another as we serve together. Living as a community, we learn to exercise forgiveness when we have been offended. We also learn to receive admonishment. We need each other and we belong to each other.
Two recent experiences provide for me pictures of living as a grace community. The first was the occasion of my father-in-law’s 90th birthday celebration. Many brothers and sisters from different churches came to celebrate with him. This brought home the reality that a celebration will only be meaningful when we have dear ones with whom we share a common life celebrating with us. It will be meaningless if we celebrate alone.
The other experience relate to a dear couple who visited YCKC about three months ago. Teng was in Singapore for medical treatment. He and his wife sought us out, as they wanted to worship the Lord with believers in a local church here. In the short period of knowing them, we had the privilege of walking alongside and praying with them, as they waited upon the Lord. We spent precious time together, as brothers and sisters in Christ. We belong to the Lord’s grace community. We just received news that Brother Teng has been called home to glory. This brief visit and friendship brought to my attention how our bond in Christ draws us together for mutual encouragement, even though we may not have known each other for long.
We are a community that has experienced God’s grace. As a people redeemed by grace, we ought to be a community where God’s love can be experienced.
By David L.T. Yap, Advisory Pastor/Elder (YCKC Bulletin 18 May 2014)