Monday, February 23, 2009

saved into a community

When we are converted to Christ, we become members not only of Christ, but of his body the church. Our experience from Christ is not only in terms of our own relationship to God, but it comes as well, through our relationship with others. As Byard taught us yesterday, salvation while personal is not a private affair. But it is into relationships in Christ. Into a body, a supernatural family. And in that family we begin to experience Christ's care through and to us from others. So that hurts suffered in our natural families can begin to be healed from this family.

And this community is not made up of people we'd naturally hang out with. Or with those who agree with us in everything. God puts unlikely people together in the body, people we often are not comfortable with. The oneness we have is in Christ and by the Spirit, not over a common, club-like kind of existence and fellowship. One that is part of a new fellowship found in God through Christ by the Spirit.

I find this week after week in our church gathering. Yesterday I went largely out of duty, and found the testimony time (a different service) as well as the time in God's word in the class referred to, afterward, just what I needed. Christ was present with us, and was touching us through others and our time there.

To these few scattered thoughts, what might you like to add?


Crowm said...

Good morning Ted!

Restoration is indeed communal and individual. The idea of individual salvation making an impact on the community seems to be foreign in our culture. Most of us think in compartmentalized (is that a word?) ways. In other words, "My relationship with God is mine. Yours may be different. But mine is mine." Could it be that postmodernism has encouraged this attitude? I tend to think so.

I appreciate you saying, "And this community is not made up of people we'd naturally hang out with." That's what makes a healthy community - people not like me and you, coming together and creating true community. I heard someone say once, "Unity doesn't mean everyone will agree all the time." It still makes sense to me.

It's going to be a great day Bro!


Lanny said...

Amen to the very first line! and the rest, Absolutely! When I was a child, faith was inextricable from community, when I began to branch out into other traditions I was shocked at the isolation in the midst of the "Body" (along with the irreverence). The people who make up the body might not be who we would in our "natural" state gravitate to but they sure should be now. Who better to spend the days of the week with than those we proclaim to be family with. We all have the same First born brother and the same Father, yet we strain at seeing each other once a week and maybe once midweek for a study. Maybe I just such a people junkie that I'll take anybody but it seems as if I crave to be with the Body, even when I've disagreed with stuff that doesn't really matter. Oh my, there I go again yakking my head off, but you have such good conversation starters! Have a terrific day, evening...

Beth B said...

Thank you, Ted, for this: "When we are converted to Christ, we become members not only of Christ, but of his body the church."

If it were not so, then Acts 8:26-40 wouldn't make any sense. Philip not only is a Spirit-sent teacher, he is a representative of the Church. Neither sola scriptura nor a nominalist metaphysic str supported by this episode.

P.S. I thank God for the gift of internet technology that enables me to be in touch with the larger Body and to so "know" you (and so many others!) as siblings in Christ. Keep up the good work, brother.

Dave J. said...

When driving to worship I was pondering if this ugly economy would do in our church. The testimonies told me how important our little of family of God is to each other. And to me.

Maybe more important was the fact the pastors stayed out of it, and let the community be about each other, not having to depend on them as focal points.

I think we all grew a bit stronger together and with God.

Ted M. Gossard said...

The sense of oneness we have even in our diversity, is powerful. It's great when we no longer care about secondary matters that so often are the basis of unity even among God's people (like political preference, etc.). But that we're too taken up through the Spirit with the oneness we have in Jesus our Lord, and as members together of God's family.

I'm thankful that I'm saved into a community.

Ted M. Gossard said...


Thanks for your good input. So you're "a people junkie", ha!

Unfortunately I was steeped in too much of an individualistic sort of salvation. Though that really runs against the grain of what God puts in one's heart through the Holy Spirit. But we soon find out that our love overflowing just doesn't fit in with the way things are, too much of the time. So we adjust ourselves, I'm afraid. What can happen.

Thanks for your encouragement and sharing.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Beth B,

I could learn a ton from you. I'm reading LeRon Shults' "Reforming Theological Anthropology" so I like to make some effort to get some handle on philosophy.

Yes, we're saved through the church, as well as through Christ. Of course Christ is the Savior, but he saves through his body, us. Amazing, so true.

And thanks for your encouragement, as well. Good to get to "know" siblings in this way, as limited as it may be. But words do convey something important of us.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Dave J.,

Yes, I agree with you fully. It was a wonderful service, to be sure. I'm sure Jack and Sharon were blessed by it mightily, as well.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks too for your good words so early in the morning (you being in NM). You must be a morning person like me!

Kurt said...

This was a great read, sounds like you had a great gathering this sunday. I am in a crossroads in this area. I have community, but it doesn't exist within the walls of my current church context. I would covet your prayers as my wife and I make some difficult choices in the next few weeks...

Ted M. Gossard said...

Will be praying for you. Yes, we have a great community every week, and beyond that. Jesus is clearly among and in us, as a community. And it is reaching outside the walls of our church, as well, into the community surrounding us.