Friday, June 1, 2012

Are You "Bowling Alone?" - Part II


God has always called his people to community.  He called Adam and Eve to a community called marriage and family.  He called Noah and his family to survival in a community called an ark.  He called Abraham and his descendants to a family called Israel.  Today God calls everyone to a community known as the church, the church of Christ.  By God's design we are all interdependent and complimentary.  In fact, cut off from community fellowship with God becomes, if not impossible, then extremely difficult.  Here are two biblical perspectives:

1)  The individual melts into the community for the good of all:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body--Jews or Greeks, slaves or free--and all were made to drink of one Spirit.  For the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot should say, "Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear should say, "Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body," that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell?  But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose. If all were a single member, where would the body be?  As it is, there are many parts, yet one body.  The eye cannot say to the hand, "I have no need of you," nor again the head to the feet, "I have no need of you."  On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. - I Corinthians 12.12 - 27 (ESV)  [Text courtesy of e-sword.com]

2) Fellowship with God is permanently linked to fellowship with one another:

 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life-- the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us--  that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ.  And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete. This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. - I John 1.1 - 7 (ESV)  [Text courtesy of e-sword.com

It is as God said in the beginning; "it is not good for man to be alone."  God created us as social beings in community, not as isolated islands in a sea of humanity.  God is community.  Satan is isolation.  God calls us to community, Satan calls us to isolation.  Satan caused Eve to sin by causing a separation (isolation) from God and from her husband.  Sin is separation from God, pure and simple.  He told us so in the long ago:


Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; but your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God, and your sins have hidden his face from you so that he does not hear. - Isaiah 59.1 - 2 (ESV) [Text courtesy of e-sword.com]

Our challenge as the church of Christ is to attract people in sin, separation and isolation to the community, the Body of Christ.  Not only will they find salvation, they will find fellowship, friendship, happiness and contentment in community.  It is THIS challenge we will discuss Tuesday evening at 7 p.m. at the Archdale church of Christ, 2525 Archdale Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210.  Reject isolation that night and be in community instead!


In preparation for this important discussion, you can obtain a copy of Putnam's book to read very inexpensively from amazon.com.  Here is your link:

http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0743203046/ref=dp_olp_used?ie=UTF8&condition=used

We will look forward to seeing you there!  Questions?  Just e-mail Russ McCullough at rmcculls6@bellsouth.net.










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