Monday, August 04, 2014

A Biblical Understanding of Groups—Part One

A person does not need a theological degree to pick up the biblical emphasis on community.  In Genesis, we read that God created humanity for fellowship with God and then created the family unit of the man and woman.  God called Abram out of Ur to father a nation of people.  The children of Israel struggled to be a people who supported one another in their devotion to God.  Christ called to himself a group of disciples so that he might share with them and begin forming them as apostles of the faith.  Through the work of the Spirit, the church—a community of the faithful--came into being after Pentecost.  Paul and his team went about the Mediterranean world planting communities of the faithful.  Finally, out of the scriptures, early Christian scholars perceived the doctrine of the Trinity, a mysterious relationship between Creator, Redeemer, and Spirit that has existed through eternity.

Therefore, it should come as not surprise that the Christian life is not meant to be a solitary pursuit.  Our vertical relationship with God finds expression in a horizontal relationship with other believers.  Although not always an easy task, we are called to learn, share, and work together as the people of God.

This ongoing work takes place in the larger fellowship of our faith community called the church, but more often in a small group setting where we can share openly.  We join together with other believers who are committed to the faith journey and learn what it means to be in fellowship with one another and with God.  This is God’s plan expressed eloquently in Ephesians 4:15-16:

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.  From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work.” (NIV)

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