Community Building - Gospel in Life

Community Building

Tim Keller |  May 25, 2008

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  • The Church (Unity, Fellowship, Leadership)
Romans 12:9-21
RS 202-08


Many people believe God is real and God loves them. That belief ought to make you more secure, happier, and more humble. But beliefs don’t automatically turn into changed thoughts and feelings and behavior. Beliefs have to be turned into changed character through Christian practices, through spiritual disciplines.

Over the next three sermons we’re going to look at different aspects of community-building. The importance of Christian community is masked when we read the Scripture. Because we are Americans, in many cases we’re individualistic, and we tend to read the Bible through individual lenses. Also, the English language doesn’t have a second person plural pronoun. So when we read the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus says “you must do this,” we read it as how God wants us to behave individually. Actually, almost all the pronouns in there are “you all”—they’re plural. What Jesus is saying is “I want you to be part of a community like this.”

Let’s begin looking at the importance of Christian community. From Romans 12, I want to pull out three things we’re going to learn about community: 1) the family nature of Christian community, 2) the graciousness of it, and 3) its ultimate source.

Understanding Romans 12:9–21

Believing in God’s love isn’t enough to change us; we need to actively follow Christian teachings and spiritual disciplines. The Bible tells us how important it is to build a strong community among believers. We’ll be looking into this more in the coming weeks, especially focusing on the lessons in Romans 12. These lessons show us that the Christian community is like a big family, full of grace and love, and that it all comes from God.

1. The Christian community is like a family

Being a Christian means we’re called to love each other deeply, like a family does. This can be tough, and it means we don’t get to choose who we love, keep our lives private, or stay safe from hurt. But C.S. Lewis reminds us that this kind of “storge,” or family love, helps us connect deeply with all believers, no matter who they are. Even though there are risks, being a part of this big family brings rewards like a sense of belonging, shared responsibility, and deep emotional connections.

2. The Christian community is full of grace

As Christians, we’re called to show love and respect to everyone, even those who don’t agree with us. The truth of the gospel guides us to be open, loving, and respectful. By showing love and letting God be the judge, we can help others find the truth and realize their need for God’s love.

3. The Christian community comes from God

Being a part of the Christian community means we get to experience a type of love that’s even bigger than family love. The Bible shows us that families, as much as they try, can’t always give the unconditional, close, and patient love we all need. But Jesus’ self-sacrificing love gives us a taste of this amazing love. Because of His love, we can love everyone, including our enemies, just as Jesus loved us.



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