How to Guarantee Healthy Community

The Core Value of Community
Seven Relational Principles that Guarantee a Healthy Community
Romans 12:9-21

Community is meaningful belonging to one another. Our focus is on One, on Jesus. What is it about our community that stands out among other communities?

We have basic needs: food and shelter, sense of purpose, a sense of community. We need relationships. Carnegie institute, when employees fail at work, 90% is due to failed relationships at work. We must prioritize the heath of relationships.

Relationships are vital for our Christian growth and faith walk. God wants to be known, 1 Peter 3:18, Jesus died to bring us to God. We have the opportunity for relationships with God and with one another. John 15:12, love one another.

How to make the difference between good and evil, these are the bookends Romans 12:9 and Romans 12:21. How will we relate to each other?

  1. Brotherly Love – Romans 12:10… this love should be expressed everywhere, not just family. The word is “philadelphia,” a devoted love, a tender affection, like parent to a child. Check out Galatians 5:22-23 regarding the fruit of the spirit.
  2. Honor – Romans 10-11… esteem others, as the recipients of honor, take advantage of the opportunity to value someone, James 2:1, allow no favoritism, love without favoritism, like the baseball with a signature, showing favoritism, don’t play with THIS one, this one has a higher value, we are made in God’s image, have value, we have his signature on the back.
  3. Long-suffering – Romans 12… relationships require perseverance, relationship are not always fun, some people push our buttons, “it’s your fault they get to you,” be patient with others, Colossians 3:13, bear up with one another especially those who criticize. Be tenderhearted and forgiving, Ephesians 4:32.
  4. Hospitality – Romans 13… love like a brother, like a parent, now love others like you love a stranger? Openness, welcoming others, value of a home that is open to others. Shows love and care for everyone, hearts are open, Proverbs 3:27, if it is in you to do good, do good. Don’t withhold love, a sin of omission. Silence can be a sign of being hurt. Guard your heart but don’t withhold love.
  5. Selflessness – Romans 14-15… bless those who persecute you, or come against you, rejoice with others’ good fortune, not complaining that you would like to be blessed like that, what about me? That is not right, it is what can I do for you? The Law of Christ in Galatians 6, bearing one another. Rowing team in 1936, moving as one to accomplish the task.
  6. Humility – Romans 16… the word MIND is used three times, think of others as you would think of yourself, greatly esteem others, pastor Paul teaching the church. Writing to the church, in Philippians 2:1-4, have the same mind as Christ and then the same attitude as in Christ Jesus as in Philippians 2:5-8.
  7. Self-sacrifice – Romans 17-20… go the extra mile to love others, but not to be treated as a doormat, how can we love our enemies, four expressions…
    1. Romans 12:17 – live above reproach, we have no license to lessen our pursuit of God.
    2. Romans 12:18 – as much as it is dependent on you, be at peace with all men
    3. Romans 12:19 – leave vengeance to God, we do not plan revenge, God will take care of it
    4. Romans 12:20 – feed your enemy when he is hungry, these coals on the head is not literal, but ceremonial language of repentance, of God’s forgiveness and relationships.

Overwhelmed? Where do we go with all this? Grab one and go with it. We need God’s help. This message is preaching to the church, not to the world.

The Illustration of Officer Stephen McDonald – Central Park, altercation about a bicycle, shot, in hospital, paralyzed, Ken quoted the officer before his death, that, God was in charge, to use me, he needed my YES, will you love the boy who shot you? The best way to love him was to forgive him. YES, I have loved and forgiven him. The officer died last year.

Be tenderhearted, forgiving, God has forgiven you. Are you on a journey to forgive someone? Let Jesus guide you to that place. It may take a while, so let Jesus guide you.

For us to do any of this… I need to receive ALL of the love GOD has for us. Not just some of his love. Receive Christ today, or renew your relationship with Christ today.

Have you drifted from God? Come back and trust him.


Questions for Wednesday Life Groups:

Community:

  1. What is the difference between community in Christian groups versus secular society? What is different and what is similar?
  2. We all have a basic need of being in relationship with other people. Why do we sometimes struggle to be vulnerable and open with others?
  3. What are the benefits of being open and vulnerable in community? Why do we care so much about what others see and sometimes overlook the fact that God sees everything? Do we live as though Jesus is in the room with us? How does community help us live responsibly?

Brotherly Love:

  1. What are some examples of brotherly love that you have experienced? What does this say about how Christians are supposed to love one another?
  2. How does forgiveness draw us closer to God? How does forgiveness pull us further away from the world?
  3. How does an outward focus on others relate to our Spiritual growth? How does an inward focus hold us back?
  4. How does “brotherly love” describe how God wants us to view others? What do you think of when we say “brotherly” love? How does this compare to our relationship with, and love for, God?

Honor:

  1. What is the connection between honor and value?
  2. How is it possible to love without favoritism?
  3. The definition of honor has a few key points 1. To hold in high esteem or respect 2. A privilege 3. To fulfil or keep an agreement. Tie this into the Christian life. What can we learn about Jesus, or how can we relate to Jesus, when we look at this definition of honor?

Long-suffering:

  1. How does the concept of practicing long-suffering change us? What are the benefits to self when we are patient despite our troubles, especially when they are caused by others?
  2. What is the opposite of long suffering? (impatient, quarrelsome, disobedient, defiant, worry free, and unconcerned are just a few of the antonyms) What do these antonyms show about the importance of long-suffering?
  3. Why is patience so important in our Christian walk? What are the dangers of acting rashly or when we rush to action/judgement? What does patience allow in terms of listening and being guided by the Spirit?

Hospitality:

  1. How has the concept of hospitality become either more or less prevalent in our society today? Why?
  2. How has the concept of hospitality become harder to practice in society today? Or has it become easier? Why?
  3. What are some ways we can show hospitality? Who do you know that effectively demonstrates Christian hospitality?
  4. People say, “you get more from giving than receiving.” How is this true? Do you agree? Who has a story? Name some real-life examples.

Selflessness: (Read Galatians 6:1-10)

  1. As brothers and sisters in Christ, what responsibilities do we have for one another?
  2. What are the differences between the Christian concept of selflessness compared to the secular view?
  3. What is the relationship between selflessness and happiness? Or selflessness and fulfillment?
  4. How does Galatians 6:5 relate to Galatians 6:2? Explain how there is no contradiction. (burden in verse 2 refers to weight, heaviness, trouble, while the word for load in verse 5 is not a crushing burden but rather a small individual portion or pack).
  5. How does being selfless benefit you more than being selfish? Where does being selfish get you? (Galatians 6:7-9)
  6. Where in your life do you need to sow to please the Spirit rather than sowing to your sinful nature?
  7. How does being selfless play into what God asks us to do to share Him with others? What are the benefits to treating well those who are inside the family of believers and why would this be important for those who are not yet saved, and why does it make such a difference? (Galatians 6:10)

Humility:

  1. What is the connection between humility and thankfulness?
  2. What does a life of humility show to others? How does being humble represent our understanding of Jesus and his love?
  3. What is the connection between humility and selflessness?

Self-sacrifice:

  1. Explain the concept of altruism (see below). How does this relate to self-sacrifice? How does this reveal God? How does altruism go against the natural order of things (self-survival, self-benefit, survival of the fittest) and at the same time, how does it show that God intelligently designed us? (Altruism = the belief in or practice of disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others; behavior that benefits another at its own expense.
  2. What does the Bible say is the greatest love of all? (John 15:13) What is the connection between love and self-sacrifice? How does John 3:16 relate to 1 John 3:16?
  3. Self-sacrifice is at the very heart of Christianity, let’s discuss why? (perhaps the example of Jesus)
  4. What are the benefits of outwardly-focused love? (connection, purpose, service, evangelism)

Additional Questions:

  1. What happens when you pay back evil for evil? Does the trouble ever end, or does it just repeat and continue?
  2. What is the difference between passivity and being at peace with all men?
  3. What does it mean to truly lose yourself, what is the significance?
  4. What is the significance of God’s judgement?
    1. Why is it a blessing that God will judge and be vengeful?
    2. From what does God’s judgment free us?
    3. If God was not this way, what would this mean negatively for us? (Gospel Project talked about this when looking at the flood, and the fact that God saved us from needing to be vigilantes. We know justice will be appropriately distributed in the end).
  5. Why feed our enemy? What does this mean for the long haul? What does this mean in terms of how we view people? Who is the enemy, and is it always who we think it is?
  6. Why is it difficult to bless those who persecute you? How are your actions and love more powerful in relation to this?
  7. People are (usually) logical creatures. How can demonstrating illogical action make the biggest impact to others who are not yet saved?
    1. Does it make sense the only perfect human, suffered, was humiliated, was inflicted with great physical and mental torment, was hung on a cross, and yet still showed only love for those who put Him there.
    2. Does it make sense that Stephen cried out for those who stoned him to not be charged for their sins?
    3. What about the story of Officer McDonald? He said God was in control? Why does this not fit the logic of secular life?
    4. Christianity shows its power in the illogical, yet the answer why is very logical. It is sort of like Jesus being the stone that makes men stumble and rock that makes them fall (Isaiah 8:14, Romans 9:32, 1 Peter 2:8). The Pharisees could not see the Messiah who was literally standing right in front of them.
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