Today I preached a message on how we all need one another. We are starting a summer book study on Philippians, and I felt compelled to really call us to recognize that we belong to one another as the body of Christ (Rom. 12:5) as we start the summer. With such a young church, it is easy to get in the mindset that, summer is here, it is time to just take a break, go our separate ways, and not be connected to others the way we normally are. But, as I was thinking, I realized that we have that attitude for at least 5 months of the year (Nov-Dec because of Christmas, and May-July because of summer). Wow. It is really hard to keep growing in the Lord and in relationships if we are constantly on a college schedule. Maybe it’s time to continue on with our close relationships even when the weather gets warm!
When we lived in Marin County, just north of San Francisco, we lived just a couple of miles from Muir Woods, where they have the giant redwoods. The really interesting thing about redwoods, among many other things, is that they grow to about 35 stories tall, but they have really shallow root systems. So, if you took one of these giant trees and stuck it out by itself in a field, it would topple over with the first strong wind! But, in a redwood forest, the roots of the trees interconnect and they help each other stand up. Fascinating, eh?
So, the implications for the body of Christ are obvious. We were not meant to stand alone. God doesn’t just want to grow you tall and strong, He wants you to be a part of a tall and strong FOREST that is full of giant trees that are mutually dependent upon one another. But, to do this, we have to recognize that we need one another and that others need us. If we do not participate in sharing life with the body, we do not grow, and the body also suffers! Others have what I need and I have what they need. God designed us this way so that we could learn to get our needs met by Him through the church, and also so that He could connect us with others who would cause us to grow and be transformed into His likeness.
There are so many "One Anothers" in the New Testament. How can we possibly obey them if we are not closely connected in living in Biblical relationship with other believers? How can we truly obey God if we are going it alone? Many say that they are alright, they are strong spiritually, and that they have all they need. But, if you are not closely connected with other believers, you deceive yourself, because the spiritual life is only lived out in community with others.
Incredibly, God has called us to be priests unto Him. We are the called out ones who are to declare His praises (1 Peter 2). We are priests unto God in worship to Him, we represent God to other people, and we represent other people to God through prayer. Of course, Jesus, our Great High Priest has gone before us to make all of this possible and to bring us together into one body.
So, as you think about how to spend your time this summer, make sure that you connect with other believers and enter into the process of giving and receiving in your life. Then, reflect Christ to others who do not know Him and stand in the gap for them, representing Christ to a broken world. My actual sermon notes with all of the scripture passages can be found HERE.