Have you ever thought about the Church, not as a place; but as a community?
Scriptures we will be talking about are
- Acts 2 42-47
- 1 Corinthians 1: 10
- 1 Corinthians 12: 18-20
- Ephesians 4: 11-13
Every person has a different perspective on what “church” looks like. Whether that perspective is good or bad depends on their personal experience there. To some, the church is simply a building, but in the Bible, God establishes the idea of the Church being the people, not the place. What does fellowship mean to you? Maybe, a friendly association, especially with people who share one interest. The way that a person feels about a church from their first visit can determine whether or not they ever consider coming back. A negative experience could last their entire life. However, one positive encounter with someone in the church can have a just the opposite effect.
God intended the Church to be a sanctuary and a comfortable environment. Church should not be an intimidating. However, some people come to a new church who often feel uncomfortable, and in some cases, intimidated. For the ones that are a bit unsure anyway, they look for flaws which give them an excuse not to come back. I believe that the Church is not just a building. It is a community.
God desires the Church to be a community where everyone is welcome and feels as though they belong, without judgment. How many of you have heard of “The day of Pentecost?” 49 days after Easter? It is the day that many believe that the Church actually started while others believe it had already started.
The importance here is that this is the day that all of the Apostles came together along with many other believers which can be found in Acts 2:1-4. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit just as Jesus told them they would in Acts 1:5.
Let’s Read Acts 2:42-47
- Luke writes about how the people of the Church came together to grow in faith and in fellowship.
Think about a time in which you were able to lean on someone in the church in a time of need. How did that help you through your struggle?
We know that there are countless trials and hardships in our lives. As you know, when you are seeking a safe place to go, the Church can provide you with comfort, sympathy, fellowship, and can even help you grow as well as it can positively impact your lives. When we come together in fellowship and by standing on the foundational beliefs that we do, we have a support group against the worldly beliefs. As Christians, there is a special bond between the people of the Church. It is important to us to make sure you feel as though you can openly share your “from the heart”opinions in the Church without judgment.
We want to present the benefits that come with having a community within the Church. As I have often heard, this is our extended family. In the scripture, we learned about some of the positive examples that a Church should look like. Examples that a healthy relationship within the Church can provide include comfort, guidance, fellowship, spiritual growth, and others. It is our responsibility as part of the Church community to create unity within our Church as everyone else does for us.
Acts 2: 42-47
- So, based on the scripture in Acts, what’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the word “Church?”
- Why do you think all of the believers devoted themselves to fellowship?
- How is fellowship with believers significant in your spiritual growth?
- What negative things can happen if you aren’t devoting yourself to fellowship with Christians?
Read 1 Corinthians 1:10
- What is the benefit of being united in the Church rather than being divided?
- What if you aren’t consistently connected to a church family? Is it really that bad for you?
- When Paul says, “Be of one mind, united in thought and purpose”, what do you think the purpose is that he refers to? Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all of your soul and with all of your strength.
Think of yourself as twine. Twine by itself is strong but combined with other twine and with a common purpose, many strands of twines cooperating make rope which is stronger than the parts that make it.
Based on this scripture, we learned about how God gave us the Church as a path to Him.
Read Ephesians 4:11-13
- How do you think the Church has equipped you to grow in your relationship with Christ?
- Why is it important to continue to mature in your faith?
- What does that even mean to mature in faith?
Although God has an ideal image of what the Church should look like, not every Church ends up looking that way. But God uses each of us to build the Church into what He desires it to be. Each person plays a role and together we are stronger.
- Discuss what you think your role is in building the Church community? If you don’t feel that you have one yet, talk about what you could do in the future.
- What is something you have noticed about your Church specifically that makes it feel united?
- Do you feel that today, you belong to the Church community? After this devotion, how has God opened your eyes to the importance of surrounding yourselves with a strong community of believers in your life?
The Church is not a place; it is a community.
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