The Shared Needs of Christian Community

Isaiah 58:6-12

6“Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the straps of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?
7Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
9Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you take away the yoke from your midst, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday.
11And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.
12 And your ancient ruins shall be rebuilt; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; you shall be called the repairer of the breach, the restorer of streets to dwell in.

If the Christian community is welcoming, belonging, and openness, it is also loving Christ-like concern for each person. In community people care for each other and not just for the community in the abstract, as a whole, as an institution or as an ideal way of life. It is people that matter; to love and care for the people that are there, just as they are. It is to care for them in such a way that they may grow according to the plan of God and give new life. And it is not just caring in a passing way, but in a permanent way. Because in Christian community people belong one to another, they make up one family, one people, one flock. And these people have been called together to be a sign and a witness, to accomplish a particular mission which is their charism - their gift. The difference between community and a group of friends is that in a community we verbalize our mutual belonging and connection. We announce the goals and the spirit that unites us. We recognize together that we are responsible for one another. We recognize also that this connection comes from God; it is a gift from God. It is he who has chosen us and called us together in a covenant of love and mutual caring.

The Christian Community is a ministering community in the Biblical sense. The Christian community is a welcome place where people of all kind, color, and age love God and one another; ministering the love and grace of Jesus to the shared needs of each member. In this, the community must be fully united with each of its members. This sounds ideal, but we should’’t seek the ideal community - we seek God and His Kingdom. It is more accurately a question of loving those whom God has set beside us today. They are signs of God. We might have chosen different people, people who were more cheerful and intelligent. But these are the ones God has given us, to create and live a covenant. We choose our own friends; but in our families, we do not choose our brothers and sisters; they are given to us. So it is in community life. When we know our people, we also realize that we need them, that they and we are interdependent; they open our hearts and call us to live in Christ together in community. We are not better or worse than they are – we are there together, for each other. We are united in the covenant which flows from the covenant between God and his people, God and the poorest, weakest, and smallest among us. Each one has a place and is welcome at the table.

Meeting the Shared Needs of Community

One - To Welcome One Another

To welcome is to reveal the hidden value and hidden beauty within each one of us. This is what God did for us in Christ Jesus - He welcomed us into His kingdom. In doing so He revealed our value and worth to Him, as the masterpiece and beauty of His creation in us. To reveal someone’s value and beauty begins in giving them our time, and our genuine interest, and sincere kindness. To welcome someone is not just saying the words or doing something for them but to reveal to them their own uniqueness and special qualities, that you can see what they often cannot see in themselves - they are special and worthy of attention. We can express this revelation through our openness and gentle presence, in the way we look at and listen to a person, the way we speak to and care for someone.

Matthew 11:28-30

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. [29] Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Romans 15:5-7

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, [6] that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. [7] Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Ephesians 2:10

[10] For we are God’s masterpiece, He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things He has planned for us long ago.

Two - To Belong to One Another

The basic shared human need is for at least one person who believes and trusts in us. But that is never enough, it doesn’t stop there - we all have and we all share the need to belong to someone and something. Each of us needs to belong, not just to one person but to a family, friends, a group, and a community. Belonging is an essential need in our spiritual, emotional, and social growth. Belonging is not as some might say “an obstacle to personal freedom and independence.” But rather, belonging is the first step in developing the shared human need for inter-dependence which in reality is a “healthy and non-toxic” independence. Freedom, independence, and maturity can never be discovered or realized in isolation, self-focus, or individualism. That is why Christ called us into relationship and into community with and for one another.

Three - To Understand One Another

To understand another human being is listen to another human being. That is a start to love and to community. To love also means to understand and this is the second aspect of love. People need to be understood - it is a basic human need and not simply the misunderstood. If no one understands another how do we help? When someone cries out or acts out in ways that we do not understand it is a sign that we need to listen until we understand. Jesus asked the crippled man at the pool of Bethesda, “do you want to be well”? Then He listened and he understood and discerned the need and the moment the man was in. Then Jesus helped him. The need to be understood has intensified, and as we respond with kindness, concern, and empathy - as we listen, we may not always hear what we want to hear. That is not understanding. WE MUST SEEK TO HEAR WHAT WE NEED TO HEAR IN ORDER TO UNDERSTAND WHAT WE NEED TO UNDERSTAND. Difficult as it is for us to accept and come to terms with this idea, I believe that every act of frustration, anger, hurt, or hostility is a message that needs to be understood. Frustration should not be answered by greater frustration, hate by greater hate, or hostility by greater hostility - but by real understanding. We must ask: where is the frustration, anger, hate, hostility coming from? What is its meaning? In the Christian community it is most often effective to respond in love. The Scripture teaches that a soft or kind answer turns away wrath. Many people who manipulate lash out, abuse, exploit or hurt others are only mirroring similar behavior that has been used on them. And although this certainly does not justify or excuse their behavior or actions in any way it does help us to understand and understanding helps make a way for healing and change to take place. It helps us to understand why they hurt others, why they flee from relationships into a world of their own and why they are unable to communicate verbally, and need to be understood in a compassionate way. It takes time and a great deal of love and attention, as well as wisdom and sometimes help from professionals, in order to learn how to interpret their cries and their body language which reveal the desires and needs they cannot name. Our shared need is to be understood.

Romans 15:1-4

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. [2] Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. [3] For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.” [4] For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

1 Corinthians 12:21-26

The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” [22] On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, [23] and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, [24] which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, [25] that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. [26] If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.

1 Thessalonians 5:14-18

[14] And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all. [15] See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone. [16] Rejoice always, [17] pray without ceasing, [18] give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Four - To Empower One Another

The shared need to empower one another is indeed miraculous and life changing for not only those who are being empowered but most certainly for those who empower. The greatest empowerment in the Christian community that we can share is to live and love in unity with and for one another, to give to and forgive one another, and then in humility and in Christ-like love serve one another.

Yet, it is not just a question of doing things for others but of helping them to do things for themselves, helping each one to discover the true meaning of Christ in their lives. To love means to empower. Empower so that one can become responsible for good choices and decisions for their own life, that one can take authority and control over their thoughts, words, and actions - thereby empowering their life. This empowerment comes with a sense of responsibility and the necessity of learning to value and respect others. Empowerment means each one learns to see the lives of others in the community, making efforts to respect and love in how we respond and interact with each one. Empowerment to help love and lead in unity with men, women, and children who have both strengths and weaknesses, faith and faults. These eventually all become evident in many ways; physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual. We are not empowered only by what is pleasing or good in one another - we are empowered by our love for one another. We are empowered by our unity with one another. When we serve we love, when we love we unite, when we unite we are empowered.

Romans 12:9-12

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. [10] Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. [11] Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. [12] Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.

1 Corinthians 12:4-11

Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; [5] and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; [6] and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. [7] To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. [8] For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, [10] to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. [11] All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

John 13:34-35

A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. [35] By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.

About Reunion Community Church

We are a Bible teaching Christian church in Peoria, AZ. We love God and teach His Truth. We invite you, your family and friends to join us on the faith journey, growing closer to one another, the Christian community of believers at Reunion, and most importantly with God. Read more about the timeless Truth we build our lives and faith in Christ on HERE.

We are conveniently located just off the 101 on 83rd Ave and Cactus Rd. Join us on Sunday mornings, Weds. evenings, and throughout the week at our small groups, meeting in homes around the Valley, including Surprise, Glendale, Peoria, Phoenix, Goodyear, Litchfield, and more. Connect with us on Facebook and watch our live streaming service on YouTube.

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