Created for Community

This truth cost the very life of Jesus.  That Jesus laid down his life for community is the very existence of the church, the fellowship of the redeemed.

I. The Theological Foundation of Community.  The theological foundation of this community is the community that exists within the Triune God, the Trinity–the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.

This truth is perhaps better proved from what we tend to call trinitarian texts of Scripture.  These so-called trinitarian texts have to do with creation and recreation, in their range.

II. The Death and Resurrection of Christ to Create Community.  As I said at the outset, Jesus gave his very life to create community, the fellowship of the redeemed.  This truth seen in the following: John 10:10-17; Acts 20:28; Eph. 2:11-22).

III. The Church as the Created Community.  The New Testament letters are replete with what we call “One Another” passages.  This is because Christ death and resurrection created the community of the redeemed who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, the sign of the new creation, the eschatological community (Eph. 1:13-14; 2:18-22).

This community of the redeemed begins to take shape as the gospel of Christ goes to the nations–the people groups of the world–and sinners respond through repentance and faith and baptism, which is the sign of the new covenant people (Matt. 28:19-20).  I believe we see this illustrated as the first Gentile believers are gathered into the community of the believers in Acts 10: (1) After the Holy Spirit, the sign of the new covenant people, falls on these Gentiles, Peter, a Jew, who witnesses all of this, asks, “Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?” (v. 47).

The physical act of water baptism also signifies entrance into the family of Jesus, the community of the redeemed.  There is only one family, as Paul makes clear in Ephesians 2:11-22.  In this fellowship of the redeemed, there is no room for racism, prejudice and the like.  Such actions are diametrically opposed to the will of the One who gave his very life for to create a redeemed community from among all the people groups of the world.

Conclusion.  Our heavenly Father sent the Son to give his life to gather the elect into community, to be animated by the Holy Spirit, and which will reach its telos, in the new heaven and the new earth, when God makes his dwelling with the redeemed of all the ages (Rev. 21-22).

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