Community Gospel Experience – by Bryan E. Johnston

Johnston    We were created for community. God lives in community as God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. In the beginning when God created man the Genesis account says, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness” (Ge. 1:26). God created from a place of unified “ourness”, for man to live in community with others. In the Genesis 2, the Lord says, “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him. Then the Lord God made a woman” (Ge. 2:18, 22). God’s story continues through the context of a family and a community of people until coming of Jesus the Christ. “The word became flesh and made his dwelling among us” (Jn. 1:14). The gospel is displayed through the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord and the Holy Spirit comes to dwell inside and in community with all believers, the church.

The gospel continues to be lived out through the church community. Paul made it his mission to establish communities of believers who live out the gospel by loving one another. Romans 16 gives us a glimpse into the community of faith from which he wrote one of his letters. Paul greets the saints in Rome and then mentions the brothers and sisters, whom assisted, served, hosted, supported, and lived out the gospel with him in Corinth. Paul was supported and served by Phoebe who was most likely the letter carrier of the Roman Epistle. Paul was in fellowship and partnership with Timothy, Lucius, Jason, and Sosipater, his fellow brothers in the faith. Tertius served as his scribe, Gaius hosted Paul in his home, and Paul was in mutual relationship with the city director Erastus. Paul wrote in a community to a community. The gospel took root in Corinth and overflowed through Paul’s letter to the church in Rome. Paul wrote, “Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God” (Romans 15:7).

Let us continue to experience the gospel in community. Let us read the story of Jesus together. Let’s be the church, the body, the kingdom, the community, and the neighbors who do life together with the Lord.

Bryan Johnston, preaching minister, North Bend, OR USA Church of Christ – Comments welcome!

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