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Community Ingredients: Only Jesus

Posted by on Mar 30, 2011 in community | 6 comments

Community Ingredients: Only Jesus

In the introductory post of this series, I explained that I was going to examine necessary ingredients for a group of people to become a church community as described by the authors of Scriptures. In the second post, I said that the first necessary ingredient is Jesus, not facts about Jesus, but the real, living, empowering person Jesus.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Alan, you’ve already written a post about how Jesus is the first and most important ingredient for a group of people to become a church community as described in the New Testament. So, why is this post called ‘Only Jesus’?”

No, I haven’t lost my mind, and I didn’t forget that my previous post was about Jesus. But, in order for the church to become community (as described in Scripture), Jesus must not only be the most important ingredient, he must be the only community ingredient.

Almost every church that has ever existed would agree with my previous post and the point that Jesus must be the most important aspect of that church’s community. They would agree that all of the believers who are part of that church must have Jesus in common.

However, this post could cause problems. Why? Because most churches are not willing to stop at Jesus being the center of their community. Instead, they will add something else, such that they require Jesus and something else. That “something else” might be a statement of faith (creed/confession), or a certain meeting location, or a leader or group of leaders, or local church membership, or anything else around which a group of people might gather.

The authors of Scripture make it clear that we are to join together in Jesus Christ alone. He is the head of the church; nothing else comes close. He is the life of the church; nothing else comes close. He holds the church together; nothing else comes close.

I think Paul says it best when he told the Romans, “Whoever serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men” (Romans 14:18) and “Therefore accept one another as Christ has accepted you, for the glory of God.” (Romans 15:7) If someone is accepted by God, then we are to accept that person as a brother or sister in Christ.

If we require anything else, then we are placing man-made requirements above the requirements of God.

Jesus Christ is the first and most important ingredient in order for a group of people to become a church community as described in Scripture. And, on top of this, Jesus Christ must be the only ingredient necessary for the group in order for that group to grow into a community.


6 Comments

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  1. 3-30-2011

    I was just getting ready to post a reply that was similar to what you just posted. Thanks for writing it, it saved me some typing :)

    Swanny

  2. 3-30-2011

    Never heard this put quite in this way. I have been among the group that thought of Jesus as THE most important ingredient, but not as the ONLY ingredient (for community, for acceptance).

    How do you view the discipline of unrepentant members, an action taken out of love to restore members? (I’m guessing you are going to cover this, so no need to respond.)

  3. 3-30-2011

    Swanny,

    I’d still love to hear your thoughts.

    Art,

    Yes. While I won’t tackle that subject specifically, it is included in the topic of my next post in the series.

    -Alan

  4. 3-30-2011

    Ok, you are going to make me type… Ha.

    Jesus prayed that we would be one. He did not pray it just once or twice, but the night before He was crucified, He prayed it over and over and over again.

    Of all the things Jesus could have asked the Father, He seemed rather stuck on one — the idea of being one. The idea that His followers, His people, The Church, would be known to the world by their oneness; the idea that, contrary to the ways of the world, the Church would demonstrate a new way of working together, a new way of being in the world. And this new way of being would serve the purpose of revealing God to the world. The world would see the “Allness” of God.

    Throughout the letters written to the early Church that are recorded in the New Testament, there are more than 100 references to how we should live with one another. These are core tenets of being Christ-followers.

    We are to love one another, serve one another, bear one another’s burdens, encourage one another, pray for one another, teach and admonish one another, care for one another, and build one another up!

    Oneness is a blessing in itself, but Christian oneness has the higher purpose that Jesus prayed for — “that the world may believe.”

    So why do most evangelicals not follow these tenets. They have lost themselves in a world of their own oneness, themselves (individualism).

    For evangelicalism to be a force for Christ evangelicals need to admit that the Reformation, and all the subsequent divisions, has divided the one true Church of Christ. Out of all the different divisions none of them created a new church, or even re-created the one true Church (which is Christ himself). They all need to admit, as followers of the one true Church, that all of Christianity today is the broken parts of what should be a whole, or ONE.

    The ONE is what you are saying … Only Jesus!

    Swanny

  5. 3-31-2011

    Swanny,

    Yes, that is exactly what I’m saying.

    -Alan

  6. 3-31-2011

    That is what I thought, that is why I was not going to write it up… hahaha

    Love this series you are putting together. Thanks!