The early church loved to eat together! But their feasts were more than after-service potlucks for the purpose of socializing. For them, table fellowship was a tangible expression of the gospel and the presence of Christ among them, rooted in the historical roots of God’s redemptive plan for all people. This week, we’re examining the practice of “breaking bread” together and why – in its purest form – is the central, unifying participatory act of creating and cultivating authentic fellowship and worship in a discipleship community.
This week, we continue a closer look at the New Testament church and what it means to be a community devoted “to the fellowship” (Acts 2:42). What is biblical fellowship and what are the theological implications for sharing life with others? And more importantly, how does the gospel intersect with our understanding of this new life together in community as a means of restoring life with God and others?
Questions for Discussion:
How might your “common life” with God have implications on your “common life” with other believers?
What are the common barriers to participating in the fellowship with the body of Christ?
How can we as a church community become a model fellowship for others?
As a next stop on our journey in defining biblical community, we’re closely examining the New Testament church. This week, we take a closer look at the first church in Acts 2 and what it means to be a community “devoted to the apostles’ teaching” and how we are continuing the practice at Restoration Church.
Gospel movements are sustained by everyday leaders. Our pastors, teachers, seminary professors all have an important place in teaching, equipping, and building up believers to participate in God’s redemptive plan for the world. But it’s the everyday leader – the peacemaker – who builds bridges and opens up opportunities for God to reveal Himself to others. Therefore, every believer is an everyday leader in gospel-movements. The following is a message given to the Village Church of Barrington (Barrington, IL) on October 13, 2019 by Pastor Matt.
The church as a community is designed to be a reflection of God’s most treasured creation and possession – humanity. From every tribe, language, people, and nation, the church glorifies God when it reflects the diversity of humanity. It’s the promise of the eternal Kingdom and the present reality we seek to create in Christ Jesus as adopted children of God who belong in His community – the church.
Community, like family, shapes our sense of belonging and identity. The story of God’s restorative work is through community that behaves as a tight-knit family: as the true family of God. So how do we learn to be an earthly family that inspires and shapes one another to find our belonging and identity in God’s eternal family? That’s the focus of this week’s podcast and part of our series, “Defining Community: Restoring Life with God and Others”.
This week on the podcast we’re answering the question: Why do I need a church community? And, is it possible to have a personal experience and relationship with God apart from others? As we’ll discover, community is rooted deep in God’s nature and is the means by which we experience the fullness of Him in our life. This is part of the series on “Defining Community: Restoring Life with God and Others”.
This week we’re starting a new series, “Defining Community: Restoring Life with God and Others”. We’re beginning by looking at what community is, how it’s practiced in our modern secular culture, and how the Bible offers an alternate story and vision for community life, bonded together in Jesus Christ.
Every person is the prized object and target of a spiritual war that we did not invite nor ask to be part of. The war is for the total worship and allegiance of every heart, mind and soul. As eternal Kingdom citizens (the restored body of Christ), our hearts, minds and souls have been rescued, purchased, and saved by Jesus Christ from sin, despair and death in the ways of the evil. But as Kingdom citizens, we’re reminded the war is not over. Instead we’re called to put on the armor of God, because armor is meant for active duty, not vacation.
Questions for Discussion:
Based on this week’s passage and teaching, what tactics do you believe the devil uses to infiltrate the Kingdom of God?
What prevents you from putting on the armor of God as a believer in Christ?
What does ‘active duty’ as Kingdom citizens (the restored body of Christ) look like?
The gospel brings dignity, worth, and purpose to everyone, starting with our closest relationships: our family and church community. To imitate God and walk in the example of Christ is to mutually serve and sacrifice for one another out of love.
Read Ephesians 5:21-6:9 through the lens of “mutual submission” that seeks to love and dignify others as valued children of God. What stands out to you in the passage?
By understanding this passage as a means of living out the gospel in your family, church, and as a witness of God’s grace to the world, what are the implications for you personally that you need to change in order to follow the ways of Jesus?
What can we learn by Paul’s approach to applying the gospel to his cultural context? How can we do the same? Provide a real-life example.