We can accomplish so much more together than we can ever do on our own. In this new era of CityLife Church, we need to link arms and step forward together into all that God has for us.
The idea of doing something together is not new in the Bible.
In the Old Testament:Ecclesiastes 4:9-12 9 Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. 10 If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble. 11 Likewise, two people lying close together can keep each other warm. But how can one be warm alone? 12 A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.
In the New Testament:Acts 2:42-47 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
This idea of together was at the very heart of a faith filled life. This concept of “togetherness” is essential for us as a church as we continue to step into the future that God has for us.Ephesians 3:1-6For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles— Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you, that is, the mystery made known to me by revelation, as I have already written briefly. In reading this, then, you will be able to understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Paul uses one word (together) in rapid succession. V6. This mystery is that through the gospel the Gentiles are heirs together with Israel, members together of one body, and sharers together in the promise in Christ Jesus.
Paul says that we are heirs together, members together and sharers together. When someone says the same word (together) in rapid succession, I sit up and take notice. If someone runs out onto the road and yells ‘stop, stop, stop’, it is supposed to get our attention!
When Paul says together, together, together – He is saying that we need to take note of this because there is something powerful and incredible about this idea of doing things together!1. Heirs Together
To be an heir together means that when both Jewish people and all others receive Jesus, they become part of the family of God. And that means they are legally entitled to all the benefits of being in that family. This is not just a legal thing and it is not just a contractual thing, they actually belong to the family.
“We are psychologically, emotionally, cognitively and spiritually hardwired for connection, love and belonging.” - Author Brene Brown. This idea of belonging is something that is not to be overlooked because it is an essential part of how we are created. Many people try desperately to find that sense of belonging.
Here at CityLife 91% of people who leave our church are not involved in either a Life Group or serving team. These are the two primary ways where people can experience that sense of belonging here at CityLife Church.
People say that church can be a lonely place. But actually any place can be a lonely place. Because you can be in a crowd at the football and feel alone. You can be at the shops and feel alone. And of course you can be at church and feel the same. It was never meant to be that way. We were designed for connection and belonging.2. Members Together
Paul also talks about us being members together of one body. Each part of the body has a role to play just like each of us has a role to play in His body today- which is the church.1 Corinthians 12: 18-19 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
It is God who has placed each of the parts in the body just as He wanted them to be. That means you and I are not here by chance or by accident or coincidence but God has placed us here for a purpose and we need to fulfil that purpose.
Each of us has our different talents and abilities. Not all of us can sing, play an instrument, dance or act in a drama, but we all have things that God has placed us here as members of the one body to do. And we need to use what God has given us. As we function together the body truly fulfils its role.
Maybe you love kids, youth, young adults, babies or maybe you love helping young mums, developing dads, newly marrieds or maybe you have the ability to fix things in practical ways or maybe you love technical things (sound, lighting, media, cameras, etc.) or maybe you’re passionate about hospitality. Or maybe you are just good at telling people where to go (nicely of course), then serving as car park attendants, welcomers, greeters might be something you’re interested in. We all have a role to play.3. Sharers Together
Paul says: as we play our role together we are also sharers together in the promise of Christ Jesus. This literally means that we share in the possession of something.
You may be sitting here and you’re already using your skills and abilities, or maybe you’ve found a Life Group where you feel a sense of belonging. What else can you do? You can certainly invite someone to join you – to join your Life Group, or to serve with you. Don’t just make them feel welcome but make them feel like they belong.
Maybe you’ve tried to connect to a Life Group or serving team before, or maybe you got hurt in the process, whatever that is, don’t stop trying. In this new era of CityLife Church, each of us has a role to play and use what God has given us to accomplish His purposes for this church.Discussion Questions
1. Who do you have in mind to join your Life Group or to be part of your serving team? Pray for open hearts.
2. What can you do differently as a Life Group to reach out to visitors and unchurched and make them feel belonged?
3. What area of ministry would you like to explore and serve? Encourage each other to take a step of faith to serve.
4. What is limiting you to serve in that particular area? As a Life Group, pray for each other for a breakthrough.