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Friday, October 6, 2017

The Joy of Authentic Community


We recently enjoyed a special Ladies Night at our church.  Our pastor spoke on the topic of “The Joy of Authentic Community.”   The following are my Bible study notes based on my pastor's sermon.

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Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good.  Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.  Romans 12:9-10 (NLT)
We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves.  Rick Warren

Authentic Community - Points to Ponder

God is all about joy and so desires to give it to us in abundance.

God is not a kill-joy.  He is a giver of joy.
These things I have spoken to you so that My joy may be in you, and that your joy may be made full.  John 15:11
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Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13
Then he said to them, “Go, eat of the fat, drink of the sweet, and send portions to him who has nothing prepared; for this day is holy to our Lord. Do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.  Nehemiah 8:10

Authenticity is rare which is why it is so desirable and valuable.

Having so fond an affection for you, we were well-pleased to impart to you not only the gospel of God but also our own lives, because you had become very dear to us.  1 Thessalonians 2:8
The didn’t share the scriptures only, but they shared themselves.

True community is rooted in the gospel and embraces acceptance and rejects exclusion.

Now may the God who gives perseverance and encouragement grant you to be of the same mind with one another according to Christ Jesus,  so that with one accord you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Therefore, accept one another, just as Christ also accepted us to the glory of God.  Romans 15:5-7
Do good to our enemies.

God's Word gives a perfect picture of the joy of authentic community as seen in Acts 2:42-47.

*Expressing Love and Receiving Love
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.  Acts 2:42
To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.  C.S. Lewis
The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and  perturbations of love is Hell.  C.S. Lewis

 *Trust and Transparency
All the believers were together and had everything in common.  Acts 2:44
*Serve One Another
. . . and we’re sharing them with all, as anyone had need.”  Acts 2:45
 *Grace Flowing and Contagious Joy

Every day they continued to meet together . . . broke bread in homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people.  And the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.  Acts 2:46-47

Are you personally experiencing the joy of authentic community?  Are you promoting it in your own life?
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