Community

Genesis Chapters 1-6. 1/19/2008 8:00am

Community seems to be the buzz word of recent years. Churches everywhere are clinging on to this new concept of community as they create innovative programs for their congregation. Community is talked about at leadership conferences like it is some kind of new fad that will come and go. The reality is that while some churches may treat community as an expendable resource to line their pockets with more people for bigger budgets and greater fame, other churches will sew this Biblical concept of community into the hearts of their people. The idea of community has been around since before time began. Early in Scripture, there are clues that even God dwells in community. He is never alone! Genesis 1 reports that after God finished crafting the sky, earth, and animals he created man. 1:26 records,”Then God said, ‘Let us make mankind in our image.'” Scriptures such as this are used by theologians to support the concept of the Trinity. God dwelt in the company of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

Another aspect of community is brought to light in the ensuing passages after Genesis 1:26. As Genesis 2 looks back again at the creation of man and woman, God Himself states that it is not good for man to be alone! So he created woman. Eve was created as one who corresponds to Adam. That is, she was created as a suitable helper or a complimenting opposite. When man was created, he was given community with both God and woman. Man was not created to live in isolation!

As one continues to read through Genesis, he will discover that community with God and man was violated in several ways. Trust between God and man was broken when man acted against God’s command and when man lied to God about what he had done. It is also seen when Cane submits a sacrifice to God which was less than his best.

Community was also betrayed between man and man. This is seen when Cane kills Abel. It is also seen throughout the entire book of Genesis and scripture when man commits vile acts against itself. Man has broken the natural freedom that is found in community through sin.

God’s intentions are for man to live in community- both with Him and with each other. So the plan to fix this problem was introduced by God in his judgement against man and the Serpent. Through the offspring of woman would come one who would crush the serpent’s head. That is, who would produce a crushing blow (Gen 3:16). This is scripture’s first recording of God’s grace on man. Many believe that this scripture is speaking directly about Christ’s victory over Satan. When He died on the cross, Jesus both received a temporary “bruise on his heel” as he was injured on the cross and he delivered the fatal blow to Satan and his offspring. When Christ resurrected himself, Satan was defeated and man was given opportunity for the provision of community once again!

Community is much more than a tool for Church ministry. Community is a necessity for life. It is a way of life that God has intended for us, a way so important that God sacrificed His Son so that we could once again live in the freedom of community. Certain hurts, habits and “hang-ups” can deter us toward a life of isolation and insecurity. But God created us to live in the freedom of community where we can safely share such struggles. James 5:16 instructs believers to confess our sins to one another and to pray for each other so that we may be healed. There are several other passages throughout scripture which describe the community of God’s people and how it is to function. We must all examine ourselves and see if we are living in authentic Biblical community. If not, then why? How can we make steps toward sharing life with others?

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