A Community Dying to Live?  

Posted by Mike Sharrow in , , , ,

I recently had the privilege of joining a gathering of some of the greatest champions of small group ministry from around the country for a strategic brain-storming session. One of the members, Ralph Neighbor, wrote the following comment on a discussion thread about Biblical Community which I found striking. I'm grateful for Ralph's passionate voice and efforts in the small group world. Check out this battle cry we should all allow to mess us up (like a sneeze, as Groeschel would say!)....

God and Satan both want the same thing. They both want to kill you, only for different reasons.

Satan wants to kill your effectiveness for the Kingdom of God. He does this by enticing each new believer to remain aloof from body life. He really doesn't care about what happens after we die; he just doesn't want us, while alive, to disturb his kingdoms in this world by being part of a cell group that reveals Christ's Presence, Power and Purpose.

God wants to kill everything in you that He cannot use for His Kingdom purposes. One thing is certain, he must kill you to the idea that you can exist in the Kingdom apart from body life. Entering the kingdom requires us to die to self, for in this new realm we "look not to our own interests, but also to the interest of others."

The Kingdom of God is all about community. Believers who never find themselves bonded (“baptized”) by the Spirit to fellow body members are not living a normal spiritual life. Becoming a part of a community that exists as the body of Christ is the launching of His reign in you.

The folly of evangelistic appeals is the emphasis on the "bridge" that takes us from the life of darkness to the life of the Kingdom. We talk about passing from death to life but never explain that this new life begins after we die to the old one.

We focus on the "new birth" without expanding what our new eyes must see: the Kingdom! Too many have been "born again" without any explanation about what the new life, joined to fellow body parts, involves. Thus we have thousands of pews every Sunday filled with disconnected body parts! It is ghastly!

I resent the parachurch teaching about every Christian having a “Quiet Time.” The idea that I have a “personal” time with God every day is a horrible obstruction to Kingdom body life. Instead, we need to approach the Throne as a body member, meaning that we bring our community of body parts into each fellowship hour with Christ. We are sensitive to His relationship, not only with me, but with me along with the other members of the body I am joined to by the Holy Spirit.

There is a heaven and earth difference between a "small group" and a literal Body of Christ. One is a tack-on to churchianity, the other is the most holy,sacred community on earth today. Its witness is the exposure of the indwelling Christ to the unbeliever who cries, "Wow! God is among you!" (1 Cor. 14:24-25).

This entry was posted at Sunday, March 08, 2009 and is filed under , , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

2 thoughts and responses

good stuff...good stuff.

March 8, 2009 at 9:23 PM

If anyone is interested in a book by Ralph Neighbour (my Pop!) that deals with this blog entry, you can find it here:

http://www.touchusa.org/web/Products/ProductDetail.aspx?pid=264&qid=1

March 9, 2009 at 6:20 PM

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