Haggai Still Speaks…
Paul now boldly asserts that the sacred intersection, the breaking-in point of the Reign of God into this realm, is no longer a building in Jerusalem, but a people, and not just any people, but the unified-yet-diverse people of God, Jew and Gentile together inextricably bound together by the salvific work of Jesus.
The dictionary defines “community” this way: A unified body of individuals with a common character, with common interests, who share joint ownership and participation in something.
- The church is at its best and strongest when it is made up of all different kinds of people with all different stories who come together and combine their individual stories into a great epic of God’s love.
- Each of us who has been brought together into this church family brings with us a set of personality traits.
- Because we are all created differently, and are all in various stages of transformation, He understood and expected there to be conflict.
Through the words of Paul in Ephesians 4:2,3 we are instructed to “Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.”
The church is at our best, our connectedness here is the strongest when we each recognize the talents God has given us,
when we recognize each other’s talents,
and when we bring them all together,
freely offering them—using them–
to make the church stronger,
to enrich each other’s lives,
to carry the goodness of Christ into the world around us.
“It is that God’s people will be equipped to do better work for him, building up the Church, the body of Christ, to a position of strength and maturity; until finally we all believe alike about our salvation and about our Savior, God’s Son, and all become full-grown in the Lord-yes, to the point of being filled full with Christ.”
Here’s a fun exercise for you to do when you have time:
Use your concordance and find all of the scriptures from Acts to Revelation in which you find the word “together” and see what early Christians did “together.”
Paul presents a series of contrasts:
do not lie, rather tell the truth.
Do not sin in your anger, rather be angry at appropriate times and express it in appropriate ways, with your heart set on reconciliation.
Do not steal, rather contribute.
Do not slander, rather build up.
Do not be bitter or full of wrath but be kind and forgive.
- Our Reign of God citizenship is most clearly demonstrated through our commitment to right relationship to one another, through honest speech, generous contribution to the needs of others, a spirit of kindness, and a determination to forgive as we have been forgiven.
In. Ephesians 5:1, Paul summarizes the challenge well:
in light of all this, just imitate God.
What if we really listened to Jesus