The Necessity of Community in Growing One’s Immunity

Welcome back to the Training Table. Happy New Year and thank you so very much for all the encouragement, participation, and discussion we’ve had in the previous gatherings around the table!

I hope you bring an appetite for some nourishing fare that is stimulated by having “run the good race” (1 Corinthians 9:24; Hebrews 12:1) this week. Let’s dig in!

There are three main areas which offer an explanation for the dissolution of so many institutions in our culture today. They consist of the very complicated yet reasonable and accessible “buckets” of rampant pluralization (the onset of relativistic thinking where True Truth no longer exists—except every individual’s right to define truth for him or her self), rampant secularization (the belief that the here and now is the only reality—and the sense of shame that no longer exists in any realm of society), and rampant privatization (the belief that what one does in his or her private life has any or no bearing on their public life).

In our day, the world and the church are equally guilty of fully embracing these idiosyncrasies of cultural change and degradation that began to take root many years ago. Springing from the seeds of philosophical thoughts over time, and growing roots and fruit so deep and robust, that if we were to attempt reverse the effects of these issues it would take nothing short of divine intervention. It’s taken many seasons to arrive at the place where we are today; it will take that many and many more to get us back to a better place.

The menu at The Training Table today is made up of offering the Bible’s antidote for one of these very wide and deep problems, rampant privatization (the belief that what one does in his or her private life has any bearing on their public life). Please take a look at the Bible verse (offered and referenced).

A Call of Assurance and Perseverance
“Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enterthe holy places by the blood of Jesus, by the new and living way that he opened for us throughthe curtain, that is, through his flesh, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near” (Hebrews 10:19-25; 1 Timothy 4:13; Acts 2:42).

Let’s take a brief gander at the passage above (and related passages on your own). This offering is vitally important, compact, and fully meritorious of as much of your time, talent, and treasure needed to enjoy and employ!

  1. The basis for anyone’s ability to execute on, and persevere in, even the smallest (or largest) aspects of their faith is the level of assurance he or she has that God’s person and promises are True, Loving, Unwavering, Hopeful, Timeless, and Efficacious—in time and in eternity (vv 19-23).
  2. One of the most important aspects of one’s faith life (and just doing life reasonably well in any respect) is the nature of the community of people we choose to surround ourselves by (vv 24-25).

We need COMMUNITY… to give us the best IMMUNITY against the sinful forces of the world, the flesh and the devil, and to INSPIRE us to be CONFORMED more and more into the likeness of Jesus Christ SO THAT we are the culturally, institutionally, socially, relationally… reforming forces of LIGHT and SALT that God calls Christians to be. Without community there is no immunity (to avoid the BAD) or inspiration (to do the GOOD) to be all we are called to be. The shallowness of many relationships in ANY community is very prevalent today. We need to go deeper!

Two Communities… To Protect and Inspire… If we choose to be only nominally interested or involved (or not a member at all) of a Bible-based CHURCH and a ONE-ON-ONE RELATIONSHIP and/or SMALL GROUP and/or COMMUNITY GROUP FELLOWSHIP, then we have, a) bought into the above-referenced worldview and practice of “privatization”, and b) we have chosen to cut ourselves off to the wide array of benefits of being in a community–that reflects the community of the Trinity from which we are BORN, and RE-BORN.

Being in a Bible-based community should look like, a) a place of the deepest TRUTH, TRUST, TRANSPARENCY, and ACCOUTABILITY, while offering each member the chance to LOVINGY and TRUTHFULLY speak into our lives in the hopes and MEASURES of helping one another GROW, SERVE, and REDEEM–in increasing proportions over time.

Please consider TODAY (Psalm 95:7-8) what sort of CHURCH and FELLOWSHIP communities that you’re fully invested in.

Please know that the effects of RAMPANT PRIVITIZATION are real and disastrous in a wide array of ways—not the very least of which is that impact on the HEART of any human being that is designed for being held together, redeemed, and sacrificially given away… IN COMMUNITY.

Can’t wait to see you at The Training Table again when we will chew on, “Narrow Gates or Broad Roads: We’re Always on One or the Other!”

May God richly bless you as you run the good race and enjoin others to do the same,

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