Core Training 2012 (03): Community
Core Training 2012: Community - Richer Community through Deeper Friendships
"to friendship rather than to great wisdom" . . .
Romans 12:1–13 Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship . . . 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. 12:10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; 12:11 not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; 12:12 rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, 12:13 contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality.
Living as Sacrifices (Rom. 12:1-2) - Paul, after showing in detail how Jesus saves us (Rom. 3:25-11:36), now explains how we live as sacrifices as Christians. We follow Christ (ch. 8) and become conformed to Him (Rom. 8:29; Phil. 3:10). We also offer ourselves through worship and service in the new humanity that enters Eden/Zion above through the second Adam.
Living as Self-Sacrificing (Rom. 12:3-8) - With the tremendous warrant of “by the mercies of God,” the rest of ch. 12 shows us the contours of a self-sacrificial way of life. First, on the altar is our self-estimation: “not to think more highly of yourself than you ought to think” (Rom. 12:3). Secondly, we are not alone but part of a “body.” Thirdly, we must love one another, just as the Triune God has loved One Another and Christ loved us (Rom. 12:9).
Living as a Society of Friends (Rom. 12:9-13) - Since Christ has redeemed us by His mercy, we should have a rich community life through deep friendships. This love (agape v 9) is expressed in ten specific ways which define Christian friendship. These are set between two sonorous book ends: philadelphia (brotherly love) and philoxeia (hospitality) (v10/13).
Devotion (philastorge) to one another in love (philadelphia) - devotion as in a family.
Give preference to one another in honor - bestow recognition and show appreciation.
Not lagging behind in diligence - never be lacking in zeal, not complacent.
Fervent in spirit - boiling over with spiritual desire.
Serving the Lord - putting our energy to good use for Christ.
Rejoicing in hope - receiving joy as we look to the future.
Persevering in tribulation - patient in any afflictions.
Devoted to prayer - faithfulness in prayer makes perseverance possible.
Contributing (koinononein) to the needs of the saints - be a sharing community of believers.
Practicing hospitality (philoxeia)- showing kindnesses of meals and lodging to strangers.
Gregg Strawbridge, Ph.D., is the pastor of All Saints Church in Lancaster, PA. He became a committed follower of Jesus Christ at age 20, discipled in the context of a University Navigator Ministry. As a result of personal discipleship he went on to study at Columbia Biblical Seminary (M.A., Columbia, SC, 1990), as well as a Ph.D. in education and philosophy... read more