We were created to live in unity and community.
Theoretically, that is the same thing because community is simply common unity. It is all throughout the bible. We belong together, and we are better for it.
Paul talks about this in Ephesians 4. In verses 11 and 12 he talks about how Christ gave us our guides in the faith.
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
Christ gave these people so that they may help build the entire body of Christ. They are equipping us as followers of Christ to be able to equip others with our own gifting to continue to build the body of Christ.
So, Paul first talks about community being built through teaching and equipping.
He gives the reason why in verse 13.
until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.
Paul packs verse 13 with so much great content! The point of coming together to learn from the equippers is to bring unity and grow in our knowledge of who God is. When we experience this kind of unity, Paul says we start to attain the full measure of God.
This means that when we are not in one of these Christ centered communities then we are missing a part of Christ.
Paul gives a great illustration of this in verse 16.
From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work
Paul uses the example of the body fitting together like ligaments. These ligaments are what helps the body function as a whole because we are uniquely designed to fit in our area of the body. When one ligament is not attached the body can't function properly. But when it is attached properly all functioning the way each part was designed we see an incredible picture of movement.
The Christ centered community that we are in should move together in love as it grows and matures.
If you aren't in this kind of community, you need to be!
1. You are choosing ignorance
Paul says in verse 11 and 12 that our community is meant for us to know more about God. By not being in this type of community, you are choosing to not know Christ on a deeper level.
Some of you may say that you can learn all you need on your own time. You really can learn a lot and you should strive to know him more on your own time as well. But each of us was designed for a specific purpose. We all have different ways that we think, process, live. We have different backgrounds, personalities and stories, and everyone offers something.
When we are in a community we began to see God in everyone’s eyes and I believe God reveals Himself to us more through that.
2. You are missing out
In verse 13 Paul talks about this unity that comes from Christ centered community. It's a unity that builds us up together with the purpose of "attaining the full measure of Christ".
When you aren't in community than you are missing out on knowing Christ on a whole other level!
3. You are choosing to limp
Paul uses the perfect picture of the body of Christ in verse 16. It's a picture of all the perfectly designed ligaments coming together to create action.
When you aren't in Christ centered community you are choosing to limp through life. You are not the whole body! You are a piece of it that is losing out. Not only are you personally losing but you are making others lose as well.
You were created for a purpose and that purpose was designed to function in the Body of Christ. So, if you aren't attached the rest of that body is missing a vital piece.
Community is key, and you cannot afford to not live in this type of intentional, Christ centered community.