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Devotional Study Part 3

10 Mar 2021


Mark 1:14-20


Jesus comes out of the wilderness experience and comes to Galilee preaching the Gospel with power and authority. He then calls His disciples.


What has this to do with overcoming the flesh you might well ask? I did, however, I think it is important.


I think Jesus calls His disciples for at least two reasons, firstly because it was part of His mission to teach/train others, to prepare them for life in The Way, to live all of life as an act of true worship.


Just as it was Jesus’ mission to teach, train, and prepare others, it is also ours. It is part of the DNA of the children of God to reproduce, part of the calling of the disciple to go and make disciples of all nations.


Much could be said about that but it could take us some way off course from the focus of our particular study. Instead let’s turn to the second reason I believe that Jesus called His disciples.


The Spirit of God draws together community. Wherever you see a move of the Spirit you see a community form.


One of the reasons for this, I believe, is linked to the Trinitarian nature of God Himself. God exists as an eternal relationship of persons, an eternal community in the Godhead of the Trinity. I believe that we can infer from this that reality is relational at its core, and community central to that reality.


As God’s people we are made in His image and likeness, called to reflect God’s character and nature. If we are to fulfil this mandate, to reflect the character and nature of the God who exists as an eternal relationship, it will take more than one person alone to do this. It takes a community of people to reflect the image and likeness of the Trinitarian God.


Alongside that however, I also believe that community is essential to what we are as humans more generally, after all, we are told in Genesis 1:18 that it is not good for the man to be alone.. We need community in order to experience the fulness of what it is to be human. We need community in order to be whole.


We also need community because relationship with others not only combats loneliness, but it also promotes accountability. It drives us to live a more open and transparent life than we otherwise might, guarding against indulging the flesh, bringing our lives into the light, where our sin prefers the dark.


I believe that being in community is essential to overcoming the flesh. Surely that is one of the messages implicit in the communion as we partake of the body and blood of Christ, not simply as individuals, but together as a community. 


The communion, amongst other things, communicates that we each individually belong to Christ as we were each bought at a price, but also that we belong to and with each other as members of His body.


This stands in stark contrast to the rampant individualism of our culture and the dogged commitment to privacy evidenced in modern life. We must push back against these titanic forces. This will require far more than the standard church community expressed in the Sunday gathering or midweek Bible study. It has to be more than home groups.


Q: How do we orient our lives to reflect this commitment to community?


Q: How do we organise ourselves as the Church to foster, encourage, and reflect the centrality of community to The Way, as well as the necessity of community to the overcoming of the flesh?

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