In this series, we’re trying to figure out what it means to be a disciple. A Disciple is someone who:
Is in COMMUNITY with others
Is always on MISSION
This post is about COMMUNITY
A disciple is in COMMUNITY with others
So how do we know if we’re in community? Where does it happen? When does it happen? Does it need a schedule? Are we in it right now?
In John 13:35 Jesus gives us a clear definition of what a disciple in community looks like:
John 13:35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples: if you love one another.
Community, then means: We love each other by knowing each other.
We were made to be known. We want to be known. But we always expect someone else to start the process. Well God already did, by sending Jesus first. God wants to be with us, that’s literally what fellowship means. And not only that, but he wants us to be with each other…to know each other….to be in community with each other.
So today we’re going to look in 1 John again and see what this idea of community is all about.
Community is OBEDIENCE
1 John 2.3-6 We know that we have come to know Him if we keep His commands. Whoever says, “I know him” but does not do what He commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys His word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: whoever claims to live in Him must live as Jesus did.
So what are His commands?
From Matthew 28.19-20 we see simply that His commands are 1) love God, 2) love others, 3) be on mission
If you say you love God but don’t love others (that is, be in community), you’re a liar. You may know the truth but it’s not in you. I may know…babies are difficult; I may know…skydiving looks fun; I may know…hunter safety rules; but until I experience them that truth is not in me.
Community is not an option. To be in community is to be walking in obedience. Disciples are those that obey. And that means we worship God, we’re in community with others, and we’re always on mission.
When you do this, love for God is made complete (literally “perfected”)
Community is LOVE
1 John 2.9-11 Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them.
When you walk in the darkness it’s easy to trip over something you forgot was there… But what do your eyes eventually do in a dark room?
So some of you THINK you’re in community, but your eyes have adjusted to your own darkness, so you still gossip, you still intentionally leave others out, you still use sarcasm instead of encouragement you still ignore BELIEVERS in your church.
The Bible calls this “hate.” Wake up! Disciples are in community with others and that means we love each other by knowing each other. You might not think you’re hateful, but biblically your actions say you might be. It’s time to wake up from that.
Community is KNOWING
1 John 4.20-21 Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. And He has given us this command: Anyone who loves God must also love their brother and sister.
This is emphatic! It doesn’t say “whoever does not love their brother and sister ‘might not’ love God…” it says CANNOT. It doesn’t say “Anyone who loves God ‘should’ also love their brother and sister…” it says MUST. There’s no way around this.
If you do not love other believers you are not walking in obedience.
And that means you might be intrigued by God and think His teachings are good, but a disciple is in community with others.
And community is obedience, community is love, community is knowing.
It is important to know and worship rightly the God revealed through Scripture, but it is equally important to love each other by knowing each other.
How Do We Respond To This?
To be a disciple is to be in community with others. Some of you LOVE God, but you don’t love other believers. You may not even LIKE some of the people in your church. That’s not OK.
A disciple of Jesus is in community with others. A disciple of Jesus is RECOGNIZED as a disciple by how we love each other. Just imagine if you could walk into your church and KNOW everyone…be KNOWN by everyone.
Without community there is no discipleship. So may you connect in community here. May you grow as a disciple of Jesus as one who truly loves their brothers and sisters in Christ.