Every week, on Monday, we will have a blog for you with resources for diving deeper into the sermon.
In the third week of our Not a Religion series, Pastor Andrew focused on Titus 2:13-14 and how the gospel builds a new community. It seems that deep within the human heart there is a desire for a new, pure, utopian-type community. When we look at the brokenness of relationships in the world through divorce, children without parents, family members who won’t speak to each other, etc., we intuitively want to live in harmony with one another. And what we long for, Jesus came to build.
Two weeks ago, in verse 11, we saw that it said the grace of God has appeared. In verse 13, it says that we are awaiting the appearing of Jesus. He appears twice. The Christian life is not only motivated by looking back but looking forward—gratitude for what he has done, hope over what he will do.
In verse 14, we see two key words: redeem and people. The first word, redeem, shows the nature of the gospel. Before we believed in Jesus, we were enslaved to sin, but Jesus, by his death on the cross, paid the debt we owed because of our sin and released us into the freedom to serve him willingly. His resurrection shows us that we have hope that we will be raised like he was.
The second word, people, shows that Jesus didn’t just die to save individuals but a people. Jesus redeems people into a new community. And the more we grow into the likeness of Christ, the more we reflect the community that humans long for. All earthly communities (when they are healthy) are simply a shadow of the community to come. But they don’t have the power to transform people away from sin and into the likeness of the new community. Only the church, the community of Christ, has that power through the Holy Spirit who is given to every believer.
The application is this: Value the community of faith like God does. But valuing the new community means more than just attending. Being around the new community isn’t the same as being the new community. We in this group can value the new community by investing in our group. By investing time, relational energy, and emotional capital, we show that we value what Jesus has called is into; we become members dedicated to building each other up and comforting each other and helping each other battle the sin in our lives. Yes, group can seem too organized at first. But organized time leads us to be the people of God organically. When you get to know people and become close with them, you start to learn what they are dealing with and their passions for the community around them, and the Holy Spirit empowers you to partner with them in their life.
Featured Sermon Series Resource
Not a Religion reading guide: We have selected three separate passages to go with the themes of the Not a Religion series. This companion reading guide will last through the whole series and can be downloaded in full at the link provided. Or, you can have the verses and commentary sent to your email every day by texting MHPLAN to 41411.
-Alex Nolette (Equip Coordinator/Community Groups)