Watch the most recent sermon on 9.19.2021 Go Now!
September 19, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
In this study guide, we’ll begin a two-week look at the power, purpose, and practice of living in authentic Christian community. Watch Pastor Doug Rasku and Kelly Henke discuss why it’s so important to do life with others and what it practically looks like for the believer in our world today.
Below, you’ll find some key discussion points to reflect on and questions to discuss in your small group, with your family, or in your circle of friends, as well as some action points for the week.
Memory Verse of the Week: Genesis 2:18 (NKJV)“And the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that man should be alone.’”
Icebreaker: What’s your favorite team-up movie and why? What makes it such a great story?
Getting the Conversation Going: In Genesis 1, we’re told that God created us in His image and likeness. That means a lot of things and gives us a special place amongst His creation, but one of the chief things it tells us about ourselves is that we were made for community! How do we know that? Because it’s essential to His nature. How so? Well, God eternally exists in the community of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
We are created for community, fashioned for fellowship, and formed for a family, and none of us can fulfill God’s purposes by ourselves.—Rick Warren
Admittedly, we’re swimming in the deep end of the theological pool here, but the basic truth we need to take away is this: Community isn’t just something God wants us to do, it’s rooted in the very nature of who He is. Ultimately, community is a reflection of God, Himself, and a need that runs deep in our DNA. This makes it something every follower of His should embrace and embody, because it’s a vital part of God’s design for our lives!
Discussion Question 1: What do Genesis 1:26 and Genesis 2:18 reveal to us about God’s design for our lives? How does this influence your attitude about living in community with others?
Better Together: Community isn’t just in God’s nature (being that He’s three in one), and it’s not just in His design (being that we’re made to be in relationship with one another). Community is also for our benefit!
God could have chosen to make us completely self-sufficient and non-relational, yet He did the exact opposite. First, He made us reliant on Him, but He also made us relational beings because He saw the beauty in making us for community. Although we must not make our relationships an idolatrous endeavor, putting them before our relationship with the Lord, we must not avoid the fact that we innately desire to be in community with others, even if it’s hard at times.
The beautiful thing about God; however, is that He’s a God of redemption and restoration. This means that whatever trauma or difficulties we endure from negative community experiences, He can take them and use them to grow us because that is who He is and because His intention for the body is for us to grow to “become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit” (Ephesians 2:22 NIV).
Discussion Question 2: How have you seen or experienced the power and beauty of community?
Experiencing the Fullness of God: Ephesians 3:17–19 (NIV) says, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” What does this tell us about life together? When we boil it down, we’re told that in order to experience the fullness of all God has for us, community is vital! It’s not something we were made to or meant to experience on our own.
We need to do life together with other believers, to “spur one another on toward love and good deeds” (Hebrews 10:24–25 NIV) and to grow in our faith and intimacy with Christ individually and collectively. We need one another in order to “grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge” and to “be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
When we do, not only are we able to experience fullness, but God, “who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us” (Ephesians 3:20 NIV), increases our capacity to experience His presence, power, agency, and riches in Christ Jesus! And what does that result in? Colossians 1:10–12 (NIV) says that we will “live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so [we] may have great endurance and patience, and [give] joyful thanks to the Father.”
Discussion Question 3: Why do you believe community with other believers is necessary to experiencing the fullness of God in your life?
Discussion Question 4: How do other believers help you grasp more deeply and intimately the goodness and love of God and the work He is doing in and through you?
Discussion Question 5: In what ways can you be more intentional to walk in authentic Christian community this week?
This Week: If you’re a part of a Christ-centered community already, spend some more intentional time with them this week for your enjoyment and nourishment! If not, then pray about finding a community that will be beneficial to your faith and overall life. To find your community, visit CalvaryFTL.org/Groups!
In our next study, we’ll conclude “Life Together” as we dive into the practical! Learn how to actually live in community, how to deal with conflict, and how to walk through life in the highs and lows.
Danny Saavedra has served on the staff of Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.