Watch the most recent sermon on 9.15.2021 Go Now!
September 12, 2021 | Doug Sauder
Watch our most recent mid-week message here.
I think we can all agree there is a gap between who we are today and who we want to become. For believers, our goal should be to grow closer to the Lord and become more like Jesus.
Even the apostle Paul understood and sought after this with all his heart. That’s why in Philippians 3:12 (NIV) he said, “Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.” Did you know one of the primary places where growth occurs is within a small group? Here are a few reasons why being part of a group will help you grow as a follower of Jesus and as a person.
Hebrews 10:24–25 (NIV): “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”
Jesus’ teachings fall into two categories: how to love God and how to love people. Neither of these can be truly learned alone. They require people who can provide insight, advice, and encouragement. A small group is a tried-and-true place to experience this and to learn how to practically live as Jesus did.
Romans 12:5 (NIV): “So in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
We all want to feel like we belong, like we’re accepted and truly loved. God gives us the gift of each other as a way to meet our earthly needs for belonging and acceptance. Groups are an amazing opportunity to build deep, lasting relationships with others, to walk through the triumphs and tragedies of life, to support and bear one another’s burdens, and to experience the joy of true friendship!
Ecclesiastes 4:9–12 (NIV): “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: if either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.”
In a Christ-centered community, we have the opportunity to discover, develop, and operate in our gifts and talents, to use them to serve the Lord, and to bless others through them. As the body of Christ comes together to grow in Him and serve one another, our unique roles in the body can be used to glorify God to the fullest.
1 Corinthians 1:10 (NIV): “I appeal to you, brothers and sisters,[a] in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another in what you say and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly united in mind and thought.”
One powerful way Christians grow through small groups is by working toward shared goals and common causes, whether that’s providing housing for a homeless person, supporting a missionary, or making meals for foster families. Or maybe they might band together to serve a group member with a serious health issue, personal struggle, or unexpected tragedy. When a community of like-minded people unite to accomplish a meaningful mission, growth is the natural result.
Galatians 6:1–5 (NIV): “Brothers and sisters, if someone is caught in a sin, you who live by the Spirit should restore that person gently. But watch yourselves, or you also may be tempted. Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves. Each one should test their own actions. Then they can take pride in themselves alone, without comparing themselves to someone else, for each one should carry their own load.”
Isolation is dangerous. Imagine a lone lion struggling to fight off a pack of 20 hyenas, but then another lion shows up—the hyenas will scatter. If you really seek it, there is safety in community because you have people who will speak truth into your life and help keep you accountable, resist temptation, and spur you on to love and good works. True community requires transparency, authenticity, and confession . . . all of which can help bring us to a place of healing.
Acts 2:46 (NIV): “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts.”
In community, we can get down into the nitty gritty of how to practically live out Scripture in the day-to-day. People can share revelation, experiences, wisdom, and bounce ideas off of one another. Community brings church into real life.
Being part of a group is one of the most life-giving experiences you can add to your weekly rhythm. God never intended for us to do life alone. Groups are a place that we can find belonging, build friendships, and learn and grow together.
Visit CalvaryFTL.org/Groups to find a great community for you!
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.