The teaching last night was #4 in “Building Community.” Its title was “Expectation.” The word used in the Bible is usually “hope.” But if you search for a definition, you will find something like “What we confidently expect as a result of the power of God.” Those are my words, for us in this study – “Expectation” – what we are expecting as we build a community of faith.
I did a brief review, and I am sorry that time will not allow me to write all that here. Let me just list the names of the studies we have done over the past few months and give the main points we covered under them.
#1 – Focus; 1) Relationships are intentional (we choose) and appointed (the Lord chooses); #2 Biblical fellowship follows the pattern set for us in Scripture. We enter into the unity already in existence in the God-Head. We do not generate it, but we become a part of the fellowship of the Trinity. (John 17:13-26); 3) Biblical Communities have a focus (Acts 2:42 – apostles teaching, fellowship, food and prayer).
#2 – Belonging; 1)Priority of the Trinitarian Pattern of Fellowship – The Lord is always first; 2)In this is a shared Godly loyalty, but not the loyalty so often expected which is of flesh and brings bondage; 3)No favoritism – no cliques – no partiality. We become as He is, loving and receiving all.
#3 – Sacrifice – Emphasis on not becoming anyone’s answer. We are the Lord’s hands and feet and the Lord’s heart revealed. We must not begin to “play God” in anyone’s life. Be careful to keep your boundaries in place – do not allow flesh intimacy to become a part. Do not fashion our relationship around answering needs. Dealt with Philippians 2:1-11 and with Paul’s approach to “need” (want in some version) in Philippians 4:10-14.
#4 – Expectation; 1)Acceptance – 1 Peter 1:22-23 with an emphasis of “no hypocrisy” in our actions – no agenda’s and no manipulation to get our way or to feel like we belong. Instead develop in our time with the Lord and inward acceptance and begin to live in and out of that. That way our acceptance in the body of Christ has to do with Him and not so much (if at all) with other; 2)Enfolded – The interior disposition of belonging – learning not to be up or down as a result of people. This is done in one-on-one relationship in Jesus.; 3) Sharing – Galatians 6:2-10 learning to bear one another’s deep hardship, while expecting us all to carry our own daily trials. Once again boundaries were talked about.
We are intentional in developing progressive, God centered friendships and inter-relationships. Do not keep looking back. “Oh, I remember when it was really a lot different here…..” All such statements leave others out (partiality at work) and keep us anchored in what God did once a while ago, instead of the continual upward call of Christ Jesus which will always move us progressively forward in Him – expecting from His hand.
Our negative Biblical examples were Euodia & Syntyche in Philippians 4:2-3.
Our positive Biblical examples were Timothy and Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:19-30.
Now that is a pretty good “taste” of some of the work we did. We have one more lesson that will be in a couple of weeks. Special meeting is this next Thurs. evening. Our last class on this topic will be “Release,” the first Thursday of April.