and it became known throughout all joppa, and many believed in the Lord. and he stayed in joppa for many days with one simon, a tanner. [acts 9:42-43]
building community takes time. peter stayed in joppa for many days. why? a sign had been performed, tabitha had been presented alive, and many believed in the Lord. but we see that peter’s work is not done. for many days he remained there, building up this group of brand new believers, teaching, confirming, strengthening. this is how the church thrives. this is how we cultivate a bond of love, and cultivate a spirit of perseverance and faithfulness of the saints.
God calls us to spend time and effort in building up his bride. and not only a few of us. he calls every believer to this same task. not all are called to a full time vocational ministry, but every believer has a role to play in edifying the body of Christ. why is this community building important?
- in community, we grow in gladness and generosity, which is contagious in a world that is so hungry for it.
and day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. and the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. [acts 2:46-47]
- in community, we encourage and are encouraged to spread God’s love, producing fervor and zeal for Jesus and his bride.
and let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. [heb 10:24-25]
- in community, we speak and hear truth, producing a faithfulness to the word, a spirit of repentance, and faithfulness to Christ.
take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. but exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. for we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. [heb 3:12-14]
this only scratches the surface of how the community of the church should look. how is the Lord using you to build up the body in these ways? what time and effort is he calling you to give to him in order to edify his bride? are you neglecting this calling, or are you obeying with a glad and generous heart? ask the Lord to show you his heart in this area of community in his church, and may we be a people united in a way that is irresistible to the world around us!
~ arwen eastman