Tychicus is my dear brother in Christ and a faithful minister and servant with me in the Lord. He will tell you all the things that are happening to me. This is why I am sending him: so you may know how we are and he may encourage you. Colossians 4 7-8
Thought: today we are looking at what it means to build a community that is based around God’s house. God's people, and ultimately God's kingdom. Looking at Paul's closing remarks in his letter to the church we discover what it meant for Paul to have these friends and people around him. Paul lists all the people who have been an encouragement to him and will continue the work of encouraging others. These Faithful ones
Faithfulness is a quality we all look for in our friendships and when it comes to building a community. One thing, among many, that is often missing is a tight community.
1. How do we build a community
Paul at this time we believe was in prison as he wrote these letters and whilst he was not with them in person he saw the value of sending a substitute.
Paul wrote to his prodigy Timothy,
You then, Timothy, my child, be strong in the grace we have in Christ Jesus. You should teach people whom you can trust the things you and many others have heard me say. Then they will be able to teach others.
2 Timothy 2:1-2
This is how we build a community, first, we take the strength and grace that we have and then Look for a connection second it is about how God uses us in passing onto others what we have.
Remember when Paul said listen to these friends of mine and they would tell you everything, Paul was open with these guys, sharing his wisdom, we all need people we can be honest with people we can trust, how did we find such people by ourselves being people who can be trusted. Someone who is a known gossip it’s difficult to share with them.
The church and gathering together is more important than ever, so how can we begin bringing together people that can share their strengths console those in weakness and encourage them.
Paul was often talking about people and the importance he placed in investing in people, we understand that when we invest, we invest in the future, and when it comes to people we shouldn't be too quick to write them off and cut them off
Paul is in prison in for the work he has done and now all his passion remains with making sure that he labour is not in vein and the finishing the work.
He realises he can’t do this on his own, so the lesson for all of us to learn that we need to live in community, a space where we need to learn what it means to trust others to bring others along.
2. The house of God is God’s people.
For us today we are building something here in our community Ely. It's not about the building it's about building up people. Building big people, means we have people that can carry more. God wants to increase our capacity. Big-hearted people will always include others, Paul was interested in not just himself but everyone receiving the crown of life. Timothy was one whom pauls invested in, he went onto pastor the church in Ephesus. When Paul wrote to Timothy he spoke about finishing well.
My life is being given as an offering to God, and the time has come for me to leave this life. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now, a crown is being held for me—a crown for being right with God. The Lord, the judge who judges rightly, will give the crown to me on that day —not only to me but to all those who have waited with love for him to come again.
2 Timothy 4:6-8 -
We don’t need to struggle alone, paul once said
At times I dispared of life
Paul asking for help in the previous passage, help in looking for opportunities. Even though his life seems to be coming to an end he wasn’t finished.
Paul’s request for prayer means that this may be an area he needs help, we think of this writer who has it figured out. In fact when it comes to divine direction Paul at times seemed to stumble his way around Asia not sure where god was directing him, he went somewhere to see if this would God would lead us.
Paul’s asking for prayer for the following...
That he would Have an answer.
Pray is something that brings people together. A shared goal a shared belief and concern for others.
Yes, we should be in prayer, a place or state that builds up our faith. But also bring that strength to the gathering.
Church can be a comfortable place, a safe place. Somewhere where everyone knows your name.
The church is not an exclusive club that speaks its own language that operates for its own benefit.
Psalms 73 says that it's so good to be near God that I will tell everyone.
“how good it is to be near God! I have made the Sovereign LORD my shelter, and I will tell everyone about the wonderful things you do.”
Psalms 73:28 NLT
3. God's kingdom.
Big picture is that we are looking to build the kingdom of God. Jesus said I will build my church and even the gates of Hell will not prevail. the early church succeed in its mission. it went from 120 members to 5000 in a short space of time. Yet they managed to keep a sense of community.
It's not the size of church that keeps people from community. it's our love for one another.
To feel connected in a large church is about everyone looking out for each other. It means you can’t know everyone, we all have to be invested and connected with in the community.
Paul speaks of his friend being encouraging almost as if it was their calling
Humans are not meant to live alone. But in community.
Paul describes Tychicus as a faithful and dear brother part of your group.
Who is in our group.
Who is our friend that sticks closer than a brother.
the biblical word, koinonia, which means “fellowship.” defined as.
the condition or relation of being a fellow: the fellowship of humankind.
friendly relationship; companionship: the fellowship of father and son.
community of interest, feeling, etc.
communion, as between members of the same church.
an association of persons having similar tastes, interests, etc.
God’s plan from the beginning was that each one of us would belong to a spiritual community, where we all would be known and we would know others.
How can we create a community like this? How can we connect with one another?
We are open to friendships
We open our lives
We are big people
We make room
We bring others
Right from the start it was God’s plan to bring in others
In the book of Genesis, Abraham was blessed so all the nations of the earth would be blessed through him.
are we thinking about what just blesses us and what do we enjoy how do we like to worship regardless of the 97% of people not in church this morning.
Do we use language they don't understand rituals that are meaningless,
We can take a moment in their shoes and ask ourselves can we do things in our church that makes it attractive to them.
If we are to build the church we need to look at ourselves and ask what can we do to reach those not in our church, why are they not in the church.
Is it Because they think it's not for them. Perhaps we need to bring them to faith in Christ then they will want to be part of a church.
Can we get out of dead rituals and be relevant to what people are going through
What questions are people asking today?
What are the issues that people face today?
Is the church addressing those issues or arguing over things they don’t consider relevant
Someone text me and said they were thankful for knowing me that I had inspired them without forcing my religious views on them.
The love of people is our driving force, being big hearted friendly person who is open to other who are not the same as us.
What makes us good at what we do is often realising where our strengths and weaknesses are.
What we are known for has to be more than our religious views but in the way we genuinely love people. Regardless whether they have faith or none.
Can we show grace love from a big heart, can we be like one of Paul’s friends and encourage others. Can we be a messenger and deliver the good news.
Paul closed all of his letters with some mention of God’s grace, but it wasn’t just a polite formality. Here, the Greek text literally reads, “The grace be with you all.”
“The grace” is the amazing, abundant, sustaining, all-sufficient grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was His grace that reached down to that angry persecutor of the church on the Damascus Road and changed his heart. It was completely undeserved. Paul deserved God’s judgment, but he received mercy.
God’s grace motivated Paul to suffer hardship and persecution for the gospel. It motivated him to serve Christ with unstoppable zeal (1 Cor. 15:10).
God’s grace as shown at the cross was Paul’s only message. If anyone perverted the grace of God, Paul was not happy. If any church turned from God’s grace to a system of works, Paul rebuked it in the strongest of words
God’s grace was sufficient to sustain Paul in trials and keep him from exalting himself on account of the vision of heaven that he had experienced. Paul’s entire theology and his gospel may be summed up by that one word, grace.
That motivation is the kindness of God our Savior and His love for us as sinners that appeared in the person of Jesus Christ. He broke into our lives and saved us, not on the basis of deeds that we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy. By His power, He regenerated us from spiritual death to eternal life. He renewed us by the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior. The result is that being justified by His grace, we now are heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
We have received such grace we can’t keep this to ourselves
We don’t want to keep this for ourselves
We want others to know what we know
We have a great message to get across to people, we are authentic compassionate and prepared to sacrifice to the sake of others
Can we look for opportunities
Opportunity is something we can pass by something we can miss, so we pray, God will allow his spirit to direct us into opportunities he has mapped out.
Submission to God and his Holy Spirit presents opportunities that we would miss trying to have everything our own way.
This can be as simple as asking a friend: How are you doing...really?” Then pray for them.