Introduction: Just as Tom Hanks in the movie Cast Away, is isolated on a deserted island, he has no one to relate to, he finally creates someone out of a volleyball. His friend is Wilson. He could not stand to be alone. But that’s because he was not created to be alone, he was created for relationships. Tom Hanks that is, not the volleyball.
1. Made in the image of God means we were created for relationships- Genesis 1:26-27
God is Triune: The Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. Three persons in one God. They are in perfect unity and they relate to one another perfectly. One does not exist without the other. So, part of the image of God is relational. And since we were created in the image of God then we know that we were created to live in relationships with God and with others. Living in relationships with one another is part of how we were created to live. Throughout the Old Testament we see God’ people living together in unity; caring and loving one another. They needed one another because that is how they were created. I suppose that if God would not have wanted us to be relational then he would have given us separate worlds to live in. Some of you think that would be awesome but, I think you would get lonely pretty quickly.
God is for you and He really cares about you that’s why He created others for you. When we are alone we are missing out on God’s best for us. When we are in Community we are experiencing life the way God designed it.
2. Our Identity in Christ leads us to relationships – Colossians 3:12-17
When I was a younger believer, I used to read passages like this and think, this is what I have to do. today. I have to do all these things; compassionate, kind, humble, patient and forgiving. I saw them as my marching orders for the day. But as I matured in my understanding of the Scriptures I began to see that these characteristics are not just commands for me to carry out but rather they are characteristics of who I am in Christ. I began to understand at a deeper level that I had been changed by Christ, I had been given a new identity, I had been given new desires. And so these characteristics were really things that should flow out of my identity in Christ.
Who I am dictates what I do.
You can’t read Colossians 3:12-17 without understanding Colossians 1-3:11. Paul, the writer of Colossians spends the first three chapters explaining who we are in Christ, that we have been redeemed, that we were dead but have been made alive in Christ. And so, he says, ”Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved [this is who you are] compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience…”
What Paul is saying is that your identity in Christ will lead you to do these things. These characteristics are the fruit of who you are.
And so we see that our identity in Christ leads us to relationships and the rich depth of being united together with other believers in Christ. And so then we see all these things in Scripture which flow out of our identity and teach us how to relate to one another. Here are some of the ”One Anothers” that will flow out of our identity in Christ, out of our being made in the image of God:
3. Early Church gives us a model for relationships – Acts 2:42
The early church did not see themselves as on their own but as connected to one another. They shared their lives together and there was a tremendous amount of brotherhood among believers. They model for us how we are to think about relationships. We see them going to worship in the temple together, we see them meeting in homes to study the Scriptures together, they ate together, they had fellowship together. No one was left on their own.
WHY ”SMALL” GROUPS AT SPRING RUN?
We have taken a strong Biblical look at that truth that we were made for relationships and we need to be worshiping, loving and caring for one another. So what does this idea of ”small” have to do with it?
You can’t connect with everybody, but you’ve got to connect with somebody. Deeper friendships are built in small groups which leads to greater trust and openness. In order to help make a large church feel small you need small groups. If you feel frustrated about not being known or knowing others then get into a small group. As we continue to grow we will have different challenges along the way, specifically how to we make sure everyone is connected and people are building relationships with one another. Small groups help overcome this challenge. Another challenge is that the pastoral staff cannot effectively pastor everyone in the church. That’s why we call all believers into ministry. Many of you pastor one another much better than we ever could. Its our job to equip you to minister to one another and the primary place that will happen is in small groups. We as church leaders have a responsibility to help create environments for you to grow in Christ and be encouraged, but you have a responsibility to get involved and minister to one another.
You are really missing out if you are not in a Small Group!
We currently have 21 Small Groups for you to have the option of getting involved in. All different times, all different kinds. After the service we will have our Small Group leaders available to talk to you about their groups and help you find one that works best for you. If for some reason there does not seem to be a group that fits you then contact Andrew or myself and we can help you out. We are always looking to start new groups.