Topic: Sunday Message Verse: 2 Chronicles 5:17, 1 Chronicles 12:27, Romans 12:5, Romans 15:7,
A four-week message series to....
2 Corinthians 5:17 ESV
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
Our blessings as Christians
In Jesus Christ, we are:
A child of God (John 1:12)
Adopted as God’s very own (Ephesians 1:5)
A friend of Jesus (John 15:15)
A citizen of heaven (Phil 3:20)
These all are immediate and eternal blessings given to us by God as individual Christians. But we are so much more than just individuals Christian. We are part of something bigger and something greater, and that something is called “the church.”
Another blessing in Jesus Christ is that we are:
Included in Christ’s church
1 Corinthians 12:27 NIV
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
Romans 12:5 NIV
5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
The Challenge of Belonging
How do you make what is real for you (your reality in Christ) to feel more real to you (your experience in life)?
You might wonder: "The Bible might say I belong to THE church, but I don’t feel like I belong to my church.”
Environments have to do with the relational dynamics in the church. That was the whole point of our “One Another” series this past summer, including Jesus' words to us in John 13 to love each other just as He has loved us. Living out the "one anothers" of the New Testament helps to create a welcoming environment and makes it easier for people to feel a sense of belonging.
Romans 15:7 NIV
7 Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God.
Some responsibility falls on us. If the church extends its welcome to us, then we need to take the steps needed to feel like we belong. Worshipping on Sundays is a great place to start but there are other steps we can take to move us out of the auditorium and into community.
1. Sign up for My Community
My Community is an online, interactive, communication portal where we let people know what’s going on at the church, and where we make it easier for you to get involved and feel connected. Fill out one of the My Community sign up cards on your seat or check out the link below.
2. Get Involved by Serving.
Serving here at Hopevale is the number one way people feel more connected to the church. Many have felt that greater sense of belonging by serving, because serving takes us from the bleachers to the ball field and gets us in the game with other like-minded, same-hearted Christians in our church. Over the next three Sundays, we'll talk more specifically about how you can get more involved by serving.
“Clearly I’m in a totally different place at Hopevale. I feel like this is my church because I have found that niche.”
We’re relational beings that have this need to belong. That’s why we not only need Jesus, but we also need the church. We need each other. Pastor Dan
1. What does it mean to belong to an organization? Share your experience as part of an entity other than the church. What does it mean to belong to a family? How are these the same? Different?
2. Which one—organization or family—most closely aligns with belonging to Hopevale Church? Explain.
3. New Testament writers use at least seven word pictures for the church, such as Jesus’ body. Name a few others and note briefly what each word picture tells us about how the church should function.
4. Read 1 Corinthians 12:12-27. What do these verses teach specifically about how and why God connects us to one another? What are ways you experience and exemplify “the Body” at Hopevale?
Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its parts form one body, so it is with Christ . . . . Now you all are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:12, 27
5. Pastor Dan said that environments of community are what we provide for others and that experiences of community are what we pursue ourselves. What have you found really communicates welcome and acceptance to others in a Community Group or on Sunday mornings? What do we need to do to be open to the experience of community ourselves?