A few weeks ago, I was teaching preaching students through the book of Titus. What an astounding book! It seems like modern day society and Cretan culture are pretty similar. Paul would probably look at us and say "What a wonderful place to show God's glory! Lord, please build the Kingdom Here!" I'm sorry if I offended you for not putting that in King James, but hey, I hope you'll grant me a small concession (Stupid joke, but I don't care!). Let's, then consider what the church actually IS. It's not the building we go to on a Sunday morning (though the church can and does meet in buildings), it's not the denomination (though the church has many parts in its body) and its not the programs we use to get people involved (though people going to those programs can be a part of the church!). It's the community of God, what we were made for. A thought that occurred to me about this word "community" is that it contains two things that are central to the church: communion and unity.
I use the term communion both specifically and generally: we gather around the Lord's table, but we do so for community with God and with the body of Christ, the church. Early believers loved this concept so much, they'd participate in the Lord's supper whenever they would gather, and they had cups of wine and bread (not tiny cups and crackers). They did this to remind themselves of who Christ was, what He did, and who they were in Him. This brought about unity among Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free. they were unified in Christ! They were of differing backgrounds, but the Lord knit them together as a single people. It didn't matter their status, ethnicity, gender; they were one in Christ, and sought to obey His will together. This concept draws us back to the Garden, to God's original design. As we walk in His will, we walk and build alongside our God in perfect community! When walk with Christ, as we were meant to, and we work together, in God's will, to build His Kingdom here on earth, we live as we were made to: in and for community. Galatians 6:1-10 Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. Bear one another's burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ. For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. But let each one test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor. For each will have to bear his own load.
Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.