"We give thanks to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, praying always for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and the love which you have for all the saints; because of the hope laid up for you in heaven…" Colossians 1:3-5
For those of you that hang out at New Life, you may know that a vital part of being a member comes from belonging to a Community Group. If you are new, you may not know why we do groups or the reason we stress the importance of group life. It’s possible that even our long time members have forgotten the reason we place great value on connecting with a Community Group. Hebrews 3:12-14 challenges us to encourage one another daily so that we won't be hardened by sin's deceitfulness and Hebrew 10:24 tells us to "consider how to spur one another on to love and good deeds." At New Life, we believe Community Groups provide practical opportunities that allow us to put these commands into practice.
Over the next four weeks the blog post will focus on the goals of Community Groups. This series about Community Groups will serve as a reminder of God’s favor within our faith community and the importance of doing life together.
FOUR CLEAR GOALS FOR COMMUNITY GROUPS
2. Mutual care
Week 1 Sanctification:
A good definition of sanctification is that it “is a progressive work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and like Christ in our actual lives.” ~Wayne Grudem
We often confuse justification with sanctification. If you are in Christ you will never be more justified than you are at this moment because justification is an act of God. But by God’s grace, you will become even more sanctified as you cooperate with God’s Spirit in the process of change.
For the believer sanctification is not optional. Sanctification is the fruit of justification. Your justified relationship with God will be evident by a progressive work of sanctification in your life. By God’s grace, Community Groups contribute to this progressive work of grace in our lives.
Unfortunately a community group with an unbiblical purpose can do more harm than good. Groups that meet without the biblical purpose of pursuing the nature of Christ have the tendency to ignore sinful behavior and minimize the importance of spiritual growth. We need to be provoked and challenged by others to grow and display the image of God in our world.
Community Groups also provide the encouragement, correction, and accountability that keep us from drifting. As important as it is to cultivate a personal relationship with God by practicing the spiritual disciplines, we also need others to help us in our pursuit of sanctification. I like to tag this activity as "doing life together." My prayer is that because of the security we have in Christ, and the deep love we have for one another, New Life will become a place where we joyfully accept correction and discipline.
Our Pastor writes most of the blog posts we publish, however, occasionally some of our other church leadership (some staff, some volunteer) who also contribute to the New Life blog.