Are Church Members Always Naturally Compatible?

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Series: Body of Christ; Relationships

Sun am 29 July 2012 – Kobus Swart 

1 Samuel 22:1-2; Psalm 133:1-3; 1 Corinthians 1:26-31(Message Bible)

Currently, there are many households or local churches across the earth, who sense that God is saying, “Move on from the old church model and become a kingdom community; from the old church culture into Kingdom culture.” When we say kingdom culture, we include in the definition government and rule, but it starts with a healthy family, where each member is important and each member is functioning. We need to move away from a definition of church being a “nice” group of people as some of it is unreal. The Greek word “Ecclesia” does mean church. Yes it is a group of people, but it is not the nice, exclusive, polished group of people some often thought it was. On the surface they may not even be compatible – especially in the beginning!

Let us look at the life of David. He had prophecies over him, he was a called man. Saul wanted to destroy David but he escaped and we find him in the cave of Adullam. Ten years of David’s life was spent in different wildernesses. There are certain wilderness experiences that no Christian will avoid. Now look at the description of those (including his own natural brothers and parents who previously looked down upon him!) that gathered around David in the cave of Adullam:  Everyone who was in distress, and everyone who was in debt, and everyone who was discontented gathered to him; and he became captain over them (1 Samuel 22:1-2). This gives us a picture of how the Church is often formed when led by the Spirit and not by programs. These people on a natural level were not that close to each other.

We normally quote Psalm 133 referring to a holy group, but some authors feel that it was written by David referring to those who gathered around him in the wilderness! Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, coming down upon the beard, Even Aaron’s beard, coming down upon the edge of his robes. It is like the dew of Hermon Coming down upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing— life forever. David found the wilderness a place of truth, a place of beauty and a place of love. He wrote many of the Psalms in the wilderness. In the Psalms you can see his emotions; even when he prayed for revenge on the enemy and wanted to see them destroyed.

Corporately we are together on a journey, although individually we are at different points on that journey. Each one of us is facing different aspects of this wilderness experience. We must not fight it; we must make peace with it because this is the place where we develop an ear to hear God. When things go well all of the time we become deaf and fail to hear God.

God does not call perfect people; you do not have to look any further than the twelve disciples Jesus called to walk with Him. Would the disciples Jesus chose have loved each other on a natural level? They were fishermen, tax collectors, political zealots. Jesus turned their weakness into their strength and produced greatness from utter uselessness. This is the way Jesus called and shaped his disciples and built a team that eventually shook the whole world!

Do not let your evaluation (in the natural) of another member of the Body determine the way we are going to relate together. This is the challenge of this “gang” that God is putting together. It is not because we are naturally drawn to each other; sometimes it is just the opposite. Once we connect with the calling of God and the fact that we are called corporately to function as   the Body of Christ – like the physical body – there is no way, for example, that the ear can say, “because I am not the eye I am going to leave”.

Find your function, find your gift and make peace with that. Can you imagine a body, fully functional on all levels? For example, when we come together in a meeting, one has a psalm, one has a revelation, one has a prophecy (1 Cor 14:26). Gifts are not just for Sunday morning services. Your gift should function seven days a week. In the workplace wherever we are, we should be an active member of the Body of Christ.

We come to Church expecting a holy, flawless faultless group of people. In no area is disappointment and disaffection in the spiritual life as frequent as in the experience or inexperience of community. You are disappointed because you had high expectations, because we expected to be showered with love, attention, sometimes money and recognition. We come, hang around and no-one hugs us, asks us who we are and where we are from. It happens everywhere and it’s not right. Eugene Peterson says: We enter a Church looking for God and to our dismay find ourselves surrounded by a bunch of fractious gossips. From the pulpit we hear Jesus’ words read out loudly “Come to me all who labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest, you will find rest for your souls, My yoke is easy and My burden is light”. We hear it from the pulpit coming from God’s word having decided on the spot that, that is exactly what we have been looking for. The very next Sunday we realize we are being dragged over hot coals from the pulpit for not jumping onto the latest mission bandwagon. On a church sign we see “taste and see that the Lord is good” and suddenly realize that we are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, starving for it and before we know it we have been recruited for a committee arranging baby sitting for the monthly suppers. This happens a lot, and at their exit interviews these people say they love God but they hate church.

Here a living word is spoken and sons and daughters are raised up for the Kingdom. What we need to see unpacked and unlocked in this fellowship are more areas of gifting. Listen how Paul describes ‘church’: Take a good look, friends, at who you were when you got called into this life. I don’t see many of “the brightest and the best” among you, not many influential, not many from high-society families. Isn’t it obvious that God deliberately chose men and women that the culture overlooks and exploits and abuses, chose these “nobodies” to expose the hollow pretensions of the “somebodies”? That makes it quite clear that none of you can get by with blowing your own horn before God. Everything that we have—right thinking and right living, a clean slate and a fresh start—comes from God by way of Jesus Christ. That’s why we have the saying, “If you’re going to blow a horn, blow a trumpet for God” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31 – Msg).

Honest men like Paul had to come to the conclusion that God did not choose the influential, the brightest, the best, the high society families. Not that any of these are excluded, but that is not the basis on which we build.

The message of this season is practical and simple; it does not help preaching about the Kingdom of God and the wealth of God if we are not connecting on the ground. We must connect, find our joining, find our gift, find our function, and help people around us. This should happen especially in the home fellowship groups, where we relate and fellowship and develop intimacy without familiarity. With familiarity we soon fail to recognize others for who they are. When we are intimate (in the spiritual sense) without familiarity there are no artificial relationships. The real me must connect with the real you.

Not only is the world waiting to see a manifestation of this, but they will be impacted again as with the early disciples!