Philippians Study #1

Joy In Community

Matt Destry – Communications Pastor

When John Donne penned the famous words, “No man is an island”, although he was speaking of humanity itself, he might have also been speaking of the church. The church is the one true community on earth that should live these words with not only mental assent but with passionate conviction. After all, the church was birthed by the very same Word of God that declared “it is not good that man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18).

When we find ourselves in Christian community we find our spiritual home – the people with which we will spend eternity. It is no surprise to us then that in this place is where we will find joy. The joy of connectedness – with both God and each other. This is what Sundays are for. In yesterday’s message, Ps. Rohan showed us from Philippians how ‘a church full of joy is a church full of Jesus’. The book of Philippians provides us with such a sublime look at church and joy and community. But, what is most sublime can also be the most corruptible.

Every week, many people stay away from community. Many people stay away from church community, due to hurts, fears, tension and unresolved conflict. It seems to be far from the place of joy that Paul speaks about in the scripture. This is also understandable, but tragic all the same. Church community is a place of safety, but also a place of challenge. The Spirit of the Lord will use community to change and transform us, and we don’t always like it! People will disappoint or hurt us, so instead of running towards community (the place of joy), we run the other way. It’s no wonder we can find ourselves so miserable.

So, when we find ourselves in a place of hardship, facing difficulty with church community it’s important to remember: 1/ the church is full of imperfect people. Flaws and all. They will encourage you, change you and spur you on if you can learn to forgive. 2/ the church is a place of joy! We contribute to that joy every time we connect. With every conversation, every smile, every prayer. 3/ the church is full of Jesus. He’s the one who brought the church into existence by the action of His Spirit. When we connect with God through community, Jesus is glorified.

As we begin this series on Philippians, continue to connect with God and each other in community, because a church full of joy is the best representation of God on the earth.

Reflection Questions:

1/ what is it about being ‘in community’ that a) most challenges you and b) most excites you?
2/ when do you most experience the joy of the Lord?
3/ how could you best share that with others?