Strong Church, Close Community 2


Isaiah 53:6

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Independence is not God’s way, community is

The only way is essex

Plenty of attitude in the popular TV series. What does community look like?

Isaiah 53:6 

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

WE SAW yesterday how Jesus created a disciple community around Him, those that were with Him and involved in all he said and did. How different from the stereotype of the ‘successful’ high profile TV star or big-platform church leader. Jesus was modelling something for us here. Independence in the sense of wilfully doing our own thing, or acting independently of others, does not get a good press in the Bible. From Moses words of warning to anyone who “persists in going their own way” in Deuteronomy 29:19 and Achan’s folly which costs a shameful defeat and 36 lives (Joshua 7), then the antics of King Saul and a list of other ‘bad kings’, the last mention on Scripture goes to Mr Independent Diotrephes, whose name lives on as the controlling church leader who was unable to defer to others.

Proverbs 12:15 says:

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice. The consequences are spelt out in a similar proverb that, unusually, is repeated – Prov. 14:12 and 16:25 There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.

Of course we all start off thinking our way is right. And there are times when we have clearly heard from God, and are required to have the courage that goes with that conviction.

But how do we know that we have heard? Partial hearing may come to us alone but good hearing is done in community. The Bible principle, which Jesus repeated (Matthew 18:16) was expressed by Paul like this – 2 Cor. 13:1

Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.

This is where independence (and independence from God is a fair definition of sin) may leave us arrogantly asserting that we are right as light, truth and ultimately the life of God leave us for dead.

The only way is not Essex, but community.


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