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5. Your New Life in Community

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What a privilege it is to enjoy fellowship with God through prayer. It is also a privilege to enjoy fellowship with other believers in God’s awesome family on earth—the Church.

What is the Church?

“But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – the right to become God’s children – children not born by human parents or by human desire or a husband’s decision, but by God.” (John 1:12-13)

Yes, the moment you became a Christian, the Holy Spirit placed you into a new family called the Church. The Church is spread across the whole world and made up of every culture and language—all believers alive on planet earth. It is not limited to a building, just as a natural family is not limited to their house. As Christ is the head of this family, all members are considered part of the Body of Christ. And, this family of God’s own children is given an amazing purpose—the privilege of showing the world who God is.

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of his own, so that you may proclaim the virtues of the one who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (1 Peter 2:9)

The Local Church 

While you are part of the universal Church, God wants you to be part of a local church family. It is like having relatives all over the world but living with your immediate family. A local church is a group of believers committed to worshiping Christ, teaching his Word, supporting each other as you follow Jesus together and proclaim the good news to others.

Key Question: Why do you think it would be important for you to spend time with other Christians?

Discover the benefits of life in this new community…

1. The Benefits of Community

“And let us take thought of how to spur one another on to love and good works, not abandoning our own meetings, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging each other, and even more so because you see the day drawing near.” (Hebrews 10:24-25)

Just as logs burn more brightly when placed together, so Christians need each other for warmth and encouragement. The local church provides opportunity for us to enjoy this community. You will see that the benefits are mutual.

Growth. Read Ephesians 4:11-14. Pastors and teachers help you grow in your Christian life as they feed you the spiritual food of the Bible and help you to know God better. In what areas of life do you feel tossed about by every wind of teaching?

Protection. Read Acts 20:28. Just as a house keeps people protected from harm, a good local church community can keep Christians safe from false teaching. Leaders that stay true to the Word of God will encourage the church community to stay true to God’s Word, also. Would you be able to recognize false teaching on your own?

Love for Others. Read John 13:34-35. Being part of a church family helps you learn how to love others and their differences. As we do so, we model his love to the world. Why do you think Christians loving one another would be such a powerful witness?

Spiritual Gifts. Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7 and Ephesians 4:16. God has given you spiritual gifts to benefit your church family. A local church family can help you discover your gift and learn how to use it to strengthen the Body of Christ. Whether God gave you the gift of singing, teaching, or giving, that role is a crucial one for healthy functioning of the Body of Christ. How do you think someone discovers her or his spiritual gift?

Key Question: Did you know that you are meant to play a crucial part in God’s family?

2. Finding Community in a Local Church

God knows you need the guidance of a pastor, the care of other Christians, and the safety and support of a good church to help you grow as a Christian. What makes a good church? No church is perfect just like no family is perfect. But, as stated on the first page, a healthy church is committed to certain things. Look for a church that …

Worships Christ

A healthy church presents Jesus as the Son of God and faith in him alone as the only way to be saved from your sins and have a relationship with God. 

Teaches His Word as Truth

A healthy church honors the Bible as God’s Word, completely true, and the guidebook for life and decision-making.

Grows Believers to Follow Jesus Together

A healthy church encourages you to personally follow Jesus as his disciple and grow stronger in your faith—what you read in Ephesians 4:11-14 earlier in this lesson. When you are joined together with other believers who are growing in Christ, you each encourage one another and keep each other “fired up” in your mutual faith.

“Therefore encourage one another and build up each other, just as you are in fact doing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11)

Encourages Believers to Proclaim the Good News

A healthy church is actively obeying Jesus’ command in Matthew 28:19 to share the good news about Jesus with those who don’t know him yet. This is the main purpose of the worldwide Church—to tell others about Jesus that they, too, may be saved and added to God’s family.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit…” (Matthew 28:19)

Key Question: Do you feel personally included in Jesus’ command to tell the world about him and make disciples in all nations?

Pray and ask God to help you find the local church he wants you to join. He has promised to provide for you, so you can trust him to answer your request. When you find a healthy church that is committed to the four values listed above, thank God! Ask him how you can serve there.

3. Living as Part of the Family

Enjoying community as part of a church family is called fellowship (from the Greek word meaning “sharing in common”). The sharing of our lives requires sincere love, kind speech, continuing encouragement, heartfelt forgiveness, and selfless generosity. All these qualities are possible because of the Holy Spirit living inside each member and binding us all together.

Relationships among believers should be marked by love for each other, which is the very thing that attracts those who do not have a relationship with Jesus.

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Jut as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Jesus knows our hearts. He knows the difficulty we all have at times with one another. Our relationship with him does not prevent us from experiencing misunderstandings or differences of opinion. Sometimes these relational challenges tempt us to harbor grudges against someone with whom we differ or to isolate ourselves from the community. Neither of these is healthy for a believer.

Reconcile Relationships Quickly

Jesus helped his disciples through their conflicts with one another. By faith in Christ, we are not only commanded to love but are given his love to give to others. God’s Spirit enables us as we trust him to do so. We can say, “I can’t, Jesus, but you can through me.”

Read Matthew 5:23-24. How should we respond to a broken relationship with a fellow believer?

Stay Connected

One of the main reasons some Christians live defeated lives is that they have isolated themselves from other believers. Coming together with other believers in Christ’s name is similar to hot coals, which keep each other hot when lumped together. A coal that is separated from the others will soon grow cold. Isolation will lead to stunted spiritual growth and a lack of joy in your life.

Read Hebrews 10:24-25. Why is it important to stay connected to other believers?

Discover more treasure: Work through your Personal Discovery Guide to review what you learned in today’s “Together Session” and discover more of the riches that are yours in your relationship with Christ.

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You, along with all other Christians of all time, make up the Body of Christ, the Church. While you are part of the universal Church, God wants you to be part of a local church family. It is like having relatives all over the world but living with your immediate family. A local church is a group of believers committed to worshiping Christ, teaching his Word, supporting each other as you follow Jesus together and proclaim the good news to others.

You may or may not belong to a local church right now, and there is still a bit to learn about it all. But, take a moment now and thank God for adopting you into his family and giving you a new community in which to enjoy your new life.

Renewing Your Mind with Truth

Continue putting truth in your mind through memorizing Bible verses that are relevant to what you are learning.

  • Review Memory Verse 1 – Ephesians 2:8-9.
  • Review Memory Verse 2 – John 20:31.
  • Review Memory Verse 3 – Galatians 5:22-23.
  • Review Memory Verse 4 – Hebrews 4:16.
  • Begin working on this week’s verse – John 13:34-35.

Memory Verse 5

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another. Jut as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)

Day 1 Discovery – Review “Your New Life in Community”

Review these truths about the benefits of life in a church family. Find and read the verses listed. Write observations of what you see and how you feel about each benefit. Learn to live your new life in community with other Christ-followers.

  • Your church community can help you to grow strong in your faith and to know God better: Ephesians 4:11-14.
  • Your church community can keep you protected from being swayed by false teaching: Acts 20:28.
  • Your church community can teach you how to love others and model Christ’s love to the world: John 13:34-35.
  • Your church community can help you to discover your spiritual gifts and learn how to use them to serve the church family: 1 Corinthians 12:4-7; Ephesians 4:16.
  • Your church community can be a source of encouragement to you: Hebrews 10:24-25.

Someone once said, “Believers are ‘Jesus in the flesh’ to one another.” It is truly awesome to “fellowship” with others who love Christ…and are living for him!

How to Get Started

  • Ask God to direct you to other believers 
  • Attend a Bible teaching and outreaching church.
  • Join a small Bible study and prayer group.
  • Use your gifts to reach others for Christ.
  • Look for mature believers who can disciple (mentor) you as you grow.
  • Ask God for someone you can disciple, sharing with her what you are learning.

Getting to Know Christ

Continue reading through the gospel of Mark to get to know Jesus better—reflecting on his life, his relationships, and his teaching. Also, begin to pray regularly to your Heavenly Father. Consider praying for specific issues in your life, for friends and family you desire to know Christ, and for your personal spiritual growth. As you read God’s Word, you will want to talk with him more.

Day 2 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 9:2-13. Reflect on what you read—

Day 3 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 9:14-32. Reflect on what you read—

Day 4 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 9:33-50. Reflect on what you read—

Day 5 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 10:1-16. Reflect on what you read—

Day 6 Discover Jesus

Read: Mark 10:17-52. Reflect on what you read—

Days 7 Review and Ask Questions

Spend time reviewing what you have learned this week about your new life in Christ. Bring these to your Graceful Beginnings leader so she will know how  to help you grow.

  • What discoveries have you made?
  • What questions do you have?

NEXT LESSON: Graceful Beginnings, Lesson 6. A New Life of Obedience.”             

Related Topics: Basics for Christians, Christian Life, Spiritual Life

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