This weekend we have visiting with us, Alec Brooks, our friend and mentor. Alec was president of Bethany Fellowship for a number of years and currently leads Charis International, a relief and development support ministry. We really enjoy when Alec comes, not just for his teachings, but the fellowship and evenings of ice cream and Monk.
At our Friday celebration Alec talked about necessity of community in a Christian’s life. We looked at material from Richard Hayes’ book, The Moral Vision of the New Testament. Hayes says there are three images that act as themes in the New Testament: Community, Cross, and New Creation.
Community – A concrete social manifestation of the people of God.
The ethical mandate of the New Testament can only be understood in the context of community. The New Testament is written to a community not to individuals.
Cross – Christian community has to be marked by cruciformity.
Cruciformity is self-giving, self-sacrificing, status renouncing love (Phil. 2).
New Creation – We are to live in light of hope of a new creation.
The whole redemption project is to restore what God intended in creation. 2 Corinthians 5:17 is better translated, “If any man be in Christ, there is a new creation.” We’ve tended to see things in individualistic terms. Our primary identity as Christians is to the family of God.
The message of the New Testament is that God is creating a new people who live under the Lordship of Jesus, loving one another in relationships that are vital and significant.