We are living in turbulent times. We know it. We feel it. We’re in it and we’ve been in it for months. What do we do when the waves keep coming? When everything in life gets turned upside down, it’s a good time to evaluate. How strong is your foundation? What are you doing to get through the storm?
Our series is called “Anchoring Truth for Turbulent Times” The intention of this series is to help us make sure we are well-anchored. As your pastor, I felt led to do this series to help you stay anchored to Christ and to the church through these difficult days. Are we anchoring our lives in the right spot? Are we anchored in grass or on something solid? And is our anchor well-embedded?
Last week, Gene Frost, preached on Anchoring our Mind and Our Body. When we are anchored to one another, we will be strong through the storm. I want to continue the point about being anchored to each other. How does a church, how does a Christian community stay anchored through the storm?
7 Anchors for Christian Community
In this passage, Paul piles on a bunch of exhortations. 13 of them actually. All made possible because of the grace, redemption, adoption, and freedom we have in Jesus. They will paint a picture of an anchored and joyful Christian community.
1: Sincere Love
Love must be sincere.
4 Qualities of God’s Love:
- Rugged Commitment– By making a Covenant.
- Presence– He is with them. Cloud and Fire. Immanuel. Holy Spirit.
- Advocacy- I will be your God and you will be my people
- Transformation– I am holy, you be holy. God’s presence is transformation. When we love someone, we are absorbed by them. We become like them.
2: Spiritual Discernment
Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.
Oh friend if your anchor is not set in the Word of God and teaching of the Church, you will be blown around by every blog post, podcast, or new pastor coming along teaching something new or interesting.
Are we willing to speak the truth when it’s difficult? Are we so committed to each other’s transformation, then when we see sin or doctrinal error, we will lovingly bring it up? If we truly love each other like God loves us, we will.
3: Loving Devotion to One Another
Be devoted to one another in love.
- CSB “Love one another deeply as brothers and sisters”
- NRSV “ love one another with mutual affection”
- CEB “Love each other like the members of your family”
This is something our church does well. A commitment to friendship. A commitment to care in life’s toughest moments. A commitment to be with each other and for each other. There may be times, especially in these days where we don’t see eye to eye. But let’s remind each other. I love you. I’m for you. I’m in your corner. We’re on the same team. We have the same goal to be like Jesus and I am committed to doing whatever can to help you get there. That kind of love anchors us through the storm.
4: Culture of Honor
Honor one another above yourselves.
- CSB: “Take the lead in honoring one another”
- NRSV: “outdo one another in showing honor”
There’s a potential idea of a competition here. Outdo each other in showing honor. Wouldn’t it be great if everyone respected you and recognized and appreciated who you are and what you do? That’s a culture of honor.
Our world is forming a culture of dishonor. Name-calling. Backbiting. Quick social media takes. Snap judgments. Gossip. Slander. Disrespect. How long do you think a church could last with a culture of dishonor?
Gal 5:15 “If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.”
We reject the culture of dishonor, but make a culture of honor our delight. Take delight in giving others recognition and appreciation. In fact, let’s make it a competition to see who can show the most honor to others.
5: Keep Boiling in the Spirit as you serve.
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
The keep your spiritual fervor part can be translated “be on fire in the Spirit.” It’s the picture of a boiling pot of water. What does it take to boil a pot of water? A constant presence of Heat. If you remove the heat, the water will stop boiling.
If you don’t keep a regular presence of heat, of God’s love, and His Spirit ministering to you, you will burn out spiritually, emotionally, and relationally. Being on fire in the Spirit is actually what you were created for. It’s how you were made. So do whatever it takes to stay passionate and zealous for Jesus. How’s your passion right now?
6: Hopeful and Prayerful Endurance
Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.
CEB “ Be happy in your hope, stand your ground when you’re in trouble, and devote yourselves to prayer.
Rejoice in the hope that we have in Christ. That we have been saved, we are being saved, and we will be saved. We have a great inheritance of eternal life forever with God in a restored creation. We should celebrate and be happy in our hope that we have.
If we stay faithful to pray, even in difficult times, we will stay connected and thereby be reminded that we have a great hope, that there is a life beyond this one where all shall be redeemed and all shall be made well.
7: Meet practical needs and pursue hospitality.
Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.
If we truly love sincerely, and we are deeply devoted to one another, we will make sure all practical needs get met. We will pursue, we will regularly practice hospitality.
Let’s continue to be creative on how we can stay present to each other and not resign ourselves to isolation. Let’s pursue creative hospitality. Because we love each other sincerely, we will open up our wallets with generosity, we open up our lives to care and to be with each other, and we open our homes, when safe, to share what we have and to share our lives.
Recap: How can a Christian community stay anchored in turbulent times?
- Sincere love
- Spiritual Discernment
- Loving Devotion to Each Other
- Culture of Honor
- Keep our hearts ablaze in the Spirit as we serve.
- Hopeful and prayerful endurance
- Meet practical needs and pursue hospitality.
What if this described our church community during this Covid-pandemic? We would come out stronger, more unified, more in love with Christ, more appreciated, more grateful, more passionate, more prayerful, more connected, and needs would all be met.
We are in turbulent times. I implore you: Inspect your anchor.
Which of these need your attention? Ask the Holy Spirit. Where do I need to anchor more deeply? What can I do to anchor myself more securely in the body of Christ? May God anchor us deeper in Christ, deeper with one another, may he sustain us through these turbulent days.