FOCUS: The Inclusiveness of a Redeeming Community
There is every reason to conclude from Scripture that a redeemed community of believers will be—must be—a redeeming community. We are debtors to give to others as we have received: “Freely you have received, freely give,” said Jesus to the disciples in Matthew 10:8.
However, being redemptive by Heaven’s standard is not a natural process; it must be learned and empowered. Being truly redemptive calls for the wisdom of a sage, the objectivity of a surgeon and the empathy of a mother. And when we lack—as we often do—in one or more of these areas, we tend to frustrate the redeeming crisis or process in the lives of those needing the healing and corrective of God’s grace.
Transforming grace is not a something but a Someone—the Lord, Jesus, Himself, given to us. And as Grace, and in grace, He meets us according to our needed points of healing and change. He sometimes convicts and confronts, He sometimes encourages and equips, He sometimes teaches and trains; but He always forgives us and refashions us while reminding us that if we will truly trust and believe we are always accepted in the Son.
The only way a person or a Fellowship can be truly and consistently redeeming is to be constantly led by the many-faceted Spirit of Jesus. Part of being so led will mean giving special attention to letting Him continue to transform us in how we respond to people’s sin and need. It will mean learning to see people and respond to people as Jesus does.
He is always the corrective we need and the perfect physician. At times we stand amazed at His wisdom, flinch at His candor and are shamed by His compassion. But always He teaches us that the redeeming community must never be characterized by a lack in any one of these characteristics if healing is to be the result in the broken lives He is calling us to touch.
Inclusiveness in a redeeming community means to draw people into a spiritual family where they are surrounded by God’s wholeness: His wisdom, His correction and His compassion in the context of tenacious, hope-filled love. Only the truth—the whole truth and nothing but the truth—given in love—real, fiercely, ambitious love without compromising indulgences—can set the sin-inflicted free from their spiritual bondage and disease and birth the ever-unfolding, new identity of a child of God. And that is an inclusiveness worth providing.
... Pastor Gary