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ENJOY THE BENEFITS OF CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY

February, 2000

A new "supercivilization" is emerging, one which is the result of billions of people globally having power to communicate with one another. Agrarian and urban-industrial life has now found itself having to make way for "the new kid on the block," the Internet. The Internet reaches across religious, ethnic, and geopolitical boundaries, drawing more and more people into its community daily. It is forming the core of a new way of life, one that is knowledge-based and worldwide. MCM is now on the Internet!

It's here for you, so we welcome your ideas and comments. MCM is growing, with all thanksgiving to God and to you His covenant community.

What might be our impact on the Internet? What possibilities await us as the probability for a divine appointment increases? Who in the world might be touched, encouraged, led to Jesus Christ? What will this mean for Christians? I think it is a call to community, a call to living in Christian covenant community as never before.

Living in Christian covenant community involves two kinds of relationships. The first is a relationship with God the Father through Jesus Christ empowered by the Holy Spirit. With that we find ourselves Spirit-directed. The second is relationship with others comprising the Body of Christ world-wide and locally. With that we find ourselves in spiritual friendships.

I experienced this personally many years ago when I walked into a college classroom. The Holy Spirit directed me into a spiritual friendship with my now long-time friend, Jackie Collins Clanton. Our backgrounds, race, culture, occupations, churches, and friends were not alike. Yet we were drawn together in a Spirit-directed friendship that has taken the two of us into Venezuela, Costa Rica, Haiti, and to Harvard University Law School. As the Holy Spirit reconciled each of us individually to the Father through Jesus Christ, so also, we were reconciled to each other and empowered to live in harmony with each other as we journey together on the walk of life in Christ. Our friendship is living proof of how Christ makes peace through the Blood of His Cross.

In spiritual warfare we stand side by side, shoulder to shoulder, lining up to take on a common enemy with only Christ out front as Captain of the Hosts. In spiritual warfare we are an anointed army unified under the banner of God's love to fight the enemies of Christ and His cause. In spiritual warfare we have a clearly defined enemy, declare war against that enemy, deploy tactical spiritual warfare strategies, and keep in step with the Spirit. What strengthens this army?

Spiritual community strengthens us. In a covenant community of spiritual friendships we turn towards each other in order to build, to strengthen, to repair, to restore, to "one another" each other. We serve one another in love. We learn to live in harmony with one another. We stir one another up to love and good works. We submit to one another. We consider one another. We learn to be kind, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as Christ has forgiven us. Spiritual community is the backbone of spiritual warfare. As the warfare grows increasingly more global, Christian community will become more vital, and occur in smaller groups.

A spiritual community is one safe enough for strongholds of satan to be torn down. With the stronghold of God surrounding us, the walls of salvation and the fiery wall of the Holy Spirit our protection, we enter a safety zone. Within the confines of this community refuge, we can learn to trust and feel safe enough to reveal our struggles, our broken hearts and lives, our weaknesses, our walk towards Christ and with Christ. We turn towards one another, not to be torn up or torn down, not to be shredded and thrown out, but to be healed. Then we can get up and face the enemy again until that enemy is under our feet, until we are, as it were, dancing on the grave of our enemy.

Living in spiritual community involves honoring God and honoring one another in Christ. Together we glorify God by enjoying Him. We encourage each other to take refuge in God and not shrink back or flee to another source of help.

The togetherness is supernatural. The Christian community is a "supercivilization" of Godís making. It transcends cultures and times, history and trends. Living in covenant community is Spirit-directed and Spirit-governed. It moves people toward Christ, with believers being drawn together to conform to the image of Christ. All come together as one in Christ to the Throne of Godís glory and grace, celebrating life in Him. It is the Holy Spirit directing the loving, the learning, and the living.

It is Jesus Christ who joins the Christian community together, for it is He who loves us and who gave Himself for us, who loosed us from our sins in His own precious blood and who has made us to be kings and priests unto God and His Father. It is He who has the glory and dominion forever. (Revelation 1.5, 6)

If you havenít experienced the power of Christian covenant community, then I encourage you to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to direct you to it. In such a community you can come out of the grave and rise into resurrection life. What are the graves?

  • Things that divide like sin, hatred, prejudice, unforgiveness.
  • Things that destroy like pride and idolatry.
  • Things that devour like poverty, depression, grief, shame.

Every believer in Jesus Christ can enjoy the benefits of Christian community by committing to the following:

  1. Admit who you are, with honesty and integrity. Do not hide from the fact that you are a sinner saved by grace as are others. Do not seek to preserve or protect or promote your own life and excellence but that of Jesus Christ. (Romans chapters 1-5)
  2. Respond to othersí admissions of failure and falling short and to your own with acceptance and love. Let others be "safe" with you. (Consider John 8.)
  3. Move others with your admitted failures so as to break down the barriers of fear and shame that fragment and separate. (Consider Paul in Philippians and 1 Timothy 1. 12-17.)
  4. Determine to let mercy triumph over judgment. Weíre all in this together. No one is victorious apart from Christ and God the Holy Spirit and apart from the Body of Christ. (John 15; Romans 8; 1 Corinthians 1.10; 1 Corinthians 12; James 2.13)
  5. Look for the beauty of holiness as you meet the crucified and the resurrected people of God. (Galatians 2.20)
  6. Let Christ and the gospel deal with the corruption and depravity of human souls, your own and othersí. (Romans 5-8)
  7. Live on the basis of Jesusí death, burial, and resurrection with a new purity (Ezekiel 36.25), a new identity (Isaiah 44.5; 2 Corinthians 5.17), new desires (Jeremiah 31.33), and the power of the Holy Spirit (Ezekiel 36.27).

You may have felt the power of Christian community in your worship. Now it is time to experience and enjoy the benefits of Christian community in Spirit-directed friendships, in covenant community. This is the Holy Spiritís work as He conforms you and others to the image of Christ. Celebrate Jesus Christ. Let the energy of your fellowship with the Father fuel a passion for worshiping the one true God, a passion for holiness, and a passion for seeing souls saved.


In our passion to fulfill the mandate to call the nations to repentance and resurrection, we have scheduled the mission trip into Belem and Manaus, Brazil, with team members Dr. Mark Richardson, Stephen Craig, and myself for March 29-April 6. Some of you have committed to praying, some are researching, some have received prophetic words, and some have been led of God to give. We really thank you for this. This is the Body working together in Christ for Christ.

Calling the nations to resurrection,

Mary J. Craig

© 2000 Mary Craig Ministries, Inc.

[email protected]

 

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