About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Historical Context Of Community
In general terms I
define community to be when two or more people enter a defined
relationship to accomplish certain stated objectives.
I, therefore, define ecclesiastical community to be God's choice
of people who enter a defined relationship with Himself and with each
other to accomplish His stated objectives.
When God said let us
make man in our likeness and image (Genesis 1:26) the pronoun
"us" suggests plurality, implying the essence of God is
community. The genesis of
community, then, originates in God.
The words "likeness
and image" suggest that like God, humans were created to live in
community. For this reason
God entered a defined communal relationship with Adam to accomplish His
Although Adam lived in
community with God, he was created to live in community with other
humans. It was not good for
him to live alone (Genesis 1:18). For
this reason, God created Eve so her and Adam could live in the first
defined human communal relationship that would accomplish God's stated
objectives. The marriage
community, then, was the first form of community that all forms of human
communities are built upon.
God's intent at creation
was that He would exist in a communal relationship with the human
community, but as recorded in Genesis 3, community fell apart when Adam
stepped beyond its defined communal boundaries.
From then on, all forms of community suffer from communal
Following in Adam's
fallen footsteps, Genesis 10 records man's attempt to construct
community apart from God. It
was called Babel, or Babylon. Genesis 11 records God's
response to the Babylonian Community by pulling Abram out of his ethnic
community to create a community that would exemplify godliness, but like
Adam and Eve's marriage community, the Abrahamic Community stepped
beyond its defined communal boundaries and fell to corruption.
The first step of
recreating a community in God's likeness and image is recorded in
Matthew 16:18. There, we
read that Jesus would build His church, or in the Aramaic language in
which He spoke, His community. Like
Adam, the marriage community, and Abrahamic Community, history shows the
church consistently stepping beyond its defined communal boundaries into
a world of corruption.
All human expressions of
community suffer with self-promoting individualism.
If you are a Biblical Prophetic Futurist you believe that man's
final self-promoting attempt to build the Babylonian Community will fall
in divine destruction, as recorded in Revelation 18 and 19.
Why God allowed
community to crumble as early as Genesis 3 is beyond my capability to
comprehend, and as negative as all of this sounds, Christians are still
called to ecclesiastical community where we enter a defined communal
relationship with Jesus and with each other to accomplish God's stated
objectives. We persevere to
that end with eager anticipation of a future, uncorrupted, eternal
community, as seen in the New Earth of Revelation 21.
The genesis of community
originates with God and I am convinced that is where it finds its