About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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The 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 stated objectives.  


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 corruption.   


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 ultimate realization. 

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