There has been much written about human authors concerning which are the best and which are not worth giving the time to read. Jerry Bridges is certainly one of the former. Everything I've read of his has challenged me to the very core of my soul. The reason Jerry Bridges is such a great author is that his first intention is to point his reader to Christ. Christ-likeness is the goal. It is the work of the Holy Spirit within us to make us more and more like Jesus. Jerry Bridges is a tool in the hands of the Spirit to bring conviction and learning in my life. I know a number of you have read and studied Bridges' work, The Discipline of Grace, which I consider a foundational work for beginning discipleship. The men have just finished studying Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate in 2012. For 2013 we are doing a study of True Community: The Biblical Practice of Koinonia.
Just a quick side note here: men it is not too late to get caught up with the study and join us on the second Saturday of each month. We will be meeting again in April ready to discuss chapter three. Also, I would like to commend this book to any other group that is looking for a study of what is true fellowship (Greek: koinonia) in the church.
True fellowship is not getting together for a potluck or a chili cook-off or even Wii bowling. That said, it is possible for true fellowship to take place in the context of those events however, those events cannot be equated with true fellowship. Jerry Bridges says, “the most basic meaning of koinonia, or fellowship is “sharing a common life…it is sharing a common life with other believers—a life we share, as John says, “with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ (1 John 1:3). It is a relationship, not an activity.” Then he goes on to say, “It is not the fact that we are united in common goals or purposes that makes us a community. Rather, it is the fact that we share a common life in Christ. That is the basis of biblical community.” So if you read 1 John 1:3 and Acts 2:42 you will find a good starting point for figuring out what true community is all about. But it goes beyond that, relationship describes believers as a community, partnership describes them as a community in action. Biblical community, then, incorporates this idea of an active partnership in the promotion of the gospel and the building up of believers. So we are faced with a question. Is that what we experience in our church? That is certainly the desire of the Session and what we are hoping to achieve as the Spirit works in our midst. I have been very convicted by this book and am hoping that as the men study it we will grow in our understanding and our living out of true community.