The Lord’s Messages

Living In Community

Date:  June 12, 2022
Scripture Reference: Romans 5:1-5

            A year can bring a lot of difference.  This time last year, JoAnn and I were in the midst of packing up.  We were moving to Tilghman Island.  We did not know a lot about Tilghman, but we knew that God would be with us.  You were starting the process of saying goodbye to a wonderful pastor, Rev. Herb Cain, and his wife, Franny.  I could never replace my good friend and his ministry here.  I hope and pray that I have at least carried on what he had started.  JoAnn and I love living on Tilghman Island.  We love being your ministry family.  We love being part of this community.  It is peaceful living on the island.  You know who your next-door neighbors are.  Some of you have probably lived next to your neighbors for years.  You do not find that in other parts of the country.  There is also a great sense of hope.  The waterman leaves the pier, sets out in the bay or rivers hoping that they will have a good catch.  I see your faithfulness to your community and to God.  This morning, we are celebrating not Tilghman Island, but our God and the community that the Godhead has invited us into, as believers in Jesus. 

            Let us pray.

            Today, we are celebrating the Trinity.  Trinity is made up of God the Father, Jesus our Redeemer, and the Holy Spirit as our Sustainer.  God in three persons, but all one God.  God living in community.  God invites us to live in community with Him. 

            Let us see how we are invited to live in this community.  Paul says in verse 2, “through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.”  Our invitation to live in this community comes by faith.  Hebrews 11:1 says this about faith, “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”  We believe that God sent Jesus to die on the cross to pay for our sins.  John 3:16,  For God so loved the world that He sent His only Son that whomever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life.  Even though, none of us here saw Jesus die on the cross, we believe this happened by faith.  None of us deserve being forgiven of our sin, Jesus paid the cost for us.  This is grace, God’s Redemption At Christ’s Expense. 

            This grace also provides us with peace.  We have not always had peace.  You and I were once enemies of God.  Paul says in Colossians 1:21-23. 

            The advantages of living in this community of God is that we can overcome the sufferings of this world.  Paul boldly claims in verse 3, “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings.”  Jesus said that we would have sufferings, but He has overcome the world, John 16:33.  Now, you may think that you have had to suffer.  Just look at what the Apostle Paul suffered.  In 2 Corinthians 11:22-33, Paul lists his sufferings.  If all of these sufferings that Paul endured were not enough, God also gave him a physical suffering, (of what kind we are not told).  Paul asked God to remove the suffering, three times, 2 Corinthians 12:8.  God’s response was, 2 Corinthians 12:9a.  Paul therefore boldly claims, 2 Corinthians 12:9b-10.  

            We do not like to suffer.  I do not know of anyone who likes to suffer.  In this fallen world, all of us suffer at one time or another.  We need to have strength to stand up against this suffering and not become defeated.  If God is with us, then who or what can defeat us?  Nothing!  Even though every one of us will face sufferings of one kind or another, we have faith that God will be with us.  God will not leave us or abandon us.  As Paul says in Romans 5:3, suffering produces perseverance. 

            In Romans 5:4, this perseverance produces character, and character hope.  We are not talking about a character in a play or a cartoon.  The Bible’s definition for character is to choose to keep doing the right things on a consistent basis.  In other words, we do the right things not because it is easy, or without pain or suffering, but because God trusts us.  The pattern is that suffering causes us to trust God on a deeper level, and the more we trust God, the more likely we are to consistently make the right choices.  We become Christians of proven character. 

Now you may be thinking to yourself, this is a tall order.  I have to make the right choices all the time.  There is no way that I can do it.  I completely agree with you.  On our own, we cannot make the right choice on a consistent basis.  The Good News is that we do not have to.  By living in community with the Godhead, the Holy Spirit works in us to guide us in making the right choice.  Jesus tells us this in John 16:13-15.  The Holy Spirit sustains us.

            By continuing to live as people of God’s character, this produces hope.  Hope is the confidence that God will deliver what He promises.  This hope becomes the basis for how a Christian thinks and acts.  We also have the faith that when we fail, and we all fail, that God will forgive us if we confess and repent of our sins. 

            That is why in Romans 5:5a, we do not feel the shame, because we have been forgiven.  Our sins past, present and future, which were many, were paid by Jesus giving His life on the cross for us.  Jesus redeemed us. 

            None of us deserved any of this.  God invited us into this community of God.  God’s invitation was to believe in the Lord Jesus as my Son and your Redeemer.  All who believed would be called “children of God.”  God did this for one thing, because He loves us, Romans 5:5b. 

            We are loved by God the Father who made us.  We are loved by Jesus the Son who redeemed us.  We are loved by the Holy Spirit who sustains us.  We are in living in the community of God. 

            Living in God’s community is wonderful.  We have all the persons of the Godhead loving and providing for us.  We have faith, perseverance, character, hope and love.  Now, God is sending us out to invite others into His community.  If you have accepted God’s invitation, then will you go out and invite others in?  Amen.