Joshua-Wayne Barber/Part 13
By: Dr. Wayne Barber
|By: Dr. Wayne Barber; ©2004|
|Israel has learned through their experience of Jericho that when they are willing to yield to everything that God says, then as a unit, they experience community together. When obedient to God, they were able to walk in the victory that He gave to them together.|
Lordship: The Foundation of Spiritual community (Joshua 8b)
Turn with me to Joshua 8. I want to talk to you today about Lordship – the foundation of spiritual community. You can have affinity; that’s not community. I get a bunch of hunters around me and I have affinity. We can talk, we can talk the sport, but we’re not talking about that. We’re talking about spiritual community that only comes as a result of Lordship in a person’s life. Let’s see if we can get into this. Joshua 8, we’re going to be looking at verses 30-35.
In our studies of Joshua we are learning to possess, experience, what we already have in Christ. God didn’t give us a land, He gave Israel a land. Their covenant was external, ours is internal. And as they learned to possess the land God had given them, we’re learning from them, according to 1 Corinthians 10:6, “All these things happened to Israel for an example to us.” So we’re learning from them how we possess the life that God has given us in Christ. In Christ we have every spiritual blessing, Ephesians 1:3 tells us. There’s not one blessing we lack in Him. One of the most wonderful things that we find in this life that Christ offers us, His life, one of the most wonderful things we find is community—spiritual community, family. That’s what He gives to us. Only found in Him. The word covenant and the word community go hand in hand.
Israel has learned through their experience of Jericho that when they are willing to yield to everything that God says, then as a unit, they experience community together. When obedient to God, they were able to walk in the victory that He gave to them, now listen, together. Now that’s the beauty of this whole thing. It’s not just something individual. It’s something corporate as a unit. They were in covenant with God. They were in covenant with each other. Therefore, they had community. And as they were willing to trust God, they experienced His power and His victory together.
What a journey they have been on since chapter 1, since we started this study in Joshua. In chapter 7 a man by the name of Achan evidently didn’t understand community; didn’t have a clue. He didn’t know that what one does affect everybody else. When they conquered Jericho, they had been told not to take any of the spoils of war. Chapter 6:18-19, God specifically said, “I put a ban over this.” Any of the wealth, the gold, silver, etc., were to be turned into the treasury of the Lord. But Achan just couldn’t resist. There it was, lying around, and so he stole some valuables and he hid them in his tent. He didn’t confess his sin so it went seemingly unnoticed. However, God knew.
Meanwhile Joshua, acting on the advice of the spies, took 3,000 men up to the little military outpost of Ai, thinking that there it was going to be a piece of cake. They were miserably defeated. You see, Achan had betrayed his covenant, not only with God but with his fellow men. In other words, he was in a community. You don’t do things that way. It affects the whole community. And, therefore, they were miserably defeated.
His sin was not only a betrayal of covenant. His sin was a burden to the whole community of Israel. When they fled from the enemy, they had to turn their back to them. They had never done that. Already the spies had told them earlier on before they even crossed the Jordan, Rahab told them, listen, “The people’s hearts have melted. The land is yours. The people are scared to death of your God. They’ve heard about all He’s done in your life.” So therefore, they knew that they had God’s victory; but when sin was in the camp, they didn’t have it. And so they turned and they ran. And now the fact that they were cowards in battle would spread to other Canaanite nations and they would be defeated over and over again. They lost their confidence in God’s presence among them.
And as a result Achan paid dearly. Not only did the nation suffer defeat, and many died as a result of him, but Achan paid dearly. His family, his livestock and everything that he stole had to be destroyed in the valley of Achor. And God teaches us through this that sin affects the community and it must be dealt with and dealt with completely for the whole community to be able to go on together, corporately, in the victory God gives to us.
Well, thank God He forgives. His mercy is fresh every day. When they dealt with sin, they dealt with it complete. Now in chapter 8 they choose to obey God. They’ve gone from disobedience now to obedience. And thank God He allowed them to do that. In 8:1-29 Israel now goes in and defeats the city of Ai. From chapter 8 we have learned several things about walking in His will. To begin chapter 8 they’d already sensed the appearance of God’s manifested presence, and in chapter 8 He starts off and He tells Joshua, “Do not fear or be dismayed.” Joshua had heard that four different times at least in his lifetime. And usually, not here, but usually accompanied with it was, “for I am with you.” Now His presence was back among them. And His presence is what dismisses all fear in our life.
We learned that God’s will is not always predictable. Not only is He present to carry through what He demands, but His will is not always predictable. When they got to Ai it was not the same things as being at Jericho. Not only could they take the spoils of war in Ai, if Achan had just been resting in the Lord, he could have had what he wanted when he went to Ai, but because of his own flesh he caused his own death. It was very consequential in his life.
But not only that, the battle plan was so different at Ai, radically different than at Jericho. And what we learned is, God didn’t give us a map, but God gave us the Guide. And that’s the beautiful thing about the Christian life. The guide is the Holy Spirit who comes and lives in us. He’s the one who knows the plan. And so therefore, we have to stay as close to Him as we possibly can by surrendering and saying yes to Him. Then we begin to experience the direction that God wants us to have in our life.
Instead of walking around the city one time each day for six days and then seven times on the seventh day, oh no, it wasn’t that way. They put 30,000 men behind the city of Ai which sat on a hill, but there’s a place there where they could be hidden. And then he took 5,000 men and put them over to the west of Ai, and then Joshua took a group of men and they came out in the open. That’s the only people that the city of Ai could see was just Joshua and his men. They didn’t see the other 35,000. And then Joshua came in, knowing that they were going to chase him like they did before, and so they turned as if they were in flight and fear, and they turned and ran. And the people of Ai said, “Ah, we got them again.” And they left the city unguarded. When they left the city unguarded, chasing Joshua and his men down the hill, the 30,000 came in took the city, burned the city. When the warriors of Ai looked back and saw the city smoking, they realized what had happened, and they turned to go back. But when they turned to go back they ran into 5,000 and then Joshua’s men turned on them, and they had them trapped. It was an ambush. And they had a total victory. They had a total victory because they obeyed God.
But the key that I want to bring across to you is they had a total victory together. Community was established again. And this spiritual community, walking in the victory that God had given to them, they once again were able to experience. What I want you to see in the last part of chapter 8 verse 30-35 is that lordship, bowing to His will, surrendering to His will, is the very foundation that spiritual community is built upon.
The Old Testament platform for community
It doesn’t start with community. It starts with Deity, Lordship and bowing before Him. Let me show you that. The two things that I’m going to show you today: First of all, the Old Testament platform for community. I’m going to say it over and over again to where you can’t miss it. There is no unity amongst God’s people, there is no community amongst God’s people, until God’s word is honored by all. This is what lordship is all about.
Chapter 8:30-35. Let me just read to you the scenario we’re going to look at and then we’ll come back and talk about it. Verse 30, you just follow along, “Then Joshua built an altar to the Lord, the God of Israel in Mount Ebal.” Verse 32, “He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses, which he had written in the presence of the sons of Israel. All Israel with their elders and officers and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priest who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the stranger as well as the native.” Everybody was included. “Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them stood in front of Mount Ebal, as Moses the servant of the Lord had given command at first to bless the people of Israel. Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the Law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.”
Now, what we’re seeing here is a public ceremony honoring God and His word. It was a group of people, Israel the whole nation, that had come before Him to renew their covenant with Him. Now Mount Ebal that is mentioned here is quite a distance from where the people are in chapter 8 at the city of Ai. Militarily, one could argue that this was not a good move, because to get to where this place was they had to go through Canaanite territory. But Joshua is responding in obedience to what Moses had commanded back in the book of Deuteronomy before they had ever crossed over the Jordan River.
And this really wasn’t his only reason. Joshua also knew that they needed to do this to renew their covenant. They have just sinned. They’ve repented. Now they’ve walked in obedience, but they need to come back and they need to be reminded. They had sinned and had seen miserable failure. They had obeyed and they had seen victory. And they needed to renew their covenant with God. Yes, they had dealt with their sin, but they still needed to renew their covenant with God. This is similar to when they crossed the Jordan River and they circumcised all the males and renewed their covenant then before their first battle. This is very similar. The people had to be constantly, constantly reminded of walking in obedience to God and what covenant was all about.
Now Moses had commanded them to build an altar at Mount Ebal, way back in the book of Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy 27:4-6. Let me read that for you. Verse 4 says, “So it shall be when you cross the Jordan, you shall set up on Mount Ebal these stones as I’m commanding you today. And you shall coat them with lime.” Now we don’t have a whole lot of understanding of why the lime except it makes something identifiable. It whitens it and people can see it. “Moreover you shall build there an altar to the Lord your God, an altar of stones. You shall not wield an iron tool on them. You shall build the altar of the Lord your God of uncut stones and you shall offer on it burnt offerings to the Lord your God.”
Now back in Deuteronomy 11:29 Moses mentions two mountains that identifies the spot where they are to come and renew their covenant, “It shall come about when the Lord your God brings you into the land where you are entering to possess it, that you shall place a blessing on Mount Gerizim and a curse on Mount Ebal.” Now these two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, were the two dominant features in a land that was known in biblical times as Shechem. This site was very significant, Shechem, because it marked the site of Abraham’s first altar in Canaan when God led him over there, and it marked God’s promise to him of the inheritance of the land. This is where it took place. Also, it was the location of Jacob’s well. It also, later on, went on to become the place where Joseph was buried. It was a very significant spot.
Now these two mountains, Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim, proclaimed a very powerful message and this is all involved in this ceremony they are going to go through in a minute. Mount Gerizim proclaimed that God is obeyed and Israel could walk in His blessings. It was known as the Mount of Blessing. But the Mount Ebal was proclaimed as a Mount of Curses. When the law was disobeyed, when was disobeyed, then the curses would fall upon the people.
Joshua took Israel to this sacred spot so that they could renew their covenant. How fitting. They had just disobeyed, and then they had obeyed, and they had seen the results of both. And now they came to where these two mountains are to renew their covenant. Standing on one side was this mountain, standing on the other was this one, and in the middle was an altar Joshua would build. Israel was saying in the ceremony we’re about to look at, “God, we understand our sinfulness and we’re coming before You as a community, as a unit, to say, ‘Oh God, we will obey Your word, and Oh God, we honor Your Lordship in our lives.’”
The altar was built there and they were going to sacrifice offerings on it in accordance to what Moses said, but really much more than that—in accordance to the way God had commanded all altars to be built. God gave instruction for building the altars in Exodus 20:25. He says, “If you make an altar of stone for Me, you shall not build it of cut stones, for if you wield your tool on it, you will profane it.” And that is a principle that carries with everything that God ever did. When man puts his filthy paws on it, it profanes it. God says, “It has to be Me and it has to be pure. Don’t put a tool on this rock. You put the rock, left uncut, and build the altar.”
Once the altar was built, the ceremony would include two kinds of offerings: one was burnt offerings; and two were peace offerings or fellowship offerings as some say. Burnt offerings were to atone for their sins. How fitting that that was to go first. The animals had to be sacrificed and had to be totally consumed by the fire. The smell was a sweet aroma unto the Lord. But the second offering was not a gloomy sin offering. This was much more of a joyful offering. The portions of the sacrifice were eaten by the ones presenting them and this offering was a picture of being one with God and because we’re one with God we’re one with each other. Community! It was what it was all about. This offering given after the burnt offering signified that the people were one in their surrender to God and to His Lordship.
It was on the stones of the altar that Joshua wrote a copy of the Law that God has given to Moses. Verse 32 says, “He wrote there on the stones a copy of the law of Moses which he had written in the presence of the sons of Israel. It was then that the whole nation divided up.” This is so interesting to me. One half goes over to Mount Gerizim and the other half goes over to Mount Ebal. They were so close that you could shout and hear the other person shouting from the other side. Half on one side, half on the other.
Verse 33, “All Israel with their elders, and officers, and their judges were standing on both sides of the ark before the Levitical priests who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord, the stranger as well as the native.” Everybody was included; nobody was not there. “Half of them stood in front of Mount Gerizim and half of them in front of Mount Ebal. Just as Moses the servant of the Lord had given command at first to bless the people of Israel.”
Now Moses in his instructions in Deuteronomy even told them how they were to divide up. It wasn’t a matter of haphazardly, “well, you go over there and I’ll go over here.” No, they knew exactly which mountain to go to. Deuteronomy 27:12-13, “When you cross the Jordan, you shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin.” But then it says, “The cursed, these shall stand on Mount Ebal: Ruben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan and Naphtali.” They appeared to recite the curses and the blessings and then Joshua read it from the Law. It appeared that over here on this mountain they shouted back the blessings and then they shouted the curses which are listed in Deuteronomy exactly what happened if they disobeyed and what would happen if they obeyed.
And then in verse 34, “And then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the Law.” What a powerful illustration of a whole nation that was one that day, understanding that lordship was absolutely paramount. That God’s word and His will is what lordship is all about. And they understood if they disobeyed and if they obeyed, this would happen. Everybody was involved. The whole nation was involved as a community, together.
Verse 35, “There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded that Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the woman and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.” When they came to this ceremony and they collectively, corporately, surrendered to the lordship of God in their lives, and the power and the authority of the Word in their lives—in those moments there was community like they had only experienced when they had obeyed God before. They had experienced when community wasn’t there when they had disobeyed and once again, now, there in community. They are experiencing community.
For community to be experienced, I’m not talking about affinity, I’m not talking about groups that have a lot of things in common, I’m not talking about that. When community is experienced, spiritual community, lordship is at the root of that. You never start with community, you start with deity and bowing before Him and His word. Community is an outgrowth of all of that. For true community to happen God has to be honored, His will and His word obeyed.
Now I’m going to bring it down from the sublime to the ridiculous. I want to make sure you understand. When I was growing up, community in my family rested on my sister and I obeying my mother and daddy. It’s just amazing. You can draw another word close to community would be fellowship. We had fellowship when we obeyed. My mother, bless her heart, I was thinking about those precious people that home-school today. Our daughter home-schools. I think it’s wonderful. But if my mother had home-schooled me, she would have been in heaven a lot earlier in life. I was a pill.
I remember one day sitting on the kitchen stool and was wrong and she knew I was wrong and I knew I was wrong, but I wasn’t going to give in. Ever been there? Fellowship had been affected and community had been affected. There was no community here. I remember my mother, just so upset with me. Finally, I looked at her and I did the dumbest thing, I said “Well, I just wished I’d never been born.” If there’s a young person in here, may I just suggest to you don’t ever do that. I’d be 7 feet tall if I’d behaved myself coming up. Man, I could tell that just absolutely irritated her to no end. Her nose began to get red and run and her eyes were running and she was mad. She wasn’t upset, she was mad. And then I did another dumb thing. I said, “Well why don’t you hit me.” Oh! Stupid! I mean, I thought she’d be a decent momma and slap me. She didn’t slap me, she hit me with her fist right between my eyes. I mean, she just hauled off, she was so mad and went bam! Right there, man I grabbed my face and I’m thinking, oh my goodness, my mother, she’s broken my nose right here in the kitchen. My mother’s thinking, oh, right hook I didn’t know I had. When I finally got right, fellowship was restored. Community was restored.
Why is there not community, spiritual community being experienced in the church of Jesus Christ? I’ll tell you why; because there are too many people playing games with the lordship of Christ. Oh, they want affinity. Let’s get a group together. Let’s make a basket. Let’s get a group together and let’s go sing songs. But they don’t understand community, and that’s something that only comes from bowing to the lordship of Jesus Christ. When I’m one with Him and focusing on Him and I bow before Him then with others who have done the same thing, I can have unity and I can have community, it’s all rooted in the deity of Christ. I must be surrendered to His word and His will absolutely in authority in our life.
The New Testament picture of community
That’s the Old Testament platform for community. You say, Wayne, thank you so much. I’m glad that’s Old Testament, but we’re New Testament. Would you tell us what the New Testament says? Thank you for asking. I want you to turn to Acts 4 and I want to show you something. Here comes the New Testament picture of community. The Old Testament platform of community is lordship. That’s the foundation of it. The New Testament picture is the same. God has not changed. He’s the same yesterday, today and forever. If I’m going to experience community, it comes from Jesus not from others—who have likemindedness of things, it’s going to come from Him. I experience community through Him. It’s part of the life that He’s given to me. God’s plan for true community—here’s the thing.
Acts 4:32. Now this scripture is rehearsing for us the birth of the new church. The new covenant has been inaugurated. The spirit has come to live in the lives of believers. The New Testament church is beginning right here. In Acts 4:32 here’s the way the verse begins, “And the congregation on those who [what?] believed.” Now, you’ve got to stop right there. Don’t go any further. What did they believe? And to find out what they believed you’ve got to backtrack and go back in context to Acts 2:36.
This is the summation of Peter’s sermon after Pentecost, one of the greatest sermons that he ever preached. Acts 2:36, now listen to how he sums up, the epitome of what he said, “Therefore, let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ.” Who’s he talking about, “this Jesus whom you crucified.” Now if you don’t understand that, you have to realize He can’t be the Messiah unless He is Lord. The two are synonymous. Messiah means the anointed one, the one that was promised. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus is the Christ, the anointed one.
But not only that, to be that, He is Lord; given a name above every name. To which every knee at some point will bow. Now think about that for a second. Christ is the Lord, and they believed this. What does it mean for Him to be Lord? It means He’s our authority. It means that His word is our command. His will is to be totally surrendered to. And these people believed upon Him.
Now go back to Acts 4:32. It tells us that there was a congregation who believed this. The congregation believed. Now what is the word believed? It’s the word pisteuo. Pisteuo is a word that means far more than simply to comprehend. There’s a lot of people who comprehend this, but it’s never gotten out of their head down into their heart. The word comes from peitho. It means to so be persuaded by a truth in a spiritual sense, that you’re willing to let it radically change your life and your behavior. If it doesn’t change your behavior, it’s not belief. You don’t call it belief because you understand something, and comprehend it; not until it has changed your life can it even be called belief. They believed it to the point that it changed, radically, their lives. They had to honor God’s word and His will and that’s what Lordship is all about. That’s what we saw on Mount Ebal and Mount Gerizim. That’s exactly what you see in the New Testament church.
Now this produced a unity among them. Look again at verse 32, “then the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and one soul.” Wow! How in the world can you get a group of believers together, 5,000 were saved at one time, 2,000 at another time—how can you get them together to have a unity of heart and soul? I’m telling you, folks, belief is the key. Lordship is the key. Belief in the doctrines of scripture, particularly the deity of Christ and a willingness to surrender to Him and to His will and to His word produces a unity amongst others who are doing the same thing. Doctrinally and spiritually the new church that was birthed in the book of Acts at this point were one.
Now you start to read the epistles you’ll discover where there was much disobedience in several churches and you’ll see the community totally interrupted because of that. You’ll see the unity totally disrupted because of that. But watch the verse. We’re not through yet. They have deity, they’ve bowed, they have unity. Watch this, “the congregation of those who believed were of one heart and soul,” now watch, “and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” This is the sweetest verse. They had a sensitivity; they had a compassion for each other to the point that if somebody had need in their midst, in their community that they reached out to see if they could meet that need. They had truly experienced community.
But now listen, once they experienced the deity and bowed, and believed that He is Lord, both Lord and Christ, and they let it affect their behavior—then they were one in heart and soul and then they experienced a community. But watch what else happens. This is the very thing, now listen carefully, that affected evangelism in the early New Testament church. This is what caused it to have an impact. Keep reading, “and with great power the apostles were giving testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and abundant grace was upon them all.” Wayne, what do you mean? They were just going out and doing their thing. No, no, no. Look at the next verse. There had to be credibility to the message before trying to take out there. Until God works in here with a community this is absolutely, this is indescribable, then He can’t work out there with a message. This validates that. It’s got to be in here first.
And Acts 2:34 says, “For there was not a needy person among them. For all who were owners of lands and houses would sell them and bring the proceeds of the sales.” And verse 35 says, “and lay them at the apostles’ feet that they would be distributed as any had need.” Now this is not some form of communism—everybody went home and sold everything they had—no, it was as God directed them. Because back in chapter 2 it says a very similar thing, but here we are in chapter 4 and they still have their houses, so something’s not right.
But what he’s saying is there was a sensitivity that God built within them for each other. It’s a most beautiful picture in the world of what community really is. This is one of the reasons we preach the word of God, the lordship of Christ, and living grace message, because until that is effective, then you cannot have unity. And until you have unity, you cannot have community. You can have affinity, but you cannot have spiritual community. And that’s a huge difference.
In fact Luke, who writes the book of Acts, gives two examples. If you have ever studied this passage, you know where I’m headed. He gives an example of a precious man, humble, who sells his property and brings it and lays the proceeds at the apostles’ feet. And that’s beautiful. But then in chapter 5—and some people disjoin the two chapters and you can’t do that; it’s a flow because it starts off and connects the two—and then there were two people, a husband and a wife, that just for show, sold their property, but they kept most of it for themselves. And they made a big show of coming and laying at the apostles feet and they had lied to the Holy Spirit of God. They had broken community. And as a result of that, they fell dead at Peter’s feet. I imagine if you were trying to join that church in those days, you’d want to back off for a while. Does God do that all the time, no. But does He make His point clear? Very!
Community is important. But you don’t start with community. You hear this a lot in our culture and in our day: We want community, where can we find community? It doesn’t start by coming to church and finding a group of people that you can have affinity with. It starts with bowing before the lordship of Christ and then Jesus in you draws you to other people who have done the same thing. And that unity begins to develop between those who have finally bowed and then spiritual community grows out of that.
Will it be with everybody in the church? No, probably not until Jesus comes back. But you can find it in the remnant. It’s always there. If a person’s willing to bow before God, then he can be unified with others who have done the same thing. And then God will give them a spiritual community they’ve never fully grasped. The foundation of community amongst God’s people begins with the doctrine of the lordship of Christ. His word, and His will has got to be honored or there will be no unity and there’ll be no community. In fact, when this takes place, it’s only then that our evangelism will have an effect.
George W. Truett, pastor before Dr. Criswell at First Baptist Dallas, the story is written of him. Dr. Truett of Texas was invited to a church that was raising $6,500 to dedicate a church building. What he means by that is they’re trying to pay it off. And back in the day, when this was written, $6,500 was a lot of money. My daddy, the year he died, made $5,000 and that was enough to get us by. Different day, different dollar.
After 3,500 had been promised, no money raised, the offering ceased. Then a plainly-dressed woman arose and spoke to her husband who was taking the names of those making the pledges. “Charlie,” she said, “I wonder if you’d be willing to give our little cottage for this debt. We were offered $3,500 for it yesterday. Would you be willing to give our little house for Christ so that His house might be debt free?” The fine fellow responded with the same high spirit. “Jenny, dear, I was thinking the same thing.” Then looked up at Truett, his face covered with tears, he said, “We’ll give the $3,500.” It said in this account that what followed was—men and women began to sob out loud when they realized the deep sensitivity this couple had. They begin to sob aloud and in just a few minutes the $3,500 cash was raised and provided.
But then, without invitation—there was no invitation, this was a meeting to dedicate a building to make sure it was debt free—without an invitation there began to be people coming down the aisle and saying to the pastor, George W. Truett, “Oh sir, how can we come to know the Lord Jesus as our Savior?” The sensitivity of the body gave credibility to the message and the invitation was given through their gracious care for one another. That’s what community is all about.
Christ has to be real inside His church before His message can be effective outside the church. So what’s the foundation of spiritual community? Everybody wants it! Again, not affinity, community! You can find affinity anywhere, but community is lordship. Will you have it with everybody? Probably not, but will you have it with the remnant? Absolutely! God will draw you and polarize you to people of the same mind who love God and love His word. And you’re going to begin to see something begin to happen—unity of heart and soul and community in the body that has come back to renew their covenant with Him.
That’s Old Testament, Joshua 8:30-35, and that’s New Testament, Act 4:32 and following. You know what I want in my life before I die? I want real community. I want real community. In fact, when I was in conference work, I had no idea that you can have it, but it’s a little bit vague. You know what I’m thankful for this morning? I am thankful for those of you that love God and God’s already drawn me to, and I’m thankful for the unity and the community He is building among us. If you find no community, keep checking it back. Is there unity? “What do you mean unity, Wayne?” That means the word of God unified and the lordship of Christ is believed. And if you can’t find that, then you can understand why there’s no community. Whether it be in this group or that group, or this group, or this group. It works the same way.
So this morning as I close, are you part of the solution? I’m seeking to be. I really am. Or are you part of the problem? If you’re looking for community, but you’re going the wrong way to look for it, are you willing to bow, give up your agenda, and to say, “Jesus, be Jesus in me. I love You, I love Your word.” And then God puts you in the company of others who have done the same thing. And lo and behold, there’s a community beginning to be developed. That’s what it’s all about.