Care Group Ministry: 'Your Walk with God is a Community Project' by Dr. Paul Tripp
Recently, the Care Group Leaders attended a talk over two evenings (23-24 October 2013) by author and speaker Paul Tripp (photo, right) at the annual EQUIP Conference organized by Adam Road Presbyterian Centre.
Paul’s focus for the two evenings was on discipleship and he spoke on the topic “Your walk with God is a Community Project”. His main point was that discipleship to Christ involves each of us seeking our identity in the gospel of Jesus Christ as redeemed sinners; and thereafter living out our identity in an intentional community that helps one another grow in Christ-likeness.
Speaking from Hebrews 10:19-31 on the first evening, Paul says that as Christians we are called to live as a child of grace (vv. 19-23); and we are called to be serious about sin (vv. 26-31). However, both of this takes place in context of community and fellowship (vv. 24-25). He gave a number of illustrations from his own life and from our own daily lives which show that sin makes us blind to our own sin" we very often are self-deceived. Therefore we need the intentionally gracious intrusion of our brothers and sisters in the church to point out to us our sin.
Paul also looked at 1 John 4:20-21 on the second evening and he gave two principles regarding our relationships" our vertical relationship with God and our horizontal relationship with others. The first principle states that “If you want to know the true quality of your relationship with God, look at your quality of your relationships with others.” Our interactions with others are a good indicator of our relationship with God. And the second principle says that “God calls you to a certain quality of relationships because he means to use those relationships for his purpose.” God uses our relationships as the context for shaping us to be more like Christ. Therefore our interactions in community are vital to our walk with God.
Paul’s talk is a helpful corrective to the common contemporary misconception that as Christians what is important is just “my own personal walk with God”. For sure, we are each personally accountable to God for our responses of faith and obedience, but our walk with God involves the church community. As individuals, we are easily caught in sin and we need God’s grace working through the correction and restoration of our church community to help us persist in growing in Christ-likeness.
As Paul aptly puts it, our walk with God is indeed a community project.
- Oliver “Ollie” Chia
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