Pastor Jim is preaching a series on “Salt & Light” at Cornerstone Worship Center and a week and a half ago took us into Acts 2/Joel 2 wherein we find the famous prophetic statement:
“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares,
that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh,
and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy,
and your young men shall see visions,
and your old men shall dream dreams;
even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit,
and they shall prophesy.'”
In teaching this passage, Pastor Jim referenced a phrase that he later shared was from the ministry of Jerry Cook. The phrase is “the prophetic community.” The words resonated with me; this concept that we have an identity together that is not as much about the specific things we do, but is about who we are in the eyes of God, seemed to shift around in my soul. The idea is that, whilst visions, dreams, prophecy etc. are all realities to be expected, the instances of manifestation are not the thrust of the passage.
Part of our mission as the church (which is God’s people together, and in a specific way a locally identifiable body of believers) is to proclaim and speak forth the good news of Jesus Christ, the hope of redemption in Him, and man’s need for a Savior. In a conversation with my good friend Jon Brown he stated that evangelism is the one purpose of the church that will not continue in eternity. Worshiping God, loving one another, glorifying Jesus and finding our truest satisfaction in our Maker, these things will remain. But it is appointed once to a man the opportunity to believe on Jesus. With death comes the end of decision.
That should give us all a sense of urgency as we seek to share the gospel with everyone we can. And we should be sharing it with each other too, because we’re as much in need of the good news daily as any person languishing in sin and death!
So that explains the prophetic part – but what about the community part? Well, God is Triune for starters, and so, as He is a Divine Community, one of the best way to explain God is to live in loving community. The Bible tells us that the world will know who He is by the way that we love each other. So for all who have alienated themselves, or been alienated, from the local church community, may I exhort you to change your mind and your actions and not let anyone rip you off of the richness, love and testimony of the local church!
Secondly to this mirroring of the nature of God, to live in community gives better expression to the prophetic. What the eye sees, the mouth can speak; what the heart feels, the hands can create; what the ear hears, the feet can walk in response to. I can’t do this following Jesus thing on my own. I need the Holy Spirit, He who fills and overflows, and I need the church. Specifically, I need the local expression of the bride of Christ to know and be known by, love and be loved by, serve and be served by. And in the midst of that an announcement is made that because of Jesus, real community is now possible.
The world is watching.