So far, we've seen the six models of community in the Bible:
6. The new heaven and earth
5. The new testament church
4. The people of Israel
3. The family
2. The garden of eden
1. God Himself
If you haven't noticed, I have them in reverse order chronologically as they appear in the Bible. It may be a little corny but I do so because it puts God Himself as the foundation to all of the models. In fact, when we look at the model communities, a number of commonalities become apparent...
1. God is the foundation of each of these communities. When we find community like it is supposed to be in the Bible and anywhere else, we will find at the heart of that model community God Himself. Sure, there are some pretty good communities out there where God is not the center. Yes, there are some amazing places and people in the world who do not acknowledge or ever follow the God we know through the Bible and through His Son, Jesus. But no matter how "good" or how "amazing" these communities, places and people are, they are just not complete, from a Biblical sense, unless the foundation is built upon God.
2. Not only is God the foundation of each of these communities, He is the chief and most glorious inhabitant of the community. He is the focus of the community. He is worthy of all praise, adoration and attention of that community. And ironically, the more we love and focus on Him as the head of community, the more He blesses with His everlasting love, grace and peace.
3. When God is not held in His proper place in community, when people/communities choose their own ways and not God's, community suffers and thus the people of that community suffer the consequences.
4. The earthly models of community given to us in God and by God are to serve as "crucibles" of our becoming the community/people who God wants us to be.
5. The "wholeness" that God brings about in community has much to say and teach us about things such as pain, death, sickness, poverty, injustice, etc.
Well, this is much for one blog. Next blog, I will begin to take on the commonalities of God's model communities one by one.