The events that have been taking place in our nation are clear indicators that we are not unified as a nation. I believe more now than ever in our lifetime we need people to make a conscious effort to come together. If we do not come together like many nations before us, we will not be destroyed from the outside but from within. As we look in Webster’s Dictionary we find that the word “together” has been defined as: With or in proximity to another person or group of people. In companionship or close association with or occurring at the same time.
Last week at South Side we unpacked some of things that the Church should focus on when we physically come together. We saw that the early church often came together, and that they were focused on learning, helping, and growing. If you would like to see what they practiced in their faith just take a look at Acts 2:42-47. Currently we live in a very divided nation. There is no doubt that coming together as a people is going to take work! All throughout scripture God has desired for His people to come together. His call to Abraham was a promise of a “people” and a great “nation.” The Israelites became that people in the old testament. In the new testament Jesus calls his people “the church.” The Church is a connected people, a community – the people of God, the Body of Christ, a holy nation, royal priesthood, the flock, household of God – a together-ed people that God needs to be unified in soul, spirit, and body. I believe more now than ever in a hostile culture that our world needs “the church” to be light in the darkness.
It’s very interesting to note that before COVID-19 ever happened a Harvard study of 7,000 people found that isolated people were 3 times more likely to die than those with strong relationships. Reporting on the study, John Ortberg writes that “people who had bad health habits (such as smoking, poor eating habits, or alcohol use) but strong social ties lived significantly longer than people who had great health habits but were isolated. In other words, it is safer to eat Twinkies with good friends than to eat broccoli alone.” Science has found that being together adds years to your life, produces positive mental and emotional health, reduces the risk of stroke, enhances your immune system, and it even lowers or delays your risk of memory loss or Alzheimer’s disease! What is true physically is also true spiritually! If we want to maintain a healthy, lifelong walk with Christ, we need community. I believe that is one of the reasons why God gave us the church!
There is power when people come together and struggle in separation. I believe this is why the writer of Hebrews wrote in Hebrews 10:24-25 “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” This passage isn’t a suggestion for just easy times, but it is a command for believers in all times. Over 12000 churches closed their doors permanently in 2020. It’s a fact that churches will not survive, thrive, or even be alive if they continue to stay separated. There is no doubt that God wants to unify people and Satan wants to divide them. It’s all throughout the Bible.
This Sunday at South Side we will unpack the third week of our new series entitled “Together.” On site worship begins at 10:15, and our Children’s Ministry offers children’s classes for all ages. We are continuing to practice social distancing at our services. If you are unable to attend our online services will be available at 3:00 on Facebook and our website. If you would like to give generously text: 84321 then the word “help” and follow the simple instructions. We would love to have your family worship with us! For more information visit us on our website at: www.southsidewch.com or on Facebook.
South Side Church of Christ