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Sep 29, 2013

Connected

Passage: Ephesians 4:14-16

Preacher: Chris Buck

Series: The Church: Disciples In Action

Keywords: relationships, fellowship, support, small groups

Summary:

This message looks at the biblical figure of speech about each believer's place in the body as ligaments and supporting muscles. It's focus is upon the importance of being in meaningful relationships with others.

Detail:

CONNECTED

 

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint [ligament –NIV] supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:14-16 NASB

 

Cross-reference:

16 Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day— 17 things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ. 18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind, 19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God. Colossians 2:16-19 NASB

14-16 No prolonged infancies among us, please. We’ll not tolerate babes in the woods, small children who are an easy mark for impostors. God wants us to grow up, to know the whole truth and tell it in love—like Christ in everything. We take our lead from Christ, who is the source of everything we do. He keeps us in step [connected, ligaments, joint] with each other. His very breath and blood flow through us, nourishing us so that we will grow up healthy in God, robust in love. Ephesians 4:14-16 Message

Did You hear it? No more Infancies! No Toleration for babes in the Woods! God Wants us to Grow Up!

God wants us to Grow Up! To Know! To Take!

God wants us t Grow up! To Take our Lead from Christ, the Source and the Connector!

Do you hear it? Do you hear the passion of Paul through these words of God? Do you feel his burden for the children of God? Paul is using every bit of the language he has been taught through the centuries to connect us to the source of life, the source of everything we do, the one who puts us together in one piece, whose very breath and blood flows through us, who nourishes us, grows us, wants us healthy… do you hear it?

One words jumps out of these passages that I believe, for today, God wants us to focus on… that word is LIGAMENTS… see it there in Ephesians 4:16 and Colossians 2:19… (Go back and look at it again)

As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming; 15 but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint [ligament –NIV] supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love. Ephesians 4:14-16 NASB

 

LISTEN CAREFULLY!!!  The Body of Christ ceases to exist without the connecting work of the LIGAMENT… While we are committed to Christ, sold out to his inbreathing of the Spirit of God, his out-pouring of His love (Romans 5), his washing of regeneration, His filling to the point of dancing (John 4)… without the LIGAMENTS the Body of Christ falls apart… there remains nothing to hold it together…

The effective work of the Body of Christ ceases to exist without the connecting, adhesive work of the LIGAMENT!!!

Let me illustrate:

In the human body…a ligament is a dense tissue that connects bones to other bones to form a joint. A good example would be the knee joint, which contains several ligaments like the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) or the medial collateral ligament (MCL).

 

Ligaments are made of collagen tissue that is strong and not very flexible. The purpose of ligaments is to hold bones together. Its function is a joint is where two or more bones come together in the skeleton. Ligaments are present in every joint to hold the bones in place and prevent dislocation. Tight bands, slightly elastic, of white connective tissue. Ligaments also protect bones from breakage by acting as shock absorbers for the skeleton. In addition to joints, ligaments also help keep many internal organs in place, like the bladder, uterus and diaphragm.

Joints

  • Joints are where ligaments connect one bone to another bone. One function of ligaments is to prevent too much movement in the joint. Healthy ligaments provide joint stability, while stretched or injured ligaments can lead to joint instability.

 

Ligament stretch

  • According to Human Anatomy and Physiology, stretched ligaments stay stretched and can stretch only about 6 percent of their length before snapping.

Spinal ligaments

  • The ligaments between the vertebrae of the spinal column act like guy wires to help the bones of the spinal column stand upright.

Ligament injuries

  • A ligament injury is called a sprain. According to the Musculoskeletal Research Laboratories, untreated ligament injuries often cause instability of the joint involved, which can lead to degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis).

Treating ligament injuries

  • Initial treatment of ligament sprains usually includes rest, ice, wearing a compressive bandage or device, and anti-inflammatory drugs. Rehab treatment includes exercise and physical therapy. A completely torn ligament requires surgical repair.

Read more: http://www.ehow.com/facts_5724516_purpose-ligaments_.html#ixzz2fv7I1aF5

 

What Can We Learn from This?

  1. Ligaments holds bones together
  2. Ligaments holds bones in place, prevent dislocation
  3. Ligaments protect bones from breakage, acting as shock absorbers
  4. Ligaments keep internal organs in place
  5. Ligaments prevent to much movement in the joint, provide stability
  6. Ligaments act as guy wires in the spine


What can learn Spiritually from all of this…  [LISTEN CAREFULLY]

  1. Ligaments hold/steady/maintains/hold
  2. Ligaments protect/surround/in prison (root of the greek word)/surround
  3. Ligaments prevent

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Something I am learning through my involvement with DRM and Discovery Bible Studies is the thrust to get us to the application… answering the question, So What? So here goes….

While Christ is the source, creator of the ligament, the one who provides the breath, the blood flow and the connection… he is asking us to step up to the plate here on earth, those of us who are part of the universal body of Christ, to take on the role…. Of the ligament!!

Did you hear that? Connectors!!  The breath of God, the blood flow doesn’t flow without real connection!!! 

 

I believe that the ideal place for connectors (ligaments) to work in the lives of other believers takes place in either one-on-one relationships or in small group ministry. (Not forgoing the possibility in larger settings, but the ideal is)

 

 

10 Reasons Why Your Church Should Have Small Groups

Posted by Daniel in Christian Ministry Articles

Here’s why small groups are important.

  1. Small groups foster close relationships and integral community. The small group atmosphere is ready-made for building friendships. People talk more in small groups of people. People are quick to recognize needs, and help to meet them. The relationships formed within small groups form a strong fabric within a church. Relationships that are formed outside of the (sometimes artificial) setting of a church service, are relationships that will endure and strengthen over time.
  2. Small groups provide a comfortable introduction for nonbelievers to the Christian faith. I’m skeptical that “inviting people to church” is the best means of evangelism. Most of us tend to fear relationship-forming, especially when it involves sharing our faith with someone. That is a natural and understandable fear. Inviting someone instead to a small group meeting provides a way to involve a believer directly into a community of believers—watching them live out their faith, listening to them pray, hearing them share God’s work in their life, and learning more about the Bible. The nonbeliever is more likely to ask questions, get answers, and form relationships with the believers. Small groups are a powerful missional tool, allowing for the greater spread of the gospel among nonbelievers in the community.
  3. Small groups provide an ideal way to care for the needs of people within the church. When one believer in a small group is struggling financially, emotionally, spiritually, socially, etc., it is much easier for the members of the group to notice and provide help. The structure of a small group is essentially a community of believing friends. Friends should help one another, especially Christian friends.
  4. Small groups provide a way for Christians to live out their faith instead of merely hearing more preaching or teaching. If Sunday morning is for listening, then the rest of the week is for living. Whether it’s discussing the Sunday sermon, talking about a spiritual battle, or simply praying for one another, small groups create a context for Christians to live out their faith in real life.
  5. Small groups participate in focused prayer for one another. Prayer cannot be overrated, but it is often underpracticed. Small groups can better participate in prayer for one another. In one of my small group meetings, each of the people that were present took a few minutes to tell others about their particular challenges or concerns. Then, as soon as he was finished, the person right next to him took a minute or so to pray for him. Small groups make for great prayer meetings.
  6. Small groups provide a comfortable atmosphere for openness. One thing I like about small groups is that we meet in homes. There are at least twenty-six references in the New Testament that talk about believers meeting in homes or being part of a household. (Not all are references in Acts:  Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Philemon 1:2). Homes are usually comfortable places—places devoid of pews, PA systems, and stages. They are places where people can open up, listen, learn, and grow.
  7. Small groups allow for mutual edification among believers. It’s easy to depend upon the professionals to give us our spiritual food. According to the Bible, God gives spiritual gifts to all believers, not just the guy who preaches on Sunday morning. These gifts are for the benefit of the whole church. Every Christian should minister to other Christians with his or her gifts. This happens most naturally, effectively, and purposefully in small groups. Plus, we start to realize that other believers face the same problems we do. Edification is at work.
  8. Small groups encourage better learning. Listening to a sermon is a great way to learn the Word, but it is easy to become detached or daydream during a sermon. We become passive listeners. Not so in a small group. When a few people are together, every individual is expected to be involved and to participate. This active involvement is an effective way to learn better.
  9. Small groups provide a source of encouragement and accountability. It’s easy to slip in and out of church unnoticed. It’s not just megachurches where this happens. In an average-sized church of 100 or 150, people may be coming each Sunday service, but not getting involved. These people may need accountability in their lives, encouragement in their walk with God, or help in some way. Small groups provide a way to better meet these needs.
  10. Small groups help to cultivate leadership within the church. Someone has to lead a small group meeting, or at least facilitate the discussion. Unless your entire church is the small group (unlikely), there will need to be leaders other than the pastor. Thus, small groups give opportunities for leadership development within the church.


[Illustration] Francis Chan on Why Small Group? (3 Min)

 

Reiterate Big Idea!

We must step up to the plate!!

We are the Connectors for the Body of Christ, the Church!!

No Air Flow

No Blood Flow

 

[Illustrate Brain Death]

Without Connection!!!

 

Each one of us are sitting here today… knowing what we need to do!

We need to get connected… Opportunities!!

 

  1. Join a Small Group
  2. Host a Small Group
  3. Start a Small Group