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Knots.

“Together with all the saints”

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Tears roll down his face as he leans forward on the sofa and talks about caring for his wife with dementia. Across the room a single mom and a middle-aged couple share about challenges with their teenage kids. Before the circle is complete, someone has announced a new pregnancy, another has asked for prayer for loneliness, and yet another is seeking to make ends meet financially for his family. All in one night. All in one small group. All of them pointing each other to the same loving God who meets them in very different circumstances.

That’s a small picture of what Paul has in mind when he writes in Ephesians 3, “And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ …”

The dimensions of the love of Christ for us are almost unfathomable. In each of our own experiences, we see glimpses of the immensity of this love as our sin is forgiven, our needs are met, our eternity is secured. In this passage, though, with the little phrase “together with all the saints,” Paul suggests that there is a dimension of the love of Christ that we cannot fully appreciate on our own. Thus, it is not going too far to state that our relationship with God will not be all he intends for it to be if we experience it in isolation.

This first (somewhat) fictionalized paragraph is but one snapshot of why small groups offer us a chance to deepen our grasp of Christ’s love and thereby enrich our relationship with God. As we share life in community, we join people of perhaps different ages, perhaps different races, perhaps different social standings, definitely different life experiences – all of whom have experienced the love of Christ and all of whose lives display beautifully varying facets of Christ’s amazing love. In fact, it is possible that in your small group or even your church you will share little else in common other than your gracious Father, your amazing Savior, and your indwelling Holy Spirit.

Being in a small group is certainly not the only way you can witness new facets of God’s love, but it is certainly one good way. I have often left a time with my small group and marveled at how God sustained another member of the group in a circumstance I thought would have done me in. I have often rejoiced with a brother or sister in my small group who shared of God’s deliverance from a specific situation I haven’t personally faced. I have often had my faith strengthened by a small group member older than I am who has seen God’s faithfulness through stages of life I haven’t seen yet. In each of those cases, my personal relationship with God is enriched by someone else’s relationship with Him and my relationship with them. It’s part of why God has called us into the family of God, the body of Christ.

You may be a part of a lot of groups in town, and that’s a good thing. But don’t miss the chance to rejoice in the thing that unites the members of your small group. As you relate to each other about football, kids, work, politics, and the struggles of life, don’t forget to stop and point out the love of Christ you can see in each other’s lives. Talk about how it encourages your faith. Talk about how another “saint” has shown you a new dimension of the love of Christ. Rejoice together in a faithful Father who has placed you in a family with others of his children!

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Recommended Reading

You'll find most of my recommended books available in the Guest Center at Southwood.

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Recommended Listening

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Recommended Links

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