Transformation happens in a community. God did not save you, wash you from all your sins, and cleanse you from all unrighteousness—just for you to be by yourself. He wanted to put you in a community of believers because scripture tells us that iron sharpens iron and we are better together.
A transforming community is a loving community
We need to genuinely love each other. The environment that He wants is a loving environment, where we know that there is nothing we have to do to earn love. It’s love that is simply given because you are you and you are God’s child. Don’t love someone just when they’re on the mountain but love them in the valley too.
He said, “I need you to find evil repugnant.” Evil is morally objectionable behavior—not just wicked. I am going to stand for truth and let my love be genuine. What’s evil is evil and what’s good is good. There needs to be a sibling kind of love that we have for one another.
Verses 9-10. 9 “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. 10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another;
“If we keep pretending, we’re going to forget who we really are.”—Pastor Bill Johnson
A transforming community is a serving community
Don’t be idle, lazy, and hold back. There is something in you that you don’t need to put on the shelf. There needs to be something in you where you are enthused about God. There are going to times when you are going to run out of gas. When you are talking about serving—you are going to run out of gas. In our weakness—His strength is perfected. There are times you need to know—this is God doing this.
Verse 11. “Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord;
A transforming community is a hopeful community
Hope filled—meaning filled with hope, being glad with a confident expectation. There is something that has to be on the inside of you that you know everything is going to be all right. It may not feel right, it may not look right, the circumstances may not be right but it’s going to be all right. There has to be rejoicing in hope. Hope is very important to your life because without hope, faith has nothing to give substance to. Tribulation has to do with distress, trouble, and affliction. Being patient means to endure, be persistent and refuse to stop—play till you win. You have to refuse to stop until victory comes.
“Some of you are just one prayer away from the thing you desire or long for.”—Pastor Bill Johnson
Verse 12. “Rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer;”
A transforming community is a welcoming community
Distributing the needs to the saints should be an ongoing part of the community—a welcoming community. Don’t dare look down on people who lack.—you don’t know their story. You don’t know when you are going to be in need. God didn’t say judge them but minister to them and meet their needs. Make an intentional effort to receive strangers. There is a difference between entertaining and being hospitable. Entertaining focuses on the host and being hospitable focuses on the guests. We have to be a welcoming community. Read Acts 4:32-35
Verse 13. “Distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”
“Your stuff doesn’t determine your value.”—Pastor Bill Johnson
The Preparations of the Heart
The preparations of the heart belong to man. You are the caretaker of your heart and you need to prepare to meet God. There is proper protocol. You want His best—give Him your best. Ask God, “What do I need to do to prepare my heart? What do I need to do daily to come before You? As you begin to honor Him—the level of reverence and honor in your own heart begins to grow and when you begin to say, “In the Name of Jesus”—Jesus begins to show up and do what needs to be done in the situation.