God’s Plan Through Community (part 1 of 2)

God’s plan is that we be a part of community. The word community actually is a word that comes from the prefix com- meaning with, and unity. It means a group of people unified, having a common union. 
One of the ways that God initiates to ensure that we have the life He came to give it, in abundance (to the full, till it overflows)5 is to put us in community and keep us from being isolated and alone. One of the first things that happens when we accept Christ is we are accepted in the beloved.[1]
You become a part of the body of ChristOnly as you accept your part of that body does your “part” mean anything.[2]
You can easily enough see how this kind of thing works by looking no further than your own body. Your body has many parts—limbs, organs, cells—but no matter how many parts you can name, you’re still one body. It’s exactly the same with Christ. By means of his one Spirit, we all said good-bye to our partial and piecemeal lives. We each used to independently call our own shots, but then we entered into a large and integrated life in which He has the final say in everything…. Each of us is now a part of his resurrection body,… The old labels we once used to identify ourselves—labels like Jew or Greek, slave or free—are no longer useful. We need something larger, more comprehensive. 
I want you to think about how all this makes you more significant, not less. A body isn’t just a single part blown up into something huge. It’s all the different-but-similar parts arranged and functioning together. If Foot said, ‘I’m not elegant like Hand, embellished with rings; I guess I don’t belong to this body,’ would that make it so? If Ear said, ‘I’m not beautiful like Eye, limpid and expressive; I don’t deserve a place on the head,’ would you want to remove it from the body? If the body was all eye, how could it hear? If all ear, how could it smell? As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it. 
But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part ofAn enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn’t be a body, but a monster. What we have is one body with many parts, each its proper size and in its proper place. No part is important on its own. Can you imagine Eye telling Hand, ‘Get lost; I don’t need you’? Or, Head telling Foot, ‘You’re fired; your job has been phased out’? As a matter of fact, in practice it works the other way—the “lower” the part, the more basic, and therefore necessary. You can live without an eye, for instance, but not without a stomach. When it’s a part of your own body you are concerned with, it makes no difference whether the part is visible or clothed, higher or lower. You give it dignity and honor just as it is, without comparisons. If anything, you have more concern for the lower parts than the higher. If you had to choose, wouldn’t you prefer good digestion to full-bodied hair? 
The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance. 
You are Christ’s body—that’s who you are! You must never forget this. Only as you accept your part of that body does your ‘part’ mean anything.[3]
The Bible instructs us on how to live together as a community in a way that brings glory to God. It instructs us in the way that we should go so we can handle relationships with the power and love that Christ gave us to reconcile us to Himself
When people live in unity, it is a testimony to the world that human souls can love one another and be one.
By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another.[4]
How the Devil Thwarts Community
Because living effectively in community shows the world Who Jesus is, the devil will do everything he can to sow seeds of unforgiveness and strife and put up barriers to community.  
Jesus comes that we may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it  overflows)The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.[5]  Satan’s tactics are likened to a lion: we need to [b]e sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.[6]
The devil uses intimidation and fear to isolate victims. Lions do not roar when they attack; they stealthily creep up on their prey. But they roar to intimidate and scare their enemies! They roar to proclaim their territory. Then when their prey is isolated they can come close to it and attack.
Satan intimidates us as prey is intimidated when a lion attacks it: when we are weak, insecure, or vulnerable in an area. When you are disillusioned, feel unappreciated, are run or worn down, or even when you aren’t being reasonable or realistic with situations or people, the devil will use fear or condemnation to get you isolated. In your isolation and self-condemnation you withdraw from people and from God’s work.  No matter how weak or how strong a Christian, the attack will come when you’re alone and vulnerable.  That’s why Satan isolates. That means to cut off, to seclude, to get you away in order to kill, and steal, and destroy your life, your relationships, the work of God in you, and the work of God through you. Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.[7]It’s war, it’s real and it’s seriously a battle for your very life.
Satan will use lies, distortions or truth, breaks in traditions or doctrine, to get you divided with one another, to create disunity often built upon pride. We need to not be ignorant of his devices.[8] Remember, if he is coming to steal, kill and destroy, he is going to have to take away the armour that God gave us to withstand him first, then he can divide your possessions.[9] This is spiritual warfare. 
That is why God hates he that sows discord,[10] pride, arrogancy,[11] and any other things that divide from others. He doesn’t want you to live with unforgiveness,[12] in fact as you forgive you will be forgiven, and you are to forgive 70 times 7.[13] He warns against factions (quarreling), jealousy, temper (wrath,…divided loyalties), selfishness, whispering, gossip, arrogance (self-assertion), and disorder.[14]He is clear that it is a perverse man that sows strife, and… separates close friends.[15]  In fact, you are told to leave your gift at the altar and go and make things right with others first and then come back before Him! You know you are a disciple if you love one another, …in the same way that [He has] loved you.[16] Beware that you don’t let the enemy use you by participating in his devices to isolate you from the body of Christ! The Word of God is your defense against his tactics.
What Community Looks Like
God breaks down the wall of partition,[17] there is a special anointing when brethren live together in unity,[18] the goal of the body is believers is that we come in the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ:…[19] Through community we become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.[20]
His Word gives us every thing we need that pertains to this life and godliness,[21] so we can shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation[22]while preferring others above ourselves.[23]Being a part of a body, we can use the encouragement and strength God gave us to help others going through the same things. There is no better way than to model the love, forgiveness, and every other fruit of the Spirit of God than being in community with others. Living amongst others, you regularly exercise love, self-sacrifice, joy (putting Jesus first, then others, then YOU!), peace (the breaking down of the partitions between people), longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness (power under control), and self-control. 
In community, you bear one another’s burdens,[24] comforting each other with the promises of Christ’s return,[25] and learn to be patient with others.[26]  We are stronger together than we are individually.[27]
God’s love is perfected in us as we love others.[28]
We should give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, and this is best done in community. And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities, Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.[29]

[1] Ephesians 1.6
[2] 1 Corinthians 12.27
[3] 1 Corinthians 12.12–27 (MSG)
[4] John 13.35
[5] John 10.10 (AMP)
[6] 1 Peter 5.8
[7] Proverbs 18.1
[8] 2 Corinthians 2.11
[9] Luke 11.22
[10] Proverbs 6.14
[11] Proverbs 8.13
[12] Matthew 6.14-15
[13] Matthew 18.22
[14] 1 Corinthians 12.20
[15] Proverbs 16.28
[16] John 13.35, .34
[17] Ephesians 2.14
[18] Psalm 133.1-2
[19] Ephesians 4.13
[20] James 1.4
[21] 2 Peter 1.3
[22] Philippians 2.15
[23] Romans 12.10
[24] Galatians 6.2
[25] 1 Thessalonians 4.18
[26] Ephesians 4.2
[27] Deuteronomy 32.30
[28] 1 John 4.12
[29] Hebrews 10.24-25 (AMP)