Everyone has the need and desire to belong. Foundational in many decisions that we make each day is the desire to belong. For instance:
- For some here today, you can think back to a childhood experience where you felt left out — the one not chosen for a game, a play, or some other group event.
- As many of you look in your closet each morning, deciding what to wear, you are influenced, not just by the weather, but you are influenced by those you were going to be with that day, or the event you would attend.
- In the criminal justice system, if you want to severely punish someone, you put them in solitary confinement.
- One of the most powerful means of communication today is that of social media. It has become a means for shaping opinions and culture, and offers a sense of connectivity (although this connectivity is shallow at best). Just think of how you felt the last time you lost your phone.
The desire to belong is not just a cultural passion. It is a desire that God has given to us. The desire to belong has its foundation in the nature of God, in creation, in marriage, in the plan of redemption, and in the life of the church. One of the great doctrines of Christianity is the belief that God is triune — Father, Son, and the Spirit. The interdependence and belonging to one another is at the center of what God is like. In Genesis 2:18 we are told, “It is not good for man to be alone.” In addressing marriage, we are told in Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” The last book of the Bible we find the culmination of God’s plan: “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people” (Revelation 21:3).
In fact, much of what is wrong in our culture is that in man’s attempt to fulfill his passion to belong, he pursues empty and unfulfilling venues. Augustine famously said, “You have made us for thyself and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in thee.” We need God, through the gospel, to redefine, reshape, and renew what it means to belong. In the New Testament we discover that our desire to belong is fulfilled in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and in fellowship of His people.
Today we are going to see how we all need fellowship with Christ and His people called the church, in a message entitled: I LOVE THE CHURCH: The Fellowship We Need, 1 John 1:1-4.