Lent Course 2 – ‘Christ Centered Community’ – AUDIO and Notes


Lent Course 2-1 Lent Course 2-2


St John the Evangelist, Roslyn


Called to be Saints –

The Extraordinary Nature of

‘the Church Militant here in Earth’

It is probably the case that only a vibrant fullness of the Christian Church,

that is itself sufficiently mature to be the bearer of a Christian ethos,

is capable of surviving the onslaught of modern secularism.’

Fr Stephen Freeman

Session 2 – ‘Christ Centered Community’


Psalm 133

How very good and pleasant it is:

when kindred live together in unity!

2 It is like the precious oil on the head,

running down upon the beard:

on the beard of Aaron,

running down over the collar of his robes.

3 It is like the dew of Hermon,

which falls on the mountains of Zion:

For there the Lord ordained his blessing,

life for evermore.

Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit:

As it was in the beginning, is now, and shall be for ever


Love me – Love my church

•The Battered Bride of Christ – Ephesians 5:25-32

The Invisible Church revisited – further into the story


•Church – ‘Sir, I have no need of that hypothesis!’

•Church ‘as an aid to my faith’

•It is where I am fed

•It is where I am encouraged

•It is where I meet with fellow Christians

•Church as ancillary to our ‘personal relationship with Jesus’

•Church as Support – not heart

•The heresy of pietism [more anon]

The Radical Shift (Part 2)

•Last week, The Radical individualism of our age – rooted in late medieval society – our way of thinking about ourselves and our lives increasingly individualistic. And this is the lens through which we understand our faith

•Personal / Unmediated – relationship with Jesus – PRIMARY

•‘Social’ gospel (service to wider world) vs ‘Evangelistic’ Gospel (making people Christians – The Church???

•Evangelism – ‘The gospel was mutated into a Churchless Christianity, devoid of sacrament and structure. This minimized gospel was easily and quickly adaptable to various cultural needs, but for the same reason, completely vulnerable to cultural forces. Evangelism is a gospel imperative, but the “making of disciples” entails their full enculturation into the Christian faith and not a single experience.‘Fr Stephen Freeman


Huge Fall off – from ‘Crusade’ type evangelism – 90%+ of people making ‘a decision’


Impact of Christendom

•Religion as ‘a part of life’

•Weekly worship

•Prayer to ‘God(s)’

•Perhaps even part of a sect of some sort or other

•Other ‘Lord’s’ – State – Tribe – Work

•‘Everyday Life’ vs ‘Life in the Church’

•Competing Arenas of Life

•Irrelevance of Scripture to ‘Everyday Life’ – Except in personal piety, as the Church is not the Arena of faith

•‘We are not all called to be disciples’

•Monasticism [To be revisited]

•Going ‘Into the Church’ – i.e. not everyone went into the church

•The religious ‘professional’ – the loss of understanding of ‘The Priesthood of all believers’

Bible Study – the call of the disciples


1.What does it mean ‘to become a Christian?’

2.How might we expect our lives to change after ‘becoming a Christian’?

3.Read Mark 1:16-20  – Put yourself in the position of Simon, James and John – Compare and contrast your answers to 1. and 2. with their experience of ‘becoming a Christian’

4.  Who and What have they left behind?

5.  How is that ‘Gap’ filled

A ‘Jesus Centered Life’


•Again we need to realise how we are shaped by our surrounding culture – especially the religious culture – Especially in regard to ‘Pietism’. The problem we face is that we are largely ignorant of how cultural shifts have distorted our understanding of the Truth

•Pietism is rife in contemporary church

•My personal relationship with Jesus = ‘Jesus centered Life’ ergo ‘Christ Centered Community’ = ‘Association of people with that personal relationship’

•Come back to the disciples . . .

•Post Ascension???

•Where is Jesus?

•Pietistic response – ‘he lives within my heart . . .’

•[Note this is also Individualistic]

•Acts – Proclamation of the New Life in Christ – his Resurrection Life – coterminous with the Life of the Church – He Lives within the Church!!

•The PROMISE of Christ – ‘where two or three are gathered . . .’

•Love as THE expression of the Life of God

•God is Love and those who live in Love live in God and God lives in them

•Christ is manifested in the Love that is revealed in the Church

•How is the gap filled?? [Q 5 above] Luke 18:28-30

A final study – Ephesians 2:13-22


1.In the light of this passage and our study today – how would you define ‘Christ Centered Community’

2.In the week to come – meditate upon Colossians 3:1-4 – Remember ‘You’ is in the Plural – Your life is hidden with Christ in God – When Christ who is your life appears





In the coming weeks through Lent – Kingdom Community – Community of Formation – Charismatic Community of Witness





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