For through him

we both have access

in one Spirit

to the Father.

So then you are no longer strangers and aliens,

but you are fellow citizens

with the saints and members of the household of God.

Ephesians 2:18-19

Community is difficult to maintain because it takes sacrifice, love, and commitment.

Most of IBC, if not all of us, desire to experience community, but we are not always willing to sacrifice, love, and commit to one another. Most of us, if not all of us, at some point have a dating relationship with IBC, even the longshoremen and leaders. At the core of why we don’t value community (IBC in our case) is not because of busyness, consumerism, or/and having other priorities over the community. At the core of why we don’t value community is that we don’t truly understand what community/church is.

According to this text, a gospel-community has access in one Spirit to the Father. We are fellow citizens and members of the household of God. I know that this text doesn’t specifically use the word ‘community’, but I am going to apply it to community. Paul is telling the Ephesians (Jews and Gentiles) of what their identity is. The Ephesians are united in one Spirit to the Father, fellow citizens, and members of the household of God. Likewise, we share one Spirit who brings us to the Father. We are fellow citizens and members of the household of God.

One Spirit, to the Father

Paul is exhorting the Ephesians to be “one.” I know that it is extremely hard to be “one” amidst a pandemic. COVID-19 seems to present another barrier to gospel-community. Our church has had to do much of our church life virtually, such as Small Groups and Prayer Meeting. It’s not easy to be “one” when many of us don’t live in the city of Chicago right now and are elsewhere in the country.

The list of barriers to gospel-community goes on and on. However, those are just excuses. If we, IBC, truly believe that we are “one,” then we are willing to make the sacrifice, love, and commitment. I know that it is hard. I never said that this is going to be easy, but at the end of the day, it’s worth it.

Why? Because we have access in “one Spirit to the Father.” We are not “one” because of our hobbies or life-stage, but one because we are all brought through the same Spirit to the Father. We are united in the same Holy Spirit. Wow!!! Isn’t that amazing?

It’s the Holy Spirit that maintains gospel-community for us and through us as we, IBC, intentionally build up this community of faith. The Holy Spirit is with us and helps us adorn this community into the most beautiful bride that the world has ever known, which is the local church (in our case, IBC). Don’t you want to be part of building up the most beautiful bride of Jesus Christ? This is eternal. We can build up our careers, our barns (so to speak), but will they last for eternity?

Think about it: in light of eternity, are you going to spend your time building up your careers/barns/etc… or are you going to spend your time building up the church that’s going to last for eternity? Ultimately, when we build the church (IBC in our case), we are building by the Spirit of God, and not by ourselves.

The most amazing thing is that it’s “one Spirit to the Father.” The whole point of the Spirit building the church (IBC in our case) is so that we enjoy our Father. We are building up the community by the Spirit so that we can enjoy our Father more, so we can love our Father more, so we can know our Father more intimately.

Do you want to enjoy the Father more? Do you want to love the Father more? Do you want to know the Father more intimately? If you do, then invest in, love, and serve IBC in any ways that you can.

Fellow Citizens

Not only are we brought by one Spirit to the Father, but we are also fellow citizens. We are not just U.S. citizens or citizens from elsewhere. As a U.S. citizen, I do get a lot of benefits such as healthcare, Social Security (when I get old), and other benefits that the government offers. However, we, IBC, are called to live out our citizenship as one. We are not just individuals, but collective fellow citizens.

This is why we are called to be involved with one another’s lives. We are called to serve one another, love one another, rebuke one another in a loving way, pray for one another, and all the one another commands in the Bible. How are you doing in the one another commands with your fellow citizens in the church? Is there one or a couple of fellow citizens that you can pray for, love, and serve?

Furthermore, as fellow citizens of the kingdom of God, we are saved by God’s grace and given an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11). You do not earn your way to becoming fellow citizens. It’s all of grace, given by our King to underserving and ungrateful enemies who are now made citizens. Are you living out your citizenship from God? Are you living out your citizenship in light of our community, IBC?

Members of the Household of God

Not only are we brought by one Spirit to the Father and made fellow citizens, but we are ultimately members of the household of God. Gospel-community ultimately is about a family. In this case, a spiritual family but also an intimate family.

I know that some of you may not have the best earthly family. On the other hand, some of us do have an awesome earthly family. Whether we do not have a great earthly family or do have a great earthly family, we, IBC, are called to BE members of the household of God.

In other words, it’s all about grace. Paul is exhorting the Ephesians to live out who they are as Christians. In this case, we are members of the household of God. We don’t earn this. God has saved us, IBC, so that we can become part of the family of God. Are you living out this awesome privilege of being a child of God? Even in the midst of this sinful-pandemic-injustice-quarantine world, we should live out this privilege of what it means to be a child of God. We are not just members of the greatest household, but we are members of the household of God.

I know that it’s extremely difficult to stay connected with our local church, IBC, during this COVD-19 season. However, if you are really a member of our church, then, you will actively do what members are called to do, not for the sake of just loving one another, but for sake of strengthening the family of God. Our spiritual church family should maybe be even more intimate than your earthly family. Are your relationships at IBC spiritual and intimate? That is what it means to be members of the household of God.

As you invest more of your time, resources, money, and your life into our church, then you’ll realize that it’s an honor and privilege to do that because you are building up the community, IBC, by the Spirit, as fellow citizens and members of the household of God. All this is made possible through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Your brother,

Yong