First I want to thank Steve and Robyn for being willing to come up here a month before the time that they leave to start saying goodbye. From the very first day that Steve visited MV, while Robyn was visiting family, they have been sincere and deep blessing to me, my family, and your entire church family at MVH. We are grateful to still have a bit of time with you and for you to lead us in song a time or two more. And we are hopeful to help you in whatever way you made need as the time to move approaches.
Over the last year it has seemed like I am saying goodbye to everyone. Whether it be Pastor Tom and Nancy who are always traveling, friends who have said they are going back to Zim or Malawi, friends who have to leave township life here to move back to the city where it is not so “black and white”, or the daily news of another person who is going to Australia or New Zealand. Goodbyes are everywhere right now.
I do not blame anyone for their decisions and they have the freedom to move around and do as they wish. In fact, for those of us who know Jesus as our Saviour, that is, those of you who know that Christ died for you and who daily rest in and rely upon his Person and Work, you are free to do as you wish if it does not take you away from God and his good gifts in your life. You are free in the Good News given to you to do anything that does not get in the way of Loving God with all of yourself and loving your neighbour as yourself (Matthew 22.34-40).
Now whether you like it or not, God has placed with you with a particular community of people. In and around your home, in the workplace, and he has placed you in a particular church.
In Psalm 133 the Psalmist talks about “How good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.” He describes it like a blessing of oil put on your head (Exodus 24.7-9), like understanding that your are a priest to your brother or sister in Christ. On the ready to always pray from them, hear from them, and remind them of the forgiveness of sins that they have in Jesus (1 Peter 2.4-5).
To update and better understand what the Psalmist is talking about we could say it like this, when brothers and sisters are ready to serve one another in their imperfection God is pleased and blesses that to grow us. Do brothers usually dwell together in unity?
If you are a resting in Jesus for your salvation you can know for sure that God wants you to be in community with others. He wants you to “dwell in community” with other
Why the Local Church?
It is a group of people that have been set aside by God and called together under Christ.
It is the place where under biblically defined leadership the grace of God is shown and received in ways that have been determined by him and are set out for us in scripture.
It is the primary place where God’s people are called together (Gathered) in order to be sent back out (Scattered). Said another way this is where the blessings of God are most clearly seen and shared so that those blessings can go out.
God’s People, in God’s Place, under God’s Good Authority, experiencing the fulness of his blessings.
He has Saved you to Community
 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.  Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:9–10)
He will Sanctify you in Community
John 17 Hight Priestly Prayer
And he has placed you in that community to serve.
 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,  who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him.  Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:9–11)
55. What do you understand by the “communion of saints”?
First, that believers, one and all, as members of the Lord Jesus Christ, are partakers with Him in all His treasures and gifts; second, that each one must feel himself bound to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the advantage and welfare of other members.
 1 Jn. 1:3.  1 Cor. 12:12–13, 21; 13:5–6; Phil. 2:4–6; *Heb. 3:14.
The Pain of Goodbyes
 Now I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I am filling up what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church,  of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known,  the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints.  To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.  Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.  For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me. (Colossians 1:24–29)
The Importance of Goodbyes
 But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. (Acts 20:24)
The Blessings of Goodbyes
Acts 13.13 we see that there was a young man traveling with Paul and Barnabas whose name was Mark, AKA John Mark.
Two to Three Years Later…
Acts 15 Ministry success, Paul and Barnabas hold the hand of the church as it goes through the growing pains of expanded the mission to the Gentiles.
On the heels of that victory Paul and Barnabas part ways and say goodbye because of Mark (Acts 15.36-41).
About 10 Years Later…
“Mark is useful” (2 Timothy 4.11)
1 Corinthians 16:10–14
 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am.  So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.
 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity.
 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love.
The Lord has blessed you and he is keeping you;
The Lord has made his face to shine upon you in Christ
and he has been gracious to you in Jesus’ Person and Work
Today the Lord has given you all the support you have needed
and he has made you at peace.