In Jesus’ time, baptism had become a popular event among the people, with many coming to the River Jordan to spectate on and participate in “the baptism of John the Baptist”. For many, however, it was more like a trendy lifestyle marker, rather than a complete lifestyle change.
John the Baptist made it clear when addressing the crowds that a little water meant nothing if they weren’t prepared to change their lives. Baptism was intended to bring people to an acknowledgement and repentance of sin. Not only that, it needed to ignite the kingdom life within a believer, changing men and women from the inside out. It was, and is, a demonstration of belief in God and acceptance of His saving work.
Jesus, as part of the human race, was exactly like us. As a descendant of Adam, and a recipient of the condemnation passed on humanity due to Adam’s sin, he also needed reconciliation back to God. This way of reconciliation was going to be made available through his sacrificial death and subsequent resurrection, some three and a half years later.
Jesus was the first baptism into his name and he showed the way forward for all humanity. By being baptised, he blazed a path for all believers, enabling them to participate in God’s wonderful plan. The prophet Isaiah described the effect of Jesus’ in this way:
Upon rising from the water as a ‘new creation’, God’s Holy Spirit came to rest upon Jesus, in the form of a dove, marking his approval from God and his veracity as God’s son. This is a beautiful echo of the story first told to us in Genesis, where “God’s spirit hovered “like a bird” over the waters”, before beginning His incredible creative work.
We feel the name “Riverdove” is descriptive of our values, mission and goals as a community, and that it connects us in a very elemental way with Jesus – the man, his work and mission, and his status as God’s son and saviour of the world.
“When men and women get their hands on religion, one of the first things they often do is turn it into an instrument for controlling others, either putting or keeping them “in their place”. The history of such religious manipulation and coercion is long and tedious.” – Eugene H Peterson
Paul the Apostle tackles this very issue of manipulation and coercion in his letter to the Galatians, where questions over religious rules and regulations were impeding on God’s gift of freedom found in Jesus.
A community is made up of individuals from all different backgrounds or situations who come together with certain goals, ideals or interests in common. They are united by their commonality of those interests or goals, not necessarily by their similarity of person.
The word “community”, we feel, is more in line with the original apostolic idea of having “all things in common”, that is Life With Jesus. It’s on this basis that we all come together regularly for worship, social events, prayer and singing and to truly celebrate a free life in Jesus. We believe this aspect of community is so critical when considered in the light of Life With Jesus.
Paul the Apostle speaks at length about our individuality and how important each person is to God. Believers are described collectively as a “body” (I Cor 12:12-13), and, as with the human body, this body of believers is made up of many different parts. None is better or worse, just different – and all are valuable to a well-functioning body. Corinthians tells us that “God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it”.
Again, as with the human body, this “body of believers” is governed or directed in all its functions by the head, which is Jesus. In fact, this body of believers is actually called “Christ’s body”. (I Cor 12:27). It is remarkable that God has designed the human body – every part dependent on every other part – as a working model for understanding our lives together as a community of believers.
The Riverdove Community is filled with people just like you; we’re mums and dads, singles, couples, retirees, kids and teens – all just doing life, like you are!
We love to kick back on the weekends and enjoy time with family and friends around a bonfire or over a barbie. We love gardening, our pets, recreational sports and comfortable downtime. We also love meeting new people, getting to know our neighbours and having a great heart-to-heart chat about life.
We’re farmers, artists, musicians, baristas and potters, as well as IT geeks, students, business owners and corporate professionals. In fact, we’re a real ‘potpourri’ mix of personalities and occupations! But the one thing we all have in common and which unites us is our love of the gospel message and choosing to do ‘life with Jesus’.
When all’s said and done, we’re a friendly bunch and we’d love to say hi. Why not get to know us?
Life, Growth and Relationship within the ‘scattered’ Body of Christ
Outreach and Sharing the Good News
Worship, Prayer, Communion/Fellowship