In all of my Western individualism, it is easy to sometimes miss the fact that God has always been concerning about a people. The Bible is not primarily about Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, or Nehemiah. While there are stories about them, God's concern was for the people. God's promise to Abraham in Genesis 12 was that all of the families of the earth would be blessed through his descendant. God called Moses to lead his people out of bondage. God chose David to be king in order to lead his people. God called Elijah to warn his people. God called Daniel to be a favorable influence on kings, one of which allowed the people of Israel to return home. God raised up Nehemiah to rebuild Jerusalem properly. Then there are those twelve people that Jesus invested three years of his life in. Jesus was not concerned just for those twelve dear friends of his. He commissioned them to take the Gospel to the whole world. Peter, one of those twelve, reminds us that once we "were not a people, but now are the people of God."
That God redeemed not just a conglomeration of individuals but a "people" has some important implications for how we live out our Christian lives. There are basically three focuses:
1) Upward. This is most important. According to Ephesians 2, we have been brought together by the blood of Christ and united together into one body, his body. Christ is the head, God is our Father, and we belong to him. We worship and serve him and him alone. All we do is to honor and love him. Our most basic purpose in life is to love God.
2) Inward. There is rarely a problem with this in most churches. After all, we see, talk to, and do things together. In Galatians 6, Paul instructs us to do good to all, but especially to the household of faith. 1 John 3 tells us to love each other with our actions. Romans 12 tells us to outdo one another in showing hospitality.
3) Outward. God's family is not a closed unit. God did not place any ethnic, economic, or social limits on his family. Some have spoken of the church as like hospital for sinners, or as a gym for saints. How about this image - The church as an adoption agency. As God's adoption agency, we bring orphans who have lost their way to God and he adopts them. God doesn't want to stop with us. He is not willing that anyone should perish. Therefore God wants us to rescue as many orphans as we can by bringing them to their new home in Christ.