- ► 2014 (8)
- Unity # 37: The Sympathizing High Priest
- Unity # 36: Christ in us, the Hope of Glory
- Christ in Us, the Hope of Glory (clip from Preethi...
- Unity # 35: The Authenticity of Christian Fellowsh...
- Faith and Hope: the Anchor that Enters Within the ...
- Unity # 34: Released from the Power of Sin
- Scripture Lullabies
- Unity # 33: Infallible Assurance
- ▼ April (8)
- ► 2012 (67)
Monday, April 29, 2013
Unity # 37: The Sympathizing High Priest
You are working Your wondrous plans for Your people. You are our Shield, our Glory, and the Lifter of our heads. We see You reigning in righteousness. You have ascended on High, and have defeated the power of sin and death. Thank You for the sure hope that we have in Your promises. We do not fear man, nor need we fear anything else, for Your loving-kindness endures forever. Please comfort our hearts with the truth that You, Jesus, are our sympathizing High Priest .
In Jesus Christ’s Name,
This letter is about our sympathizing High Priest. Have we not often blocked our minds and hearts off from His loving-kindness, as if we could bear the weight of our own guilt for those things that deem us unworthy to receive it? Have we not often forgotten in the midst of our grief and strivings for our own needs to be met, that there is One who knows what we need before we ask of Him? Or would we doubt His goodness and the New Covenant that He has made with us, by which He does not turn away from us to do us good? Jesus told us not to worry about what we will eat or drink or wear. For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for our heavenly Father knows that we need all these things. But He told us to seek first His Kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be added to us. (Matt 6:31-33)
Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a high Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:14-16) Jesus, in the days of His flesh, offered up both prayers and supplications with loud crying and tears to the One able to save Him from death, and He was heard because of His piety. Although He was a Son, He learned obedience from the things which He suffered. And having been made perfect, He became to all those who obey Him the source of eternal salvation, being designated by God as a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Heb 5:7-10)
For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the Author of their salvation through sufferings. For both He who sanctifies and those who are sanctified are all from one Father; for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren, saying, “I will proclaim Your Name to My brethren, in the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.” And again “I will put My trust in Him”. And again, “Behold, I and the children whom God has given Me”. Therefore, since the children share in flesh and blood, He Himself likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of death were subject to slavery all of their lives. For assuredly He does not give help to angels, but He gives help to the descendants of Abraham. Therefore, He had to be made like His brethren in all things, so that He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted (Heb 2:10-18) No temptation has overtaken us but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that we will be able to endure it. (1 Cor 10:13)
Dear saints, our Christ is full of compassion. He says, “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt 11:28). When He saw the people, He felt compassion for them, because they were distressed and dispirited like sheep without a shepherd (Matt 9:36). When He went ashore, He saw a large crowd, and felt compassion for them and healed their sick (Matt 14:14). He called His disciples to Him and told them that He felt compassion for the people, because they had remained with Him for three days and had nothing to eat; and He did not want to send them away hungry for they might faint on the way (Matt 15:32). When the Lord saw a woman weeping over her dead son, He felt compassion for her, and told her not to weep (Luke 7:13).
Have we sinned? He tells us to rend our heart and not our garments, to return to the Lord our God, for He is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger, abounding in loving-kindness and relenting of evil (Joel 2:13) Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and He will have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon (Iss 55:7). When we repent, the Lord our God will restore us from captivity, and have compassion on us, and gather us again from all the peoples where the Lord our God has scattered us (Deut 30:3). Our Father is like the father in the parable of the prodigal son who saw the son from a long way off and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him (Luke 15:20) For the Lord will vindicate His people, and will have compassion on His servants, when He sees that their strength is gone, and there is none remaining, bond or free (Deut 32:36). He redeems lives from the pit, and crowns His people with loving-kindness and compassion (Ps 103:4) Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion on those who fear Him (Ps 103:13). For how can He give up or surrender His people? How can He destroy them as He destroyed His enemies? His heart is turned over within Him, and all His compassions are kindled. (Hos 11:8). He could have stepped on us and burned us completely, but He tells us to rely on His protection and to make peace with Him through His Son. Let us make peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ! (Is 27:4-5)
Our God understands us. He Himself knows our frame; He is mindful that we are but dust (Ps 103:14). He Himself will make all His goodness pass before us, and will proclaim the Name of the Lord before us; He will be gracious to whom He will be gracious, and will show compassion on whom He will show compassion (Ex 33:19). The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in loving-kindness and truth (Ex 34:6) The Lord our God is a compassionate God; He will not fail us or destroy us nor forget the Covenant with our fathers which He swore to them (Deut 4:31). The Lord longs to be gracious to us, and therefore He waits on high to have compassion on us. For the Lord is a God of justice; how blessed are all those who long for Him (Is 30:18). Shout for joy, O heavens! And rejoice, O earth! Break forth into joyful shouting, O mountains! For the Lord has comforted His people and will have compassion on His afflicted. (Is 49:13). For the mountains may be removed and the hills may shake, but His loving-kindness will not be removed from us, and His Covenant of peace will not be shaken (Is 54:10). He has betrothed us to Himself forever in righteousness, justice, loving-kindness, and compassion (Hos 2:19).
God, in His great compassion, does not forsake us in the wilderness; the pillar of cloud does not leave us by day, to guide us on our way, nor does the pillar of fire by night, to light for us the way in which we are to go. Christ, His Word, is our Light (Ps 119:105)! Yes, He is our Way (John 14:16)! His compassion and loving-kindnesses are from of old (Ps 25:6). He will not withhold His compassion from us; His loving-kindness and Truth will continually preserve us (Ps 40:11). The Lord answers us, for His loving-kindness is good; according to the greatness of His compassion, He turns to us (Ps 69:16). He will have compassion on the poor and needy, and the lives of the needy He will save (Ps 72:13). For the Lord will judge His people and will have compassion on His servants (Ps 135: 14). He looks down from heaven and sees from His holy and glorious habitation; He is full of zeal and He does mighty deeds. The stirrings of His heart and His compassion are restrained towards us! (Is 63:15)
We count those blessed who endured. You have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome of the Lord’s dealings, that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful. James 5:11
Love in Christ,
Koinonia Church of Woodbury:
In the midst of great joy and deep sorrow, this past Sunday, 4/18, we met for the first service of the new church, “Koinonia Church of Woodbury” The service lasted for three hours including about an 1 hr of prayer, 20 min of communion, 15 min of hymn singing, and a long message from the Word. My favorite part was the prayer time. We could feel the Presence of Christ so strongly. I also felt His compassion and grace poured out on us. I felt that He was telling us, “I am with You. I am here”. We were encouraged by the truth that where two or three are gathered in His Name He is there. We are praying for God to bring more people that we may have a true fellowship of saints and also that God will provide love, boldness, time, and means for us to evangelize, study the Bible, and pray during the weekday evenings. It is far better to be with a few saints who love Christ and are willing to take all of His Word to heart, than to be in a place where Christ is not honored. Thank you Anand and David Christensen for making the website: www.koinoniawoodbury.org.
Other churches that preach the Word in this area:
Christ Redeemer Church of Woodbury
Redeemer Baptist Church of Oakdale
Bethlehem Baptist Church of Minneapolis
17 General Signs of a Carnal Church:
1. No weekly prayer meetings
2. Contentment in an annual event to fulfill the Great Commission
3. No teaching of the core doctrines of substitutionary atonement, regeneration, sanctification, evidence of true conversion, assurance of salvation, final judgment, the nature of God, etc.—and no congregational heartache over this
4. When the majority of the congregation (without using Spiritual discernment) thinks that the majority of the congregation is saved
5. When the facebook profiles/walls of the congregation reveal carnality and the absence of God in their thoughts…a greater interest in everything except God
6. When programs and books in place of the unadulterated Word of God are emphasized
7. When there is no true unconditional, sacrificial, and forgiving love for one another
8. When there is no church discipline
9. When leadership is not concerned about the Spiritual needs of the congregation
10. When there is no exaltation of Christ in worship and messages, but rather an emphasis on perishable things; pervasive mindsets that perishable things are the means by which God’s Kingdom will be built
11. No dependence on God
12. No zeal, labor, or diligence for the Kingdom of God
13. No repentance
14. No Spiritual tears
15. No persecution from the wicked
14 Justice is turned back,
And righteousness stands far away;
For truth has stumbled in the street,
And uprightness cannot enter.
15 Yes, truth is lacking;
And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey.
Now the Lord saw,
And it was [g]displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.
16 And He saw that there was no man,
And was astonished that there was no one to intercede;
Then His own arm brought salvation to Him,
And His righteousness upheld Him. Is 5917. When most of the congregation is comfortable and complacent with a form of godliness that denies God's power while unknowingly awaiting damnation
Monday, April 22, 2013
Unity # 36: Christ in us, the Hope of Glory
Your throne, O God Christ, is forever and ever, and the righteous scepter is the scepter of Your Kingdom. You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; therefore God, Your God, has anointed You with the oil of gladness above Your companions. You, Lord, in the beginning laid the foundations of the earth, and the heavens are the works of Your hands; they will perish, but You remain; they all will become old like a garment, and like a mantle You will roll them up; like a garment they will also be changed, but You are the same, and Your years will not come to an end. (Heb 1:8-12)
In Jesus Christ’s Name,
If it is true that Christ has surely worked for us such a great salvation, and that He truly is who He says that He is, then to each person, He must be everything or He has no place in our lives. How shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? How is it that many hold Christ as a peripheral Presence within their lives, rather than the true and exclusive source of illumination of all things great and small? If He is not our only hope, can we say that we have died with Him, and have been raised with Him and seated in the heavenly places with Him?
Where is our hope?
Do we hope for those momentary pleasures, securities, and reliefs? Do we hope to acquire something visible, some placement within the fading ranks of this world? Or is our hope in Christ? If He is not everything to us, then He is nothing to us and we are damned. Our great salvation is comprised of our justification and our regeneration. And if the latter has happened, then Christ has become everything to us. Yes, even for us, our lives fall short of His perfection, but our hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness. All other ground is sinking sand. It is a hope that changes everything. It is a sure hope, not in something that perchance may not be fulfilled, but in an unshakable God, yes, even an unshakeable Kingdom. And faith, true faith, is the assurance of things that we have hoped for. This is the only saving faith, and it changes everything. The Christian’s hope is entirely in Christ. He looks forward to only Christ. His heart’s cry is, “That I may know Him!”
This letter is about Christ in us, our hope of glory. The mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations, but has now been manifested to His saints, to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in us, the hope of glory. (Col 1: 26-27) Dear saints, if we are truly His, Christ is in us, and He is the hope of glory! So then, may the eyes of our heart be enlightened, so that we will know what is the hope of His calling, the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and the surpassing greatness of His power towards us who believe. (Eph 1:18) For the saints, their blessed God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed them with every Spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ (Eph 1:3). In the ages to come He will show us the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus (Eph 2:7). What will happen to the saint from the moment he is regenerated until the day that he sees Christ Face to face is incredible. The process of the saint realizing the desires of his regenerate heart, realizing that Christ is in him, and that the faith granted to him by the Father is an unshakable one, is glorious. As earthly time passes, the regenerated saint is realizing that Christ is in him! For with every trial, every testing, every fall, every persecution, he comes forth again and again. Why? Because Christ is in him! And he hopes for Christ to reveal His glory more and more and more and more.
What kind of hope do we have?
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for us, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (1 Pet 1:3-5)
Faith that Remains through Trials
In this we greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, we have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of our faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though we have not seen Him, we love Him, and through we do not see Him now, we believe in Him, and greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of our faith the salvation of our souls. (1 Pet 1:6-9)
Seeing that Christ is in us
Paul tells the Galatians, “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you—“ (Gal 4:19) What does Paul mean that he was in labor until Christ was formed in the Galatians, as if Christ would leave them or be destroyed within them. Certainly not. He never leaves us forsakes us, and He has died one death, rose to life, and is never to die again for death has no hold on Him. Paul referred to the return of their thoughts to Christ, to the realization that Christ was in them, that He is their only hope of righteousness, their only joy, their only glory, their only source of love…the return to the subjection of their heart, soul, mind, and strength to the Lord of the Gospel. This is the transformation that occurs by the renewing of their minds back to who Christ is and who they truly are in Him. Therefore if we have been raised up with Christ, we must keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. For we have died and our life is hidden with Christ in God. (Col 3:1-3) Paul tells the Colossians not to lie to one another, since they have laid aside the old self with its evil practices, and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him. (Col 1:9-10) Indeed He was crucified because of weakness, yet He lives because of the power of God. For we also are weak in Him, yet we will live with Him because of the power of God directed towards us. (2 Cor 13:4)
“Test ourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you—unless indeed you fail the test?” ( 2 Cor 13:5)
If Christ surely is in us, He is our hope of glory, and when we test ourselves, we will find that He is in us. He is faithful to reveal to our souls that Christ is in us. May we never be afraid to test ourselves to see if we are in the faith, to examine ourselves carefully. If Christ is in us, we have nothing to fear. He will be formed in us again and again, that is, the Spirit will testify with our spirits that we truly are the children of God. He will take from what is Christ’s, His glory, and disclose it us again and again. Remember, He is our hope of glory!
And if Christ is not in you, as He very well may not be, then you must seek Him with all of your heart that He may be found by you. He will not turn away any who come to Him. His will is that all who behold the Son are granted eternal Life, and they will never perish, but will have the Light of Life! You cannot come to Him unless it has been granted you by the Father (John 6: 65). You cannot choose to have saving faith on your own. You cannot choose to repent on your own. He must grant them to you. So turn to Him! Seek Him and live! Turn to Christ! When He is lifted up He draws all of His people to Himself.
Christ in us, the Hope of Glory: the Morning Star
We have the prophetic word made more sure, to which we do well to pray attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in our hearts (2 Pet 1:19). Christ is the Morning Star! He said, “I am the Root and the Descendant of David, the bright Morning Star” (Rev 22:16). We must pay attention to the prophetic word so that we do not drift from it (Heb 2:1) For those who fear His Name, the Sun of Righteousness will rise with healing in its wings; and we will go forth and skip about like calves from the stall. We will tread down the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of our feet on the day the Lord of hosts is preparing. (Mal 4: 2-3) To those who overcome, He promises to give them the Morning Star. Yes, He promises to give us Himself if we overcome by not drifting away. And it is His power, the Blood of the Lamb and the Word of our Testimony, the result of His gracious gift of faith bought with His blood, by which we will overcome. When Christ who is our life appears, we also will appear with Him in glory (Col 3:4). If our hearts have truly believed that He is raised from the dead, the effect of our understanding of the implications of His resurrection is infinite, transcendent, glorious, and life-changing. Our Christ is alive!
Beloved, everything in His Word is certain. It is true. God has crowned His Son with glory and honor, and has appointed Him over the works of His hands; He has put all things in subjection under His feet. In subjecting all things to Christ, He left nothing that is not subjected to Him. (Heb 2:7-8) You must kiss the Son, lest He be angry and we perish in the way, for His wrath is quickly kindled; blessed are all who take refuge in Him (Ps 2:12).
The Prayer Meeting Sermon by Bob Jennings
Knowing God as Father Sermon by Charles Leiter
Victory over Sin Sermon by Nathan Rages
Sermons by Rick Steen We met Pastor Steen this past Sunday after he preached at Anand’s church on Hebrews 1-2 about not drifting away, but rather clinging to the Gospel of Christ.
The Narrow Way of the Regenerate by Paul Washer (9 min; please see)
Love in Christ,
Thursday, April 18, 2013
Monday, April 15, 2013
Unity # 35: The Authenticity of Christian Fellowship
I praise You that You truly do love Your people. Your love is unfathomable and eternal. Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, Your Covenant of Love with Your people will never be annulled. Please help me in this letter, as I pour out my heart, about the truth of how things are and have been. May You be exalted in our bodies whether we live or die. You capture our gaze and when we have caught a glimpse of Your glory, our fear of You overtakes us and we can do, say, and think nothing but Christ. Please free us in our thoughts and attitudes by letting Yourself be found by us. Please crucify the misdeeds of my flesh. Yes, thank You for what You have done thus far.
In Jesus Christ’s Name,
There are many things on my heart that I seek the Lord’s help to pour out to you in this letter. To summarize I will be describing the counterfeit nature of what many call “Christian Fellowship/Unity”, and contrasting such counterfeit unity with the true fellowship of the saints.
For most of the years of my post-regenerate life, I did not realize to large extent the pervasive presence of false Christianity all around me, nor the reality that the vast majority of professing Christians around me have never been regenerated. I thought that everyone who professed to be a Christian and who could speak about the Word of God with a measure of reason was indwelt with the Spirit. Certainly I experienced much confusion, for these very people seemed to be apathetic to the Word of God, and by their lifestyle and attitude, they seemed to not only have a love for the world, but an ever-increasing depravity, and a drifting away from the elementary teachings of Christ. There was no humble longing to know Christ, no evidence of a developed relationship with Christ, no vibrant striving against sin, no sorrow over the souls of the lost, no heart-felt love for the saints, no purity of heart that accompanied not simply a suppression of inordinate desires, but rather a replacement of these desires with the greater affection for Christ and all that He entails. There seemed to be a complacency towards the things of God, a nonchalance and mediocre perspective towards the heavenly things. But in spite of all these warnings, until this year, I assumed that as long as they professed to believe the Gospel and spoke good words at certain times, they must be saved, though perhaps, they were immature, and simply had not gone through the trials and discipline that I had gone through. God knows, they have actually gone through many more trials than me, but no Fatherly discipline. I know now, based on simple Scriptural evidence, that there are a very small percentage of true believers around me. Before I would have thought that there was a very small percentage of mature believers around me, but now after having studied the Scriptures with great intensity, and having heard the testimonies of many true believers (in several arenas including the Fellowship 2013 Conference), I am certain that many try to enter through the narrow door and are not able to (Luke 13:24). The “many” is not referring to those who openly reject the pursuit of the narrow door. The many refers to those who are actively pursuing the narrow door; and of this subset, many will not be able to enter. For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matt 7:14). Dear saints, this is remarkable! Of all the people in the world, both from the past, present, and future, only some strive to enter the narrow door. And of those who strive, only few find it. So we must understand that the Scriptures teach us that few will be saved in the end. Would God damn the vast majority of His creation? When we look at the past history of God’s work, He surely damned everyone alive at the time of Noah except for Noah’s family. In fact, the Scriptures give us evidence that this is how it will be throughout all history: many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 22:14; 1 Peter 3:18-22)
26 And just as it happened in the days of Noah, so it will be also in the days of the Son of Man: 27 they were eating, they were drinking, they were marrying, they were being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all. 28 [r]It was the same as happened in the days of Lot: they were eating, they were drinking, they were buying, they were selling, they were planting, they were building; 29 but on the day that Lot went out from Sodom it rained fire and [s]brimstone from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 It will be [t]just the same on the day that the Son of Man is revealed. Luke 17
In His righteousness and justice, He could have damned all of us, but out of His abundance He has chosen to save some! Those who love the world, the things in the world, the lust of the flesh and eyes, the boastful pride of life, do not have the love of the Father in them. The world, its lusts, and those who are friends with the world are passing away, for they are at enmity with the reign of our King (James 4:4). But the one who does the will of God lives forever. (1 John 2:15-17). Again, I must repeat what I wrote in a previous letter, “False Christianity is pervasive and damning” and I will venture to say that most of what you see around you that goes on in the name of Christianity [and here I speak with regard to the typical "carnal Christian church"], that even uses Bible verses and Christian-sounding dialect, is counterfeit. I do not say this out of anger or wicked judgmentalism, but with tears and simply because I know that it is true because I have seen and known the real thing. Not just I, but every regenerated saint has seen and known the real regenerating work of the Spirit, the true love of the Father in Christ, what it means to behold the glory of Christ’s life poured out on the cross, and to some extent, the power of His resurrection. And after having seen glimpses of these things, every true believer has the ability to discern what is false. By God’s gracious covenant, their love abounds still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, so that they may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ; having been filled with the fruit of righteousness which comes though Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God (Phil 1:9-11).
Authentic Christian unity comes powerfully when true believers are present. They have no need of earthly gimmicks to conjure it. Why? Because Christ Himself is exalted among them and is Himself the source of their Spiritual union (see next section). But in the same manner as false Christianity seems to have great sway in the modern day “church” institutions, false unity and false fellowship have permeated them. This false unity is, at its roots, often subtly, planted in the soil of the temporal world that has judgment looming over it. The hourglass of time until God’s cup of wrath is poured out on such false unions is running out, dear saints. Such counterfeit unity is no different than that of the Gentiles who rage, the peoples who devise futile things, the kings of the earth who took their stand, and the rulers who gather together against the Lord and against His Christ, as the Holy Spirit spoke through the mouth of God’s servant King David. (Acts 4:25-26)
What happens when false Christians who know nothing of the release from sins, nor the transferring of their souls to the Kingdom of Light, come together? They may be unified, but their unity is false. If certain aspects of their physical environment were to crack, their union would crack. That is, if one or more of the objects/idols of the lust of the eyes and flesh, or the boastful pride of life were removed, they would crumble in an instant, as the tower of Babel crumbled and the people were scattered. Regardless of the earthly prosperity of such a counterfeit union, regardless of the speed at which it progresses materially and socially, in a moment, God will bring it to naught. He has decreed destruction. Yes, He has surely decreed imminent destruction on those counterfeit unions of false believers. With lightning speed, when they are unaware, such faulty collaborations will fall to the depths of the earth, never to rise again.
What does this mean for us, the true saints, who know that Christ alone has the Words of eternal Life? God tells us to “depart, depart, go out from there, touch nothing unclean; go out of the midst of her, purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of the Lord. But you will not go out in haste, nor will you go as fugitives; for the Lord will go before you, and the God of Israel will be your rear guard” (Is 52:11-12) Dear saints, we are commanded not to forsake our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but to encourage one another; and ALL THE MORE as you see the day drawing near (Heb 10:25). We are commanded to take care that there not be in any of us an evil, unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God. But we are commanded to encourage one another DAY AFTER DAY, as long as it is still called, “Today”, so that none of us will be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have become partakers of Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end. (Heb 3:12-14) Do you understand what this means? Seeking the true fellowship of true saints is a command of God, and we cannot forsake it. But we are in great need of His sovereign grace, for we are far outnumbered, somewhat scattered, some are temporarily deceived, many starving… But God’s Word commands us to seek not emotional support groups, morally refined chatter groups, children playing/moms small-talking groups, glamorous buildings, groups which lament over politics and church heresy, family food and fun events…but He commands to us seek the TRUE FELLOWSHIP OF THE TRUE SAINTS. I pray that you are starting to understand the implications of this, what it will mean for you and your family if you truly seek to follow the Savior and Lord Jesus Christ. It may mean leaving behind your years-long built social framework where you and your family are established and very comfortable. Or it may mean remaining there as an act of evangelism (for counterfeit “church” organizations need to hear the true Gospel and about the nature of a true believer) and service to the starving remnant, while additionally seeking the true assembly of saints at a different time/place. Is this my opinion? Well, yes, but that is of little significance to you. This is the will of God: that the true church, the true bride of Christ unites.
Furthermore, as we understand the truth that we have become partakers of Christ if we hold fast the beginning of our assurance firm until the end, and our role in seeing to it that there not be in any of us an evil and unbelieving heart that falls away from the living God, there is a greater bond, and greater seeking of the Lord and His power, His grace, and His fruit in our lives. As long as people do not rise up against free grace theology by proclaiming the Truth of God’s Word, His eternal Covenant, there will be scarce fellowship. The very Truths of Lordship, true discipleship, the nature of a true believer, the outcome of regeneration, and the perseverance of the saints bind the true saints together strongly!
My Unity Letters
When I first started writing the unity letters, I understood, experientially, little of true Christian unity and fellowship, and simply wrote what the Spirit taught me through His Words, longing and praying for it, yet knowing I did not have this fellowship but with gatherings of 2 or 3 and within my own family. We have seen flimsy doctrinal foundations of institutions around us crumble before our eyes, and for most the past several months, the exact opposite of the establishing of Christ-centered unity seemed to be happening. I knew God would teach me about unity this year, but I thought it would be a more massive act of God involving most of the professing believers around me, but I have seen in depth that the true unity of the saints, at least in my environment, has been small gatherings of two families or of 2 and 3 people gathered together whose heart’s desire is only for Christ. Yes, I have seen what I thought should have been unity, that is, the potential true fellowship of the masses of professing-believers, fall apart, but I have seen true unity on a small scale more vividly than ever before. I have seen the sweet comfort and love of a few dear saints around me. As I described before, the Fellowship 2013 Conference was a great gift from God to me, for I have never seen so many regenerated people together with an overwhelming love for God and one-another. I have never heard so many testimonies of people who thought they were Christians for years, but were never regenerated until that day when God chose to grant them the gifts of faith and repentance. I have seen real fellowship and prayer there on a much larger scale than I had seen it before and I know that it is built on the foundation of Christ, nothing else. The earth may shake, earthly buildings may crumble, health and materials may fail, but the unity of the saints will not be shaken. Why? Because Christ is their bond and He will not be shaken!
Authentic Fellowship and Unity of the Saints
I will now refer to some Scriptures to describe the glorious, beautiful, real, true, Christ-dependent, Christ-centered, love-filled unity of the saints. Yes, it exists! I have seen glimpses of it. O dear saints, this exists, and we must actively pursue this fellowship, giving away and leaving behind whatever hinders it, while moving towards it, trusting in the power of God to bring it about. For Christ prayed that we may all be one; even as the Father is in Christ and Christ is in the Father, that we also may be in Them, so that the world may believe that the Father sent Christ. (John 17:20-21)
1. Christ prayed that His glory is granted to them, and that they are perfected in unity that the world would know that the Father has sent Christ and has loved His people as He has loved His Son. Christ’s desire is that His people are with Him where He is, and that they may see the glory given to Him by His Father, who loved His Son before the foundation of the world. (John 17:22-24)
2. The manifold wisdom of God is now made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places in accordance with the eternal purpose carried out in Christ. (Eph 3:8-11)
3. The saints give thanks and pray for one another from the moment they hear of each other’s faith in Christ and their reciprocal love for all the saints. The Word of Truth, the Gospel, has come to them and constantly bears fruit in increasing measure in those who have understood the GRACE OF GOD IN TRUTH. Their love for one another in the Holy Spirit is great. (Col 1:3-8)
4. The saints do not cease to pray for one another and ask that they may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all Spiritual wisdom and understanding so that they will walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who qualified them to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light. (Col 1:9-12)
5. The saints rejoice in suffering for the sake of one another, and in their flesh they do their share on behalf of Christ’s body, the church. God willed to make known the riches of the glory of the mystery: Christ in the saints, the hope of glory. (Col 1:24-27)
6. The saints proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that they may present EVERY MAN COMPLETE IN CHRIST. For this purpose they labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works in them. (Col 1:28-29)
7. The saints struggle on behalf of the saints that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God’s mystery, CHRIST HIMSELF, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. They are with one another in spirit, rejoicing to see each other’s good discipline and the stability of their faith in Christ. (Col 2:1-5)
8. The saints continually devote themselves to the apostles’ teaching, fellowship, breaking of bread, and prayer. Everyone keeps feeling a sense of awe. All those who believed were TOGETHER and had all things in common. They shared with one another as anyone had need. DAY BY DAY they continued with one mind in the temple, breaking bread from house to house, taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. (Acts 2:42-47). The congregation of saints were of one heart and soul (Acts 4:32)
9. They are poured out like a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of the faith of the saints (Phil 2:17, 2 Tim 4:6)
10. David and Jonathan:
Now it came about when he had finished speaking to Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself. 2 Saul took him that day and did not let him return to his father’s house. 3 Then Jonathan made a covenant with David because he loved him as himself. 4 Jonathan stripped himself of the robe that was on him and gave it to David, with his armor, including his sword and his bow and his belt. 5 So David went out wherever Saul sent him, and [a]prospered; and Saul set him over the men of war. And it was pleasing in the sight of all the people and also in the sight of Saul’s servants. 1 Sam 18
11. They hear of each other’s love and faith towards the Lord Jesus toward all the saints and pray that the fellowship of their faith may become effective through the knowledge of every good thing in them for Christ’s sake. They have much joy and comfort in each other’s love, because the hearts of the saints are refreshed. (Phil 1:5-7)
12. The Kingdom of God is in their midst.
20 Now having been questioned by the Pharisees as to when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God is not coming with [n]signs to be observed; 21 nor will they say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or, ‘There it is!’ For behold, the kingdom of God is [o]in your midst.” Luke 17
To the saint, his bond with another saint whom he scarcely knows is much stronger than his tie to his own [unbelieving] family and to those [unbelievers] in his social, cultural, and hobby spheres. This is because Christ is precious to him. The true incorruptible love for Christ results in an instantaneous love for those who partake of His body.
It is a grievous sin to neglect or to fail to seek the true fellowship of the true saints.
Love in Christ,