- ► 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 15, 2013
Unity # 35: The Authenticity of Christian Fellowship
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,