Recent discussions with a saint in another venue have fostered a considerable amount of cogitation surrounding the aspect of fellowship. The dialogue highlighted the fact that, in all of the years following the hour in which I first believed on Jesus, I have had precious few seasons of close fellowship. I’ve been involved with countless churches, met professing saints from a myriad of backgrounds, and have diligently sought after such. And yet the desire to forge solid bonds with the likeminded has gone largely unfulfilled. Many (but not all) whom I have encounterd seem “comfortable” where they are and have no desire to rock the boat. They have attended the same lukewarm church year after uneventful year. Their lives match up with the default western standard, and they allocate much of their energy to maintaining what has been acquired in the theater of atoms. Subsequently, the calls to endure to the end, lay aside every weight and sin, love not the world or its trappings, and what have you, recieve little more than an uneasy smile, a reluctant nodding of the head, and a frantic search for an escape from the conversation.
There is a profound sweetness when we are in the company of those who love Jesus with all their heart and are not overcharged by the things of this world. The encounter transpires, eye-contact is made, and almost instantly, the ensuing discussion focuses on the Lord Jesus. Not the shallow catch-phrase stuff or the agenda-laden storylines mingled with the cares of this world; this discussion pursues after the deep things of God while filtering out anything that’s not born of the Spirit. These folks consistantly lay up treasure in heavenly places as their primary mission here is that which has eternal ramification. Their position in life, (occupation, accumulations, location, family and acquaintances, etc) is not their identity. It’s merely a platform from which to advance the kingdom of God. Their heart has raced on ahead to secure a place amongst the great cloud of witnesses in the presence of the Lord Jesus. When such folks are encounterd, it’s like a blast of cool clean air that carries away sinister attitudes while reminding us that, even in this season of astonishing apostasy, we are not alone.
Acts 4:32 “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common. Just a side note: the verse before this one (Acts 4:31) reveals what transpired when these saints prayed.
Such fellowship is incredible-beyond-description, and yet, very hard to come by. Perhaps it’s because of geography. Much of the professing church in the west is lukewarm and comfortable. (Revelation 3:17) Many of us unwittingly try to serve two masters while maintaining a lifestyle that keeps us attached to this present world This is the primary hinderance, however, a close second is the fallen nature that abides in our members. None of us have “arrived” as of yet (Philippians 3:13-14) So long as we are in a tabernacle of flesh, we will have to die to self on a daily basis. To complicate matters even further, we have a relentless adversary who puts up fierce opposition to anyone and any campaign that poses a threat to his kingdom of darkness. His hatred of God and those made in the image of God is unabridged. He knows that when we are walking in the Spirit, we pose a serious threat to his domain. Subsequently he uses an array of tactics to distract us; oftentimes with stunning effectiveness. (II Corinthians 2:11)
Finding deep fellowship in this age can seem like an insurmountable endeavor. There’s a tendancy to survey the spiritual landscape and then throw in the proverbial towel. Admittedly, I am “beyond tired” of visiting lukewarm church after lukewarm church, getting my hopes up that “perhaps these folks are watching” only to discover that after singing a few catchy tunes and enduring the preformatted message, their focus quickly shifts to…..eating…….or sports……or working on the real estate…….or anything that will not stand in the day of judgment. When asked, they will quickly proclaim “Oh Jesus is my first love; just like in that song that we sang earlier.” But their lives often tell a different story. In his publication “Living for christ in the End Times” David R Reagan makes the following observation:
“Most Christians have allowed their priorities to get very mixed up. Usually job or career is number one, family is second, and God is third or even fourth, behind an obsession with sports or something similar.”
Jesus should, and must “be” our life; not merely be a part of our life. He is before all things and by him all things consist. He is ever present and sees every aspect of every situation facing us. He overcame this present world and shed his innocent blood so that we could have eternal life. He is worthy of all our affection and devotion. Anything less is an insult to the one who gave his all for us. (Please don’t let this statement cause discouragement. None of us have arrived. Rather let it be an encouragement to lay aside every hinderance as we daily become less like us and more like Jesus.)
Despite the vacuum created by the absence of those who love not their lives in this world, we should diligently seek, and maintain contact with, likeminded saints. Even contact in a cyber forum is uplifting; provided all parties are walking in the Spirit and mindful of the pitfalls. (I dare not venture down that rabbit hole) We really need each other; especially as we see the night season manifesting. The time will come when we will have to stand alone. A season of unfamiliarity, where everyone in our ambience has embraced a lie; even those whom we held in high esteem. The time to prepare for this approaching season is now and likeminded saints are of great benefit. We should place a high priority on fellowship that doesn’t require compromise of scriptural truth in order to secure. (Compromise in order to abide with another is not true fellowship. It’s a recipe for shipwreck that will lead to betrayal and fatal choices in the critical hour.)
Philippians 2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
Look not every man on this own things, but every man also on the things of others.”
At the moment, I am in continual contact with two saints, one local and one distant, in a manner that could be considered fellowship of the caliber being discussed. We talk much, pray for each other consistantly, and discuss our varying embattlements. Proverbs 27:17 often comes to mind in the considering these situations. “Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. ” Both of these saints have been a blessing on a variety of fronts. I have been edified, encouraged, and received instruction. I have also received necessary reproof at times when I was either getting out of sorts on an issue, or not considering a particular aspect of a situation. For this I am truly grateful. It’s amazing that, with a church on nearly every corner in our area, I am in contact with only two people on this level, and this contact is not in a traditional setting.
I Peter 4:7-8 “But the end of all things is at hand: be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.
And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover a multitude of sins.”
Wow! The above passage has been referred to many times over the course of this blog, and yet, the words “above all things” just hit me in a way like never before. This is a preparation passage. It tells us that the end is approaching and how we should respond to that eventuality. This passage places fervent charity among the saints at the top of the list of preparations. It hides a multitude of sins that, if allowed to continue, will lead to certain compromise. It also deflects the little sins that tend to sail beneath our spiritual radar. In scripture, we read of a church that was on one accord. They walked in the power of the Holy Ghost and had fervent love amongst themselves. These turned the world upside down with a gospel that would eventually be published in every corner of the earth. (Matthew 24:14) For their sake, kings were reproved, empires were brought down, impossible deliverances were carried out, and tesimonies of Jesus were maintained; oftentimes under the most extreme circumstances.
We are now approaching a season where a false message will blanket the earth. It will be accompanied by supernatural demonstration and will have a warm cozy veneer. It will appear to be beneficial to all and the entire world will embrace it. At the heart of this campaign, however, will be a vile man, empowered by the fallen cherub, who blasphemes God and opposes all that is righteous. The mystery of iniquity, which has been at work for centuries is about to blanket the theater of atoms. The son of perdition will flatter all who received not the love of the truth and, in the waning moments, gather all of his assets in a place known as “Armageddon” in an attempt to thwart the physical return of Jesus. May we all grasp the seriousness of this and respond accordingly. Time is quickly running out.
Preparing for the time which is before us requires more than just watching the various news reports and playing fill-in-the-blanks with prophecy. It demands that we consistantly examine ourselves, abide ever closer to the Lord Jesus, and lift each other up at every remembrance. Websters defines the word “amity” as “friendship; esp. friendly relations between nations.” It speaks of a bond between those who may have different backgrounds but are brought together by common interest and desire that all in the partnership will benefit. It’s a “loving your neighbor as yourself” mindset, which is probably why the founders of the now-infamous Long Island community decided to make it the primary component of their towns name. Folks from different backgrounds, each bringing a unique set of gifts, observations, and personna, dwelling safely together under a common banner.
Well I have to be going for now. There are a number of aspects that couldn’t be covered here. It seems necessary to make a brief mention of one; even though doing so will create a somewhat awkward conclusion to this posting. It’s imperative that we do not mistake immaturity for lukewarmness. Right now, the final names are being added to the book of life. This age is more precarious to the new believer than previous ones, however, God is able to make them stand. Zac Poonen once stated it like this. A newborn baby is incredibly immature, however, he can still be healthy. If these new ones in Christ have a pure heart and are being properly nourished, they’ll grow and, the Lord will keep them from falling. Lukewarmness, on the other hand, describes the condition of folks who have elected to stop growing and have allowed the thorns of this world to envelop them. The nature of the distraction is irrelevant, but the end result is the same: a soul in danger of being spewed out on the last day.
Well I have to go. Blessings always in Jesus name.
July 3, 2012. 7:45am Good morning. I just came across two posts that are well deserving of a few minutes to digest. Here are the links: