The Thomas Pages homepage
Essential Christian Faithfulness
"And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some,
but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Hebrews 10:24-25.
The statement "not neglecting to meet together" carries more than an encouragement to join other believers in worship – It reflects the nature of Christian identity.
had described to Nicodemus (a member of the ruling religious council of Judaism) the spiritual new beginning, essential to be part of God's coming kingdom, in the following words –
"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water [discipleship-baptism] and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.
Do not marvel that I said to you, 'You must be born again.'
The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes.
So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."
John 3:5-8.
So in
contrast to the rules-regulated religious routine of Nicodemus, the Lord Jesus is describing a lifestyle derived directly from the nature of the Spirit of God. A lifestyle derived from essential spiritual character, rather than from any rules of religious ritual or moral duty.
The Christian Church is one as far as God is concerned, for it derives its authenticity from the one Spirit of God, or it is simply not Christian.
It is this oneness/unity of the Spirit of God which seeks expression in the life of the every individual believer in their essential relationship to the congregation of believers, regardless of any denominational history.
That is, church attendance is more than a duty. It expresses personal Christian identity.
This very obviously has geographic constraints of locality for it is a physical gathering of God's people in His name.
as the personal behaviour of a Christian is to identify that individual believer with other believers as expressed in congregational worship, so the corporate conduct of Christian churches.
As much as personal unfaithfulness to congregational worship is a contradiction of Christian identity, so also is it when a Christian 'association' of congregations, a 'mission', or a 'denomination' decides to start a new Christian work/mission/outreach/church in a particular geographic area, where there are already existing congregations/churches of Christians, without direct consultation with them.
This disregard is a denial of the corporate identity of the Christian character which is derived directly from the one Spirit of God.
Typically, it is a subtle form of arrogance that covers itself in well-meaning intentions of Gospel 'outreach' to 'make disciples', and so damaging the 'root' while trying to produce the 'fruit'.
This foolishness commonly validates itself on a superior doctrinal enlightenment (or a greater mission-commitment), but the Christian Church is not built on doctrine, any doctrine, not even about the Lord Jesus Himself. It is built on a direct living relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ through the immediacy of the Holy Spirit Himself.
is a tool to that end, but it is not a substitute, and therefore cannot take the place of the foundation of Christian identity at either a personal or at a corporate level.
identification of each local congregation (as being directly representative of the world-wide Church of Jesus) is beautifully typified for us in the detailed symbolism of the book of Revelation, where, because seven specific local congregations are being addressed, the Holy Spirit Himself is therefore portrayed as –
"...before the Throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God..."
For the one Holy Spirit is therefore directly and fully identified with each distinct local congregation of believers. So...
Revelation 4:5.
"...because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward ALL the saints [Christians], I do not cease to give thanks for you... Ephesians 1:15-16.
that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory,
may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened,
that you may know what is the hope to which He has called you, what are the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints,
and what is the immeasurable greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His great might..."

The Healing Discipline ... The Church as the Body of Christ Symbols that Strengthen ... Not Until ...

Copyright © Lloyd Thomas 2012-2016. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
Feel free to copy, as long as this full copyright notice is included!