By Σωσθένης Ὁἀδελφὸς – Sosthenes the Brother
Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord
A Year Old?
ADOSS has been going for a year, and it’s been blessed. Thank God for the guidance of the Holy Spirit in selecting the articles to be summarised, and for help in doing the work. Thank God too for bringing so many interested and interesting people to the website (about 200 hits a day), and for the correspondence that I have been able to enter into.
What have been the results? I can leave that with God. Somebody sarcastically wrote to me saying, ‘And how many have found the assembly?’ First – 99% of people who write are already in it. Second – I don’t know what they have found practically, but I am happy if they understand a little more that our calling collectively is a heavenly one, that the leader of the church is Christ Himself, and that what is here does not need human organisation.
Christianity or Islam?
Does it matter what I am called? Despite having been a servant of the Lord for years Paul said, ‘I am a Pharisee!’ That was his religion. It didn’t matter to him – it was dead. So if somebody says ‘I’m a Christian’, or Roman Catholic, or Anglican, or Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim – it can be equally as dead.
I have recently published an article – Establishing, or Planting Churches – based on J N Darby’s paper – ‘On the Formation of Churches’. In it Darby looked at the various attempts there were to reform the position, creating more and more sectarian divisions. The universality of the church had been lost sight of.
There is an expression that is current now, (not in Darby’s time) as to the planting of churches. But a ‘planted church’ from another nearby one presumes that there was no assembly of God in the target locality. This is almost never the case.
How are we to meet then? Doing nothing is not an option. But before doing anything, we must feel deeply the ruined state of the church, acting with less presumption and more diffidence.
We must separate ourselves from evil, (2 Tim 2:19) i.e. what is at variance with the word. We do not plant a church, we just assemble together. Jesus aaid, ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.’ (Matt.18:20). We must acknowledge our weakness and dependence upon God. God is sufficient for His church. Despite the ruin, power is available. So if we call upon Him, He will raise up whatever is needed for the blessing of the saints. Let us acknowledge the authority of Christ, for He rules as Son over His house (whose house are we), whilst the Spirit of God is the sole power in the church. Anything else is pretence, under the domination of man. There is no promise in favour of the system by which men organise churches, but there is the promise of the Lord’s presence for those who ‘assemble together’. Such is the position, humble it may be, but it is blessed by God, even if it is despised by men
An Outline to the Bible
John Nelson Darby is well known for his Synopsis, but he also produced a very concise summary of each book. I have reproduced most of these outlines, lightly edited – see A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible.
Have a Pleasant Holiday
We are still down here, so we enjoy temporal blessings too. A few of our brethren are suffering – fleeing from ISIS terrorists for example. But most readers of ADOSS readers are able to travel around freely. The holiday season is an opportunity to meet other brothers and sisters in their own places and share with them the joy of being in the fellowship of God’s Son.
May you be blessed