Reading 2 Cor 8:5. ‘And this they did, not as we hoped, but first gave their own selves to the Lord, and unto us by the will of God’. , I ventured to suggest we have in the past put things the wrong way round. It came to me that we have been relying on all that good teaching, the meetings and our relationships with our brethren – and then we have attached the Lord to what we have set up. He has been gracious and supported us, but is He saying.
Abraham left his comfort zone: ‘Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee’. ‘By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for […]
In a brief article entitled ‘What is a Sect’ – Collected Writings Volume 14 (Ecclesiastical 3) p. 362, John Nelson Darby distinguishes those who gather to the Lord’s Name in the light of the One Body, and those who are members of a sect, or church, or ecclesiastical corporation. The latter is based on held opinions.
keep your feet in the narrow way, and your heart as large as you can. It is of no use trying to make fellowship if it is not real; you can’t shake oil and water together: they will soon separate again
Darby and the brethren held to all the fundamentals of the Christian faith:
There is one God, eternally blessed – Father, Son and Holy Spirit,.
The Lord Jesus was and is human and divine. He was born of a virgin and was raised from the dead and is now glorified at the right hand of God.
The Holy Spirit, having descended on the day of Pentecost, dwells in believers who are waiting for the promised return of the Lord Jesus.
The Father in His love has sent the Son to accomplish the work of redemption and grace towards men. Jesus, the Son, finished the work on earth which the Father gave Him to do. He made propitiation for our sins, and ascended into heaven. Now He is the great High Priest, seated at the right hand of the Majesty on high.
As to the brethren, nobody would be received into fellowship who denied any of these fundamental truths, and any who undermined them would be excommunicated. They are essential to living faith and salvation, and to the life which all Christians live as born of God.
People confuse what Christ builds with what man builds, physically and metaphorically. Christ said to Peter in Matthew 16:18 that He would build the Church and that the gates of hell (Satan’s deadly power) would not prevail against it. Resurrection was the proof of that. Peter’s confession, ‘Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God’ (v. 16), was the rock on which Christ would build his church. Peter was the first stone in importance, but he was not the builder.
J N Darby wrote a short paper ‘Progress of Democratic Power, and its Effects on the Moral State of England*’ sometime after the Reform Act of 1832. It is interesting to look back and to see how perceptive that servant of God was maybe 170 years ago. Some things have certainly come true. Other things he did not directly foresee.
Do you think that because things are in a disorganised state, that Christ has less love for the assembly than He once had? …. Her very feebleness draws forth fresh expressions of His love. James Butler Stoney (1814-1897)
We are called to stand apart from what is evil. But how do we act practically when it comes to our fellow believers, whatever their background or history. I believe that there are several considerations.
1. Do what the Lord would have done
2. Glorify the Lord yourself
3. Cause others to glorify the Lord
4. Go by scripture
5. Do not cause offence
6. Do not get into a dangerous situation – physically, mentally or spiritually.
Let me add that God, in His history of man, has shown what flesh is, and even the creature left to himself. The first thing man has always done is to spoil what God has set up good.