Why do we like to Fall Back on Labels?
I am guilty of a serious thing. This week I met a fellow believer and we enjoyed a happy conversation. Then came up the inevitable question ‘Who do you meet with?’. My friend said something indirectly pointing to a group of Christians. Immediately I pigeonholed him into a division of that united vessel (I wish I could think of another word) and associated this with preconceived negative thoughts and doctrinal differences. The result – our warm and happy conversation was marred, and we went away thinking of differences, not of our Saviour, His glory and His return to rapture His saints. I owe that brother an apology.
Why do I do such a thing? Doubtless, Satan has us resting on this or that group of Christians. We are comfortable with the fellowship, the structure and the part we can play.
This is so different from what we have been taught. There is only one church – the assembly of the living God, purchased with the blood of our Lord Jesus; there is only one fellowship – the fellowship of God’s Son. We have confused the true function of the church – something perfect, with its origin and destiny in heaven with what we as Christians can and should do down here. In God’s grace, we may have been led to reject human organisation and church leadership, sectarianism, the building up of things here.
The question comes up. ‘Who do you meet with?’ –
Question ‘I see, so which of the many groups of Brethren are you?’
However much we try, it seems as we cannot get away from that label.
The Church with No Name
Here is a picture of a little chapel or meeting room, about an hour’s drive from where I live. Formerly an evangelical church, it was disused and in a bad state when a few lovers of our Lord bought it and painstakingly renovated it. When finished they invited many from the area to join in prayer – not to bless the room or any group, but to seek the Lord’s guidance as to what they should do. I was led to give a little word from 2 Cor 8:5 – ‘They gave them selves first to the Lord, and to us by God’s will.’ (Darby). (See ‘Have we had it the Wrong Way Round?’)
There is no name. All you can say that is where there is a gathering of a few simple Christians who seek to be true to our Lord in very confused circumstances. They break bread in obedience to the Lord’s request ‘This do in remembrance of me’ (Luke 22:19). Those who go there regularly know the certainty of their eternal salvation and have received the Holy Spirit. They are not connected with any humanly organised sect – nor are they in that meeting by membership. Collectively, they do not know who they are, apart from a collection of lovers of the Lord Jesus, and, though bound for glory, do not know where the Lord is leading them in their testimonial pathway. May it remain that way!
May you be encouraged
In God’s grace