Adoss Newsletter – No 12 – September 2014

 

Zech 4:10
By Σωσθένης Ὁἀδελφὸς – Sosthenes the Brother

 

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the Lord

Will He find Faith on the Earth?

I am writing this on our way back from a few days vacation in the Baltic States of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia. They were interesting places, having come a long way since they escaped from Soviet domination around 1990. Estonia is the most prosperous, very much like its neighbour Finland; Roman Catholic Lithuania is the nicest; Latvia has further to go to catch up with Western Europe. But what is sad is that I could not establish a spiritual link with anybody – taxi drivers, waitresses or even a family connection – I saw no peaceful faces. Yes, a lot of big churches, but where is there the knowledge of true salvation? In Lithuania we saw the Hill of Crosses – 400,000 of them in 2006. It was weird. Lithuania is RC but in 1840’s Russians tried to force them to go Orthodox . So this started as a protest movement . Now doubtless, it is a money earner for the church!

There must be many there who truly knew The Lord, but we didn’t meet any despite praying for it. May God work mightily in these three little countries.

Before then, however, we spent a happy long weekend with our dear Christian friends in Gothenburg, Sweden. On the Saturday we were on one of the islands, and on the boat we saw a group of young people from the self-styled Plymouth Brethren Christian Church. Getting off the boat I waved towards them, and one young lady waved back cheerily. Later we were having a snack outside at a café, when the same young person came by ostensibly to buy some mineral water. As she came out our friend greeted her, and she chatted happily for several minutes. She was an English girl, married to a brother from Sweden. Our friend knew the family well, and they lived close by. He spoke of the Lord’s coming and our being together, to which she responded well. As she was going our friend said to her ‘May The Lord richly bless you’. Her reply: ‘May He bless you too’. That encounter was a highlight of our holiday.

God has His reserves everywhere. Just because we have had to judge a system as evil, that does not mean that it is void of true believers who have peace with God, especially those who never went through the turmoil of the 1960’s.

 

Scotland

There were many prayers about the Scottish referendum, so I am sure God’s hand was over the result. Personally I was a bit ‘pro-yes’, so I have to be humble! Scotland has had a major part in the testimony of our Lord. Men like John Knox, groups like the Covenanters come to mind. It has also been a land where party and personal feeling run deep: Rangers vs. Celtic, Campbells vs. McDonalds, Wee Frees vs. Wee-wee Frees etc. Sadly these divisions have affected God’s people. They will be together in glory.

 

Are ‘Brethren’ Special?

I came across an interesting piece from a letter written by JN Darby in 1875 (click here for my lightly edited version).  By then he had become rather disillusioned with sectarian brethrenism, but still felt there was something special amongst so-called Plymouth Brethren. But what was special was what the brethren possessed from the Lord, not the brethren themselves. God could take what they had from them and give it to others.

It is blessed to gather with a few simple Christians, assembling themselves to the Lord’s name, outside the camp (He rejected here), having no name or organisation. Brethren with a small ‘B’.  May that always be the case.  It is indeed a day of small things

 

Bible Outline

I have nearly finished lightly editing JND’s Outline of the Books of the Bible, providing a concise overview of each book, briefer than the ‘Synopsis’.   My plan is to put it into an e-book.  For the original outline click here.

 

It will all be right in the end

A worldly expression, ‘Karma’ they say.  But what does the Christian say?

‘I have strength for all things in him that gives me power!’ (Phil 4:13)  All things?  If the Bible says all things, then it means all things.   I doesn’t say I can DO all things.  Indeed, I feel very weak even for the simplest thing.  But with Jesus all things are possible.  Have I faith?

 

Your exercises

Forgive me, that’s a ‘brethren’ expression.  What are your concerns about the group of Christians you gather with?  We can share one another’s burdens. There may be something that you are linked with, that I would feel is not according to scripture – ordained ministry in any form, for example.  There may be things that you would point out in my conduct that does not befit a Christian.  That is how we help one another.

The Lord is coming soon.  May He be with you

God’s blessings, your brother,

Sosthenes Hoadelphos

 

 

Adoss Newsletter – No 11 – August 2014

 

Zech 4:10
Who hath despised the day of small things

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?

islam-to-christianityI received an email from a gentleman in Pakistan (I believe) saying that he wants to convert from being a Muslim to Christianity. This prompted me to think a bit about what that means.

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.

Life is alone in Jesus. He said ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ (John 14:6) . He said ‘Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.’ (John 5:40).

For the answer I gave my enquirer see Convert from Islam to Christianity , and for some further thoughts, Islam or Christian – does it matter?

 

Planting Churches

churchI 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

bibleJohn 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

Sosthenes Hoadelphos

A Brief Outline of the Books of the Bible

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Canticles
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi
Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation

lay-preachingIn addition to his Synopsis of the Books of the Bible, John Nelson Darby produced a short outline.  They were based on a series of lectures in Birmingham.   This is being reproduced here.

As time allows I will go through it, making the language clearer and up to date, only where necessary.  This will not be a summary.

Click on the appropriate book for the summary.

To download a DRAFT version of the booklet in PDF format, please click here. – Outline to the Bible

The Old Testament

Genesis
Exodus
Leviticus
Numbers
Deuteronomy
Joshua
Judges
Ruth
1 Samuel
2 Samuel
1 Kings
2 Kings
1 Chronicles
2 Chronicles
Ezra
Nehemiah
Esther
Job
Psalms
Proverbs
Ecclesiastes
Song of Songs
Isaiah
Jeremiah
Lamentations
Ezekiel
Daniel
Hosea
Joel
Amos
Obadiah
Jonah
Micah
Nahum
Habakkuk
Zephaniah
Haggai
Zechariah
Malachi

The New Testament

Matthew
Mark
Luke
John
Acts
Romans
1 Corinthians
2 Corinthians
Galatians
Ephesians
Philippians
Colossians
1 Thessalonians
2 Thessalonians
1 Timothy
2 Timothy
Titus
Philemon
Hebrews
James
1 Peter
2 Peter
1 John
2 John
3 John
Jude
Revelation