That in all things He might have the Pre-eminence (Col 1:18)

April 2018

Dear [first name],

This morning in our family reading we read from the first chapter of Colossians:

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: in whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him.  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.   And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.   For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; and, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. (v12-20).
What struck me was the juxtaposition of His having the pre-eminence and His being Head of the body, the church.  Christ is the Head – that is incontrovertible.  However does He have the first place in our local assemblies?  I am not saying that is always the case but a vicar, pastor or minister might have that place because of his position or ability (though he – it should be ‘he’- would want to think otherwise).  Those gatherings which, more scripturally sound, do not have a single person is head, but might have a more specious fault – the gathering in itself having the first place (example Laodicea- Rev 3:14-22).  If that the case, human politics doubtless come into place – assertiveness on the part of the brothers, and an undermining influence on the part of the sisters.
The main trouble in Colosse was the temptation to bring in rules, another evidence of the church – not Christ – having the first place (Touch not; taste not; handle not – ch. 2:21) – and philosophy and vain deceit (ch. 2:8).  Godly men and women like Epaphras, Philemon and Apphia were not philosophers or politicians.
But Corinth!  They were reigning as kings, puffed-up, showings off their abilities, and not mourning despite serious immorality in their midst (see 1 Corinthians 4:8-5:2).
If only love for our Lord Jesus, and love with respect for one another, pervaded we would be occupied with Him, not troubles and rejoicing with all in bad times and good.

Today if ye will hear His Voice

In addition to A Day of Small Things, I edit the publication of ministry under the heading ‘Today if ye will hear His Voice’.  This comprises words of ministry, readings and addresses, generally amongst the group of Christians with whom I am privileged to break bread.  Issues are approximately monthly, depending on availability of material.  Whilst I might move them to a separate website, they are now posted in a separate section in adayofsmallthings.com – see ‘Today if ye will hear His Voice’ .  If you want to be added to the list for Today if ye will hear His Voice’, please click here.

A Call for Help

I am 72, and there is no way I am going to do summaries of all the articles by JND.  In addition I am conscious that many can be improved, and there is a need for hard copy publication.  For this I need assistance.  If you are interested in helping me, please send me a personal email.  Of course to do so, you must be fully assured of your eternal salvation, and be doctrinally in tune with that servant of the Lord.  I look forward to hearing from you.
With greetings in Christ
 Sosthenes Hoadelphos

Your comments

First to the Lord, and to us – Have we had it the Wrong Way Round?

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.

Dear Friends

 

First to the Lord, and to us

– Have we had it the Wrong Way Round?

If we desire to walk in the light of the assembly, we must always be mindful as to the One whose assembly it is.  I look over some of the things I have written over the past few years, even on ADOSS, and see how much I have been governed by a mind-set, structured in accordance with right scriptural teaching, but without the Lord Himself as my prime object.  What the Lord is looking for?  Soundness of teaching is important, but it is not the most important thing.  Being close to our Lord Jesus, and being true to Him, surely is.  Many true believers without the teaching have a much closer relationship with our Lord and Saviour than I do.

Paul teaching

A couple of weeks ago, I was writing to a brother, and the scripture came to mind in 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’.   Interesting: ‘not as we hoped’.  Paul commended them for putting the Lord before them.  Paul would not have wanted them to be in a subservient position, so ‘to us’, I take to mean Paul’s teaching and the practical fellowship and service to the Lord.  That Saturday afternoon, a nearby gathering arranged a meeting for prayer to seek the Lord’s guidance, and I gave a short word, reading this scripture, and 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 ‘Put me first’

 

The Lord has given us an Opportunity.

It has been a very turbulent year amongst the Christians with whom we have been gathering.   I do not want to go into details, other than to say we concluded that the ground of their gathering was sectarian.  Many readers will be fully aware of what I am referring to.  Whereas we had been in an average-sized company my wife and I are now breaking bread with just one elderly sister.  Sadly, we felt we had to leave the gathering where we had been for 42 years and the brethren that we still love.  Having been found in the situation, we broke bread simply, in answer to our Lord’s request, based on two-or-three gathered together to the Lord’s Name, and seeking to call on the Lord out of a pure heart (Matthew 18:20 and 2 Timothy 2:22).

Next, were there others with whom we could share full Christian fellowship?  There are many gatherings nearby with sincere devoted lovers of the Lord Jesus, but are they gather on a sectarian basis, or are they run by human clerical organisation, or are they follow an open or independent path, not recognising the unity of the body.  We can share experiences with individuals there, but cannot have part with them collectively.   Thank God, we found three other gatherings, within an hour’s drive, with whom we can share full fellowship.  They may be small, and we are having to travel more, but we are learning to work things out in love, above all putting our Lord Jesus first.

As to the future, who knows?  God does of course, and it is for us to be with Him, and we are sure that Satan will attack.  In the early 1800’s, many believers in small gatherings were moved to leave the organised denominations, where clericalism and established form has impeded the operations of the Holy Spirit.  They did not know what the Lord was going to do, and that it would lead to a worldwide movement.  It was said at a recent meeting, ‘When we come to practical fellowship, it is not for us to make rules, but to test everything – Is it in accord with the death of Christ?’  It is for us, first individually, and then as we find others, to seek to be faithful to Christ in the power of the Spirit, to walk simply as believers.  Then let us see where the Lord leads.’

It is not an easy path.  We have not been promised it.  But it is a blessed one – and the Lord’s coming is very, very near!

 

‘Today if ye will hear His Voice’

My wife and I with some who had been through similar experiences (and a few others) met in Northern Ireland in October.  I believe the Lord showed clearly in those meetings that there is ‘another way’.   Accordingly, I have taken on the exercise of publishing these and other meetings. Under the title, ‘Today if you will hear His Voice.  if you would like a to receive this by email to you please click on the heading below.   The first issue was distributed last month – on ‘Seven – what is Perfect, and what is Maintained in a Day of Reduction’: seven months, seven bullocks, seven loaves, seven baskets, seven lamps, seven stars, seven assemblies and seven overcomers (Word by Martin Cook).   Two more issues are in the works.

Click here:

An interesting observation

I don’t spend much time on social media, but going for a walk yesterday I sat down and logged into Twitter on my iPhone.  Correspondence between two brothers with whom I correspond came up:

The first sign that Moses did was to turn water into blood – judgment (see Exodus 7:20). The first sign that Jesus did was turn water into wine – grace (see John 2:10-11). ‘For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ’ (John 1:17).

And … 3,000 die at the giving of the law, the first Pentecost (see Exodus 32:28); 3,000 given new life at the giving of the Spirit, the second Pentecost (see Acts 2:41). ‘For the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life’ (2 Cor 3:6).

God’s blessings and greetings in our Lord

Sosthenes