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“He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto
him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.” (John
Here Andrew had been blessed to become acquainted with
Jesus. He immediately found his brother Peter and shared this greatest of
blessings with him. As a result they served God together. What a wonderful
combination this was -- brothers in the flesh and brothers in the Lord Jesus
Have you been blessed to become acquainted with the Lord
Jesus? Do you have family members who have not received this blessing? Have you
told them what Jesus means to you? Have you sought them out even as Andrew
sought for Peter? How much time have you spent in prayer for them? Have you let
the Lord know that you are interested in their souls’ welfare? Would it not be a
tremendous blessing to serve God with those who are both our natural and
Let us pray much for our loved ones and let us set good
examples before them. By our words and actions let us prove to them that, like
Andrew, “We have found the Messias.”
“Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul....”
Many wonderful lessons are taught in this short verse.
Barnabas had been sent from the church at Jerusalem to inspect the spiritual
work at Antioch. When he got there, he found a tremendous work going on. Many
people were being added to the assembly at Antioch.
Barnabas was a man of humility. He knew that he couldn’t
lead this work by himself and that he needed help. He went to Tarsus to seek for
Saul, who had previously been converted to Christ.
Saul came and helped Barnabas in the work. They cooperated
and used their talents pulling together in the work of the Lord. There was no
jealousy between them. Antioch was established as a great center for the
evangelization of the Mediterranean world.
Are you as humble as Barnabas was? Do you know how to
recognize and encourage talent in others in the work of the Lord? Do you have
enough humility to recognize your own limitations? Can you work as a team member
with others in the work of the Lord?
yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it
is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness upon you.” (Hosea
God is speaking through His word today these same words
which He spoke to Israel through Hosea. We are in a back-slidden condition.
There is no power in our lives to begin to compare with the power exercised by
the early Christians.
Let us “sow in righteousness.” Ask God to purge you from
your sins -- your secret sins, your “pet” sins, your “little” sins. Ask God to
take away laziness, indifference, jealousy, a complaining attitude, etc. Strive
for righteousness both internal and external. The promise is that we shall “reap
What areas of our lives have been “fallow ground” -- ground
that has lain unused? Has it been prayer, reading the word, neglecting the
needy? Break these areas up and cultivate them. This will take some hard,
“It is time to seek the Lord.” How long must we seek Him?
“Till he come and rain righteousness upon you.”
“Therefore also now, saith the LORD, turn ye
even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with
mourning....” (Joel 2:12).
The pronouncement of terrible judgment had come to the
people of God. Their sinfulness had provoked the wrath of God. Their only hope
lay in complete and thorough repentance.
The same is so true today. God’s judgment hangs over our
churches, over our nations, and over many of our individual lives like a great
sword hanging on a thread. Let us awake from our sleep and turn unto the Lord.
And, oh, what a turning this must be! It cannot be partial
or half-hearted. We can’t hold on to the Lord with one hand and on to a
cherished idol with the other. We must turn to the Lord “with all your heart.”
What is there in your life that prevents you from doing this? What favorite sin
stands between you and God?
Turn from it! If we could only realize the wrath of God
against sin it would be no problem to “fast, weep, and mourn.” Let us flee in
repentance to the Savior and ask for mercy.
“Lament like a virgin girded with sackcloth for the husband
of her youth.” (Joel 1:8).
We need to learn to really mourn for the sinfulness of the
world in general and for the lukewarm condition of the churches and of
Christians in particular. Are we losing any sleep over these conditions? Do we
lament over them, or have we become so insensitive and complacent that we think
that things are really not so bad after all?
May God open our eyes and call us to acute lamentation and
prayer! May broken hearts cry out to God for revival. Our land is filled with
the murder of unborn babies. Homosexuality, which God detests, is becoming
socially acceptable. Corruption abounds on all levels of government.
Evolutionary teaching, which in effect calls God a liar, is universally taught
in public schools. The God-given roles of male and female are being challenged
and ridiculed. But who is weeping? Who is agonizing in prayer?
May God bless us to lament with anguish of soul like a
young virgin who mourns at the death of her espoused husband.
“And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath
eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpillar, and the palmerworm, my great army
which I sent among you.” (Joel 2:25).
When a person has wasted a portion of his life away from
God or in a back-slidden condition, he is apt to view all as lost when God shows
him his condition.
Satan tells him that all is lost, that since he has wasted
so much of his life he may as well waste the rest of it. “What good” the Devil
asks, “will a few years serving God do, seeing you have wasted such a great
portion of your life?” The awakened sinner is tempted to give it all up in
But, wait! See the glorious promise of God to Israel! “I
will restore to you the years.” Blessed promise this is. It is also good to the
one who has been brought to repentance by the Holy Spirit. Paul wasn’t converted
to Christ till he was a mature man. The strength of his youth had been spent in
opposition to the true spiritual realities. But look at Paul after his
conversion as he walked with God. He accomplished much in the power of the
Spirit. The years were “restored.” Take courage and serve God with all your
might for the rest of your days.
“You only have I known of all the families of the earth:
therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities. Can two walk together,
except they be agreed?” (Amos 3:2, 3).
Israel had a special relationship with God. She had
blessings and privileges that no other nation enjoyed. God had worked miracles
on her behalf. He had brought her up out of Egypt and taken care of her in the
wilderness. Finally he had brought her to the land of Canaan. She had the
tabernacle, the priesthood, the prophets, the Old Testament scriptures. In spite
of these blessings, Israel had turned her back on the ways of the Lord.
“Therefore” God said that He would bring judgment on her.
She who had enjoyed special blessings would now have to endure special
judgments. Much had been given and much was now required.
The same principles apply today. Those who have been
blessed to know the Lord have great responsibilities.
How is it with you? Do you desire to walk with the Lord?
Then you must “agree” with Him as how you are to live.
“The lion hath roared, who will not fear? the Lord GOD hath
spoken, who can but prophesy?” (Amos 3:8).
Are you shy in your witnessing for the Lord? Do you lack
boldness in defending His cause? Is it difficult to stand up for Him when you
think there might be opposition?
This spiritual timidity seems to be a common ailment today
that afflicts many Christians. What is needed to overcome this? We must ask God
to speak to our hearts with power. He spoke to Amos and Amos prophesied
faithfully with great power in spite of much opposition.
The Lord spoke to Jeremiah and the word of God was in his
“... heart as a burning fire....” (Jer. 20:9). The Lord spoke to Peter who had
denied Him three times. The result was that he uttered a flaming message of
truth on the great day of Pentecost.
We must pray continually until God speaks to
our hearts in power. When he speaks “who can but prophesy?”
“Therefore thus will I do unto thee, O Israel: and because
I will do this unto thee, prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” (Amos 4:12).
God was here threatening judgment on the nation of Israel
as a whole. These were not heathen; they were the chosen people of God! Yet by
their continual and prolonged disobedience they had stirred up the wrath of God
God had inflicted them with some preliminary judgments but
now He was fixing to come in a much more severe judgment. He counseled them to
“Prepare to meet thy God, O Israel.” God was “calling them on the carpet.” What
would you do if you knew that your boss was about to call you on the carpet at
work? You would prepare to meet him. You would ask him for “another chance.” You
would right as many wrongs as possible and would repent of any deviation from
Friends, let us prepare to meet our God.
“Hate the evil, and love the good, and establish judgment
in the gate: it may be that the Lord God of judgment will be gracious unto the
remnant of Joseph.”(Amos 5:15).
Serving God is either black or white -- there is no gray
area. A thing is either good or it is evil. May God open our eyes and give us
discernment so that we may clearly recognize what is good and what is evil.
Having recognized this, let us learn to have a holy hatred of evil and a
reverential love of that which is good.
Evil sometimes masquerades as good and we are deceived by
it and fail to hate it. How deceptive Satan is and how attractively he packages
evil so that we will feel kindly toward it. Being lulled to sleep, we will see
evil destroy the usefulness of our lives and the happiness of our families and
of our churches. Truly, “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil....” (Prov. 8:13).
Let us follow the lead of the Savior. It was said of Him
“Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity.....” (Heb. 1:9).
“Woe to them that are at ease in Zion....” (Amos 6:1).
These words were pronounced against the ancient nation of
Israel, but how applicable they are to us today. It is impossible to truly serve
the Lord and be lazy or at ease. The service of the Lord is wonderful,
satisfying, service, but it is hard, continual work!
Many do not even attend church meetings regularly, but for
those who do this is just the beginning of our work for the Lord. There is much
praying to be done. There are the fatherless, widows, spiritually sick, etc. to
be visited. These are only a few suggestions, but they should suffice to
stimulate us to more arduous service.
Do not remain at ease! This is a dangerous condition to be
in. Woe is pronounced on it!
“Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet,
neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore
fruit: And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me,
Go, prophesy unto my people Israel. (Amos 7:14,15).
The Lord’s ways are as high above our ways as the heavens
are above the earth. He chooses those to bear His message who appear to lack
adequate qualification for the work so far as the world is concerned. Amos did
not have a distinguished family background. He did not have a seminary
education. He had a very menial occupation.
Yet the Lord chose him to be His prophet to the nation of
Israel. God’s call and enablement prepared Amos for this great work.
What has God called you to do for Him? Are you to preach
the Gospel? Are you to support and hold up the hands of those who do? Are you to
be a Godly father or mother and raise your children for the Lord? Whatever He
has called you to do, He has also provided the qualifications. Go forth in His
“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord God, that I will
send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of
hearing the words of the Lord.” (Amos 8:11).
A famine is a terrible thing. The ground is parched.
Vegetation dies. People become ill and die. Babies and children cry in hunger.
All is bleak and desolate. A famine is to be feared and dreaded.
All this holds true with a famine of hearing the words of
the Lord. Lives dry up. All true deep joy vanishes. People’s lives are in chaos
because of lack of direction. There is no comfort in times of sorrow and
tragedy. How bleak and barren this is. How such a famine should be dreaded and
avoided if at all possible.
Why would God send such a famine into our lives? For
disobedience. For failing to appreciate and highly value His blessed Word. For
despising and rebelling against those servants whom He sent to deliver the word
to the people.
Friends, love God’s word! Obey God’s word! Read and
meditate on God’s word! Let God see that you truly are thankful to Him for the
great gift of His word.
“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord,
and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to
Israel his sin.” (Micah 3:8).
It takes courage to speak out in the name of the Lord and
to show people their sins. People usually have a deep resentment toward those
who point out their deviations from the commandments of God.
A man will not consistently speak out in the name of the
Lord by mere human courage. When criticism and abuse come, he will cease to
speak. The only power that will enable a person to stand up for the Lord is Holy
Spirit power. Micah was God’s faithful man because he was “full of power by the
spirit of the Lord.” The fearful apostles became bold heralds of the Gospel when
they were filled with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. They had been in
a ten day prayer meeting immediately prior to this filling. The key to being
filled with the Spirit of God is consistent and persistent prayer. The Lord
Jesus said: “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your
children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them
that ask him?” (Luke 11:13).
“But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among
the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to
be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from old, from everlasting.”
This is a direct prophecy of the incarnation of the Lord
Jesus Christ. The chief priests and scribes recognized this as a prophecy of the
Messiah. (Matt. 1:5,6). Fulfilled prophecy is one of the greatest proofs of the
authenticity of the word of God. The first coming of the Lord was prophesied in
minute detail. These prophecies were fulfilled in every detail.
God has proved His word to be trustworthy. We can
completely rely on it -- its promises, threatenings, rebukes, encouragements,
etc. God’s word is true.
Looking with confidence into the future, we can be sure
that the prophecies of the second coming of the Lord Jesus will be fulfilled
just as certainly as the ones concerning His first coming here. Maranatha! “Our
“He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth
the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk
humbly with thy God?” (Micah 6:8).
Sometimes we think that the service of the Lord is
complicated. We run across passages of scripture that we don’t understand and we
feel so stupid. We become confused as to how to serve the Lord every day. Satan
loves to have it so. He likes to complicate the matter. Paul was fearful lest
the Devil should corrupt the minds of the Corinthian saints from the “...
simplicity that is in Christ.” (2 Cor. 11:3).
What is this simplicity? It is to “do justly.” In a world
of fraud, lying, deceit, cheating, etc., the child of God is to “do justly.”
Simplicity is to “love mercy.” When men of the world are
filled with hatred, vengeance, and cruelty, the child of God is called upon to
Simple service is to “walk humbly with thy God.” While
others are running after the Devil and his world system of entertainment,
carnal pleasure, greed, lust for material things, etc., we must walk
humbly with our God.
“Who is a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and
passeth by the trangression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his
anger for ever, because he deligheth in mercy.” (Micah 7:18).
This is one of the most precious verses in the Bible to
those who realize what great sinners they are. All mankind fell in Adam and the
entire human race is steeped in sin. Even our best thoughts and actions are not
entirely free from sin. This fact connected with the fact of the absolute
holiness of God, should strike awe into our hearts. Such miserable creatures
deserve nothing but death -- eternal death. The holiness of God is so awesome
that when Isaiah saw the Lord he said, “... Woe is me! for I am undone; for I am
a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for
mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.” (Is. 6:5).
To realize that such a Holy God “delighteth in mercy”
toward His people because of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ should prompt us
to great gratitude both in our lives and with our lips.
“He will turn again, he will have compassion upon us, he
will subdue our iniquities; and thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of
the sea.” (Micah 7:19).
The story is told of a child-like man who had a deep love
for the Lord. He attended a very dignified church which was steeped in
formalism. When the love of God to poor sinners was preached he would often
break out in shouts of praise. This embarrassed the congregation and he was
asked to stop this. He replied that he was sorry to cause disruption but that he
just couldn’t help shouting when he thought of the love of God.
The officers of the church requested that when he felt a
shout coming on he should go to the foyer and read a book to get his mind
occupied and to stifle the shout. He agreed to this and at the next service he
was observed going out to the foyer with a geography book. Soon shouts of praise
were heard from the foyer. The officers rushed out to him and asked what was in
a geography book that would cause one to shout. He replied that in the book he
had found that in some places the seas were several miles deep. When he read in
the Bible that his sins were “cast into the depths of the sea” he just had to
May God grant that we can shout over such a wonderful
“The Lord is good, a strong hold in the day of trouble, and
he knoweth them that trust in him.” (Nahum 1:7).
The Lord is described by many figures in scripture. Each of
these figures describes an aspect of His glorious Person. Here He is described
as a “strong hold in the day of trouble.” A strong hold is a fortified refuge
where one is safe from the enemy. When the adversary approaches, the intended
victim can flee to the stronghold and find safety.
No matter what your trouble is, flee to the Lord and find
refuge. Is Satan tempting you to commit some terrible sin? Flee to the
stronghold! Has a loved one died? Flee to the stronghold and find comfort. Have
you committed sin and your heart is grieved? Flee to the stronghold for
repentance and forgiveness. Are you spiritually cold? Flee to the stronghold
that your soul may be revived.
Whatever the trouble, flee to Him for refuge and safety.
How do we find the stronghold? By fervent prayer and
meditation on the word of God.
“For the vision is yet for an appointed time, but at the
end it shall speak, and not lie: though it tarry, wait for it; because it will
surely come, it will not tarry.” (Hab. 2:3).
God’s children need “vision” or divine direction for their
lives. Without this direction they fall into all sorts of pits and snares and
get their lives into some horrible messes. When they are impatient and refuse to
wait on direction from the Lord, they are certain to get into trouble.
They can and should study God’s Word for direction, but
sometimes it is not clear how they should apply the Word to a specific
situation. Then it is time to wait on the vision. This waiting should involve
constant study and prayer. God can’t be rushed. If His people continually wait
on Him, He will be pleased to send the vision in due time. Waiting for an answer
is hard but remember, “it will surely come, it will not tarry.”
What is that major decision that you must make? What is
that decision that will affect the entire course of your life? Wait on the Lord!
And be sure that He will never direct you contrary to His Word.
“O Lord, I have heard thy speech, and was afraid: O Lord,
revive thy work in the midst of the years, in the midst of the years make known;
in wrath remember mercy.” (Hab. 3:2).
This should be our constant prayer. We need revival! Our
homes need to be revived. Marriages among most Christians are departing further
and further away from the Biblical pattern. Our churches need to be revived.
Even the liveliest of churches today are comparatively cold and powerless. Our
nation desperately needs revival. Only a true Holy Spirit revival will save our
civilization from the massive onslaught of secular humanism, gross immorality,
and a wide-spread attitude of rebellion.
This revival must occur among God’s children. Only the
living can be revived!
We don’t deserve a revival. We can’t earn a revival. We
must continually beg Him to “in wrath remember mercy.” Will you call for prayer
meetings in your homes and churches to supplicate God for revival?
“Although the fig tree shall not blossom, neither shall
fruit be in the vines; the labour shall fail, and the fields shall yield no
meat, the flock shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in
the stalls: yet will I rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my
salvation.” (Hab. 3:17,18).
The joy of a child of the world depends on external
circumstances. When the godless one is in health, when he has sufficient wealth,
when his family is well -- then he can rejoice. Take these things away and he is
dejected, sad, and dissatisfied.
This is not true of the child of God. He is thankful when
things go well. But he can still rejoice when everything seems to go wrong. Paul
and Silas can sing and pray in prison. The martyrs can go to their deaths with
hearts full of joy. Why? Because their happiness does not depend upon things or
Their happiness is in the Lord! Because He is immutable, so
is their joy in Him.
I heard a poverty-stricken, arthritis-ridden old sister
shout the praises of God one time. She shouted, “Take your money and give me
“And he departed, and began to publish in Decapolis how
great things Jesus had done for him: and all men did marvel!” (Mark 5:20).
You can’t tell people what Jesus has done for you if you
are not conscious that He has done anything for you. Only those can effectively
witness for Christ who have in reality been delivered from the bondage of sin.
Nothing falls so flat as a dry, technical attempt to witness when there is no
life in the testimony. A man may be able to quote the entire Bible and still
fail miserably as a witness for the Lord.
This man was no theologian. He was no Bible scholar. But he
knew that Jesus had done great things for him. And he couldn’t be quiet about
it! He published the good news in Decapolis, a region of ten cities. He was able
to do this because he had something to tell.
Do you have anything to tell? If not, then examine your
relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ. Ask Him to return you to your first
love. Ask Him to give you some things to tell. Make men to marvel about
your glorious Savior.
“And Jesus, moved with compassion, put forth his hand, and
touched him, and saith unto him, I will; be thou clean.” (Mark 1:41).
We should be so thankful that the Lord Jesus was and is a
Man of compassion. His great heart is moved by the suffering plight of human
beings. And He doesn’t just “feel” compassion; He does something about it.
Not only should we be thankful that Jesus is compassionate;
we should also follow Him in this. We must beg Him to give us hearts which are
filled with compassion. Many people despise and distrust Christianity because
many Christians seem to have little or no compassion. They may preach to those
who have made no profession of Christ, but they rarely show true compassion
The church must preach pure doctrine, but she must also
show compassion. She must not look down on sinners in cold self-righteousness.
The combination of pure preaching clothed in deep compassion is an irresistible
combination. Let us be like the Savior; let us reach out to sinners with
“Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor
sleep.” (Psa 121:4).
Do you ever have sleepless nights? Do you toss and turn but
have no one to talk to? Perhaps you are a widow or a widower and feel with acute
pain the empty space in bed where your companion used to lie and from which he
or she used to commune in precious words in the still hours of the night. Maybe
you are one who is afraid at night, especially if you are alone.
What good news it is to hear that the dear Lord never
sleeps. He is constantly watching over His own. Not only does He watch over His
children even at night but He ever stands ready to commune with them. Talk to
Him; listen closely and He will talk back to you. Cast your cares upon Him, pour
out your heart to Him. These “night-watches” with the Lord, when all is still
and there is no one to disturb, can become some very precious times. David said
that his soul was satisfied “When I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on
thee in the night watches.” (Ps. 63:6). Daniel spoke of “... the visions of mine
head in my bed....” (Dan. 4:10).
“If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth
to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” (James
Wisdom, that is true wisdom, is a priceless treasure. It is
a very rare attribute that is possessed by very few. True wisdom comes directly
from the Lord. There is much so-called wisdom in the world but it is not really
wisdom. The wisdom of men has “... indeed a show of wisdom...” (Col. 2:23), but
it is not really so. “... Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?”
(1 Cor 1:20). In the ancient world, even among the famous philosophers, Paul
says that “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools....” (Rom. 1:22).
Worldly wisdom is self-seeking and earthly. It concerns itself solely with the
things of this world. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then
peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits,
without partiality, and without hypocrisy.” (James 3:17).
The source of this wisdom is Christ “In whom are hid all
the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” (Col 2:3). We draw on this great
Storehouse of wisdom by the prayer of faith.
“And he ordained twelve, that they should be with him, and
that he might send them forth to preach....” (Mark 3:14).
There are some precious things here that we would do well
to consider. Christ chose these apostles that “he might send them forth to
preach.” But He also chose them “that they should be with Him.” They would not
be fit to preach until they had spent some time with Him. They learned from His
example as they lived with Him and watched Him constantly. They heard Him speak
and learned as they watched Him handle various situations.
If we wish to be sent forth in our daily lives to be
witnesses for Him, we are going to have to spend some time with Him and learn
from Him. We must spend time with Him in prayer. We must spend time with Him in
His word also. We can observe there the life He lived while on earth and we can
seek to emulate it.
Then we will be equipped to go out and speak for Him.
“Woe unto you, when all men shall speak well of you! for so
did their fathers to the false prophets.” (Luke 6:26).
We are not to try to be popular and we are not to try to be
unpopular. We are simply to live as the Lord commands us to in His word.
Invariably, when we do this we will have some critics and some bitter enemies.
It is impossible to stand for something without standing against
something. Whenever we stand up for Jesus, we are automatically standing against
all who are opposed to Him.
No one likes to be corrected, rebuked, and exposed.
Termites, rats, and human beings who are living in sin hate the light because it
exposes their awful condition. That is why men hated the Lord Himself as He
walked here on earth. Many today who profess the name of Christ would still hate
Him if He were to come to earth and preach and live as He did in His pilgrimage
If I follow Him, not everyone will like me or speak well of
me. If I am almost universally popular, I would do well to examine my Christian
life and profession.
“After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also,
and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he
himself would come.” (Luke 10:1).
Only rarely does the Lord require for one to labor in the
gospel alone. I believe that a failure to recognize and practice this truth
except in a few instances, is one of the reasons there is no more power in the
churches today. These seventy were sent out by twos. Peter and John went up to
the temple together. (Acts 3:1). Paul and Barnabas were sent out together. (Acts
13:2). Later it was Paul and Silas. (Acts 15:40).
Prayerfully ask God to give you a Christian friend, with
whom you can work in spreading the gospel. In the case of married Christians
your husband or wife can be your witnessing partner. See this in the case of
Aquila and Priscilla. (Acts 18:2).
Remember that “Two are better than one; because they have a
good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow:
but woe to him that is alone when he falleth; for he hath not another to help
him up.” (Eccl 4:9, 10).
“But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou
oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the
living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Tim 3:15).
The Lord Jesus Christ set up His own church in Person while
He was still here on earth. He delivered the ordinances to the church in Person,
instituting the Lord’s Supper on the night of His betrayal. He trained the
twelve and others and commissioned them to disciple the nations, baptizing and
teaching. (Matt. 28:18-20). The church was founded by Jesus Christ, empowered on
the day of Pentecost and has had a continual existence ever since. The church is
“the pillar and ground of the truth.” The Lord has perpetuated His truth through
the church -- not through “coffee house” groups which engage in continual
dialogue or extra-church prayer and study groups. Some good may be done in these
and similar groups but they are not and never will be substitutes for the church
of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a Christian it is your duty before God to
support one of His true local churches. Other religious exercises will not be
recognized by Him as a substitute for this.
“... And, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the
world. Amen.” (Mat 28:20).
This is a glorious promise and it was made to the church of
the Lord Jesus Christ represented by the apostles. As Paul said, “And God hath
set some in the church, first apostles....” (1 Cor 12:28). Many have been the
attempts of the enemy to destroy those who worship in spirit and in truth --
many in the Lord’s church have died the death of martyrs. But, in spite of all
assaults, the church is still in existence and will be when the Lord Jesus comes
again. She does not rest on her own strength but on the promises of God. They
are sure and steadfast. He promised Peter that “... upon this rock I will build
my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” (Mat 16:18).
Concerning the Lord’s Supper, Christ said, “For as often as
ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till he
come.” (1 Cor 11:26). This indicates that there will be true churches of the
Lord Jesus, keeping His ordinances when He comes again.