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Sunday, December 18, 2005

Together In The Way

"Growth in true holiness, is always growth together; it takes place through the nurture, work and worship of the church. Simeon the Stylite, the renowned Syrian monk who for thirty-six years sought holiness on top of a pillar, still needed the ministry of less lofty church members to service the basket tied to his rope. Not only anchorites, however, seek holiness in isolation. How many Christians see fellow-believers as obstacles rather than aids to spiritual growth? Of course, personal piety closes the door to pray in secret; but the church together seeks maturity, 'attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ'. Together we grow up into him who is the Head, that is, Christ (Eph.4:13, 15). In the book of Acts, Christians are called the people of the Way (Acts 9:2; 18:25; 22:4; 24:14). Like Israel in the wilderness, they travel together, following Christ along the way of the cross that leads to the Father's house. Together they find Jesus himself to be the Way, the Truth and the Life."

Edmund P. Clowney in The Church (p. 89).

In a day when so many professing Christians no longer seem to feel the need to get out of their homes to meet together with the people of God, Clowney's words come as a healthy corrective. As vital as our personal walk with God is, it is never a substitute for the corporate worship of believers, where we sing, pray, hear and study the word and enjoy fellowship together in the things of God. If we are too busy for these things we are too busy! If we have no appetite for these graces we are spiritually sick or worse!

This Lord's Day let us "consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another - and all the more as you see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:24-25).

2 Comments:

  • Clowney was a smart one, and he will be missed-having gone to be with the Lord this year.

    Great point about Church though.
    I have yet to read thsi book, but it is always highly recommended by Reformed people who love their ecclesiology.

    By Blogger pilgrim, at 11:37 PM  

  • I didn't read that whole post, but what I did read blessed me. Thank you.

    God has me in a local church (20 years now) where the great need for me is to keep my eyes on the Lord and not to look to man. Men make mistakes. When a weak Christian is surrounded by many faults, the temptation to run away, or fall away, is very great.

    I, too make mistakes, and I sin. Sometimes those mistakes and sins are overblown, or addressed wrongly. That can cause great confusion for someone who does not look to the Lord for strength, wisdom, grace, and mercy.

    I have dispensed with these stupid distinctions about whether a trial or tragedy is being 'used' by God, or 'allowed' by God, or 'caused' by God. Arminians love to draw these ridiculous distinctions. Everything that happens to a Christian comes from the hand of God. And He holds me in His hand. Everything is from God for His glory, and for our good. We ought to glorify Him in all things and believe in Him completely. Why do I stumble and fall? It is from the hand of God. To humble me and teach me humility and to depend on Him.

    I'm going through a very hard time right now. I've said and done foolish things, and I've been misjudged. I want to run away. But I'm where God wants me. I have learned, and I am still learning, not to respond to pain according to human wisdom (quitting, running). I would appreciate your prayers.

    I'm a Clarkian in an Arminian/full gospel church. God sure does strange things. One day I'll understand.

    To God be all glory and honor.

    By Blogger Cameron Fast, at 2:36 PM  

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