The Work of God
We have been blessed beyond measure to have received a special calling from God. That calling resulted in our being placed within the body of true believers. What should a Christian be doing today? We should be looking for a way to strengthen the bonds of fellowship with our brethren who truly care for one another. We should be developing our relationships with those who know the truth and live it.
"Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently." (1Peter 1:22)
This principle of Christ is violated when division occurs in God's Church. When we find true believers, we must build strong lasting relationships with a pure heart fervently. We should never forsake true brethren and go in search of something else. Jesus would never treat us that way. Jesus said that He would never do it to us when He said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)
What is a spiritually mature Christian? What foundation is needed to have the confidence to stand on one's own two feet? Why do some seek only to be fed by teachers - without being willing to be teachers themselves? "For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat." (Hebrews 5:12 )
Some would say that it is more important to do the Work of God, as though there was a conflict between doing the Work of God, on one hand, and serving Jesus Christ on the other. Do we believe the words of Jesus when He defines the Work of God? "Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the Work of God, that ye believe on Him [Jesus] whom He [Father] hath sent." (John 6:29)
Jesus Christ taught us that we serve Him when we serve other brethren. Many brethren want to fulfill this command, but are only able to form superficial relationships with others. Sometimes, they are fearful of entering into meaningful relationships because of past hurts and abuses. They make an initial contact with others, even pray for them, but they maintain a "safe" distance. Do we realize that the only way to grow spiritually is to exercise the fruits of the Spirit in meaningful ways with others? The relationships we build with our brethren is the same relationship that we build with Jesus Christ. If we desert our brethren who need us - we desert Jesus Christ.
"Truly I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me." (Matthew 25:40)
Close contact with other Christians is what Christ requires of us so that we can develop spiritually. Without thorough interaction with other Christians, our spiritual development lies dormant. "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." (Proverbs 27:17 )
If the lesson we have learned in the trials of recent years is, "No one will ever hurt me again - because they won't be able to get close enough to me to hurt me," we have learned the wrong lesson. Mature Christians need not hide behind a wall. We must not succumb to placing a protective hedge around ourselves for the purpose of guarding ourselves emotionally. God says that approach is spiritual laziness. "
The way of the slothful man is as a hedge of thorns." (Proverbs 15:19 )
Are we truly concerned about others well-being? Are we willing to open up our heart and share our hopes, hurts, disappointments with others? Are we able to empathize with others in their distress? Or, is it much safer to keep to ourselves? So many people are on the run today. They have lost sight of how to practice true Christianity. At the Feast of Tabernacles each year, we have the privilege of face to face relationships - we tie tighter knots of friendship with those we love and serve. Sure, the Feast goes by all too quickly - but we will have built upon personal contacts that bolster us throughout the coming year.
We have all been disappointed by others. Some of us have visited sick brethren in the hospital, some near death. We prayed for them, we sat with them, we fasted while they were ill, we loved them and sympathized with them. Sure it hurts when later, those we truly loved and served went away without a call, without a "good-bye," or without saying, "I have found something better - won't you come with me?"
"They went out from us, but they were not of us: for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (1John 2:19)
It is not correct to say, "I have paid my dues, now I can go where I want, when I want, and I don't have to form ties with anyone - I'm not going to be hurt again." Certainly, we will all give an account of ourselves as to whether we helped to unify the brethren, or were a part of the scattering.
Brethren, does God expect us to do everything we can to restore and foster unity among the brethren? Do not reason or think that the unity of the body will be carried out by others - it is our responsibility. We are the ones who must do it. We must continue to build and to maintain the true unity of the brethren.
Some would say, "It is not my job to make sure the unity of the brethren is defended and preserved. Yes it is. "To him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." (James 4:17)
By communicating and showing ourselves friendly, we show love for one another. Preserving the unity of the brethren is a duty of the member and the minister alike. By reaching out to others in this way, God’s Truth will become clearer to us, and we will be less scattered.
"Then they that feared the Lord spoke often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him." (Malachi 3:16-17)
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