It’s been wondered how those who aren’t members of a ‘church’ can be fed, how they can grow and mature in the faith, how do they know what to believe doctrinally and how do they have fellowship without the bond of church membership? So many things are assumed and yet no one has inquired as to the answers to these questions which is perfectly understandable. I’m sure that there is fear of heresy, fear of getting too close in case I rub off and all the usual fears that we have about something that is different from what we practice. I think that perhaps the word practice is a very key word in all these thoughts and questions and should be considered within Christendom.
Christ gave gifts to men (Eph 4:8) and certain of those gifts are given to the Body of Christ in men gifted to be teachers and pastors. (Eph 4:11) They are to be equipping the saints for the work of the ministry and for edification until we all come to the unity of the faith.
I think it has been assumed that because I am not a member of the ‘church’ at this time in my life that I have thrown away what Christ has given and that is very far from the truth. I have three gifted/godly teachers in my life that I currently study with and whose knowledge I glean truth from; one is a pastor who has a small assembly in Colorado, I receive his taped ministry and we correspond and talk on the phone occasionally. I ask him whatever comes to mind and he answers and we may disagree on some things but we have the freedom to do that. Each one of them ministers their gifts to the Body of Christ, of which I am a member. We, the Body of Christ are greatly blessed and we benefit by those gifts.
The difference in my practice, in part at least, from yours is that some of those I fellowship with are scattered geographically, while others are here. The ones that are scattered obviously cannot gather in a building or a home together to be edified in truth and face to face fellowship. Nevertheless we are edified in various other ways utilizing the internet especially. We gather on Sunday nights for voice conference and we bring our concerns to prayer and we are taught the great Truths of the Scripture. Last week, as an example, Brother Bob brought to us the 2nd half of “Gospel Principals of Imputation” and we all rejoiced in hearing the depth of the riches of Christ and that Christ and all that He is and has done is what is imputed to us. The Scripture doesn’t say that He provided but that He IS our justification/righteousness, He is our wisdom and our sanctification so that is why we can say “Let Him who boasts, boast in the Lord. (1 Cor 1:31) Christ is all.
We are each to study to show ourselves approved (2 Ti 2:15) and we do that with the help of gifted men who have these gifts and I’m thankful for them, very thankful. These gifts are priceless to a believer who yearns and longs to grow up to a perfect (mature) believer and we each grow in our proportion of the gifts that Christ has given to each of us. (Eph 4:13) I listen to others as well; I’ve listened to the series on the Gospel given by the pastor of the church I left and was blessed as I always am when I hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, regardless of who preaches it.
The greatest gift that we have is the Holy Spirit who teaches us what He wants us to know, men cannot do that. They can impart words and knowledge and the words can be truth but only the Spirit can and does effectively teach us those truths and instills those new Gospel principals in our hearts. That is how we all grow and mature and are fed.
To be continued with Koinania/Fellowship….