THE FELLOWSHIP OF THE MYSTERY OR: ALL ONE IN CHRIST JESUS
"As the body is one...so also is Christ" (1Cor.12: 12).
"By One Spirit are we all baptized (plunged) into One Body" (1Cor.12: 13).
"The church...His Body, -the fullness (completing) of Him" (Eph.1: 22,23).
"The fellowship of The MYSTERY"(Eph.3: 9AV).
In the above verses, we are confronted with what the New Testament calls God's Mystery; -a "secret"
previously hidden but now revealed (See Eph.3: 3-6). In eternity past, God planned that His SON become
incarnate and then extended into a corporate form-Saviour and saints ONE ORGANISM TOGETHER in
the power and splendour of His resurrection; -a mystery indeed, -beyond all comprehension.
In what follows in these pages, we shall have that Great Mystery constantly before us, but
it is particularly on our hearts to say something about the accompanying horrors of man-made
DIVISIONS. We ask for our readers' patience as we touch upon the negative, -but such is necessary if we
are to enjoy fully the glorious positive. Let us first consider:
1. THE RELENTLESS WARFARE AGAINSTCHRISTIAN UNITY
This, of course, is a tremendous subject, one which we shall not try to deal with in any detail, our main
concern now being with some recent subtle forms of that warfare. If God has a plan (or a "secret") such
as we referred to, above!-we may be sure it will be bitterly opposed by God's enemy. Thus, while we read
with great joy of those early wonderful days of the church's history, when "all that believed were
together", and when "they continued with one accord" -(see Acts 2:42-46), it is not surprising that, soon
after, we also read, "there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews because..."(Acts 6:1).
That, of course, was just according to pattern; -Satan hates any heaven-made unity! Ever since then, the
same battle has gone on, and, today, new Christian converts are often confused to know "which KIND of
Christianity" they should "join" ! -and they tell us the various factions, persuasions, denominations, and
groupings they have heard of. As I said, we shall not now go into the sad details, but most will be well
aware of the tragic situation, -a veritable fragmentation of God's ONE church. (Even any sincere attempt
to recover lost ground becomes "suspect" itself, and is often decried as "just another splinter group". In
such cases, we can thank God that He is well able to discern the true governing motive, and to allot His
mercies accordingly). Indeed, indeed, -what a battle for UNITY!
We earlier mentioned that there has arisen in recent times, a particular and very subtle form of division
about which we feel we should say something. We refer to "gaps "that are appearing, -and being widely
accepted, -between older Christians and younger ones. While such Christians have been brought together
by the Lord into the same local church, as far as practical and loving fellowship is concerned, -it is
virtually non-existent. Instead, we find a distinct "grouping up", -a separating, -a division, -a "rift";
-something that is bringing great spiritual loss to all concerned.
Let me say immediately, that we are not referring here to normal and understandable (and right)
"distinguishing". Different age -groups will (hopefully) be present in any local church, with appropriate
provisions being made according to the needs. When such is really present and operating, we can only
praise the Lord, -and we do! But something more than that is now being accepted, and is becoming fairly
well established. We hear of "Young Peoples' Churches" existing alongside the normal gathering. The
gaps are growing, and the normal inter -flow of Christian Fellowship is being limited, -to say the least. It
may begin with "Children's Church", -perhaps just another term for "Sunday School", but beware; the
enemy is subtle, and very clever. The battle of Genesis three is still going on!
This is all related, of course, to a world trend, where everything that is "old", (say. twenty years, -or ten!),
is "out"! In most of its affairs, the whole, world is now saying, "We want the NEW" (-itself,-basically,
just another mimicry (unconsciously) of God's own language and determination, -all things "new" IN
The "new generation", in fact, now seems to have its own vocabulary, -often quite confusing to the non
-initiated, and, in that way, an inconsiderate offence, when used in a varied company, such as the church.
And there are similar demands for a "new" kind of music, and a "new" art -form! All these we say, are
accepted world trends; something that cannot be avoided, -and perhaps, of an inevitable evolution of the
species, -or its "devolution"!
Be all that as it may, the church, and the churches, must always beware of anything that tends to bring
division or separation. Amongst those who are called to live as undivided and indivisible members of the
One Body of Christ. Variety, -yes, but variance, NEVER! Diversity, - yes. but "NO DIVISIONS amongst
you" (1 Cor.1 :10). We cannot be too careful, or too watchful, regarding 19oming "gaps" appearing
amongst God's people.
I often think well of the great loss that has come to "our own contemporary generation", in the realm of
Christian literature for instance, and because we have succumbed to pressures to "cut off" from anything
that is, they say, "old". In past centuries, God has anointed gifted Bible teachers, whose choice ministry
has been mercifully preserved through precious printed books. We think of men like Martin Luther, John
Bunyan, C.H. Spurgeon, F.B. Meyer and others, who have left with us, veritable gold -mines of spiritual
truth. Some of them of course, may have used "forbidden" words like "thee" or "thou", but the food they
have to offer is incomparable. But less and less of it is being enjoyed by today's believers, because of a
prevailing antipathy, -or bias against anything from the past (Thank God for the exceptions, -and they are
not few, -perhaps even growing in number; -younger brethren who because of being spiritually hungry
for so long, have jumped back over the wall, and are now being greatly enlightened, and deeply satisfied,
with "earlier servings" of -heavenly food so much so, that some feel themselves compelled to republish
such priceless treasures). But how sad to think of the great losses already sustained by so many of our
brethren! Thank God, He has His own way of making good the damage! Summing up, let us say that one
generation of Christians must not allow itself to be isolated (in heart and spirit) from other generations of
the same. And, most certainly, no single generation should accept "gaps" within itself, because of ever
-changing "fashions" or powerful culture -trends. With all regenerated people WE ARE "One Body", and
we must ever cultivate the art of "keeping the Unity of the Spirit" in every way possible. This we shall do
if we but "cleave unto THE LORD", and do so "with purpose of heart" (Acts11: 23). Barnabas was the
good brother who gave us that advice, and he knew that those who "cleave to the Lord" in that way, will
inevitably find themselves cleaving to ALL Christ's members, whatever generation, and whatever "age
-group". "All are yours" (1Cor.3: 22). (We know there are difficulties here, but those with open minds
and hearts will surely get the practical point we have in view). We might mention that rich word of Paul
to the Colossians, assuring us that when we HOLDFAST to our (mutual) Head, we shall find
nourishment from Him being ministered to us ALL, and we shall all "increase with the increase of God"
(Col.2: 19; -also Eph.4: 15, 16). Blessed "increase" indeed!
YE ARE MY WITNESSES
(Messages given in family prayers during the Holy Convocation held at Hyderabad in 1970)
Scripture Reading: Acts 3
We see in the Acts of the Apostles, that the Apostles preached Christ again and again. "Unto you first
God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his
iniquities" (Acts 3:26). That was the main message, which they gave with power, authority and boldness.
When they preached about the Lord Jesus Christ and His miracles nothing happened, but when they
spoke about the power of resurrection, there was much opposition. Mohammedans believe in the virgin
birth of the Lord Jesus Christ, His miracles and crucifixion, but they do not believe in His resurrection.
They say that Jesus came down from the cross alive and went to heaven. They do not believe in His
death, burial and resurrection. That is why they remain blind spiritually. Make sure that you have a clear
spiritual experience of the risen Lord Jesus. Then you will have authority to talk about Him and pray in
"Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee; ...In the name of Jesus
Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk"(v .6). With authority, Peter healed the lame man, because he had a
personal experience of the power of resurrection. They were witnesses of His resurrection. No one will be
offended if you emphasise the miracles and teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ, but many will be offended
if you preach about His resurrection. The power of resurrection is the great secret of a triumphant life.
"Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing
shall come from the presence of the Lord"(v .19). By having real faith that the Lord Jesus rose again to
give us divine life, we will have liberty in prayer and boldness in witnessing.
Acts - 4
"And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace
was upon them all"(v.33). This power of resurrection is the highest power of God available to man. There
is no other power greater than the power of resurrection. There was opposition because the apostles
preached this message (vs.2, 3). The priests, leading people and Pharisees became very very angry when
they heard the apostles speak about the resurrection and they put them in prison. At the same time, many
believed in the Lord Jesus because of the same message (v.4). On the one hand there was persecution and
opposition. On the other hand, when the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ was preached many believed on
Him. The Apostles went on giving the same message in spite of the opposition they had to face.