John Bennett, Pinxton, Nottingham [SEE PROFILE BELOW]
‘To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God’, Eph. 3. 10.
We said in our last editorial that ‘it is appropriate that from every assembly there should be a gospel witness’. It is good to know that there is still an enthusiasm in the gospel amongst us, and a continuing desire to reach the lost. However, it is also good to take stock and consider whether there is something that we can do that we are not doing that might enable sinners to be reached and blessed by the gospel. When was the last time you saw the Lord at work in conviction and salvation?
We know, of course, that salvation is not the end but the beginning. As those early converts in the Acts of the Apostles showed, ‘they that gladly received his word were baptized’, 2. 41. There are places where the truth of baptism is seldom taught. We don’t see the baptistery opened as often as previous generations did. As a consequence, the truth surrounding baptism does not get taught as often as it should. This is an essential element of teaching and practice that was commanded by the Lord Himself, Matt. 28. 19. How important it is to ensure that young Christians appreciate the early steps of true discipleship!
There was one other particular instruction that the Lord gave to His disciples, ‘This do in remembrance of me’, Luke 22. 19. We rightly rejoice when a soul is saved. It is a reason to rejoice! It is a thrill to see a believer who wishes to be baptized because they see it as something that they can do to witness to others and to please the Lord. I wonder if we appreciate the joy that we bring to the heart of God when we gather with His people to worship Him. Do we attach appropriate importance to this most sacred privilege as to all the activities in the gospel? Shouldn’t this simple act of remembrance in the breaking of the bread and the drinking of the cup be paramount? As our verse indicates, what a display to the wondering gaze of the principalities and powers to see the word of God obeyed and His people bowed in adoring worship!
One of the original aims of this magazine was to ‘encourage . . . the practice of New Testament Church Principles’. It saddens many believers to see the practice of church principles disappearing, and the pursuit of ‘mission’ overriding the desire to disciple converts in the fullest sense of the word. Let us not forget our responsibilities God-ward – that He might see displayed in His own ‘the manifold wisdom of God’. May the Lord be pleased to use this and similar magazines to the furtherance of His work in the building up of local assemblies, and for the encouragement of His people!