In looking back over forty years’ journey among the Assemblies of God’s people, we can exclaim like the prophet of old, “Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.”
When we were first enlightened by the word of God and led to the simple gatherings of the Lord’s people and the truth that was taught among them, our hearts were gripped with the reality of the teaching, and the privilege of true believers.
As young believers we were taught to respect and and reverence the leaders and elders, and as they ministered the truth to us we felt it was a little fore-taste of heaven itself. Like the two on the way to Emmaus, we could say “Did not our heart burn within us as He talked to us by the way.”
This privilege did not come to us unattended. Many of us proved the Lord’s words that those who would follow Him would suffer persecution. We had to leave the religion and traditions of our parents, which brought to some trials and testing beyond measure but proved that the “truth shall make you free.”
The truth which had been taught us began to bear fruit in our own experience, and we found ourselves in the place where our elders had stood, and their responsibilities passed on to us. Most of us have come short of the standard that was set before us, and today we are faced with a lukewarm condition among our assemblies of which we are all aware.
The great problem now is how can this condition be remedied. We might first suggest that the elders and ‘shepherds of the flock get back to the original principles of our gatherings, namely, separation from worldliness and more consecration to the Lord. We are reminded that we are His witnesses and His representatives in the place where he was rejected. “As He is, so are we in this world.” We must regain a hold on our young believers, command their respect and affection, and teach them to observe their responsibility to their own assembly, discouraging the idea of being free lances, running away after every new preacher or teacher at the expense of their own meetings.
We can take a lesson from the book of Nehemiah as we find the people of God scattered and peeled, the holy city in ruins and the walls broken down. What a picture of the Church’s testimony today! Let us get back to our early love and zeal. Let us see that some sacrifice has to be made if we would seek again to build and defend that which has fallen down and crumbled in our assemblies; otherwise, the accuser of the brethren will have achieved a great victory. Let it not be said that if a fox go up against the wall, it shall be broken down (Neh. 4. 3). The Lord, the great Builder said “I will build my Church and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” We are labourers together with God. Ye are God’s building, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets. ( Eph. 2. 20, 22).
Reprinted from “Light and Liberty” a monthly magazine published by The Walttrick Printing Company, Iowa.
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