An Open Letter to the Church in Gateshead.

You may be asking yourself, who is this letter addressed to? Who or what is the Church in Gateshead?

Let me ask you some questions that may help.

How many churches are there in Gateshead?

Answer: One.

Who started this church?

Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ.

Who defines this church?

Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ.

Who gets to say who can be a member of this church?

Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ.

Who is the head of this church?

Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ.

Where does this church meet?

Answer: The Lord Jesus Christ says; “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst.”

How does one become a member of this church?

Answer: By believing upon the Lord Jesus Christ and living in Gateshead.

So.  Are you a member of the church in Gateshead?

If you are, then this letter is addressed to you.

If you believe upon the Lord Jesus Christ and live elsewhere, then you are a member of the local church where you live.  You may wish to carry on reading and apply the spirit of the letter to your own context, substituting the name of your locality for Gateshead.

I hope you are aware of the local church that you are a part of.

Jesus Christ is the cornerstone, the builder and maker of this church.

It is His body here in Gateshead.

Jesus laid down His life for this church.

This church is His representative and witness to the people of Gateshead.

No other body, organization or party can be the church of Jesus Christ in Gateshead!

Brothers and sisters, fellow members of the church in Gateshead, we are meant to continue together in visible, practical community.

I don’t even know who most of you are! We don’t seem to be aware of one another.

While we may occupy ourselves with commendable pursuits within many various organizations, we don’t seem to be involved with one another within the one body of Christ as we should.

The fact that I have to try and define the local church in un-ambiguous terms demonstrates that we have a problem here in Gateshead.

We have inherited a scenario filled with a plethora of groups and organizations largely independent of each other, mostly acting as if each were a self contained body of Christ.

Personally, I am not a member of any separate group or grouping of believers, other than a member of the church at Gateshead.  But I am not trying to criticize those who are.

We may not be responsible for how the church has come to be in its present sorry, divided state.

But we do have a responsibility to Christ to receive one another and to submit to His headship.

We also have a glorious opportunity to confess our division, repent and receive one another as He received us.

The enemy of unity within a local body may not be sectarianism, but indifference.

What is my appeal?

That we ask our Father for revelation about the true identity and condition of the church at Gateshead.

That we be willing to do His will, knowing that His thoughts are not our thoughts.

That will mean that everything may come up for examination by the Spirit.

In Paul’s first letter to the church at Corinth he asks “while you are divided, are you not still carnal?”

We may not fix our problem of division by our own efforts, but by depending on Christ and His life in us.

I was given the following instruction some time ago.

‘Don’t try to make the group of folks you are in fellowship with into the local church.

Make the local church the group of folks that you are in fellowship with.’

Please get in contact with the saints who live nearest to you, rather than just those with whom you share common goals.

My prayer for the church in Gateshead is that we will find one another, receive one another, continue with one another and forbear with one another.

‘By this the world will know that you are my disciples, that you have love, one for another.’

Feel free to contact me at colin@followingjesuschrist.co.uk

All the best,

Colin Thompson, Gateshead, England.

Malachi 3:16-18

16 Then those who feared the Lord spoke to one another,

And the Lord listened and heard them;

So a book of remembrance was written before Him

For those who fear the Lord

And who meditate on His name.

17 “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord of hosts,

“On the day that I make them My jewels.

And I will spare them

As a man spares his own son who serves him.”

18 Then you shall again discern

Between the righteous and the wicked,

Between one who serves God

And one who does not serve Him.