December 2001

 

Yes. Its Yet Another Open Letter to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ at Gateshead!

 

Dear friend,

                   greetings in the name of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. I hope you are keeping well and that you’ll enjoy a good holiday season. 

As ever, anyone wishing to be included in the directory of the church at Gateshead and to receive an updated copy of the same need only get in touch.

I have enclosed a copy of Howard Morgan’s excellent notes on the Beit Midrash bible study, which I hope you’ll read and find interesting and useful.

Some folks have started getting together in this way. Our house is open Thursday evenings at 7-30pm for such a gathering and you are very welcome to come along. (We have a nice coffee machine.)  It is my hope that
many homes in Gateshead will become venues for such open discussions.


Do you ever feel that in this pressurised society it is possible to lose sight of one’s principle purpose and function?

(Colossians, 1:10) We also, from the day we heard [of your faith and love], do not cease praying and asking for you, to the end that you may be filled with the full knowledge of his will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding, so as to walk worthily of the Lord unto all well pleasing, bearing fruit in every good work, and growing by the true knowledge of God; Strengthened with all power according to the might of his glory unto all
endurance and longsuffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has made us fit for sharing the portion of the saints in light, who has delivered us from the authority of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of the Son of his love: (Derby)

Along with all the saints, we have been called out to follow Christ. To know Him, whom to know is eternal life. We have truly been called by Christ to follow Him, to be His disciples.
Amongst the hustle and bustle of our day-to-day existence we may lose sight of this. Indeed, many of us may question whether we are really meant to be disciples of Christ or not! Our enemy would be happy with such confusion.
Some folks asked the Christ, “What must we do to be doing the works of God?”
To which Jesus replied; “Believe on Him whom He has sent.” An ongoing, daily believing on Him, relying on Him, feeding on Him, walking after Him, listening to Him, resting in Him, is what being a disciple of Christ comes to.
Whilst some of us may not be clear about who or what a disciple of Christ is, Jesus said to some of His disciples; “By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love, one for another.”
Here the Christ is telling some of His disciples that both they themselves and everyone else will know who are and who are not disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ.
How? By the tangible fruit of the love they have one for another.
If we ask ourselves; am I called to be a disciple of Christ? The answer has to be yes.
If we ask ourselves; am I a disciple of Christ then?  The answer is that as much as we love one another, in so much are we actually disciples of Christ.
Following Jesus daily is very exciting! He is such good company. He waits for us. He doesn’t ignore us. Our hearts burn within us when He opens up the scriptures to us. He gives us His counsel. He will never leave us nor forsake us.
One huge benefit of following Christ is that when we do so, He makes us into something.
Jesus can take us in whatever state we are in and make us into a brand new creation with a purpose. He said to simple uneducated fishermen, “follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”  He will make us useful in His kingdom also as we follow Him.
”He gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, some shepherds and teachers”
But it begins with laying down our own lives, taking up our cross and following the Christ.
After we have been following Jesus for a while, we too then will say to Jesus;  “To whom else shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
 As Paul says in 1 Corinthians, “The head of every man is the Christ.” When we are following Christ, He is our head – we submit to His direction and commands. If Christ is not our head, then someone or something else will be. The fear of God is the beginning or entrance into wisdom, but the alternative – the fear of man, is a snare. If we don’t take up our cross daily and follow Christ we may well find ourselves following someone or something else.

I realised in 1980 that I had been diverted from being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ and had become merely a member of an organisation, adopting its culture, values, beliefs etc.

I didn’t know how to be a disciple of Christ in reality. I was shown that the Holy Spirit had been sent to lead us in all truth, and that He would teach me, guide me, correct me and show the way. But I was also shown that I needed the company of other disciples of Christ. Not just Jesus and me.
The Spirit uses our brothers and sisters to teach us, exhort us, correct us and encourage us.
Also we need other disciples to love!

May our Lord Jesus Christ lead us all into a daily walk with Him and daily fellowship with the saints around us.
All the best

 


Colin Thompson