The preeminence of Jesus Christ and His Word defines who we are. But nearly everyone in Christendom says this. So let’s identify a distinguishing element that may give you a better idea of what we mean when we say this. We are a fellowship of believers encouraging one another not to draw lines in our lives across which Jesus Christ our Lord may not come. We want to be His to command in every area of life.
We greatly admire believers who are focused on this. There are no lines drawn in their lives across which Jesus may not come and ask that His will be done. Such folks are too rare in our day. We are encouraged and challenged by such believers who bring to the altar what the Savior asks them to bring. “At any cost, down any road, all for the love of the Savior,” is a way of life for them. These folks are our spiritual heroes and friends.
Of all the ways that I could describe the essence of our church, it is this: We are really serious about loving Jesus with all of our hearts, regardless of the cost. We struggle with sacrificing for Him, as you would expect, but we are striving to never say, “No,” to Him who is our Lord. None of us is without a personal struggle with these “lines,” of course. But, as they are revealed to us, we are trying to help each other yield our wills to God’s will for our lives.
In this context, we are not really concerned about where a person is spiritually, but where he or she is going. We are concerned about his or her heart. We are following the Savior and must not do otherwise. This is the heart of the matter for us regarding how to approach the Christian life. Have you drawn “lines” in your life somewhere? To fellowship with us is to be challenged and encouraged to remove those lines by His grace and to help us do the same.
AN ASSESSMENT OF OUR DESPERATE DAY
In the last thirty years, our culture has increasingly put God out, put man at the center, and made truth relative. Biblical presuppositions, principles, and behaviors have gone from being a dominant influence to being irrelevant and even forbidden by policy in many segments of our culture. Most of the institutions in our country have become secular, humanistic, and without moral bearings.
The pressure that this cultural change has put on conservative Christians has been intense. To live with consistent biblical principles and pursue a biblical lifestyle is to be at odds with most everyone and everything. As a result, many of our churches have sought to find that mix of secular and Christian elements that is acceptable. For many, it has become a matter of finding where to draw the line rather than holding to a biblical line. The result is what we call the mixed church (see Revelation 3:14-22).
In a mixed church, Christians can have their Christianity and their fleshly desires as well. They can now earn their living in jobs that twenty years ago no committed Christian would hold. They can now have a relationship that twenty years ago nearly all church-going people would have agreed was either sinful or not God’s best. And so it goes. These mixed churches range from almost entirely biblical with only a few secular elements to almost entirely secular with only a few biblical elements. But they all draw lines somewhere across which Jesus may not come and ask that His will be done.
This compromise of God’s people with the world (Revelation 3:16) has led many committed believers to abandon the church altogether or to redefine the church. As a result, many God-fearing families are without the protection and guidance of the shepherds whom God has appointed for them (Ephesians 4:11). Many are unchurched and without pastors and elders. They are not part of a healthy, godly, local body of believers. They are not an interrelated and interdependent part of a local church. They struggle on valiantly, perhaps even for the better part of a generation, but soon begin to see themselves and/or their children succumb to the continual pressures of our secular culture and the lies of our Adversary (Colossians 2:8, I Peter 5:8-9, I John 2:15-17).
Into this day, God has raised us all up, as individuals, families, and churches. What a challenge and a privilege for us to stand by grace for Him at such a time. But what are we to do?
OUR STRATEGY TO REBUILD WHAT SIN HAS RUINED
Sin has ruined our souls, devastated our families, and corrupted our churches. God’s strategy to rebuild what sin has ruined has three elements. They are the same three elements regardless of whether we are rebuilding our own souls to God’s glory or our marriages or our families or our churches or our nation. The biblical basis of these elements is explained in greater detail in the How to Rebuild What Sin Has Ruined article, but a brief summary follows.
The first element is to become a committed idealist for God. God is an idealist. He never gives up on how things should be or how He wants them to be. He never says, regarding education, for example, “Oh, well, we have to deal with the fact that our schools do not help us train our children to glorify Christ in their lives, to give their best in the pursuit of God’s best for them. We will just have to try to live with them. We must give up our idealistic thinking and ways. We must fit in and do the best we can.” An idealist never thinks like this. He never gives up his biblical ideals.
The second element required to rebuild what sin has ruined is to assume responsibility for our lives and families and establish jurisdictional walls around them in the midst of a godless people. Rather than tear these walls down, which is the disastrous strategy of the mixed church, we must reestablish them in our lives (I Corinthians 5:1-13, Titus 1:10-16, Colossians 2:8, Matthew 18:15-20). Until we control the influences within our jurisdictions, we cannot pursue the essential third element of rebuilding our lives to God’s glory.
Having gained control of the influences that we face, we can now reestablish God’s Word as the basis for all of life. This third element is required if we are to rebuild what sin has ruined. We can now build our lives around the principles of God’s Word (Colossians 3:16).
These three elements form our strategy for helping one another glorify Christ in and through our lives. This is how a person is transformed. This is how a family is able to produce lasting fruit. This is what any church must do in our day to be a light shining in a dark place and impact that dark place for Christ (II Timothy 3:16-17, Matthew 5:16).
OUR DOCTRINES AND DISTINCTIONS
The Bible is our rule and guide. It is God’s revelation to us and allows us to discover who God is, what He has done for us, and what pleases Him. With the Bible as our guide, we strive to live lives pleasing to Him, not to gain salvation, but in response to the salvation that is ours by His grace (Ephesians 2:1).
We would note two special distinctions that characterize our church fellowship. In the first place, we are seeking to produce lasting, rather than temporary, results. We expect that much of our reward will be revealed after our battles are over here, not before. We therefore see ourselves as standing firm for the Lord in a day when others are being swept up in the current of secular and humanistic values. We are striving to take a few to maturity rather than many to mediocrity. We do not need to be popular in the eyes of men, only pleasing to the Lord. We are striving to keep our eyes on Jesus as we run the race. We are content to run alone if we have to.
Secondly, a “family-friendly” label could be attached to us. We encourage families to worship and serve together. The great majority of our people are involved in home-educating their children as an alternative to public education. This means that we often have our older children with us even into their 20s. They provide role models and heroes for our younger children. It is rather delightful. We are big on marriage and family because the Bible is.
OUR INVITATION TO YOU
If you are committed to Christ but are without a church family, we would encourage you to check us out. Continuing on separated from the body and the protection and guidance of its leaders is not biblical, is it? (See Hebrews 13:17, I Peter 5:1-5, I Timothy 3:1-13, Ephesians 4:11-16, and I Corinthians 12:12-31.)
Or, if you are unhappy and unchallenged by the mixed churches of our day—good! Why don’t you do something about it? Come invest in some lasting fruit. Come change your life. Come learn how to remove those lines in your life and help us remove ours. Come help us be a bright light for Christ in a darkening day. If you really want to do your best in the pursuit of God’s best for your life, then perhaps we can help each other in the battle.