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- According to Hebrews 10:24-25 and 13:17 why is church fellowship
- Name the benefits of church fellowship.
- While looking to the Lord subjectively about a place of worship, what are seven
objective factors that should be considered in helping you determine which
Church is right for you?
The writer of Hebrews states,
"And let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good
deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but
encouraging one another, and all the more, as you see the day drawing
near." (Heb 10:24-25).
There are basically three guiding lights that God uses to
communicate His love and plan for our lives; through the Word (objective
reality),83 through the spirit (subjective reality),84 and
through church fellowship. The Apostle Paul states, "Every fact is to be
confirmed by the testimony of two or three witnesses." (2 Cor. 13:1). When
we believe that Jesus has spoken something to us about our lives through prayer
and the reading of the Word, the Bible encourages us to have that confirmed
through the spiritual authority God has placed over our lives. I do not mean
this in a legalistic sense of every little detail of our lives, such as whether
I should use Crest or Gleem to brush my teeth with. I mean this in a more
general major sense, such as, Is Jesus really telling me He wants me to go to
Oral Roberts University to complete my education in theology? When the Lord
first spoke this to me as a result of fasting and prayer for His will for my
life in this way (subjective), He then reminded me of a passage in
Hebrews 13:17 (objective),
"Obey your leaders, and submit to them; for they keep
watch over your souls, as those who will give an account. Let them do this with
joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you."
You will not read anywhere in the Bible that Jesus wanted me
to go to Oral Roberts University to complete my education. Oral Roberts
University did not exist on earth when the Bible was written. How was I to know
this was truly Jesus' voice to me? Even though the Bible does not specifically
tell the details of Jesus' will for my life, it does tell me to submit this
subjective reality to those He has placed me under for my spiritual protection.
As a result, I took this subjective experience before my Pastor for judgment.
The end result was that he told me he believed this was Jesus' leading in my
life, in light of past objective information concerning Jesus' working in my
life, and told me he thought I ought to follow it through. This gave me the
Scriptural backing I needed to confirm what I believed was Jesus' then present
leading in my life through the Holy Spirit.
Therefore, initially, the purpose of church fellowship is to
confirm to our lives what we think is Jesus' direction in our lives through the
Holy Spirit.85 Paul also states in Ephesians, "And be subject to
one another in the fear of Christ" (Eph 5:21). To give you another example
of what I mean, while I was attending a university, I became friends with one of
the elderly desk ladies. She was a lady who really loved Jesus. She loved Jesus
so much that she did not want to pass up anything that He was doing. So whenever
an Evangelist came to town and gave a seminar she was the first one to sign up
After she would go to these lectures and learn all the
wonderful principles that God had in His Word, wanting to be what she thought
was spiritual, she would try to implement all these principles in her life. The
end result was that she became a bundle of frustration and confusion. When she
found herself unable to conform herself to all these different principles, she
began to condemn herself because she thought unless she did, Jesus would not be
pleased with her. This greatly concerned me so I began to seek Jesus on the
matter. The Lord answered Me first by bringing to my mind a passage of Scripture
in Ephesians. It said,
"As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed
here and there by waves, and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the
trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming." (Eph 4:14).
At first I did not understand the application exactly, so I
asked Jesus for wisdom. The Lord answered me and said,
The only voice I want this lady listening to is the voice
of her Pastor. Whatever I say to her about her life through him is my voice to
her and is the only thing I am wanting her to be concerned about in her life at
present. Any instruction that she is receiving outside of her present church's
advice concerning her life is not coming from Me.
When I shared this with her, she said to me,
Dale, you do not know how happy and relieved that makes
I asked her why. She responded,
One night just this last week my Pastor called me up and
said to me, "I do not know why, but Jesus has been bugging me for a couple
of days to call you and tell you that He loves you and accepts you as you
If you are hooked up in a church body that you are certain
Jesus has led you to, whatever that church is saying to you, that does not
contradict confirmed past light or the Bible, is what Jesus is saying to you.
Jesus wants you to reject any other voice. This is why Pastors are called
shepherds. Jesus has placed them in the church to shepherd our lives and protect
us from the wolves outside the church and to confirm to us what is truly Jesus'
voice to us. Jesus said in the Gospel of John, "My sheep hear My voice, and
I know them, and they follow Me; and I give eternal life to them; and they shall
never perish, and no one shall snatch them out of my hand." (Jn 10:27-28).
If you are not already hooked into a church and have one
shepherd that you entrust your life to, you can know and be assured that it is
Jesus' will that you seek Him to lead you to the shepherd He would have you to
have and then place yourself under his authority. Jesus wants you to do this for
your own spiritual welfare and protection, and so that you can truly discern
what is His voice to you concerning your life, and what is truly
Jesus-dependence in your life.
If Jesus has led you into involvement already with a local
church and you have been experiencing frustration and confusion in certain areas
of your life, consider talking with your Pastor or elder as the Lord leads you.
They are there to assure your spiritual welfare and to confirm to your heart
what is truly Jesus' voice to you.
Thank God for the support of the church body in our quest of
God's love and plan for our lives.
Someone might ask the question, Is this not putting our
trust in man rather than in Jesus? When we obey Jesus' instructions to us in
His Word, even though it may be leading us to seek the counsel of a man in the
form of a Pastor, it is still looking to Jesus and putting our trust in God, not
man, because Jesus initiated it. It was not a man's idea to submit to spiritual
authority. Jesus Himself said in the Gospel of Matthew, "Therefore all that
they tell you, do and observe, but do not do according to their deeds; for they
say things, and do not do them." (Matt 23:3). Jesus plainly says here that
these men may not be perfect, but we are still to submit to their shepherding
over our lives.
Jesus promises us in the book of Proverbs, "The king's
heart is like channels of water in the hand of the Lord; He turns it wherever He
wishes." (Prov. 21:1). "The plans of the heart belong to man, but the
answer of the tongue is from the Lord." (Prov 16:1). If, after your Pastor
gives you specific advice on an issue, and you are not at peace about it, then
pray and ask the Lord to change your Pastor's heart. Jesus promises us that if
our Pastor's advice is wrong, He will change his heart.
Submitting to Pastoral authority does not always mean their
immediate advice may be right; but if it is wrong, Jesus will so deal with them
that they will come back to you and express that they feel the Lord has dealt
with them and that they now feel the Lord wants them to support you in what you
originally felt was Jesus' leading in your life. If Jesus does not change their
heart, then their advice to you is Jesus' voice to you and anything contrary to
that is Satan trying to disguise himself as an angel of light.86
Another value I find in going to church is many times while
sitting in church, even though some sermons may not have anything to do with my
present needs, because I am expressing my dependence on Jesus by being there out
of obedience to Jesus, He will speak to my heart what is the answer to my need
or His will on a matter concerning my life. When I, in obedience to Jesus, go to
church, I in essence am saying to Jesus that I am interested in what He has to
say concerning my life and His Lordship over my life and that I want to have
relationship with Him. Jesus then, according to His promise in the Gospel of
John 14:21, manifests Himself to me. Weekly Church fellowship then is the second
way we feed on Jesus and show we want to have continued relationship with Him,
and show our desire to know His purpose and plans for our lives on a daily
basis. When you obey Jesus' Lordship over you concerning church fellowship,
you are practicing a principle of what it means to Walk in the Spirit.
When you are walking in obedience to Jesus' commands to you, you are walking in
the Holy Spirit.