Thursday, July 2, 2015

Individual vs Individuality

On May 3, 2015, Pastor Larry Vincent preached a sermon titled "God's Impassability and His Children" from Malachi 3:6 which says "For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed."  I've been listening and reading about the Doctrine of Divine Impassability, and I found Pastor Vincent's sermon very helpful.  However, this portion specifically caught my attention (emphasis mine): 

"God is a rock:  He is immutable.  He is unchangeable.  He is eternal.  He is infinite.  He is impassable.  In Numbers 23:19 we see that "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good?"  In addition, Isaiah 46:5 says, "To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?"  This rhetorical question is simply answered by 'nothing and no one'.

In His essence and being God is nothing like anything we know of; yet, He communicates with us.  The Christian can say with all confidence, "The Lord, my God," and even better yet, "The Lord, our God.  Because God saves us individually, but He does not save us to individuality.  He saves us into a corporate community."

Lately, some members and visitors have left my local church.  A few have left because of job relocation, but others have left because of personal preference.  While I would not say that no one can ever leave a church, I think that it is done far too easily and without scriptural support.  I can say this because my husband and I have done the same in the past.  In today's Christian world, church membership is not deemed important.  Families and individuals stay as long as they like what they hear (or see or feel), but when they don't like [fill in the blank], they move on.  And the process starts over again.

I am encouraged with Pastor Vincent's reminder that I'm saved as an individual, but not to individuality.  There are no Lone Ranger Christians.  Every Christian is  part of the body of Christ, and therefore, should also be a dedicated part of a local church.  That dedication does not mean that a Christian can come and go when he pleases (provided he is part of a solid Bible believing fellowship and sits under sound preaching and teaching).  A Christian can only "love one another with a pure heart fervently", (1 Peter 1:22) and obey and submit himself to eldership rule when he is an integral, committed part of a local church.  I married my husband because I am committed to him forever.  I should have the same view with my church which is why I am a member.

With all of the on-line resources that I have at my fingertips, it's easy for me to find a more like-minded church and desire to be part of that fellowship, but God is sovereign over where I live and where I worship (Acts 17:26).  Therefore, I am content.

"And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching," (Heb. 10:24-25).