Christian Fellowship - Eating and Visiting Together

God's ways are always better, more fulfilling, more uplifting and more strengthening, MORE BEYOND COMPARISON with men's ways. Men, in their religious worship, seek great numbers, formality, and a "churchiness" in which men might be members with hundreds of others in the same local body and yet be total strangers one to another. It would certainly seem strange if we did not know the members of our own family who live in the same home with us (perhaps matters have almost come to that sad state in our nation) - and it is just as contrary to God's way, for the church to function in that way. But since the standards for membership as changed and designed by men who are dissatisfied with God's way, must (to fit their doctrine) include all without exception (rather than all without distinction) because of the belief that eternal salvation is dependent on their making a decision to "accept Christ" or belong to a certain church, there is not and cannot be true biblical discipline, for to their way of thinking that would deprive men of eternal salvation. Hence, standards are set so low that the church is no better than the world, and it ceases to be a true church in God's sight. There must be, and is, in God's ways, an uplifting of the church to the high level of Christian living, by holding standards of discipleship which are high enough to make the best Christian labor to attain to them (as Paul did) and still realize their imperfection. False doctrines have not only deprived the people of the truth, but have done a great injustice to society as a whole, and we see the fruits of this in our nation today.

God's ways are also different from men's, in another respect. Men seem to be determined to make religion expensive, a burden, and those who have wealth as the most important in their service. But God's way is to make worship affordable to all, and to put all of His children who walk worthy of their high calling on an equal plane as brethren and sisters. Jesus took cords and drove out the money changers and those who sought to make the worship of God a burden.

The apostolic church met together from house to house, broke bread together, knew one another, trusted one another (their lives were at stake, under persecution), and knew very well those who preached to them both in word, manner of life, and doctrine. These early Christians were not strangers, and neither should we be. Nothing in our beliefs of salvation by grace alone should cause any man, woman, or child to feel boastful, or holier than thou, but as a religious body, we must maintain the high standards of the Christian faith, in doctrine and in manner of life, which the apostles set, or else we have no right to claim to be the apostolic church.

The true worship of God consists not only of assembling, singing hymns of praise, praying (silently in the pew, or publickly in the pulpit), and listening to gospel preaching, but also there is another essential and very uplifting element - CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP. The setting of worship, or in our day to day life, should include as much as possible of the fellowship of God's people.

It has been the practice of Primitive Baptists, for centuries, to worship together, and also to eat together - feasts such as have been described as "dinner on the grounds" - a repast laid out on boards set on sawhorses under shade trees in spring or summer, where the people sat and visited with one another, unhurried, and unconcerned about all the cares of the world; or going to one another's homes for dinner after the worship services; or in a lunch room built for that purpose, but the reason is the same - to allow God's people the fellowship of a quiet and humble setting with others of like faith who understand their feelings and truly care about their welfare, and will help one another in all the trials of life.

There is no possible way to put into words the great blessing the Church is to God's people when such is the case with them. To those who have ever truly enjoyed this blessing, they will desire it as long as life lasts, and they will understand and truly love the Church which Jesus established in His wisdom for our good, as a home for pilgrims and strangers in this unfriendly world.

If there was ever a time when such blessings are needed in our nation, and seldom enjoyed, it is now.

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