3. You and Thee

One thing for which the churches of any denomination should be commended – and this is definitely so with the Gospel Standard – is use of the Tyndale/Authorised Version of the scriptures. This is potentially very beneficial, for it is an accurate translation of the Hebrew and Greek which allows the reader to differentiate between ‘you’ singular and ‘you’ plural: both original languages make the distinction and it is a very important one.

I say that it is potentially very beneficial to have this version if the distinctions are brought out and applied. But, alas, among the vast majority I suspect the distinction is not noticed – indeed, how can it be in those places which have abandoned this version that God has singularly honoured, and by which the Saviour speaks into the heart, for one of the modern versions, like the New King James, which have done away with ‘all the thees and thous’. But it is a great wickedness to hide the distinction which the Holy Spirit has made, and indeed, which the Lord Jesus made in his teaching and discourses. This is all very relevant to the issue at hand; namely, the particular slant of the Gospel Standard message. But we will come to this presently.

Reading through the scriptures we find the words you, ye, your and yours, thee, thou, thy and thine used constantly. But the translator’s use of the supposedly archaic thee, thou, thy and thine is not just to make the language sound holy and elevated, nor to turn the Bible into good poetical sounding literature, but because of the need to translate accurately. For uniformly you, ye, your and yours are plural, while thee, thou, thy and thine are singular. This is why it is proper to address God as ‘thee’ and ‘thou’ and not ‘you’, for he is one. Strictly speaking to address God in this way is not being reverent as such – all individuals are ‘thee’, even Satan, Matt. 4:10 – it is being accurate.

To give an example where this distinction is made we could turn again to John chapter 4 where Jesus is speaking with the woman at the well. At one point he says to her, ‘Go, call thy husband, and come hither’: ‘thy’ is singular. As the conversation continues the woman brings in the subject of ‘our fathers’ who worshipped in this mountain; to which Jesus replies, ‘The hour is coming when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Ye worship ye know not what…’ Now, although Jesus is still speaking to the woman, yet he is referring not only to her but to all her people: ‘ye’ is plural. She then makes reference to the coming Messiah who ‘will tell us all things.’ But Jesus doesn’t reply to the ‘us’ in her statement but to her individually: ‘I that speak unto thee am he’: ‘thee’ is singular. Once we recognise these differences we suddenly start to see all kinds of nuances in Jesus’ discourses, and, indeed, throughout the whole of the Book. Compare, for instance, the subtle changes between thee, ye and you in Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3:1-12, and also throughout the Sermon on the Mount.

The one example the promoters of the Tyndale/AV always seem to give in relation to this – but which is usually misquoted by preachers – is Luke 22:31,32. Here Jesus is speaking to Simon, but is referring to all the disciples. It is more often than not quoted as, ‘Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have thee, that he may sift thee as wheat, but I have prayed for thee…’ But Jesus didn’t say ‘thee’ three times because he wasn’t referring just to Peter but to all the disciples. So he said, Satan hath desired to have you – plural – that he may sift you, this company of disciples, as wheat; which he did; Judas was sifted out. Jesus then said, but I have prayed for thee specifically Peter, not, but I have prayed for you – Jesus never prayed for Judas – that thy faith fail not – which it didn’t; and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren – which he did: Jesus’ prayers always being answered.

For another example of this we could go to 1 Corinthians 12:21. Here Paul is writing of the body of Christ and the members thereof. Notice in this verse the singular ‘thee’ where the eye is referring to the hand, and the plural ‘you’ when the head is addressing the feet.

Numerous examples could be given to show how many verses of scripture are misapplied because this important distinction between ‘you’ and ‘thee’ is missed. I remember once, years ago, when a man appeared before the church of which I was a member, thinking he was being called to the ministry, that the verse given to encourage him to wait a bit longer was Luke 24:49, ‘tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.’ By now the reader will realise that that word was inappropriate, for Jesus was addressing his disciples as a company, ‘ye’, and not an individual, ‘thou’. Some might say that this is all being very picky and is unimportant: not if one has the insatiable desire to walk in the truth, as expressed by Jesus in praying to his Father: John 17:17. For recognising the distinction between the singular and plural aids profoundly our understanding and application of scripture.

Take the epistles of Paul to the various churches; the words thee and thou appear comparatively rarely, while you and your are everywhere. Why? Because the apostle is writing to the body, the church, which, although made up of individuals, is always addressed as a company, and the teaching and exhortations contained in their epistles apply to them as a body, in their union to Christ their head and in relation to one another. But when we turn to Timothy and Titus, for instance, it is all thee and thou, for these personal epistles are not addressed to the church but specifically to ministers. Therefore individual Christians ‘in the pew’ cannot rightly apply exhortations or specific promises found therein to themselves; likewise they cannot glean for themselves individually from the epistles to the churches words, exhortations and promises which pertain primarily to the body of Christ in one place as unified. In the light of this read carefully Revelation chapters 2 and 3.

To give another example of this. The words of the Lord Jesus that have been in my mind recently have been these: ‘Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth’, John 16:13. Very often individual Christians will take this word and understand that the Spirit will come to them, and will guide them into all truth; but Jesus here is not teaching this. He is speaking specifically to his disciples as a body, that they, as such, in assembly, corporately, as indwelt of the Spirit, will be guided into all truth by the Spirit. Therefore there is a certain aspect of the work of the Spirit which applies especially to the body when gathered – that they will be guided into all truth – which does not apply to the individual Christian. Although each member of the body does obviously receive revelation of the Father, as Matt. 16:17, it is not the Spirit’s work to guide any one member in particular into all truth. A hand, a foot, or an eye, for instance, independently, can never expect to receive a complete revelation of the truth. But the body can – that is, ‘you’ can. And I believe this, as well as being a gloriously elevated theme, is a very important distinction; and one which causes me severely to question much of the application of scripture made in the preaching in churches and chapels today, and especially in the GS chapels.

The reason I say this is that because, more or less, the whole tenor of the preaching in the Gospel Standard denomination is focused on the individual, and rarely, if ever, upon the body. In fact I would go as far as to say that the GS ministry does not encourage the hearers to think corporately at all; the general mentality being centred on me, me, me: ‘Am I going to get a word?’ ‘Is my experience going to be traced out?’ ‘Oh, it was all for me!’ And if a verse like ‘Fear not little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom’ is quoted or preached from, it always seems to be applied to individuals – individuals waiting for God to bestow upon them in their feelings his ‘good pleasure’; but it was spoken to ‘you’ the flock!

This selfish or self-centred attitude, encouraged greatly by the excessive introspection of the hymnbook[1], is the antithesis of the very idea of ‘gathered together.’ In effect it disannuls every you, your and ye with the related doctrine expounded in any given place. If a verse containing ‘you’ is interpreted to apply only to the individual, then that scripture is wrongly handled and the proper meaning of the verse is lost. Worse still is the resultant deception one is under if they think the Lord has spoken such a word to them personally, without making reference to any one else, when the fact is that the Spirit cannot and does not misapply his word at all.

With this in mind let us look at a few more examples from scripture. Peter’s First epistle chapter two, for example, is all addressed to ‘ye’. In verse five Peter describes them as ‘lively stones’ who ‘are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.’ These things apply to them as a body – a house isn’t made of a single stone, but of stones; in fact a house cannot appear until many stones are incorporated together; individual stones are relatively useless until they are gathered; then you have a house, and an holy priesthood, from which spiritual sacrifices can be offered up, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ; cp. Heb. 3:6, 1 Tim. 3:15.

Again a few verses of Romans 12 teach the necessity of thinking as a body and not just personally; ‘For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another’, verse 3-6, cp. the whole chapter. Indeed, isn’t the mind of God in the New Testament primarily towards the body, the church? Jesus said, ‘I will build my church’; Luke records, ‘the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.’ Here the emphasis is on the body, how it is being built up, yes, of individuals, but the whole mentality is corporate, ‘members one of another’; cp. also Hebrews 2:11-13.

Peter again writes, ‘But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy’, etc. Again the language is in the plural, ‘ye’, and applies to men as gathered, 1 Peter 2. Reference is made later in the same chapter to Christ, ‘who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree’, reminding us of the good shepherd who gave his life for the sheep – for all of them; he being the one ‘who loved the church, and gave himself for it’; being made sin for us who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Therefore ‘ye are all one in Christ Jesus’, Gal. 3:28.

In 1 Peter 5, which I read just this morning in Tyndale’s version, we read in verse 5, ‘Submit yourselves every man one to another, knit yourselves together in lowliness of mind.’ But how can a company of people ‘knit themselves together’ when they are all thinking of their own personal experience! Nevertheless the doctrine of the gospel continues to exhort corporately: ‘Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus’, Phil. 2:5. ‘Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you’, 2 Cor. 13:11. ‘Peace be unto you’, John 20:19,21,27. You, you, you, not thee, thee, thee! Such language of unity; of all being one, and of the one body, the true ‘house of God’ – as opposed to ‘chapel’ – being the place where God has promised to ‘dwell’, and to meet with his people, Psalm 132:13-16, Acts 7:44-49.

This is spoken of plainly by Paul in 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. These are verses so often used to exhort individual Christians to be separate from the world, but again the exhortation applies much higher. The body itself, ‘the temple of the living God’, no less, is to be manifestly otherworldly, yea, separate from the very way of the world in all its aspects. After all, Paul is quoting from Leviticus in verse 16 and Isaiah in verse 17, which refer to the nation of Israel of old who were God’s peculiar and separate people on the earth. Moses, in Deuteronomy 7:6, referring in this instance to the people in the singular, thee – emphasising their absolute unity – says that they are ‘an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.’ Then, after thus referring to the people en masse as one body, he addresses them in the plural, ‘you’, in the following two verses, indicating that the body is made up of individuals, but again addressing them only in relation to one another, cp. Exodus 20.

Such is the scriptural revelation regarding the church as a body, and how the writers seek constantly to encourage this mentality of thinking corporately. But it is all lost when the ministry focuses merely on the individual being encouraged to look just to his own personal experience and blessings which, in his limited mind, are his be-all and end-all. How low, earthly even, all this is; but how lofty and heavenly the doctrine of the New Testament is regarding the ‘ye’! Just read Ephesians 2: not a ‘thee’ in sight! But how elusive this is today.

One could go on, and plead in the face of the denomination: Where in the preaching is ‘exhort one another daily’? Where is the ‘Let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works’? Where is the ‘Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ’? ‘Let brotherly love continue.’ ‘By this’ – and this alone – ‘shall all men know that ye are my disciples…’. By what? That ye all go to chapel? That one and another can speak of a few ‘spot and places’ where they feel the Lord has been made precious to their souls? Very nice, I’m sure; but no – ‘by this… if ye have love one to another’, John 13:35.

We are not saved for ourselves, nor for our own personal experiences! If we were, what a poor, little, self-centred, self-indulgent salvation it would be. No, we are saved for Christ’s sake. Was Eve created for her own benefit or for Adam’s? Is the church, the body of Christ, created for its own glory and salvation, or for ‘the last Adam’? Assuredly ‘all things were created by him, and for him’, Col. 1:16. ‘For of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever. Amen’, Rom. 11:36. We are saved and placed in the body to show forth his praise. Indeed, ‘I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake’, 1 John 2:12. We are saved and called to glorify our Head, not to wallow in our blessings! We are called out and separated to serve our God. This was shown when, time and again, the LORD, by Moses, commanded Pharaoh to ‘Let my people go, that they may serve me’, Ex. 7:16, etc. We are created anew and set at liberty, at last, to worship the Father corporately in Spirit and in truth; to be set free from self, and to tell of what Christ has done for us, the church. We are sanctified to be part of this wonderful body, to look out and away from self to and for others; this is, after all, what 1 Corinthians 12:12-27 is all about. Yea, 1 Corinthians 13, we are called to love one another.

Why did Christ give apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers? ‘For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man…’ Eph. 4:11-13. And taking up Tyndale again in verses 15 and 16: ‘But let us follow the truth in love, and in all things grow in him which is the head, that is to say Christ, in whom all the body is coupled and knit together in every joint wherewith one ministereth to another (according to the operation as every part hath his measure) and increaseth the body, unto the edifying of itself in love.’ Again, this is all infinitely above and beyond merely going to chapel, with each sitting there his own little spiritual island. Oh, just read the New Testament for yourselves!

Before I came into contact with the denomination I used to wonder and marvel at, truly believe in, fully expect and long to experience in the way of faith the ‘abundance’ so much spoken of and, indeed, promised by the Lord Jesus in his doctrine. But after ten years of being exposed – especially in later years – to an over emphasis of ‘we faintly trust thy word’, ‘little hope’, ‘shouldn’t presume’, ‘help thou mine unbelief’, ‘Oh that we knew’, ‘marks of grace I cannot show’, ‘a departed Saviour’, etc. they now almost seem unobtainable, and perversely, even unbelievable! Another good reason to flee from it. What! These words of the Lord, yea, promises to his people, unbelievable? Far too high to ‘attain to’? Way out of our reach and expectation with an indwelling Spirit? Surely not:

‘I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.’ Christ ‘hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.’ ‘I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.’ ‘I am the light of the world: he that followeth me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.’

‘If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ ‘Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.’ ‘I am the vine, ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.’ ‘The gospel of Christ… it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth’, etc. It is not a faithful ministry – it is not a gospel ministry – which robs the saints of entering into these things. My desire is to know them and walk in them. But I’m afraid the ‘ye’ so often referred to in these verses cannot be gathered and survive under a ‘little’ GS ministry. And it is evident that they will not experience these things until they are separated from these places by Christ himself, and then, of him, gathered together unto him.

O to be gathered! That there might be found a company wherein the corporate testimony is, ‘did not our [corporate] heart [singular] burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?’, Luke 24:32, cp. John 14:1, etc. That Jesus himself might gather his people together, teach them, and fulfil all the wonderful promises he spoke of in John chapters 13-17; which, of course, he must and will do.

But, alas, we must come back down to earth again. Having discovered something of the unity of thought which should be evident among the professed people of God, we now ask: Is this the unity actually manifested in the GS chapels? Generally speaking, I don’t think it is. There is a unity but for the most part it is very shallow, formal and far inferior to that which is revealed and encouraged in the scriptures – well, are you mindful of the body when you’re in chapel?

One symptom of this is that there is no corporate ‘Amen’ at the end of prayers. I found this silence most disconcerting when I first experienced it, but it is indicative of this lack of a corporate mentality, even in the meetings! And the reason they don’t say ‘Amen’? I believe I was told once that it was because all the other churches, like the Church of England, readily do; the inference being that ‘we’re not like them, are we?’ But if true this exposes nothing but the spirit of the Pharisee, Luke 18:11, the spirit which dwells at the very heart of denominationalism. Nevertheless the doctrine of Christ stands: ‘When ye pray… After this manner… Amen’, Matt. 6:7-13.

So what ‘unity’ can be found in the chapels? Primarily there are two ways in which unity is manifested. One is at ‘the Lord’s table’. Once a month the ‘members of the church’ ‘sit down’ together. But the union is first and foremost based on denominational affiliation, all having signed up to ‘what we believe.’ How much spiritual fellowship one has with another in ‘real life’ I don’t know: but my experience is, not much. Even their own J.C. Philpot confessed to feeling more unity of spirit with some who were never at the table than with many that were.

The second form of unity is physical – they are all there in the same place, at chapel, week by week, at the same time. In a way this can be likened to being found at a bus stop. There are a number of people ‘gathered together’ at the bus stop. Why? Is it because they love one another and desire to be together? Is it because they care for each other and long for mutual fellowship and to build one another up? Hardly! They are there as individuals hoping for the bus to come and take them to their own destination: and they would be there regardless of whether or not any of the others were present. And so, generally, it is at chapel. Many are there to get their blessing – their present ‘destination’. They are listening out or waiting for their special word or manifestation, and it will be unrelated to anyone else’s – as each traveller’s destination will be irrelevant to the other, the religion of each being very personal. But the trouble is that for most the bus never comes! But, O well, I must still wait at the bus stop according to the time on the timetable, because it may come one day, and how terrible it would be if I wasn’t there when it did! Remember, we must all attend ‘the means of grace.’

I realised I was still caught up in this mentality when, after having left the chapel of which I had been a member, I still used to travel some miles to one or two other chapels in the denomination, but only irregularly when certain ministers were preaching who I thought were worth hearing. But increasingly I used to ask myself, Why am I going today? Is it to meet with the people; to join in spiritual union and seek to converse about the things of the Lord, the mutual trials of the narrowness of the way, the blessings of a life of faith; to encourage one another, indeed, to worship the Father together? Or is it just because ‘this is what we do every Sunday, it’s chapel time, and anyway, Mr. So-and-so is preaching today, and he’s better than the rest’? I wished it was for the former reason, but, alas, in the end it was for the latter, of course. Just vanity then. I was going for what I hoped I was going to ‘get’, and, after shaking a few hands and exchanging pleasantries, drive all the way home again. But that’s not the church of Jesus Christ ‘gathered together’; these are not ‘the outcasts of Israel’ in spiritual and longed for assembly. This is just formal, dead religion; and I’m not interested in being ‘religious’ any more; for, by the grace of God, Christ is my life, not just the central figure of my professed set of beliefs! – so I’ve more or less – well, altogether now – stopped going. Some might say, ‘But this is no reason to abandon them; why not continue to attend somewhere regardless, and seek to encourage spiritual fellowship.’ What! for two minutes after the service when people are edging to get home? The mentality is not for that way of ‘meeting together.’ For most, chapel is a bus stop, and individuals congregate at a bus stop.

This brings us, of necessity, to consider something of the actual state of the chapels today. Isn’t it the professed woe of the denominational hierarchy that the Spirit is withheld; that there is little or no power in the ministry; and that ‘few signs follow the preached word’,[2] etc.? Well, if that is the case – and each minister that professes such things will have to answer this, sooner or later – then what are they doing remaining in the pulpits, if the presence and the power of the Lord has more or less departed; for by their own confession, the Lord obviously is not speaking through them! And what is anyone with a hunger to meet together with others of the body of Christ to hear the voice of the Son of God doing going to such places and sitting under such impotent ministers anyway?

I used to notice how the blame for this lack of power in the ministry was always said to rest somewhere other than with the pulpit: the fault lay either with the Spirit – no less! – for withholding the power; or with the people in the pew: either because of their lack of prayer, or for their overmuch worldliness; but never was it suggested that the fault lay with the ministers; no question that the reason for such barrenness in the churches was because there were unsent, prayerless, or even worldly minded men in the pulpits; no, well, they are untouchable – someone will now quote Psalm 105:15, but out of context. But if it were the case that the fault lay in the pulpit, then they would have to admit to being play-actors – or as the Greek has it, ‘hypocrites’ – and that in Jesus’ name too! But this would never be admitted, and it would almost be thought blasphemy to suggest it. But what is left, then? Men in the pulpits mostly unanointed[3], and people in the pews hoping, at best, for a mere ‘crumb’ from time to time, with the Spirit of God professedly withheld. But it would be better that men were honest before the Lord, and would put their hands over their mouths, rather than continue to ‘run’ in this way, Jer. 23:21.

Oh, what a grief all this is to the scattered members of the body of Christ. It is no wonder some just leave – or would leave, if they had the courage. But it is a simple fact that if the ministry isn’t feeding the sheep, then the sheep must wander from these false shepherds – hirelings – by whom the Lord obviously is not speaking. And what a condemnation this is to those ministers; for they are in danger of being called by Christ on that day ‘goats’, because for all their knowledge of scriptural texts, the sheep are not being fed – the true interpretation, by the way, of Matthew 25:41,42, etc. But how the true sheep long for something real, something lively – vital – in the assembly. They are fed up with merely ‘going to chapel’, and all that entails. They want the Lord!: his presence, his ministers preaching the doctrine of Christ in the power of the Spirit – as sent.

How fed up I became in the end of hearing about me in the sermons. So much malady described: the unbelief, the darkness, the fear, the doubt, the tribulation. But I know the malady! I carry it around with me every day! The corruption of the flesh, the vain imaginations, the forgetfulness of heavenly things, the forgetfulness of the closet, the lethargy, the murmuring; but I want to hear of the remedy, as already accomplished! There is no hope in merely recognising the malady, all our hope is in the remedy – in Christ himself. Imagine if you went to the doctor with terrible pains, and he just sat there describing what the pains were, and how they must be making you feel: it wouldn’t be long before you’d start crying to him, ‘The remedy! Just give me the remedy!’ So let us hear less of our dismal experience of self, and more of ‘Jesus Christ, and him crucified’. But the truth is that I’ve rarely heard this word expounded, applied, or even understood in anything close to its fulness in any preaching I’ve sat under these past twenty years. Oh, how these things make me weep.

Furthermore, the sheep of Christ wonder where this part of the apostle’s doctrine has gone: ‘When ye come together, every one of you hath…’ 1 Cor. 14:26. I’m not talking about turning ‘charismatic’, nor am I advocating ‘sharing sessions’; but I’m looking for that gathering together of the out-called, under the direction of the Holy Ghost, who, distributing to every man severally as he will, brings forth those fruits of his presence and work in the assembly: the edification of the body, and the mutual encouragement and building up of one another – all according to the ‘order’ that the apostle in his doctrine constantly insists upon.

But so often my experience has been the opposite. This indulgent ‘it’s only me and the Lord’ mentality militates against the whole idea of there being a body. There was a man in one of the chapels I used to attend who I tried, on more than one occasion, to draw alongside and encourage in the way; to which his ultimate reply was, ‘I don’t take encouragement from any but the Lord himself’! So Paul was wrong in his doctrine, was he? One member of the body can say to another, ‘I have no need of thee.’ More than once I’ve tried to talk to a minister after a service to comment favourably on something he’d said which had helped me, and which might have given rise to some ‘fellowship’ between us; but except for a few instances mostly they would have little or nothing to say in reply; or, on one occasion, the minister just shrugged his shoulders, and with a rough grunt, said, ‘It’s nothing to do with me’, and walked off! So the man was not ‘the Lord’s messenger in the Lord’s message’ after all. But this is not at all conducive to being found in Romans 1:11,12 – on either side!

Before we look more specifically at some of the phraseology employed in the GS ministry, with its fruit, the question must be asked in the light of all the above: So where can one realise true spiritual unity – the unity of the Spirit – if much of the unity that is apparent in the chapels and denominations is based on little more than Articles, Confessions, traditions and physical attendance? Well, outside of them, of course! If one starts to perceive the great depth and wonder of Christ’s purpose for his body (as revealed in the Version[4] which retains all the thees and thous), and begins to expose the awful shallowness and falseness of the ‘unity’ which is sought and tenaciously held on to in many of the churches and denominations, then one will soon find himself an outcast, cp. Luke 6:22,23; but then will he be in a position to be gathered truly in God’s revealed and true unity, called Jerusalem and Israel, Psalm 147:2. For I verily believe that promise to be sure: ‘The LORD doth build up Jerusalem; he gathereth together the outcasts of Israel.’

But where are the people who long for these things? – those for whom meeting once or twice a week in the formal and staid setting of chapel is just not good enough. Even if those gatherings were more ‘alive’, still they could not wait till the next scheduled meeting to be with other of the Lord’s people. These are like they which drank in Paul’s doctrine; who between the regular meetings in the synagogues – and after he was kicked out of them – were there when he went ‘from house to house’, exhaustively teaching, preaching, travailing – often with tears – and testifying to the gospel of his Lord Jesus Christ.

What hunger there was in the early church! Even the death of a young man in a meeting where Paul was ‘long preaching’ didn’t prevent him from continuing all night, nor they from listening! Acts 20:7-11. Why would ‘continuing daily’ be so frowned upon today amongst the vast majority of professors? Because most are comfortable with keeping their religion at arm’s length in their chapels; being, for the rest of the week, more or less, ‘conformed to this world.’ Thus very few seem to be seeking something more real; few seem discontent with what they practice; and few have much time for anything more. An hour and a half sitting mute once or twice on a Sunday is adequate, thank you. Which all goes to show that the living Christ cannot be in the midst of them – for all their using of his name.

Likewise, where are the ministers who would be prepared – who are even on the look out – to meet with these starving sheep in their homes, as often as they desired to gather, to teach them and expound the scriptures, that they might grow thereby; in a word, to feed these sheep? There are no ministers with the same desirous spirit as Paul to accomplish these things today. O beware, all you preachers who are content to feed the people with so many husks of denominational tradition, but who leave the Lord’s wandering sheep famished, just letting them go: you will each surely receive your reward from the hand of him you so presumptuously say has sent you to preach, who never left his flock to starve as you do; for Jesus, on behalf of his own, will say to ‘ye’ all on that day – so there’s a great mass of them – ‘I was hungered, and ye gave me no meat’, Matt. 25:41,42.

 

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[1] Many of the 1100+ hymns in Gadsby’s are so personal in tone that it is simply not appropriate to sing them corporately.

[2] When I first heard these confessions I thought, Well, what spiritual men these are! What wonderful discernment they have! But alas I was mistaken.

[3] Actually no minister can be described scripturally as ‘anointed to preach’. Paul never was, nor were any of the apostles. This is a phrase used exclusively in the New Testament of the Lord Jesus, he being the Christ – the Anointed, Luke 4:18; and he only is still anointed to preach as he speaks through those truly sent of him. Therefore, any one else who claims to be anointed to preach is false – a false Christ, cp. Matt. 24:3,4. Of course this word ‘anointed’ is used by John in a different context to describe all of God’s people, 1 John 2:20,27; which is the same meaning as that in Psa. 105:15 quoted above.

[4] Although many in different denominations use and support the promotion of the Tyndale/AV, yet when this Book is opened contentions over doctrine and ‘order’ start to appear – hence denominations. So, in reality, their only unity is a closed AV.

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