Reproclaiming the Everlasting Gospel
Moral -- 1 a: of or relating to principles of right and wrong in behavior... b: expressing or teaching a conception of right behavior... c: conforming to a standard of right behavior d: sanctioned by or operative on one's conscience or ethical judgment... e: capable of right and wrong action...
Fellowship -- 1: companionship, company. 2 a: community of interest, activity, feeling, or experience b: the state of being a fellow or associate 3: a company of equals or friends 4: the quality or state of being comradely. (partial definitions from Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary)
The desire for community and fellowship are legitimate parts of the human psyche. When God called Abraham to leave his community, his friends, his culture, etc., He was not calling Abraham to forsake his humanity, rather to establish it on the true foundation. If we are to claim that we are of the faith of Abraham, that call brings into question the basis of our fellowship. Today, it seems one has merely to announce an agenda to generate a community of interest, to build a fellowship. But these are broken fellowships; broken by a lack of moral behavior, broken by crumbling foundations. So how does one come into a permanent fellowship that is upheld in righteousness? Where the good news of Jesus Christ come to teach his people himself is proclaimed and lived, you will see righteousness (moral behavior) and lasting fellowship. This is not an add-on we can patch into the existing structure of Christendom. Lewis Benson states in this lecture #3 of his A New Foundation to Build On series:
It seemed clear to Fox that Christians had erected ecclesiastical structures that were actually preventing the church from being taught by Christ...If the gospel is the good news that Christ is alive and present in the midst of his people as their teacher, then the gospel fellowship must be ordered in such a way that the voice of this living teacher can be heard by God's people.
The gospel order, which includes the worship that begins with silent waiting, is not a formal structure that can stand by itself apart from the gospel. If the living Christ is not known in the midst in all his offices, then there is no gospel order. But wherever a people are brought into the order of the gospel by the power of the gospel, then such a people become living witnesses to the fellowship forming power of Christ and to the power of Christ to raise up a disciplined, ordered people under his leadership. Where meetings for worship and discipline are held on this gospel foundation, then such meetings become the means of leading people to Christ they become living testimonies to what Christ can do."
In this lecture, and the questions and answers that follow, Lewis Benson has laid the groundwork for what is needed to build again on the gospel foundation and to reclaim our heritage to the power that brings righteousness and fellowship in the work of the gospel. Follow the link to either read on screen or to download to your computer.
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