The Past for the Present
For my next several opportunities to provide a pastoral word to you, I would like to pursue a historical perspective on some aspects of life here at Grace Church. This first excerpt is from a sermon delivered by Charles Spurgeon on April 5th, 1874. It expounds upon the words of Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
This idea of not joining any one particular church, and instead simply belonging to the “church at large” is often advocated in the name of unity, and yet it is clear to everyone that it is just the opposite of unity, and is intended to put an end to all visible church fellowship. The good people mentioned in our text immediately join the church of the Living God in Jerusalem. I dare say that even in those days, had they criticized the church, they would have found faults in her, certainly within a few weeks there were great faults that had to be remedied; but these converts felt that the group of Christians at Jerusalem was indeed the true church of Jesus Christ, and, therefore, they joined it. All of you can find true churches of Jesus Christ if you choose to look for them. If you wait for a perfect church, you must wait until you get to heaven; and even if you could find a perfect church on earth, I am sure they would not admit you to their fellowship, for you yourself are not perfect. Find those people who are nearest to the Scriptures, who hold the truth in doctrine and in practice, and are most like the apostolic church, and then join them, and you will be blessed for it. Consider the matter, and reflect that if it would be right for you to remain out of church fellowship, it must be right for every other believer to remain in the same condition, and then there would be no visible church on earth at all, and no body of people banded together to maintain and teach Christian commands and practices. Christian fellowship, especially the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, and the maintenance of an evangelistic ministry, would become an impossibility, if no one openly declared the Savior’s cause. Act then according to your duty, and if you are a Christian, join with Christians; if you love the Master, love the servants; if you love the Captain, unite with the army, and join that regiment of it which you think adheres the closest to the Master’s word.