Dear Fellow Ex-Members…of the Church Without a Name, the Christian Convention people, the Friends and Workers group, those in “The Truth”, or as many now refer to them, The Two-by Twos.
This letter is to urgently suggest that all “exes” need now to make very sure they are heading for a winning outcome and not for a state in which they’ll be worse off than before. Hebrews 13:7 is just one of the texts that warn us to: “Remember your leaders…considering the outcome of their way of life” NIV.
The reason I feel I must be one to call attention to this is that now I’m getting old enough to have a lot more years of “outcome” than most of the rest of you. It has now been almost 40 years since I have been separated from that sect. I can look back and recall how the patterns of life that some others chose after leaving them have differed from my own, and can see great differences in the various outcomes.
In my own case, I couldn’t wish to have come through it in a better way, and I surely wouldn’t want to trade places now with any of the others who followed different courses. Believe me, to details, my husband and I went through practically every unpleasant thing that you have been experiencing. I understand and know just how you feel. So I’d like to encourage you by assuring you that this good “new life” of love for the Lord plus a continuously overflowing inner joy can be yours, now and forever. How I do hope and pray that your “outcome” will be as well for you.
As such, (an older sister,) I’ve wanted for some time to let you know what my own “pattern of life” has been. But it wasn’t until this morning that it seemed I heard the Lord’s go-ahead, as I read the 1st Psalm. (By saying “the Lord”, I mean our only Savior Jesus Christ as explained in Romans 3:23-25)
Although of course I’ve read that Psalm umteen times before, it just now became like a newly opened door to where I could really knit the following conclusions together. Let me explain here too, that when I refer to “righteousness” I have in mind only that which is imputed to us as a result of Christ’s atonement, and not anything I’ve attained on my own. The first couple of verses in that Psalm read as follows:
Psalms 1:1-2: Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in his law doth he meditate day and night.
Incidentally, I like the way the King James version uses the word “ungodly” rather than that used in some other versions which say “wicked”. Boil it all down and we face the fact there are only two main classes of living human beings down here, those who have put hearts (will) on the side of their Creator God as best they can understand Him, (the godly), and those who have not, (the ungodly). Remember, when I say “God” I’m referring to Him of the Holy Bible who is the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
With that definition in mind notice the above verses once more. Doesn’t it cause your mind to jump immediately to the question: Who, for sure, are the ungodly? In answer to that, my own mind recalls the words of Jesus in Matthew, chapter twelve saying that a tree is known by its fruit. In that same verse 33, He says “Either make the tree good and his fruit good, or else make the tree corrupt and his fruit corrupt”. In other words, in God’s eyes who sees which side our heart is on, there are no washed over, in-betweens; we are on one side or the other.
However, our own human inability to see into people’s hearts and know their motives as clearly as God sees, does not relieve us of our responsibility as Christians to exercise discernment by the aid of the Holy Spirit (note I Corinthians 2:14). Some try to get out of it by saying we are not to judge, but that verse or the one following tells us that we are to do so. Then, once we trust Him to answer our prayer that He will give us right discernment, we must follow through with faith that He has directed our understanding of the truth about the situation. With faith, I say, for “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Heb.11:16).
Of course, we want to please God! So we must go forward by faith, we must not just “sit” in the seat of the scornful (toward the error of the Two by Twos or anyone else’s), month after month after month! Yes, at first it is necessary to see their wrongness and to confess and discuss it with one another in order to make sure we are not the only ones seeing that way, but as soon as possible after that, we need to look ahead and see where changes must be made, possibly, in our own views and practices. And then go ahead and make them! Psalm 55:19 says “Because they have no changes, therefore they fear not God”. I’m made very sad when I stop to notice those who would not move on to meet and fellowship with other Christians, for in nearly every case they seem to lean farther and farther from fearing and loving our Lord.
One of the things that helped me the most was when I began attending (visiting) some of the established churches, and learning the little choruses they sang, quoting scripture. Such texts, because of the tunes they were put to, stuck in my head so I’d find that involuntarily they came to mind many times a day. They always cheered and fed me. And at the same places we sang some of the hymns in their hymn books that have been sung in most orthodox churches for over a hundred years, but I hadn’t known them before. The marvelous truths that are in them were another thing that fed my spirit and gave me joy.
Now, the hymns I had known previously in “Hymns Old and New” (in the meetings we used to attend) have a lot of good in them too, but too many times they brought back disturbing or sad memories, so I had to avoid them altogether. If you have found this so, don’t leave that void there! Go to some good, Bible-believing church and if for no other reason, plant the tunes and words of some of these “New Songs” in your subconscious mind. Note the Psalms that speak of that, such as 33:3, 96:1, 98:1, 144:9, and 149:1. Psalm 40:3 says “He hath put a new song in my mouth”. Let Him! For example, if you don’t put money in the bank, there won’t be any with interest to draw out. Start filling your mind with good to be drawn from, rather than leaving it with only sad memories.
That brings us to what the words say in the second verse of the above Psalm. If you do as suggested above, before you know it you will be “delighting” in God’s word in this way. How good it is that He has made it possible for us to “meditate day and night” on that “word” by recalling the tunes and then the words of the many “new songs” we’ve been learning. Even in the night when you can’t turn on a light to read your Bible, you can feed on the words in these many songs and choruses learned by heart. This enables us to develop the fruit of the Spirit that is joy. We please our Father when we have that joy to flow out through us to others, drawing them to want that which they see in us. The same Psalms 1: 3-4
“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit n his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.”
Notice how the above words of that Psalm tie in with Jesus’ words (as mentioned on page two) about the tree and its fruit. It is plain to see that He was referring to the kinds of fruit–that of the godly, and the ungodly- – and not to the fruit of offspring, in that text. We could say it refers to behavior rather than to fertility. Read it for yourself – Matthew 12: 33-35:
“Either make the tree good, and his fruit Good; or else make the tree corrupt, and his fruit corrupt: for the tree is known by his fruit. O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.”
Doesn’t the above show us once more that if we fail now to put into our hearts the right deposits there will be no “treasures” there from which to draw, farther down the line?
Remember, it is “knowing Jesus”, and His knowing us that is vitally important for now and eternity – John 17:3. It is NOT whether or not we are affiliated with the 2 X 2’s or any other church – but it is why we fellowship there. God sees the heart and knows when we seek the “true bread”, John 6.
But remember also, Satan is constantly on the job in hope of thwarting our progress toward the good things with Christ. He tries to do it by distracting our attention from our Lord and putting it on anything else but! If he can get us confused in such ways, enough so we forget to spend time with God and His people, he has won!
Oh,–please don’t let Satan win that way!
Now I praise and thank God for the other side of the story. Last Sunday morning our Bible Study Class teacher called to our attention the following statement written by A. B. Stringfellow, which I believe to be really significant. And that about sums it all up for me
The Christian life is a positive walk of fellowship with God and His people. The pleasures of sin are replaced with the things of God. With Christ as Lord, the Holy Spirit indwelling the believer, and God as Father, the things of this earth grow very dim. The Christian life becomes a positive, joyful walk with the Lord. It is not a negative creed filled with legalism. Jesus said. “If the Son, therefore, shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (John 8:36).
(Romans 12:1) (more literally, “logical ministry”) is presented as a living sacrifice. A sacrifice is that which is totally devoted to God. The Holy Spirit renews the mind, making it possible for the believer to test or prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
By Katherine (Kay) Downs