No. 4 With Whom Do You Worship?

 •  7 min. read  •  grade level: 7
I generally go with the Presbyterians; I like their doctrine, and there are many nice Christians amongst them.
B. But, dear brother, where do you find such a name in Scripture; where do you find a people called Presbyterians?
A. But it is only a name; people must have a name, you know, in religion; they must belong to some Church or other.
B. Pardon me, my dear friend; taking a name is not such a light matter. Satan has used these names to divide Christians one from another who are members of the one body, of which Christ is the head. It is distinctly forbidden in 1 Cor. 3:44For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? (1 Corinthians 3:4), when the Christians were saying:
I am of Paul, and I of Apollos, and I of Cephas, and I of Christ.
They are said to be carnal and to walk as men.
A. But don’t people call you by some name or other, one must belong to some Church in this world.
B. There is but one body and one Spirit, and the name of Christ is written upon that body, (Eph. 4:44There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (Ephesians 4:4); 1 Cor. 12:l2). Those who meet on the basis of that one body cannot help being called names, but, if they think the name of Christ is written upon them, they can’t help rejecting such names as Plymouth Brethren, &c., lest they should dishonour the Name of Christ. Surely that name is sufficient to hold together Christians, for the Lord Jesus said, Himself,
Where two or three are gathered together in My Name, there am I in the midst of them {Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)}.
You are not ashamed of that name when you think of it in regard to your salvation. Why should not the name of Christ the Anointed be as sufficient for the assembly as that of the Lord Jesus is for your individual salvation?
A. Well, it does seem a beautiful theory, but it seems to me, in practice, to be impossible; what could we do if we had no one to preach to us?
B. Why come together to break bread every first day of the week as the early Christians, whether a Paul was there or not (Acts 20:77And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight. (Acts 20:7)), and if no one uttered a word, except in silence, it would honour the Lord Jesus, who has given authority thus to come together,
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them (Matt. 18:2020For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them. (Matthew 18:20)).
Remember, what God wants is the adoring worship of your heart, which is almost unknown in a corporate sense in Christendom. That is His due, and, if you give Him His due, He will surely respond to your need, by sending the needed ministry at the right time.
A. But with whom then am I to worship? I don’t see clearly yet.
B. Because you don’t see that Christ and the assembly, His body, are one. That is why I have dwelt more on His person and His name, that you might see that He is the life and sufficiency of the assembly, His body, and that you might see that I am not speaking of a sect, or of anything outside Christ. But this, of course, limits me to worshiping only with those who are the members of His body, and only those are members of that body who have keen baptised by the Holy Ghost into it (see 1 Cor. 12:1212For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. (1 Corinthians 12:12)). They are members not of Presbyterians or Methodists, or of any other sect, but of the body of Christ.
A. But where do we see that body now? I own to being a member of the body of Christ; but that is invisible.
B. Its invisibility proves that the Church is in ruins, for, on the day of Pentecost, we read that all who repented, and were baptised, received the gift of the Holy Ghost, to the amount of three thousand souls, and they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, and in the fellowship and breaking of bread, and in prayers,
They were all together. A letter now addressed to the assembly of God at N. would go into the dead letter office.
A. But then if I owned the body of Christ as an existing thing, and that it was a visible assembly, it would separate me from all I love, and from many dear Christians; for, if that membership is the only membership, then all sectarian membership must be wrong.
B. It would separate you, dear brother, but you would have Christ with you even if you were alone, and you would be in a position whence you could truly love all the children of God, because you own that membership and the Holy Ghost as the only bond between Christians.
A. But did you not say, the other day, that all Christians were priests, and that we ought to worship owning that truth? How does that bear on the subject?
B. Yes, dear brother, all Christians are priests, and it is as priests we draw near to worship God. The priests were separated in the Jewish economy for the service of the Sanctuary; and their office was to offer the sacrifices on the altar, and to offer incense; a beautiful type of worship. See Ex. 28, 29, 1 Chron. 13:10, 1110And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzza, and he smote him, because he put his hand to the ark: and there he died before God. 11And David was displeased, because the Lord had made a breach upon Uzza: wherefore that place is called Perez-uzza to this day. (1 Chronicles 13:10‑11). In this dispensation all Christians are washed in Christ’s blood, and made kings and priests to God (Rev. 1:5, 65And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. (Revelation 1:5‑6); 1 Pet. 2:55Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:5)); and a true worship meeting should be composed of such worshippers, and their true attraction should be Christ the Great High Priest, who is set down on the right hand of the Majesty in Heaven (Heb. 8:11Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; (Hebrews 8:1)). The one man System of Christendom has destroyed this idea of a worship meeting. It is a going back more or less to Judaism, where the people were kept afar off, and only could approach God (who was hid behind a veil) by the priests.
A. Oh, but that is not true of Protestants; that is only true of Romanists.
B. Then why, dear brother, supposing the minister should not come, is there no service? Surely any sensible man would say that that congregation could not worship God without a minister. Is not this, after all, a modified form of the Roman system? Why should not the Christians be satisfied with Christ? And, besides, the majority of worshippers in the churches are composed of unconverted people who have not a purged conscience. They do not know whether their sins are forgiven.
A. What is a purged conscience?
B. Why, dear brother, that is one of the chief contrasts brought forward in Heb. 9, 10, between the worshippers of Judaism and those of Christianity. The sacrifices of Judaism could never make the comers thereunto perfect (Heb. 9:9-10; 10:19Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation. (Hebrews 9:9‑10)
1For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. (Hebrews 10:1)
). So, being imperfect themselves, they needed constant repetition and constant applications to the worshipper. But, now, the blood of Christ perfectly purges the conscience from dead works to worship the living God. Christ, having offered one sacrifice for sins, for ever sat down on the right hand of God; and that sacrifice applied to the conscience perfects it for ever (Heb. 9:13, 14; 10:12-1413For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: 14How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? (Hebrews 9:13‑14)
12But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; 13From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. 14For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12‑14)
). The Holy Ghost then testifies,
Your sins and iniquities will I remember no more {see Heb. 8:12, 10:17}.
A. But I always applied that text to those who talked to me about leaving my Church. I see now it has a totally different meaning. Oh, how blind we all are!
B. The Lord give to you, dear brother, to enjoy communion with blood- sprinkled worshippers, and to be content with the Great High Priest, the minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched and not man (Heb. 8:1-21Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; 2A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man. (Hebrews 8:1‑2)).