Scripture Queries and Answers: Persevering in the. . .; No Mention of the Jordan

 •  2 min. read  •  grade level: 10
Q.-Acts 2:4242And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. (Acts 2:42). Are we still responsible to “persevere in the teaching and fellowship of the apostles, in the breaking of the bread and the prayers”? How sadly loose the enclosed tract! LONDON.
A.-Assuredly. The Lord's name was the central object which by the Spirit gathered saints into unity, and became the standard to judge what was inconsistent in doctrine and ways. So the apostles taught; as the saints were called to walk in their fellowship. The breaking of the bread expressed it openly; and the prayers sought grace of the Lord in vigilance against everything that imperiled what was due to Him. Schisms wrought at Corinth from an early day; dissensions or disputes at Rome later. Alas! those internal workings of the flesh portended the “sects,” or outside factions, which the apostle told the Corinthians must also be where a contentious or an otherwise carnal will was unjudged (1 Cor. 11:18, 1918For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. 19For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. (1 Corinthians 11:18‑19), Gal. 5:2020Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, (Galatians 5:20)). To Titus (3:10) he gave authoritative instructions how to deal with the independency which refused to keep the unity of the Spirit: “after a first and second admonition have done with” such. There was no sense in putting out one who in self-sufficient in-subjection had gone out: “such a one is perverted, and sinneth, being self-condemned.”
There were of old persons among us who, never having adequately felt the ruin-state of the church, endeavored (perhaps unwittingly) to imitate the apostles in setting up elders, and in restoring the church. But this was rejected strongly by those who upheld the unity of the Spirit, as incumbent on the “two or three” wherever gathered to the Lord's name, in as thorough subjection to the word as when all stood in unbroken order and peace. It is false that any visible body was, or was sought to be, formed by learning better the duties of fellowship; or that acting together as “one” in a town, which scripture requires, led to manifest central authorities, which it rather helped to counteract, and is therefore distasteful to aspirants. Hence the effort of adversaries to brand the revealed truth or acting on it with the very evils which are their own.
Think too of the decency for one justly excluded from fellowship writing on “Fellowship”! and abusing persons, names, and their words to support the grievous laxity which they always abhorred Truly “the unjust knoweth no shame.” The tract is indeed deceitful claptrap, as opposed to truth as to holiness.
A.-The Epistle characteristically dwells on the actual walk through the desert (and so the tabernacle) rather than the land (save in prospect). Hence we have the Red Sea crossed, not the Jordan which would suit the line of truth in the Epistle to the Ephesians.