Art Thou A Christian? The Call Is Not To Change The World But To Come Out Of It - Can You Hear It?

NT Greek for "church" - ekklesia (ek-klay-see'-ah); a calling out.
A mini study:
God's Call out of the Earth

J. G. Bellett (1795-1864); Highly regarded among the 'Plymouth Brethern' of his day, his teaching continues to stand the test of time. This little study on the true calling and position of the body of Christ in relation to this world being an excellent example:
In the midst of the increased and still growing corruption of the whole scene around us, and of the threatened dissolving of all things, it is much laid upon the mind to consider with simplicity and clearness the character of our calling.
The call of God out of the earth, and God's assertion of title to the earth, are things that greatly differ, and should be morally and practically distinguished by the saints.

The call of God proceeds on the principle that God Himself is outside the earth, and that He is not seeking it, but seeking a people to be His in His place outside and above it [John 17:16; Eph. 2:6]. The earth, therefore, by this call, is left just as it was. For it is a stranger to the purpose of God.

This call of God out of the earth was exhibited in the family of Seth, before the flood. Cain's house was in possession of the earth, and Seth does not interfere with them. Not at all. All he and his generation have to do with the earth is to call on the name of the Lord while they are on it - (Gen. 4:26), not to engrave, like Cain, their own name there - (Gen. 4: 17), and then to lay their dead bodies in it.
So was it exhibited afterwards in Abraham. He is called of God. But such call leaves the Canaanites without a rival. He does not contend with the potsherds of the earth. He does not dispute their right as lords of the soil. He desires only to pitch his wandering tent upon the face of it, or to lay his bones in the bowels of it [Hebrews 11:8,9].
And so the Church or heavenly family of this dispensation. Their call leaves the Gentiles in power. The Church has nothing to say to "the powers that be," but either to obey unreluctantly, or to suffer patiently, according as the demand made by the powers be such or not as involves their subjection to Christ.
This determines at once our duties. We render to the powers ordained of God their dues, without in any wise seeking to disturb them, knowing also that even if they behave themselves unrighteously, we are not constituted their judges.
But the character of our service is likewise determined by this call of God. Service to God is wanting in its true character, if it does not intimate that He is not now re-asserting His title to the earth; or, in other words, our service to Christ must be to Him as the rejected Christ. For He is such an One all the time He remains in the "far country." The, cry has followed Him there from the earth, "We will not have this man to reign over us" (Luke 19:14). And is that cry to be answered by the servants who occupy their talents during His absence? (Luke 19:13; cf. 12-27) Surely not. They serve Him in the patient sense of His rejection all the time, and "they are not ashamed of his chain." [2Tim. 1:16]
In like manner, moreover, this determines what our habits should be. Our habits should tell that the earth is not our place, as our services should tell that it is not our Lord's place.
This affords a holy and serious admonition to our souls.
Our call does not connect us with the earth. Our necessities do so, it is true. We need the fruit of the ground, the toil of the hand, and the skill of the heart, to provide things needful for the body. Our necessities, thus, connect us with the earth, and we may attend to it for the supply of such necessities. But our call does not connect us with it, but rather separates us from it.
To link the Church and the earth is acting at once on apostate principles. To aim at changing the character or condition of Christ in the world, or to serve Him save as the rejected One, is not service rendered in spiritual discernment.
These things we may know well and admit easily. But if we refuse to link the Church with the world, are we daily watching to refuse to link the heart with it, the hopes with it, the calculation of the mind with it? If it be easy to see the Church now on the eve of losing the world, and to see this without regret, is it alike easy to see our interests losing it, our name and distinction losing it? Such an one was Paul. He would not reign as a king yet; but he had learnt how to have and how to want, how to abound and how to suffer need.
In God's dealing by Israel, there was an assertion of title to the earth. Joshua went into "the possession of the Gentiles" [Acts 7:45] and took with him "the ark of the Lord of all the earth" [Joshua 3:11], that his sword might make it the possession of the Lord and His people. But Paul went into the possessions of Jews and Gentiles, not to disturb their tenure of anything there, but to take out of them a people unto God, to link souls with the disallowed Stone, and to teach them that their blessings were spiritual and heavenly [Eph. 1:3]. So, according to the Lord's teaching. See the two parables in Luke 19:12-27, 20:9-19.
In settling Israel, the Lord gave them a vineyard, a portion of the earth, and told them to till it for Him, rendering Him dues as the Lord of the soil. In settling the saints of this age, He gave them talents, such gifts and opportunities of service as were suited to the fact of His absence and rejection by the world, having no estate or kingdom here till He should return.
Practically to forget such distinctions, or to act on the principle that the Church is God's instrument for asserting His claim to the earth, is apostacy from her calling of God. In His ministry the Lord was judging Satan, but refusing to judge the sinner. And, according to this, at the end of His ministry, He tells Peter to put up the sword, and Pilate, that His servants could not fight.

The way of His saints is to be according to all this. They are to judge morally or spiritually (i.e., defilements within themselves), but not contend about the interests of the world. The apostle condemns them for not doing the one and for doing the other (see 1 Cor. 5-6), with this difference however — their duty in the first matter is peremptory (1 Cor. 5), their way in the second is left more and more to their measure of grace (1 Cor. 6). And according to this also the apostle tells us that our weapons are not carnal but spiritual, our warfare not with flesh and blood, but with spiritual wickedness (2 Cor. 10:3-4; Eph. 6:12). We are really or spiritually defeated, when we fight carnally: for the devil has raised in us that temper which has sent us forth to the carnal fight.
1 Peter 2:9 'But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light'

No comments :