What If


What If . . .?

 

What if Believers Chose to Obey God’s Word?

 

Richard Hollerman

 

Imagine with me what it would be like
if we were determined to place our faith in Jesus Christ and take God’s Word seriously. What if . . . ?

 

Use your Imagination

 

Often in our day the imagination is employed in an unholy and evil way to fantasize worldly activities and relationships. Instead, I encourage you to come with me as we imagine what it would be like if we became “seekers” of truth ourselves as well as “seekers” of those others who valued truth more than life and were determined to walk in it, regardless of consequences.

 

Imagine with me what it would be like to search for God’s true people on earth. What would you look for?  What identifying marks would you bear in mind in your spiritual quest?  What characteristics would be important for us in this Biblical pursuit of truth and authentic Christianity? What Biblical traits would you seek?

 

Let us use God’s Word—the only real source of truth (John 17:17)—and imagine finding true saints and genuine believers in this world.  Just what would you look for as you compared the Bible with what you find? Let’s just envision, “What if. . . ?”

 

What If . . .?

 

Do you ever allow your mind to ask the “What if” question?  “What if” I move to California?  “What if” I marry Barbara?  “What if” I study computers?  “What if” I plant corn in the field in the springtime?  Asking this question in various situations of life can be helpful and enlightening. It can also be disconcerting!

 

If you are a sincere Christian, one who has been truly born of God through the Holy Spirit, then you surely want to please God.  Paul says that we “have as our ambition . . . to be pleasing to Him” (2 Corinthians 5:9).  We are to seek “to learn what is pleasing to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:10).  Therefore, our earnest desire is to order our life in a way that will please our God.

 

What would happen if we, who are true believers, would choose to make some drastic changes in our life, leave our comfortable way of living, and ask what God would want in our relationship to other brothers and sisters in God’s family?  We know that Christians are all “one body in Christ” and “individually members one of another” (Romans 12:5).  This means that we will find our identity in relation to other members in the Lord’s body.  What would it be like if we took seriously what God wants in this body of believers, regardless of the cost and regardless of consequences?  Let’s ask this question and see what God’s Word says about it.

 

What if scattered Christians decided to take God seriously?

 

Professing Christians often are content to accept whatever they have been taught and fail to realize that their whole life is to be lived for the Lord Jesus Christ.  Paul says, “Not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord” (Romans 14:7-8).  If there is a God (and there is), if He has redeemed us (and if we are truly saved, He has), then we should be determined to take the matter of living very seriously, since we will only live on earth once. We should have the attitude of Paul the apostle, “. . . to live is Christ . . . . Christ is our life” (Philippians 1:21; Colossians 3:4).

 

What if these Christians decided to take God’s Word seriously as their guide?

 

Do you just read the Bible to do your duty, to get answers for your Bible class, or to feel good about your life?  God’s Word is much more relevant than this.  God’s Word has been given to us to feed our soul (Hebrews 5:12-14), to make us wise to salvation (2 Timothy 3:15), to guide our life (Psalm 119:105), to be the content of our belief (Acts 17:11), and to make us mature in obedience (2 Timothy 3:16-17).  The corporate life of a body of believers is to be entirely ordered by God’s instructions in His divine Word.

 

What if these believers chose to be separated from the world?

 

One of the chief characteristics of believers is their determination to walk a different walk, to be different from the world around them.  Paul declares that we are not to be “conformed to this world,” but to be “transformed” by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2).  In fact, Christ has rescued us from this present “evil age” (Galatians 1:4) and the world has been “crucified” to us (6:14).  James also says that we keep ourselves “unstained by the world” for “friendship with the world is hostility toward God” (James 1:27; 4:4).  Peter likewise says that if we have been truly saved, we have “escaped the defilements of the world” and the “corruption that is in the world by lust” (2 Peter 2:20; 1:4).

 

Even religious people around us seem to not understand this basic element of Christ’s way!  Yet John commands, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world.  If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15-17).  This means that if one loves the world, he proves by this that he doesn’t really love God—regardless of how much he sings about this love and affirms it.  John tells us that this is inconsistent, and if we fail to obey God in this, it shows that we are a liar (vv. 3-6).

 

What if these saints decided to merely be content with Biblical terms?

 

We realize that 99 percent of professing Christians have a hard time understanding that they are to be “undenominational” and cast off all denominational, sectarian, and unscriptural terms.  Why is it wrong to simply call ourselves Christians (Acts 11:26), disciples (or followers) of Christ (Acts 9:1, 10, 19, 26), saints (separated ones) (Acts 9:13, 32, 41), believers (Acts 5:14), children of God (1 John 3:1), or brothers and sisters in God’s family (Acts 9:30; James 2:15)?  This is what the early believers were called.

 

They were called the body of Christ (Romans 12:5), the family or household of God (Ephesians 2:19), or the assembly or congregation of God (Romans 16:16; 1 Corinthians 1:2).  They were not part of a sect, a denomination, an organization, an institution, or a cult. They were simply people who belonged to the “way” (Acts 9:2).  True Christians today also discard names based on human leaders or founders—such as Martin Luther (Lutherans), John Calvin (Calvinists), John Wesley (Wesleyans), Menno Simons (Mennonites), and others.  They renounce human names based on methods, polity, doctrine, or organization as well (Methodists, Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Baptists, Pentecostals, Charismatics, and others).

 

What if these disciples determined to be godly in their occupations and professions?

 

Our chosen occupation or profession is very important to our life, consuming perhaps forty or fifty years of our lifetime.  Most people work about forty hours a week, for about fifty weeks a year.  We may train for a job for twelve, or sixteen, or more years of our life, and spend $10,000 to $150,000 in education.  It is essential that we hold down a job to earn an income for ourselves and our family, as well as providing income to bless the lives of others (1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; Ephesians 4:28; 1 Timothy 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 3:6-15).

 

Yet we know that not all means of income are honorable and pleasing to God.  Many professions or occupations violate basic Scriptural principles.  Any job that requires stealing (Ephesians 4:28), dishonesty (4:25), unwholesome speech (v. 29), dealing with immoral sexuality (5:3-5), wrong family relationships or activities (vv. 22-33), or other wrongful activities must be renounced for the sake of Jesus (Matthew 9:9; Mark 10:28-30; Acts 8:9-13; 16:16-19).  This means that followers of the Lord must repent and renounce wrong and questionable occupations, such as military positions, making and selling immodest clothes, marketing tobacco and alcohol, selling compromising products like TVs and video games and videos, teaching evolution, promoting sports products, selling junk foods, and hundreds of other positions and activities. Indeed, the people of God will live differently from their unbelieving friends and neighbors.

 

What if these brothers and sisters were committed to godly marriages?

 

We know that not all people are called of God to be married. In fact, there are millions of single men and women who are committed to celibacy.  If any true Christian is unmarried (whether never married, divorced, or widowed), he will order his life in a self-disciplined and godly way, free from all sexual relationships and devoted to the will of God (cf. 1 Corinthians 7:7-9, 32-35, 39-40; Matthew 19:10-12).

 

Generally speaking, brothers and sisters in Christ will be married. They are determined to have marriages where God is the Ruler and Jesus Christ is the Lord.  They are committed to marriages in which the husband is the servant leader, wise head, and unselfish guide, and in which the wife is the supportive, respectful, and submissive partner ( Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:4-5; 1 Peter 3:1-7).  The majority of marriages in our day either end in divorce, separation, or simply strife and unhappiness.  True believers will be known for their loving, godly, Christ-centered relationships.

 

Granted, we realize that one married partner may follow Jesus while the other one is not at all interested or may actively oppose the way of Christ (cf. 1 Peter 3:1; 1 Corinthians 7:12-16; 2 Corinthians 6:14-17).  Jesus warned that marital and family division would be a common experience among His followers (cf. Matthew 10:21, 34-38; Mark 13:12; Luke 12:51-53; 14:26; 21:16-17).  In such a case, a true believer may need to endure a less-than-perfect marriage or may even be divorced by the unbelieving spouse (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).  Yet this is not at all the goal; it is the outcome of following the Lord in an uncompromising manner.

 

But what if those who were “living with” a person of the opposite gender were to depart and live in absolute celibacy? What if those who have compromised their virginity were to begin to live pure lives? What if those who were living in adultery were to depart from illegitimate mates and begin to live in pure singleness? This is just what the Lord would want!

 

What if these Christians were committed to godly child-raising?

 

Children in typical families today are disrespectful, selfish, disobedient, dishonest, and worldly.  In former generations, there was a degree of respect and submission, but this hardly exists anymore.  This must have been the case in the pagan Gentile world of the first century.  Paul points out that they were “disobedient to parents” (Romans 1:30; cf. 2 Timothy 3:2) but children in Christian families are to obey and honor their father and mother (Ephesians 6:1-3; Colossians 3:20).  Parents are to train their children “in the discipline and instruction of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4; cf. Colossians 3:21), and are to teach them the Word of God so that they may come to faith in Christ (2 Timothy 3:15-17; cf. 1:5; Deuteronomy 6:5-6).

 

Part of this child-training and godly teaching will be manifested in the schooling choices that Christian parents will make.  They will carefully keep their sons and daughters from the secular, humanistic, worldly, and ungodly education that the state-sponsored schools provide (as well as much that comes in private schools), and will provide a truly Biblical-based and Christ-honoring education either at home or in a school sponsored by holy and separated Christians.  Families have been fractured and children led astray through worldly educational choices and worldly playmates and friends (cf. Proverbs 13:20; 1 Corinthians 15:33). We must avoid such alliances (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

 

What if these believers had the power and inclination to truly love each other?

 

We know that genuine love is the fruit of the Spirit’s work in our life (Galatians 5:22-23).  The Lord Jesus said that this self-giving love would be the hallmark of His followers.  Jesus declared, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.  By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:34-35).  So unique and all-encompassing is this love that the Lord said, “This is My commandment, that you love one another, just as I have loved you” (John 15:12).

 

This means that brothers and sisters should have a sacrificial, self-giving love for other members of God’s family.  Peter says that those who have been born again have purified their souls, “for a sincere love of the brethren,” thus he says, “Fervently love one another from the heart” (1 Peter 1:22; cf. 4:8).  John writes much about this love in the letter of 1 John: “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.  The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love” (4:7-8).

 

Can it be said that most church members have this dimension of life?  This is a love that is willing to sacrifice on behalf of the beloved: “We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” (3:16).  We may not need to sacrifice our physical life in death for a brother or sister, but are we willing “through love serve one another” (Galatians 5:13)?  Do we use our time, our money, our possessions, and our prayers to show love for other members of the body of Christ?

 

What if these saints chose to have authentic “one another” relationships with each other?

 

Typically, church or denominational members see each other on Sunday mornings.  Sometimes the particularly devoted members see each other Sunday nights and perhaps even Wednesday nights for Bible study or prayer meeting.  Occasionally, some members belong to a “church” ball team or lady’s club of some sort.  But all of this is superficial at best and worldly at worst.  What if a fellowship of devoted Christians were determined to really practice deep and intimate relationships with each other?

 

The Scriptures are not silent on this.  Again and again, the New Testament writers urge us to “be devoted to one another in brotherly love” and “be of the same mind toward one another” (Romans 12:10, 16).  We are to pursue the “building up of one another” and “accept one another” and “admonish one another” (Romans 14:19; 15:7, 14).  We are to “have the same care for one another” and “encourage one another day after day” (1 Corinthians 12:25; Hebrews 3:13).  We are to show “forbearance to one another in life,” “be kind to one another,” and forgive “each other” (Ephesians 4:2, 32).

 

Many other “one another” or “each other” passages are found in Scripture but these show the deep relationship that should exist in the body of Christ.  Instead of solitary individuals, God wants His people to interact with each other as members of the same body and children in the same family, relating to “one another” in genuine and authentic relationships (cf. Romans 12:3-8, 9-21; 1 John 3:1-2, 11-18).

 

What if these disciples renounced institutional religion to be part of a living organism of God? 

 

Many religious church people can only think in terms of institutional religion.  They conceive of Christianity consisting of formal organized denominations, with ecclesiastical officers, church boards, and everything else that characterizes a religious organization.  They seem to have no conception of the simplicity that God wants in his spiritual family on the earth, yet it is plainly described on the pages of the New Testament.

 

What if truly saved people determined to be living members of God’s household, brothers and sisters in God’s family, and intimate parts of Christ’s body?  What if they chose to relate to each other as children of the same Father in heaven, citizens of the same spiritual kingdom, members of the same counter-cultural community?  In other words, what if they determined to be just what the early Christians were?

 

This fellowship of Christians are often described in Scripture: “You are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household . . . . you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit” (Ephesians 2:19, 22).  “We are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (4:15-16).

 

What if these saints were personally involved rather than relying on professional clerics to do everything?

 

What if they determined to not be spectators, but full participants in the body of Christ?  We refer to both public and private participation and involvement. Modern “high church” churchianity is characterized by members who “go to church” and become “spectators” who watch the professional clergy perform religious rituals, recite religious liturgy, and parade in religious robes and clerical vestments to carry on churchly ceremonies.  Even in the looser Protestant world, most people think in terms of paid professionals leading and doing while common people come and watch and be entertained.

 

What if these believers of which we have been speaking chose to fully exercise their gifts in an active manner and become fully functional members of the body of Christ?  This is just what the New Testament envisions for God’s family.  Let Paul speak: “Just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” (Romans 12:4-5).  The apostle then mentions some of the gifts given to individual members in the first century community, such as prophecy, service, teaching, exhortation, giving, leading, and mercy (vv. 6-8).  Other gifts are mentioned elsewhere (cf. 1 Peter 4:10-11; Ephesians 4:11ff; 1 Corinthians 12:4-12, 28-30).

 

Perhaps not all of these gifts are available at a particular place, time or era—but the point is that each Christian can do something. Paul explains that “the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:16). Notice that “each individual part” is involved.  Each saint is a participant in the body and not merely a spectator who watches others do what they do.

 

What if these Christians began to actively share the good news of Christ to others?

 

Instead of wanting others to be involved in evangelism (meaning sharing the “good news of Christ”), what if these disciples began to take personal responsibility to share the gospel of Jesus to their family, their relatives, their neighbors, and their friends?  What if they were so grateful to God for their own liberation from sin and the free gift of eternal life that they wanted to proclaim God’s grace and love openly to others that they also may experience the same spiritual blessings?  And what would happen if they made this sharing a part of their daily lives, realizing that this is a chief reason why God wants them to remain on earth right now?

 

Jesus the Lord made it clear that His disciples were to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation” (Mark 16:15).  In other words, they were to proclaim the good news to one and all—to as many as could hear, see, or read.  In another place, Jesus said that “repentance for forgiveness of sins” would be “proclaimed in His name to all the nations” (Luke 24:47).

 

The fullest account of Christ’s commission is found in Matthew 28:19-20: “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”  We are to communicate the message about Christ, bring people to repentance, urge them to faith, baptize (immerse) them into the name of the Father, Son, and Spirit, and then teach them to obey “all things” that Jesus taught. What if there were true disciples who took Jesus’ words here seriously!

 

What if these Christians were prepared to suffer for the Lord Jesus?

 

People in many parts of the world know very little of actual persecution for Christ, as exists in China, Vietnam, North Korea, and various Islamic lands.  Actually, very few countries are really free from some form of persecution.  In all parts of the world, living an uncompromising life for Jesus will result in at least some suffering.  Jesus warned of this suffering (cf. Matthew 5:10-12; 10:16-36; 24:9-13; Luke 12:51-53; 21:12-19).  He plainly said, “In the world you have tribulation” (John 16:33).  When the early Christians were persecuted, they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for Jesus (Acts 5:41).  Paul the apostle told new believers, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Acts 14:22).  He also wrote to Timothy, “All who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2 Timothy 3:12).

 

What if children of God today were prepared and determined to endure through trials that come because of Jesus?  What if they determined to put Jesus first on the job, knowing that some employers will not tolerate this and they will be dismissed?  What if married saints determined to follow Jesus fully, knowing that a spouse may depart from the marriage because of this commitment?  What if children would leave home because they willfully chose to follow the ways of the world than to live a restricted life in the Christian family?  What if believers experienced financial and material loss because they chose to give up a high-priced home and give the money to the Lord and His work?  Along with this, what if fellow brothers and sisters would support the Christian when he did suffer persecution and tribulation for Christ’s sake?  This is just what the early believers did (cf. Acts 2:44-46; 4:32-35; Hebrews 10:32-36; 13:1-3). Should we do any less?

 

What if these believers were filled with the Spirit and manifested the fruit of righteousness?

 

The early believers were given the gift of the Holy Spirit when they repented of their sins and were baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins (Acts 2:38-39).  When they obeyed the Lord, they were given the Holy Spirit of promise (5:32). They were “sealed” in Christ “with the Holy Spirit of promise” when they believed (cf. Ephesians 1:13).  This is why we read of the early believers in this way: “The Disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (13:52).  Paul the apostle told his readers that they were to be “filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 3:18).  This Spirit would strengthen them inwardly (3:16), enable them to “serve in newness of the Spirit” (Romans 7:6), and enable them to put to death the deeds of the body (8:13).  The Holy Spirit would also enable these early Spirit-filled believers to produce “fruit” or character qualities that revealed the Spirit’s work in their life (Galatians 5:16, 18, 22-24).

 

But what if true Christians today were so committed to Jesus and so open to the Spirit’s work in their life that they were filled with the Sprit and produced His life-transforming character qualities?  What if they were empowered with the Spirit to crucify the flesh, overcome sin, and live in victory over the enemy of their soul?  Wouldn’t this transform their life and make a powerful impact on unbelievers?

 

What if these disciples were organized after the New Testament order?

 

Most churches today give little interest in the New Testament order.  They have presidents, bishops, arch-bishops, general overseers, presiding elders, rectors, pastors, and other functionaries.  They are organized into synods, conferences, and denominations.  Congregations are governed by a board of elders, a group of stewards, a board of deacons, a pastor, a minister, a priest, a senior pastor, or a church council.  All of this is far removed from the pattern reflected in the new covenant writings, which we know as the New Testament. All of this constitutes the trappings of an institution or religious organization.

 

What if disciples were to sweep all of this organization away and throw out all of the unscriptural leaders that man has created?  What if they decided to simply gather together into local communities, congregations, or assemblies—nothing more and nothing less?  What if they refused to allow anything more than what is revealed on the pages of God’s Word—such as elders (Acts 14:23; 20:17), known as overseers or shepherds (Acts 20:28; 1 Timothy 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9; Ephesians 4:11; 1 Peter 5:1-3), along with servants or deacons (Philippians 1:1; 1 Timothy 3:8-13), and evangelists (Ephesians 4:11; 2 Timothy 4:5; Acts 21:8), teachers (Acts 13:1; Ephesians 4:11), and other functionaries?  What if they saw every brother and sister as equal before God (Matthew 23:8; Galatians 3:28), yet women were silent in the assemblies (1 Timothy 2:8, 11-12; 1 Corinthians 14:33-37)? Wouldn’t this contrast open the eyes of the honest-hearted seekers of truth and reality?

 

What if these Christians chose to literally obey the teachings of the Lord found in Scripture?

 

There is much talk in the religious world about following Jesus, but very little interest in taking the teachings of Christ seriously.  It is common to call Jesus “Lord” with the mouth, but Jesus asked, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46).  Christ said that our obedience to Him is proof and evidence that we love Him (John 14:21, 23), and disobedience is evidence that we don’t really love Him (v. 24).  Jesus declared, “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments” (v. 15).  John said the same: “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (1 John 5:3; cf. 2 John 6).

 

What would it be like if these Christians actually took God’s will and Christ’s commands seriously in all they did—personally and corporately?  Let us not forget Christ’s final commission to His followers, that they should go into all the world and make disciples of all the nations, through calling on people to believe the good news and repent of their sins, then be baptized into Christ.  But He went on by saying, “. . . teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Matthew 28:20).  What if true believers actually did “observe” all that Jesus commanded?  What changes would occur in their life and what differences would we see in the life of those who come to Christ?

 

This is a key to identifying those who belong to the Lord: obedience.  John explains this well: “By this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments” (1 John 2:3). He went on to clarify further: “The one who says, ‘I have come to know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him: the one who says he abides in Him, ought Himself to walk in the same manner as He walked” (vv. 4-6). The apostle says that we must keep Christ’s commands, obey His words, and walk as He walked to demonstrate our love and devotion to Him.

 

What if these believers were willing to obey the unpopular and neglected commands that Jesus taught?

 

Suppose that these disciples actually carried out many of the aspects of God’s Word that other people generally overlook?  What if they decided to love their neighbor as themselves (Mark 12:21), and even chose to love their enemies (Matthew 5:43-44)?  What would happen if they heeded Jesus command: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28)?  What would happen if they were to “hate” their own life (Luke 14:26), carry their cross of suffering (v. 27), and give up all they had for Jesus (v. 33)?  What would happen if they refused to lust for another (Matthew 5:27-28), did not divorce (vv. 31-32), did not swear oaths (vv. 33-37), did not resist evil ones (vv. 38-48), did not give, pray, or fast hypocritically or ostentatiously (6:1-18), forgave others (vv. 12, 14-15), and refused to lay up treasure on earth but chose to lay up treasure in heaven (6:19-32), and began to seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness (v. 33)?

 

What if these Christians presented their bodies to God (Romans 12:1), abhorred what is evil and loved what is good (v. 9), were devoted to one another and give preference to each other (v. 10)?  What if they were fervent in spirit as they served the Lord (v. 11), were devoted to prayer (v. 12), blessed those who persecuted them (v. 14), rejoiced with those who rejoice and wept with those who wept (v. 15), did not retaliate (vv. 17-19), and were not overcome by evil but overcame evil with good (vv. 20-21)?  What if they took all of the other teachings of the apostles seriously, even those that others tend to overlook or “explain away,” and diligently applied God’s Word to their daily lives?  What impact would this make on their own life and the lives of others?

 

What if YOU and I Chose to Live Like This?

 

We have been imagining what it would be like if true Christians were willing to actually carry out the will of God as found in the New Testament (the “new covenant” writings).  But let this not be just speculation; let it be a challenge to you and to me to be among those who choose to be what we have been imagining and do what we have suggested.  Let this not be just an exercise of the mind; let it be a commitment of heart to believe and obey the will of the Lord as found on these pages.

 

We have not spoken to many different areas of truth because we did not have the space to cover all.  Let this be an exercise for you!  Place the Word of God before you, pay for understanding, and then study what God through the Holy Spirit has inspired for you to know (2 Timothy 3:15-17).  We need to be like the boy Samuel who said to God, “Speak, for Your servant is listening” (1 Samuel 3:10).  While God may not audibly speak to us as He spoke to Samuel, God does “speak” to us through His inspired written Word, the Bible.  We need to receive the word with “great eagerness” and “examine the Scriptures daily” (cf. Acts 17:11).  We need to know what God is saying in His written Word, we need to believe it, then we need to obey it in our personal life.

 

More than this, we need to diligently and earnestly pray for God to reveal other like-minded people to us that we might walk the narrow way of life together (Matthew 7:13-14).  In this day of unbelief and apostasy, we know that many sincere souls need to walk alone; but this must never been seen as God’s ideal will.  He normally wants true Christians to walk together along this earthly journey.  This booklet has been based on this heart of God for His people.  “What If. . . ?” is based on the supposition that devoted saints are able to take God’s Word in their hands and believe it in their hearts and then apply it as they walk together.

 

Much of the New Testament is meant to be applied in a corporate setting.  The “one another” passages testify to this emphasis.  Although many of God’s remnant people are scattered around the earth, if at all possible, they should be joined together, meeting together and serving the Lord daily together.  In a practical way, they should frequently worship together (Hebrews 10:24-25), pray together (Acts 4:23-24), and eat together (Acts 2:46).  They should have frequent, and sometimes daily, contact and communication (cf. Acts 2:42-47; Hebrews 3:13).  They should help each other, serve each other, bless each other, pray for each other, rejoice with each other, weep with each other, and glorify God together.

 

Will you take this challenge to be something different from the religious world around us?  First, we encourage you to make sure of your own salvation.  Most religious people and church members have not been genuinely saved from sin, thus they are not born again as children of God (John 3:3-7; 1 John 3:1-2).  Most are not walking in obedience and holiness, apart from which no one can be with God (Hebrews 12:14).  Most are going through the motions of religious activity, worship, and church activity.  I challenge you—and I challenge myself—to dare to be what God surely wants us to be.  Will you walk on the narrow way that leads to life, along with any other truly saved people you may know?  “O magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt His name together” (Psalm 34:3).

 

 

 

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