The Foundation of God and Its Affect on Fellowship

I wrote an article on my author site primarily concerning 2 Timothy 2:19 and what Paul describes as God’s “sure foundation.” It’s at http://www.paulfpavao.com/sure-foundation.html and it spills over into discussing with whom Christians should fellowship and with whom they should not.

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6 Responses to The Foundation of God and Its Affect on Fellowship

  1. paulfpavao says:

    Thanks, Evan. This sharpens my perspective. The prayer is somewhat frightening. We do need those things in the prayer. I think we can completely escape the shadows of the past, however. I assume there are cases that would take a miracle. A race car driver killed six people, most of them teenagers, when his car spun out at a car show in the town I lived in. I was a little surprised when they tried to prosecute him for the accident. The driver will surely be haunted for the rest of his life. Why would anyone need to add to his punishment?

    So there are exceptional incidents that I am sure cause lifelong pain, but for the most part we are supposed to be delivered from our evil conscience. How hard this is to do alone!

    In the prayer, when I read “I need Your hand to … ,” I don’t picture a giant hand from heaven, but the multiple hands that Jesus possesses on this earth. We can overcome everything mentioned in that prayer. We can live without regret. We can see our weaknesses grow less and less and less.

    Here in Memphis it can be hard to believe that there are places where it is exceptionally difficult, even seemingly impossible, to “pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” I don’t have to believe, however, I can just remember. I spent 3 years in one city, and the Lord allowed me to find perhaps 3 people who would do that with outside of scheduled church services. One fell away (or never really converted), one moved, and the other got too busy to have time for me.

    I am fortunate to be in a house church among people willing to give themselves to the pursuit of being like Jesus and doing his will. I am convinced that without them, I would be telling God that I am awaking each day with the same weaknesses, confessing sins that seem to be repeated and repeated and repeated in my life. In the church, God helps me to overcome those weaknesses, bringing me deeper and deeper into him, so I see just how many more weaknesses, how much overconfidence, how little understanding I have and how great his grace is to deliver me if I will keep my eyes focused on him.

    I continue to mourn that no one seems to like the idea that we should purge the leaven from the loaf that is the church, despite the fact that it is a command of God. The purpose of the gathering of God’s people is to move along the narrow path together and continually so that we have a light to shine and good works to show to those around us (Matt. 5:13-16). But we have turned our gatherings into outreach meetings, mixing the lost with the saved, converting many, then starving them because we don’t provide them with the food Jesus said to give them, the milk and then the meat of God’s words to make them healthy and strong so that they can reproduce themselves in others. We have had to replace that process with a program and a show because the workers are starving unless they diligently feed themselves.

    I should stop rambling there. May God grant you, Evan, to find a brother to be wholehearted with you, pursuing the righteousness that is from God, because even where two are gathered in his name, he will be there. He is all you need.

    • Evan says:

      Amen Paul – too bad we don’t live near each other! If you ever return to the birthplace of your father, look me up. 🙂

        • Jon says:

          I too desire such fellowship. I hope I can find a few such people (or convince those I already know of it’s importance) as I don’t think I’m going to get far without it and overcome my many struggles (be they sins or self-condemnation).

          • Evan says:

            I hear you Jon and can relate. I hope you are successful in likewise convincing others you know. My personal opinion is that because the notion of eternal security is so prevalent in the church these days, the need for discipleship and encouraging one another to fight the good fight and to finish the race becomes unheeded in the church. One only need utter the “sinners prayer” and since one is saved no matter what, then practically speaking, there is really no need to meet to edify or strengthen one another. However if our salvation is instead viewed as a process which requires sanctification, we are all rowing in the same boat and if one falters or falls out of the boat, then it is incumbent on us to help get our brother back in the boat and continue toward our common destination.

  2. Evan says:

    Hi Paul – good article you wrote. That is why I also think there is a dearth of discipleship in the church today where we have fellowship but no real or intentional discipleship. Since “grace covers all” and God loves us no matter what we do type teachings abound from the pulpit, there really is no reason to emphasize discipleship. The NT admonitions to edify/encourage one another; to persevere in the faith and overcome the flesh have become meaningless in today’s garment-stained church. I do not exclude myself from this indictment and would love to find a group of like-minded believers with whom we could mutually encourage one another in order to finish the race in obedience to the faith by God’s grace, but alas I know of no such group where I live. I love this prayer from prayersforthepeople.com as it expresses a contrite heart:
    Heavenly Father,
    I woke up with the same weaknesses as yesterday, the failures of my past still weigh. I want to be a stronger man and move out from the shadows of the past. Despite my attempts I keep coming back to apologize for my failings. I need strength O Lord! I need strength to resist the temptations of flesh and the shadows of the past. I need joy O Lord! I need joy to pierce the darkness and lift me from the pit. I need your hand O LORD! I need Your hand to pull me out of the past and to guide me in the present and through the future. I need you O LORD! I need You to save me again and to forgive me time and again. I love you Father and Your dear Son, Holy Spirit dwell within me and silence the fleshly man. Amen

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