Life in the Christian Community

KEY VERSE: “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.” —Matthew 18:20

SELECTED SCRIPTURE: Matthew 18:10-22

JESUS knew that his followers would be few in number, and scattered throughout the world. While there have been a few congregations in the early and latter ends of the age which have numbered into the hundreds, for the most part classes have been small, with many two’s and three’s. As the end of the Gospel Age draws nearer, concurrently the classes seem to be getting smaller, and this we should expect. But our Lord, is no less interested in the two’s and three’s, and in many cases, only one, as he is with classes that number thirty, forty, or larger. Our text assures us of this fact.

The faculty of infinite presence is one which the Bible tells us is possessed by God as a divine being. The Prophet Zechariah speaks of the “eyes of the Lord which run to and fro through the whole earth.” (Zech 4:10) There, the work of this age, the gathering of his church, the two’s and three’s, is considered by the worldly observer as a “day of small things.” (Zech. 4:10) But to God it is the work of his ultimate creation—his divine creation—which he personally is overseeing.

In the first chapter of Revelation, our resurrected Lord Jesus, through the Holy Spirit’s power, is also shown as having the unique ability to be present with his disciples. The entire church throughout this age is pictured as seven candlesticks, and our Lord, depicted in a role of an all-powerful agent of Jehovah, accomplishing his work, is shown “in the midst of the candlesticks.” (Rev. 1:12-16) One of the last things Jesus said to his disciples was, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world [age].” (Matt. 28:20) How comforting to know that such great personal care is taken for the welfare of each of the Lord’s little ones—that he whose eye is on the sparrow, also watches over us!

Much of the Lord’s providence and care comes to us through our association with his people, as our text implies. And for that reason, even when there are only two, it is important to gather together.

One of the great joys—as well as needs—of the Christian is to assemble with others for mutual encouragement and study of the Lord’s Word. The apostle urges that we do not neglect this privilege, “not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together.” (Heb. 10:25) Of particular concern to us in this end of the age is Paul’s further admonition, “and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.” He is referring to the day of Christ’s kingdom, and there is every reason now to believe that that day is indeed drawing near.

As all about us the institutions of the world are breaking down, and men’s efforts are failing on every hand, the only solution to all the complicated problems in the world today, is the establishment of Christ’s kingdom. How important it is, then, that we learn all we can about that kingdom and our relationship to it! The hope of the true Christian is to live and reign with Christ in his kingdom. The realization of that hope depends upon our loyalty to the Lord’s will as it is outlined in the Scriptures. Should we not, then, as the apostle suggests, study to show ourselves approved unto God?—II Tim. 2:15

This is a wonderful time in which to be living, but it is also a very trying time. Men and women everywhere are losing their faith in God and in his Word. The reason for this is their lack of understanding concerning what the Bible teaches. Never before has the Christian needed more the protection for his faith which is afforded by the knowledge of the truth; hence the importance of meeting with others for the study of the Word, if that is at all possible. We need to study the Bible as individuals, and our blessings are increased when we can study together with others of “like precious faith”—II Pet. 1:1

Our fellowship, therefore, consists of the mutual discussion of the glorious truths of the Bible, its reassuring promises to those who are walking in the narrow way, and our participation in the service of the Lord. Ours is truly a marvelous fellowship—a fellowship of kindred minds which is like to that above—because Jesus has promised to be there!

Dawn Bible Students Association
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