What Denomination Do You Belong To?
One of the first things, I believe, which the renewed heart craves for is fellowship with God’s people. He finds himself no longer at home in the world, and naturally seeks ‘his own company’. Yet amidst all the names and divisions of disordered Christendom, a new-born soul may well enquire, ‘where shall I turn to be right?’ My answer is “to God, and to the word of his grace”, (Acts 20: 32). Whoever is wrong, God and His Word are right. Get that well grounded in your soul, and “Cease ye from man, whose breath is in his nostrils”, (Is. 2: 22).
A few years ago two Christians, hitherto strangers to each other, were travelling together on a train. After some conversation about the Lord and His interests, one of them leaned forward and said ‘May I ask what denomination you belong to?’ ‘Well that is a common enough question’ replied the other, ‘but will you first say what you think is to guide me in my path as a Christian’. He agreed at once that it was the Word of God alone that could with certainty direct him. ‘Then if you will allow me’, said his fellow traveller, ‘I will answer your question by proposing another; namely, ‘WHAT DENOMINATION DOES THE WORD OF GOD PUT ME INTO?’ After some silent deliberation the other said ‘Why none at all’. ‘Then I cannot belong to one at all’, replied the other, ‘for if I did (upon your own showing), I should clearly be in a position where the Word of God had not placed me’. ‘But’ replied the first speaker, ‘does not the Word of God exhort us not to forsake the assembling of ourselves together?’ (Heb. 10: 25). ‘Yes it does. But a Christian need not belong to a denomination to obey that word; for the Lord Jesus said, “where two or three are gathered together unto my name, there am I in the midst of them”, (Matt. 18: 20).
If you look at 2 John 6 you will find the elect lady exhorted thus “And this is love, that we should walk according to his commandments. This is the commandment, according as ye have heard from the beginning, that ye might walk in it”. Now John had seen the Lord in His wonderful life, had seen Him die upon the cross, was a witness of His resurrection, saw Him taken up into heaven, and was present on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came down from heaven to baptize believers into one body, thus forming the Church. He had also lived long enough to see evil come into the professing church. What then is the remedy he offers? Is it ‘Begin afresh with a new and purer sect with an improved constitution?’ Listen to his inspired reply: “This is the commandment, according as ye have heard from the beginning, that ye might walk in it”. The Holy Spirit thus makes it plain that the people of God are to be guided by the Word of God alone. He permits no innovations of man’s to trespass upon the sacred principle of God’s Word for the direction of His people, whatever their exercises may be, or whatever the day in which they live.
Now apply this principle today, and you must find yourself in one of two positions - either on God’s ground of gathering the disciples at the beginning, or on some ground that man, in his fancied wisdom or mistaken zeal, has set up since the beginning.