Distinctive


   One of the marks of the assembly in Philadelphia that the Lord commended was that they had “kept my word” (Rev. 3: 8). Note that it is not merely His words—but the Word as a whole. We would not have to go far to find professing Christians keeping some of the Lord’s words, but that is not the same as what is before us here. To keep His Word implies that we are governed by it all, and not just certain texts.

   Furthermore, not only should His Word govern all our ecclesiastical arrangements, but it should be the
only thing governing those arrangements. I press this, because I fear there is an increasing tendency to be influenced by trends in the so–called evangelical mainstream. It is a bit like Israel of old when they said “now appoint us a king to judge us, like all the nations” (1 Sam. 8: 5, my emphasis). They wanted to be like their neighbours. Thus things are introduced into the Christian assembly purely and simply because they are fashionable elsewhere. They may be minor things (even, in some eyes, harmless things), but we have not got them from the Word––and therein lies the danger. We have departed from the high and holy standard of being governed absolutely by the Scriptures.

   Nobody likes to be different and stand out from the crowd, but our business as a Christian company is not to strive to be like those around us, but to keep His Word. That, and that alone, must be the principle governing all our arrangements. It may be that others are keeping His Word, and so we will thus resemble them––but our similarity will be on account of the Word and not because of a misplaced desire for uniformity.

   In a day when the professing Church is rapidly giving up the Word of God, it is refreshing to find saints (however feeble) who stand out from the rest as those striving to keep His Word. As such, they are distinctive. It would be a very sad day if such exchanged that godly ideal for the infinitely lower aim of fitting in with the majority. “I come quickly: hold fast what thou hast, that no one take thy crown” (Rev. 3: 11).

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