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Friday, May 31, 2019

Reformation: the True Unity-Project (2019.05.31 Hopewell Herald Pastoral Letter)


Dear Congregation,

In Genesis 11:1-9, we saw that man’s plan was to be united in our own way, in one another’s presence, for our own praise. God broke that up, but not because He did not intend for us to be united.

At Pentecost, people of many different tongues heard preached, in their own language, the gospel of Jesus Christ. This continued to be a sign of the authentic preaching of the gospel until the John 16:12-15 promise was completed. And to this day, the Scriptures continue to be translated into every tongue on earth.

This is one reason that Bible translation was a direct outcome and primary focus of the Reformation. The Reformation was a unity project. Man-made religion had allowed for the illusion of unity, but it had fractured the church from the Lord, and any common ground came at the expense of having forged a unity that God hates. And so the Lord had judged that “church” with centuries of bitter rivalry, murder, and slavery to the most heinous sins.

When, in His mercy, the Spirit of God brought about the great Reformation of the 16th century, the most important unity enjoyed a restoration: the unity between Christ and His church. And this unity was something that God blessed so that, even across denominations and language barriers, the more believers aimed at being thoroughly biblical in every way, the more they were genuinely united with one another.

Today, we live in an age of fracture that urgently calls for a new commitment to the true unity of biblical Reformation. And, we have another heavenly opportunity to enjoy that unity on the coming Lord’s Day. For, it is then that congregations of nearly every tongue on earth will be worshiping with the same Scriptures to read and sing and pray and hear preached, enjoying the same sacraments as instituted and directed by the same Lord.

In fact, from all over the earth, those who worship as prescribed in Scriptures will be meeting at the heavenly Zion, with the angels in festal gathering, and the souls of the just made perfect—yea even with our Mediator whose blood, from the throne, speaks better than the blood of Abel (Hebrews 12:18-24)!

This is the true and great unity. OF COURSE the Nimrod-led, worldwide consortium could not actually build a tower whose top was in the heavens. But, we have a High Priest who has passed through the heavens (Hebrews 4:14-16). And He has sprinkled us clean with His blood for access and opened a new and living way for us to get through the veil—even that way which is His own flesh (Hebrews 10:19-22).

In the weekly Lord’s Day assemblies, there is a unity of heaven and earth that bridges all divisions of tongues. And if we value Christ, and His flesh and blood, in a biblical way, then we will not forsake the assembling of ourselves together (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Isn’t it wonderful? The Lord’s Day assembly offers a unique opportunity to be united with the congregation in Heaven—while worshiping in 21st century American English!

Looking forward to enjoying this unity with you,

Pastor

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