Members in Isolation
It is a simple, well-known, and time worn illustration… but the clear Biblical truth it should bring to our minds is just as strong, relevant, and unflinching as ever. It is, in fact, a truth made even more scary in light of the current pandemic… You’re sitting around a campfire and someone takes a stick and separates one of the red-hot, glowing embers, from the group of similarly on-fire embers surrounding it; subsequently removing it to a place in the sand all by itself. What happens? You can watch as the lone ember quickly loses its fire and goes out, becoming nothing more than just another burnt-out element of the deepening darkness all around it. It is only if it is relocated back into the presence of it’s other on-fire and still light-giving counterparts – before it goes totally out – that it is able to regain any semblance of its former fire and light-giving glow. (Isn’t it interesting that all you have to add to the word “embers,” is an “m,” in order to get “members…?”)
Are you isolated members?
The same is true for separated Christians. This is why personal, face-to-face, spiritually intimate fellowship with one another is, and always has been, one of the four, foundational, and all-consuming pillars of the Lord’s church (Acts 2:42). Such fellowship is vital both to and for everyone, from the very first moment they repent and are baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of their sins and are thus added to the Lord’s church (Acts 2:38-47). This is why the Apostle Paul additionally and repeatedly emphasized that same Biblical truth with the illustration of how the members of the body of Christ need to constantly be, pull, work, worship, and fellowship together, just the same as all of the individual parts and members of a human body must do for the ongoing benefit of not only the entire body,but for the benefit of each and every one of its individual parts or members as well (Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 12:12-27; Eph. 4:11-16). This is also why we need to be made so intrinsically aware of the eternally-life threatening danger that we are all individually in at this very moment!
Now please understand; I am in no way whatsoever – not for one micro-millisecond – suggesting, in any way, shape, or form, that those with legitimate and life-threatening health issues and concerns which also keep them house-bound and prevent them from venturing out into other places of public exposure such as work, school, shopping, recreating and/or etc., return to the in-house assemblies and fellowship of the church against their consciences, concerns, and convictions – not at all. (Although I do, at the same time, believe that the Bible very clearly teaches that if, on the other hand, one is regularly and routinely willing to risk far, far more in pursuit ofthe worldly and physical than they are in pursuit of the eternal and spiritual, that they really need to stop and honestly re-examine their priorities. However, that is not the point of this article.)
The point of this article is, however, to sound the warning loud and clear, and to seek to make every single member of the body of Christ just as fully and truly aware of the extremely vulnerable and terribly dangerous position our eternal souls have all been plunged into by our current isolation and separation from one another as I possibly can (Ez. 3:17-21, 33:1-6). At one elders and deacons meeting I know of, back when this thing first began and congregational services had been temporarily suspended and then began again on a very limited basis, a question was asked along the lines of, “Who feels as if they have grown spiritually stronger since we all stopped meeting together?” Not one, single, solitary hand went up… and those were some of the strongest and most mature Christians in the congregation. But don’t take their word for it. Think about your own, personal, Christian growth and service since mid-March. Have you grown stronger, or weaker as a result of your congregation’s being separated? Have you opened your Bible and studied and learned more, or less, since Sunday morning Bible classes and evening worship services were cancelled in many places approximately five months ago? Have you personally reached out and sought to share the gospel even more with others since this current pandemic-induced separation began? Or, have you done so even less than before, without the constant personal encouragement and admonition to do so?
The bottom line is this. We simply cannot all be physically together, in personal, face-to-face, work, worship, and fellowship right now. And in our personally isolated and separated state, Satan, like a roaring lion licking his chops, is more than likely ‘drooling,’ seeking to have a field day picking us off and devouring us one by one; knowing that our vulnerability has likely never been higher, and that there are fewer of us than ever thus able to cover one another’s back, because we are so spread out and hence seldom, if ever, together. His eternal-soul-consuming mission remains the same; although our ability to all be physically together to help protect, strengthen, and encourage one another has been severely diminished.
Therefore, we must each make it our total life and death mission – our absolute top priority – to determine to fight for our eternal lives like never before; to not only maintain, but to heartily grow, strengthen, and to fight to the death to defend our personal relationship with Jesus, as well as our love and fellowship for and with one another, on a daily basis.
This all begins with a very clear understanding of our currently separated and therefore isolation-induced and incredible vulnerability… something which Satan is probably going to seek with all his might to try to get some to forget,or at the very least,to get them to deny, the second they click out of this article… if he hasn’t already.
Make no mistake… their will be casualties. Make sure starting today, there is no doubt…that you won’t be one of them.