“When you meet, speak one to another of the promises. Speak one to another of your souls: enquire whether they are in health.” –Thomas Watson
If there is a theme or common current that runs through much of my thinking as a pastor, it is the necessity and the benefits derived from conference. Conference is a spiritual discipline that usually involves two to ten people. It is focused on important, spiritual topics and is a powerful means that the Spirit of God uses to grow believers in the grace and knowledge of the Lord Jesus. Recently, I was reading a document written anonymously and published in 1697 that focused on “Stated” Christian conference. By “stated” the author meant “regularly scheduled.” He or she deemed conference so important that believers should meet regularly to engage in it, like they do to hear preaching and observe the ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper.
In the quote below, the author is attempting to answer what conference is and what some of the typical questions asked might be.
“‘Tis a mutual conferring about the things of God, things of the greatest moment, things of eternal consequence, the subject matter of which generally is, viz. How may I glorify God in my generation? Or, how may I know myself to be spiritually alive? How may I distinguish between common grace, and saving grace? Or, when may I be said to act faith? Or, how shall I discern between raging corruption and reigning [corruption]? Or, what are the most proper means, to mortify a special sin?” [Anonymous. Stated Christian Conference Asserted to be a Christian Duty. (London: Printed for and sold by Will. Marshal, 1697), 19.]
Wow! If those questions don’t light your fire then your wood is wet. How transformative would it be, to be involved in a church whose members loved each other enough to pursue these questions. I think that is what we have at The Road. Whether it is in Sunday School, Small Groups, or in less regularly scheduled meetings or even informal encounters, we have members who do care for each other and are working to see the saints equipped and edified. Do the questions above seem strange to you? Pick just one question and wrestle with it. For example: “How shall I discern between raging corruption and reigning corruption?” Our sin natures (the old man) are so strong that they often rage and lead us to sin but sin does not reign in the life of the believer. That is, the presence of sin remains but the power of sin is broken due to the righteousness of Christ and the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. We grow in sanctification as we learn these things and especially or primarily as we yield ourselves to God. (Read Romans 6 through 8) My hope and prayer is that 2020 finds you growing by leaps and bounds in the grace of our Lord. Have a blessed week and we will see you on Sunday.
Your friend and servant in the concerns of your soul,