This will be the last exhortation in this short series based on the name of our church. We are seeking a fellowship like that of the Trinity, enabled by the evangel, the gospel, of forgiveness and sacrifice, which makes us an assembly of worshippers.
I learned something about light this past week. The further away a source of light becomes the more red its light becomes; it’s called red-shifting as the wavelengths are stretched out and toward red on the spectrum. Some stars are increasing in their distance from our point of observation and it has discernible attributes. Likewise with sound, think about how the sound waves stretch as a car drives off into the distance.
A similar thing happens in an assembly. While we thank God for an obvious, and in most ways, increasing unity among our local body, we also see red-shifting from some who are not as close as they used to be. With stars it’s not as big a deal. With professing saints, it’s not just a major bummer, it’s an obligation for us to pursue.
We keep attendance. We have membership by baptism and by application. We have small groups that meet a couple times a month for further entwining of lives. We practice church discipline if we can no longer affirm the reality of someone’s heavenly citizenship.
It is all a form a accountability. Each one of us has One judge (Romans 14:4). Also, we are part of one body, so that we all suffer or we all rejoice and we all go after the one showing signs of increasing distance. It is not just about showing up, it is definitely not about control. It is about rescuing the one caught in any transgression and seeing him or her restored to the joy of salvation.
Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted. (Galatians 6:1)