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January Newsletter

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THE HERALD

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Rev. Stephen Snodgrass

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Edify One Another

I. Thessalonians 5:11

William Carey was a young pastor living in Leicester, England, in 1789. During a meeting with some fellow pastors, Carey suggested that the topic for discussion should be the obligation of believers to reach the “peoples of the world who need Christ.” In response, an older pastor scolded Carey, “Young man, sit down! When God pleases to convert the heathen, He will do it without your help or mine!” Carey, however, persisted in his growing passion for world missions. His pastor friend, Andrew Fuller, began to catch the same vision. Over time, Carey and Fuller, along with some other pastors, formed the Baptist Missionary Society. In the spring of 1793, the Careys boarded a ship bound for India, as the society’s first missionary family.


For the next 40 years, Carey would serve as a missionary in India – establishing several mission stations and a college, translating major portions of Scripture into nearly forty Indian languages, helping to bring about social reform, and seeing some seven hundred Indians place their faith in Christ. He plodded on despite no conversions for the first seven years, a fire that destroyed much of his translation work, financial hardships, multiple bouts of disease, the deterioration of his wife’s mental health, and the death of a child.

Before leaving for India, William Carey and Andrew Fuller were discussing what would await Carey in India. The two men compared the ministry in India to a deep mine. In their conversation, Carey is quoted as having said, “Well, I will go down if you will hold the rope.”

One of the greatest strengths of the Christian faith has been the fellowship and support we draw from one another. When a fellow believer is hurting, we must be diligent to support him. When a fellow pilgrim is discouraged, we should lift them up. When a fellow Christian is facing a blast from the enemy and can barely lift their head, there ought to be the support of their fellow brethren, who pray for them and petition to the Throne.

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” (1 Thessalonians 5:11) This “edify one another,” that is admonished here by the writer is speaking of the “building up of the believers.” Let it be noted, that the most popular and common practice in the church circles today is the opposite of this “building up” practice. Personally, I believe that we face “self-destruction” in this area. Many have shared the opinion that if the effort does not have our denomination’s name attached to it, it is doomed for failure. Some also believe if they are not in complete control, then the effort will fail. These philosophies are plaguing our church world and work as a distraction from the real reason for our existence…the winning of souls to the Kingdom of God. May we shed from our mentality the thought of, “I’m not holding the rope for anyone who does not all things in common with me.”

In the fire-fighting world, there is a term called, mutual aid agreements. These agreements are made between a fire department and those departments that surround their geographical responsibility. In the event of a grass or forest fire, those surrounding them will also receive and respond to the alarm in an effort to not only help their neighbor, but protect their own responsibility. Without these agreements, lives would be lost and property would be destroyed. Let this be the commitment of the church of God -- to pledge to God and our fellow Christians – that we will hold the rope for one another. That we will “edify one another.” That we will hold one another up in prayer and in deed. Let us make a “mutual aid agreement” with one another and help each other in our fight against the enemy of our souls. Together we can win the battle for right.

For those who think that the enemy is too great, and they are too weak to help anyone, let me add this footnote. Perhaps the greatest rope holder for William Carey was his quadriplegic sister. Confined to a bed for fifty years, she prayed for her brother’s ministry. She faithfully wrote letters to him with a pencil between her teeth. We don’t even know her name, but this saintly sister did her part to “edify” the Kingdom of God and certainly gained a place in it.

Past Articles

Feburary 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009