Food for Friday

So they and their children had the oversight of the gates of the house of the Lord, namely, the house of the tabernacle, by wards. 1 Chronicles 9:23

I remember a man who was very upset one time because he came to the Remembrance meeting on Sunday morning and was not permitted to take part in the Lord’s Supper. This man was an active member in a denominational church, had a good testimony as a Christian in his community, and did not hold to any wrong doctrines concerning the person of Christ. And yet this man could not grasp one of the simplest yet most profound principles of God’s Assembly: the Assembly does not receive people to the Lord’s Supper, the Assembly receives people to the Assembly, and participation in the Lord’s Supper is but one of the privileges of Assembly membership. This is critical to the preservation of God’s Assembly and the truths that the Assembly holds dear. This is why there are overseers in the Assembly, to guard that which God has given us.

A set group of Levites had the responsibility to watch the gates of the house of the Lord. They took this responsibility very seriously. They devoted their lives to this task. They grasped the concept of the holiness of God’s presence. It was critical to them that nothing come into the house that would defile or defame it. No unacceptable person and no unacceptable offering was to enter the gates. How similar are the gatekeepers of God’s house today!

There are some places that call themselves Assemblies that permit outsiders to come in and join them in worship and in the Breaking of Bread. Their leaders say they have no right to keep anyone away from the Lord’s table. They feel a responsibility to those outsiders. But what about their responsibility to God? Is there not a responsibility to protect and preserve His Name? And is there also not a responsibility to those who are obediently gathered within to protect them from error and harm? Just as the Levite gatekeepers would prevent all outsiders from entering the House, so must the keepers of God’s Assembly. Regardless of how good the testimony of the outsider is, if that person holds to the doctrine and accepts the practices of denominationalism, that person holds to false doctrine that must not contaminate God’s Assembly.

The goal of the gate-keepers to God’s Assembly is to preserve truth and to protect the Assembly. Just like the Levite gatekeepers, they take this responsibility seriously and scripturally. -Jim MacIntosh

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