“They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.” – 1 John 2:19
Scripture reading: 1 John 2:18-27
In any kind of team sport, there needs to be a combined commitment. Imagine turning up to play for a sports team – and you’re the only one there! How much don’t you feel this just to be even one player short? We feel let down.
Can you feel that same sadness with the first five words in our text above: “They went out from us…”? Because we treasure what we are in Christ, we’re deeply disappointed when folk just walk out. Don’t you then wonder: Was it something I said or did?
When this happened in the early church John was quick to reassure. In this situation it wasn’t about us. You see, “They were not of us.”
This teaches us a vital fact about the nature of the Church, for not all who worship the Lord with us on Sunday are necessarily part of the invisible church – those who truly believe. And then it’s just as well they are gone. They would not have been a positive, spiritual part of the congregation.
However, we remain. God is faithful. He preserves us in His grace. As Hebrews 3:14 declares: “For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.” When numbers seem low, be all the more thankful for those who are there.
Suggestions for prayer
Ask for God’s comfort with the loss of those who’ve left the fellowship. Thank Him for genuine believers staying.
Rev. Sjirk Bajema currently serves the RCNZ Oamaru, in Oamaru, New Zealand. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.