Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | December 9, 2019

“After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another.”

Today’s devotion comes from Acts 21:1-6.

“When we had parted from them and had set sail, we ran a straight course to Cos and the next day to Rhodes and from there to Patara;  and having found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, we went aboard and set sail.  When we came in sight of Cyprus, leaving it on the left, we kept sailing to Syria and landed at Tyre;  for there the ship was to unload its cargo.  After looking up the disciples, we stayed there seven days;  and they kept telling Paul through the Spirit not to set foot in Jerusalem.  When our days there were ended, we left and started on our journey, while they all, with wives and children, escorted us until we were out of the city.  After kneeling down on the beach and praying, we said farewell to one another.  Then we went on board the ship, and they returned home again.”  Acts 21:1-6.

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There is humility, faith, and love in this tender scene of farewell.

There is humility in kneeling down in the beach.

There is faith in praying and believing that each group will fare well through God’s guidance, protection, and other blessing.

There is love in being together, doing these things together, and saying farewell to one another.

Even though they physically separated, and even though there are times when we too physically separate from dear Christian brothers and sisters such as our minister, there is hope!

There is hope of the “the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Through the Spirit, we are still together in the one true and invisible church.

“Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”  Ephesians 4:1-3.

Consider also what the Westminster Larger Catechism states.

Q64:  What is the invisible church?
A64:  The invisible church is the whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be gathered into one under Christ the head.

Q65:  What special benefits do the members of the invisible church enjoy by Christ?
A65:  The members of the invisible church by Christ enjoy union and communion with him in grace and glory.

Q66:  What is that union which the elect have with Christ?
A66:  The union which the elect have with Christ is the work of God’s grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably, joined to Christ as their head and husband;  which is done in their effectual calling.

There is also the hope that we will continue to grow up in Christ Who will fit us and hold us, the true invisible church, together as His body.  Even though we may be physically separated from a dear minister whom we love, there are other pastors and teachers who will also help us grow.

“And He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of service, to the building up of the body of Christ;  until we all attain to the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a mature man, to the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Christ.  As a result, we are no longer to be children, tossed here and there by waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, by craftiness in deceitful scheming;  but speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in all aspects into Him who is the head, even Christ, from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.”  Ephesians 4:11-16.


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