Separation – Life experiences, putting it into practice
The question is often raised ‘why are you people so fussy about who you eat with?’……’ Jesus when He was here ate with sinners’!!! It’s a fair question and demands an answer.
The comment is sometimes made in criticism of our practices of separation that ‘Jesus ate with sinners when here on earth ‘. Yes, when He was here and He could do so because he was holiness personified.
Now look at Acts 10 v 34-43:
Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:) That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached; how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree: Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly; not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead. To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
After his resurrection Peter makes it quite clear that Jesus was openly seen, not of all the people but of witnesses who were chosen before of God – ‘even to us who have eaten and drunk with him after he arose from among the dead’.Jesus only appeared to His disciples and those who believed in Him AFTER the resurrection. The resurrection of Christ and His ascension now relates to those who love Him and believe in Him. That is why we only eat with those we break bread with……because such believe in Him are linked with him where He NOW is. The public appearing of Jesus lies ahead.The resurrection and ascension of Jesus means that every link with Him is where He is now i.e. ascended beyond all heavens – till the APPEARING which follows the rapture.
My Personal Experiences
One example is that “eating together is fellowship” and the observance of the Lord’s Supper is the very centre of our fellowship and so we do not eat with anyone who does not observe the Lord’s Supper with us.
I well remember before 1960 that from time to time I ate with various persons – in restaurants or while travelling together in a car and very occasionally in the home of an employee [sales representative] who I was working with in a rural area.It was not an habitual practice because ‘giving thanks to God for my meals’ was a habit from boyhood and I found it awkward when with persons I did not break bread with.Early in 1960 I remember hearing the words – ‘eating together involves a form of fellowship’ – it struck me with considerable force that this was true and that it explained why, on some occasions I had felt uncomfortable or, as in 3 particular cases the surroundings were also distasteful to me.
By mid-1960 it had become clear that from then on it was to be a different way of life – no eating ever again with persons we did not break bread with.An example of explaining it to people I was connected with in business was that a company from Melbourne I represented in N.S.W. to do with fire ratings was owned by a family who were Lutheran. I explained my position and they immediately declared themselves as to what they believed. Over a period of several years the whole functioning of the activities was very smooth and profitable and there was respect for one another. There were several occasions when WHY we did things my way was accepted by them. In fact, when the time came for them to sell the business the management of the new business sought me out in view of continuing the marketing activity even though they knew of my peculiarities!!!!
On another occasion I was active on behalf of another specialist manufacturer’s client. I advertised the business and one of the repliers asked for an appointment. It was agreed that we meet and discuss the details at Sydney Airport in the terminal building. When we met at the building we found that the only place available with a table was in the cafeteria.Before we started I said “I am a believer in the Lord Jesus and I only eat with persons I break bread with at the Lord’s Supper.’ His answer was very interesting……’that’s all right by me – you know what it means?’ ‘What?’ ‘That I can trust the information that you give me’!!
Jim L Joyce