How to Identify the Right Company
It has been emphasized in these series that we ought to believe in order not to perish. Therefore, the right company to be in is the company of BELIEVERS. Believers are not just those who have experienced the New Birth, that is, those whose spirits have been saved; but those who believe progressively to the saving of their souls.
"But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul."
The use of the word ‘of’ connotes a sense of belonging to a thing. The New International Version puts the above verse this way: “But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed…”
What makes us belong to a company is determined by what we feed on. Our meal is what makes us of the same fold. A person might be in a fold but eats a different meal from another fold. He will eventually end up leaving to join the fold that serves the meal that his soul delights in. But the meal we ought to delight in is ‘every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God’ (Matt 4:4).
Drawing back as mentioned in Heb 10:39 is not when we see a Christian renounce his faith and begin to profess atheism or the likes. A believer is drawing back when he is not living on the progressive issuing of the word of God. This word is that which conveys the mysteries of Christ and of God to a man until he is saved to the uttermost. Unfortunately, many companies in the body of Christ are bereft of this word, while some who have had a taste of it detest it and even go to the extent of speaking against it.
In other words, drawing back is ‘believing not’. When a man draws back from something literally, he had initially believed in and therefore responded to such a thing; and then for a reason (fear in most cases), stops doing so. When a man stops responding to truth, he has stopped believing.
"But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you. 27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: 28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand."
Two companies are identified in the verses above:
Those that believe not are NOT OF His sheep, that is, they don’t belong to His sheepfold. But those that believe are OF HIS sheep and are characterized by the following:
The Son of God is always speaking (Heb 1:1) but His voice is not always heard by everyone (Heb 3:7). This is because He speaks weighty matters that are hard to the flesh. There are many types of speakings in the Body but His voice leads a man to salvation (Heb 2:3). Are you constantly hearing salvation? Do you constantly see your wretched state and cry to God for mercy? If so, you are in the right company.
When a man begins to hear the word or gospel of salvation, He begins to come into a fellowship with the Lord’s things. What makes a man known by the Lord are His things which He keeps (Matt 7:21-23). These things are the substances of the name of the Lord and will make a man do the will of God (2 Tim 2:19). Can you say that the Lord’s things are being committed to you? Is the good, acceptable and perfect will being unfolded to you from time to time? If so, you are in the right company.
Those who follow the Lamb are sons who respond to His voice. These men do not respond by the seeing of their eyes nor by the hearing of their ears. The things that sway men are things external but nothing around such men moves them except that which the Son is saying. Do the lives of the men in your fold (fathers/elders/pastors) testify of God’s dealings with them as sons (Heb 12:7)? Are they being led away from those things that men fear (fear of this present) and teach men to do so (Rom 8:14-15, Heb 2:10,15)? Then, you are in the right company.
When you are in a place where there is so much emphasis on the external and not the revealed righteousness of God, you might not make much progress in the things of salvation. The angel which spoke to John in Rev 19:10 said he was OF John’s company – of his brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. A company that is not interested in the message of the sufferings of Christ (and the glory that should follow) will only have, as it were, a partial testimony which is no testimony at all (1Pet 1:10-11).
Remember, if you are not in the sheepfold, you are in the midst of ravening wolves (Matt 7:15, John 10:10) who will not deliver to you that which will make you live and abide. But the sheepfold is a place for the giving of life (in all its levels), where they do not perish! Shalom.