Come Out and Go Forth
“Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins” (Revelation 18:4).
This call to “come out” is not addressed to saints surrounded by the darkness of heathenism, but to those mixed up with a system which claims to be the true Church.
Ecclesiastical corruption is not confined to that system; it has permeated every part of Christendom. In the mouth of two or three witnesses God has described beforehand the existing state of things, and their true character.
Paul in 1 Timothy 4:1 says, “The Spirit speaketh expressly that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith.” He warns us that seducing spirits would be at work, devilish doctrines promulgated, lies spoken in hypocrisy, consciences blunted and seared so that men cannot discern what is morally right, and the faith given up.
Peter’s description is no less solemn (2 Pet. 2:2). He tells us damnable heresies shall be privily promulgated by false teachers; men’s souls shall be trafficked in through covetousness; government despised and dignities evil spoken of by men walking after their own lusts, who scoff, mock, and revile what their reason cannot comprehend.
Outwardly bearing Christ’s name, they are nevertheless cursed children, wells without water, spots and blemishes. They decoy simple souls by their eloquence, and allure them to destruction by pandering to their lusts. They wrest the Scriptures to their own destruction, and cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of.
God had warned men and angels that those who despise His authority must feel His hand in judgment. Sinning angels are in chains of darkness, Sodom and Gomorrha in ashes, the old world swept away by the flood, but all this they deliberately close their eyes to, and are willingly ignorant of.
Then what a scene Jude depicts!
He groups together Cain with his natural religion; Balaam selling his prophetical gift for money; Core aspiring to equality with Aaron as priest; angels inflated with pride; Israel in unbelief; Sodom and its hateful lusts.
What a cage of unclean birds! What a seething mass of moral corruption! And all this to describe that which outwardly bears Christ’s name. Its counterpart is in evidence today.
Is it not so? Is not Jude’s prediction true? Are not Christ’s claims and authority denied, grace abused, lusts deified, dominion despised, Nature worshipped, and a sensuous, and oft-times sensual ritual substituted for a spiritual and heavenly worship of the Father?
Rationalists exalt reason above revelation. Christadelphians, Mormonites, Agapemonites, Seventh Day Adventists with their minds blinded by Satan, scoff at God’s word, substitute shadow for substance, regard no place too sacred for their unhallowed feet to tread, veil their lusts under Christian names, and as Satan’s ministers transform themselves into angels of light. How graphically they are described as waterless clouds, wandering stars, fruitless trees!
Where shall we turn? Rome is “the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.” Protestantism has a name to live, but is dead. Nonconformity is gradually being leavened, rejecting nearly every foundation truth. There are bright exceptions here and there, but these groan and lament over a state of things they cannot alter, and from which they have no faith to separate.
That which Peter, Paul, and Jude prophetically announced, is now historically true. Instead of asking “where?” let us inquire “to whom” shall we turn?
Hebrews 13:13 will supply the answer. “Let us go forth to Him without the camp, bearing His reproach.” God’s command is “Come out”; God’s instruction is “Go forth unto Him”!
Have we not a little overlooked this? Have not some of us practically substituted “unto them” for “unto Him,” thinking we had found a company where we could be “outside the camp,” and yet practically carry out the principles of “the camp,” and cease to bear His reproach? Have not some of us sought to make a social circle of congenial society, others a circle of unanimity of sentiment, and yet others regarded our associations elastic enough to join hands with the “vessels” from which in departing from iniquity we separated, in obedience to God’s “Come out”!
Why have saints been allowed to have their nests disturbed? Is it not to recall them to “Him,” to “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and today, and for ever,” to Jesus who “suffered without the gate”?
Is it to the despised, rejected, crucified Saviour we have gone forth? Is it solely, wholly, and only to His name we are gathered?
Is it this same Jesus, who leads the praises in the midst of the Church, in whose company we are consciously found when gathered together? is it His lordship we own? His sufficiency to guide, direct, control not only every individual member of His body, but who is also “Wisdom” and sufficiency for the twos and threes who seek to act for Him in view of the whole body of which He is living, energizing, controlling Head.
Has there not been a gradual, imperceptible giving up of individual exercise and conscience before God, and a tendency to sink back into a new system and lean upon spiritual directors for guidance, the clergy in principle? Have not questions purely of what is morally right or wrong, become matters of small importance compared to an outward and visible unity?
On the other hand, has there not grown up a tendency to ignore precious truths of God graciously recovered for us in these last days?
Let us then, henceforth, turn more simply to God’s Word for guidance, more truly go forth “to Him”—
To Him—the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord.
To Him—the Head of His Body the Church,
To Him—the Firstborn among many brethren.
To Him—who suffered without the gate.
To Him—who is outside the camp.
Let us make everything of Christ, let us by confessing the excellencies of His Name ever offer acceptable worship to God continually. Let us carry Him to others, and seek to show forth His virtues. Let us, in the blessedness of knowing what it is to be “outside” with Him, seek to pluck others out of the fire, and act in the fear of God in doing so, lest our own garments become spotted with the iniquity which abounds on every hand. Let us get our eyes open to the awful condition of that which bears the name of Christ all around us, and spend the rest of our time in “plucking” saints out of their defiling surroundings, and “calling” in true evangelical fervour perishing sinners to Him who suffered without the gate, and died “outside the camp!”
Words of Grace and Encouragement 1909