“For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope. May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.” – Romans 15:4-7
Dear faithful ones, calling upon the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ from every place,
In the last month, we experienced loss and gain, discouragements and delights within the church and the gospel ministry here in Wetzlar. And we are most grateful for your intercession on our behalf and the gospel work in Germany.
To be honest, it has been quite a long process, but in the end, an influential couple left the church in anger. Another family left shortly after, out of close relations to the former couple. It is a humbling and grieving experience when all attempts and hopes for reconciliation fail within the body of saints. What a sad outcome? The congregation suffers, the testimony for our glorious Lord is weakened and bonds of trust and love are strained. Another couple left out of a need to move to another place and one young man shifted from our doctrinal agreement in some major points. Finally, two weeks ago, another family left membership, in order to seek a different way of being trained and equipped, than we offer at the church. All these losses over the last year are quite painful, humbling, heart-tearing, and discouraging.
When torn and strained by those demands and struggles it is too easy to fail to notice those members, who in the precious attitude of a meek and humble spirit walk faithfully, committed, and responsibly in all seasons of church life. As the old puritan Borroughs so fittingly described, Christian contentment is a rare jewel. But just how needful is the strength of the patient, serving faithfulness. In these months I have been led to praise God and stir up a grateful heart within me for those saints, who seek first the kingdom of God, who endure difficulties and carry burdens. I trust these jewels – formed under pressure and well-tried in time – will prove both sharp in the work and brilliant in the adoration of Christ. Please thank God with me for the spiritual fruit of faithfulness and patience. To just mention one out of many, there is precious faithfulness in private and public evangelism, in seeking God´s glory and men´s good.
As so often in the counsel of the Lord, he loves to encourage in the midst of disappointments and quickens the soul in life’s dry deserts. For several months have been visitors attending the services from literally almost all directions. Some are willing to drive quite a while just in order to hear the word of God preached and join in the worship of God, which is simple, but Christ-exalting rather than sensual and man-centered. Since the doctrines of grace have been so submerged and buried under man’s pride and philosophy it is so delightful to see young and old men and women, whom God has stirred up with a real hunger and thirst for the Word of God preached and sung in the church, explained and applied for the growth of faith and the glorification of Christ.
Some of the visitors came irregularly at first, but with time more and more regularly, as they witnessed an ongoing change in their relationship to God and their fight against sin. There are especially three young people, a man, and two women, who acknowledge themselves as not Christians yet, but come very, very faithfully to the services. They listen attentively and all of them testify, that they sense a change in their views and attitudes, a longing for spiritual life and an interest for biblical understanding. Please pray that God would grant them true repentance, saving faith, and assurance of salvation through clear marks of genuine conversion. For all who were interested to know more about the church, who we are, and what we believe, I offered a basic class in 7 dense lectures, which has been very well received by up to 14 people.
Also those visitors coming from further away demonstrate the poor spiritual estate here in Germany. There is a huge need for men to be equipped, trained, and sent to plant or strengthen churches, feed and protect the flock, and speak of Christ crucified, His resurrection, righteous life, and penal substitution. Also looking ahead, two families, one currently living in Spain and another couple from California, are planning to move to Wetzlar in order to join the church. We do see God´s mighty and merciful hand in it. Would you also consider praying that God would straighten his way before them?
At the end of September, we joyfully received four believers into membership. Talitha had spent several months in Australia and New Zeeland when she realized how necessary and important a church family is for pressing on in life as a Christian- and that growing in faith is not just flowing automatically. Since her home church closed all services, she came more and more regularly to the ERB Wetzlar and grew in biblical knowledge and fellowship with the Lord. With a very personal testimony, she has been received into the local body.
Jana grew up in Canada but lived with part of her family in Germany already for some years. She almost gave up seeking a church where she could join with a good conscience. She tried to survive spiritually by Christian literature and internet preaching when she found out about this congregation in Wetzlar. She has since faithfully visited the services. She finally desired to get baptized and be part of the church. Equally, Alex and Diego, two friends, zealous in the faith and hungry for truth and righteousness have been strongly convicted, that at the time they have been baptized they have been completely unconverted and had no true repentance nor real faith whatsoever. After hearing and evaluating their testimonies we had all confidence to confirm the Work of God in the recreation of their hearts by truly baptizing them in the Name of our triune God and accepting them into membership. Alex has now started theological training and Alex is thinking about a similar path in the future. Please praise God with us for these new members and pray that God might bless them and use them for the edification of the church and the glory of His name.