From the moment we fully realize that we were rescued by a great gospel net out of a tumultuous sea of the souls of men and were given an opportunity to make the life-saving choice to believe the Word of God and be saved, we, as believers, make a connection to God that becomes our lifeline.
At first, this bond seems thin and thread-like as in the days of Rahab in Jericho, but as we continue with God, our experience thickens to a threefold cord that is not quickly broken, like the rope that held the basket used by the disciples to lower Paul over a wall to safety. As this cord is put to the test of time in life, it becomes as strong as a cable which is attached to the anchor of a great ship.
All along the way, the skillful hand of God joins our precious lifeline with those of other true believers, knitting us together into a secure and supportive Gospel Safety Net, according to His great design. This network of faithful followers is powerful and useful in the experienced hands of the Master Gospel Fisherman for the saving and keeping of souls.
While the entire world seems to be unraveling and most of modern religion appears to be a tangled and knotted mass trying to mend and patch the deteriorating fabric of society with scraps of what-once-was, God is skillfully binding together true believers into His beautiful Gospel Safety Net. To more fully appreciate its value and beauty, let us examine more closely this curiously wrought net, made up of the unity of true believers.
We have a real enemy that would like to undermine and corrupt our unity to better build up his own kingdom. We must tenderly care for this precious net and guard it from corruption because, as a fisherman depends on his nets for his livelihood, so we depend on this Gospel Net for our spiritual life.
As we look more closely at the design of the net we ask, “What binds us together as Christians?” Paul talks about this bond a number of times in his epistles. He uses the phrase in Colossians 2:2, “being knit together in love” and states in Ephesians 4:16, “From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Also, in Colossians 2:19 Paul says, “And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”
These verses help us to see that our love for God and one another is what binds us together. These connections to God and fellow believers nourish us and bring an increase to the whole net or “body of connections.” This “body of connections” is held together by joints and bands that minister to each other. Therefore, as we labor and live together, our love and trust feed the whole body and bring an increase to our safety net, making it stronger and more profitable.
As we step back to view the net as a whole, we see this net is flexible and the design is symmetrical. We can see from this perspective how each connection needs the next for balance and accountability. The design of this kind of net is meant for us to be able to work together, to lean and depend on one another.
Just as a fisherman that plans to earn a living at fishing will set aside his single, dangling hook and line and grab a net for catching multitudes of fish, so we must join forces with other believers, pooling our efforts and keeping each other accountable.
We need each other to balance our thoughts and intentions in order to bring in a profitable draught. Our livelihood depends on a solid connection to God and His people at our individual joiningpoints. We are admonished in Galatians 6:2 to “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” By following this design we are setting ourselves up for a pattern of success.
The opposite also holds true. The enemy of our souls is looking for weak links. He would love to separate us from our help. Doubts are leprous thoughts and will weaken and corrupt the fibers of our connection to the safety net. Our unity is fed by the link to the Head, but it can be starved by a spiritual disconnect or neglect. Care must be taken to regularly clear the net of debris and to check for weak places in the fibers. Just as a net for fishing must be washed and mended to keep it in good condition, so we must attend to our relationships with our fellow Christians, keeping our connections clear and current.
In James 5:16, we are instructed, “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.” A wise fisherman would protect his investment and do what it takes to preserve it.
A good, tight link to the Gospel Safety Net can give you the security you need to take some risks for God spiritually. You feel a confidence to move out for God, trusting the brethren to stand behind you, encouraging and correcting you if needed, while you are willing to do the same for them. The morning time saints were single-minded in this thought. They trusted each other enough to have all things in common. Their whole lives revolved around one another for the spreading of the gospel.
We need each other, brethren! Our unity is our lifeline and it is our only hope to keep us connected to God. One Christian needs another. Our gathering together is our strength and life.
Let this mind be also in you, that, as it says in 1 Corinthians 1:10, “ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind” and that we would be “with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.” Philippians 1:27.