Following Jesus 172

Following Jesus: The Progress of the Pilgrim.

When we began this biblical study of Pilgrim’s Progress we began with the reality of the sinner’s great and heavy burden brought on because of the sinner’s sin. The only hope for relief from the burden of guilt and shame is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

When God removes the sinner’s burden through the truth of the cross, the believer in Christ begins his/her journey to heaven. However, along the way the pilgrim encounters difficulties, spiritual battles with the devil, temptation from the world, and doubt and despair brought about by his own remaining sin. Is there any relief from this constant struggle? Bunyan believed there was. He it called this place of relief for the Christian the Delectable Mountains.

The Delectable Mountains, is also known as "Immanuel's Land." John Bunyan described it as a lush country from whose heights one can see many delights and curiosities. It is inhabited by sheep and their shepherds, and from Mount Clear one can see the Celestial City.

The Delectable Mountains depict and teach that there is a place or environment for the believer where he can find encouragement, knowledge, comfort, watchfulness and sincerity of other pilgrims. The Delectable Mountains is the church.

The church includes both pastors and parishioners. Both clergy and congregation. It is within the regular gatherings of the church that each member is encouraged in their daily walk, given knowledge from God’s Word to discern truth from error, to be mutually strengthened by shared experiences in order to comfort one another, to provide careful watchfulness in order to guard the young and weak from evil and wrong, and to sincerely acknowledge and confess our sins while at the same time seeking to make things right.

The relationship between a church’s leaders and the congregation is a special one. It can be and is the source of great blessing and encouragement. It is one which the Apostle Paul and the Church in Rome, for example, were well acquainted. Paul loved them and they him, even though at the time of his writing a letter to the church, he had yet to personally meet them. Amazing.

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