Worship Outside the Camp — Our Life Raft

Life raft in the storm


A few days ago I woke up with a dream image: a LIFE RAFT.

Do you know the feeling of being on the high seas, your ship is sinking and you have to leave the ship, the trusted ground?
Everything is in motion and you ask yourself, "Will I ever get solid ground under my feet again?"

I had this feeling when I left my former faith community.

  • What can I still rely on?
  • Which doctrines of faith are still resilient, what can I put my feet on?
  • So many questions! And every answer gives rise to so many new questions ...!

Fortunately, our heavenly Father has inflated a life raft for us:


„Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

(Acts 4:12 KJV)

By whom? What name?
Of course JESUS CHRIST - or rather Yahusha or Yahshua in Hebrew, because that means: Yah* is salvation! *Yah = the short form of God's proper name YHWH

YHWH God deploys Jesus as a life raft
sinking ship

The "Ark" Misunderstood

Earlier, in my close faith community (Jehovah's Witnesses, JW.org), I thought this organization was our "ark" — but then I misunderstood 1 Peter 3:21 ... no human organization or religion is our ark, but baptism, namely baptism in JESUS CHRIST, as described in many places in the Holy Scriptures.


"... when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ."

(‭‭1 Peter‬ ‭3‬:‭20‬-‭21‬ ‭ESV‬‬)

Jesus Christ is therefore our life raft.

His heavenly Father YHWH says: "LISTEN to my beloved Son!"
And what does his Son say: "Take, EAT my body, DRINK my blood [symbolically], show your faith in my sacrifice!"

Eating the bread of the Lord's Supper and drinking the wine is our confession of Christ.

And even more: it is part of our proclamation, i.e. preaching ministry, as the apostle Paul wrote:


„For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.“

(1 Corinthians 11:26 NIV)

But why would anyone actually think of getting off a ship on the high seas? Suddenly another topic came up ...

Worship Outside the Camp

During his 40 years of wandering in the desert, the camp of Israel was holy; everything unclean had to go outside.

But at the very beginning there was an EXCEPTION that turned the whole thing around! After making and worshipping a golden calf, Moses packed up his tent of meeting, where he spoke with the Most High, and moved outside the camp because the whole camp had become unclean.


"Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it outside the camp, far off from the camp, and he called it the tent of meeting. And everyone who sought the Lord would go out to the tent of meeting, which was outside the camp."

(Exodus 33:7 ESV)

Does this principle from ancient times still apply today, in the Christian era? "Get out of her, my people"?

Oh yes. Hebrews chapter 13 verses 12-13 draws a parallel between the camp of Israel with its sacrificial regulations (Old Testament) and the Christian era (New Testament). Here we find the truly remarkable command:


„And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate [was considered unclean, blasphemous and executed] to make the people holy through his own blood.
Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore."

(Hebrews 13:12-13 NIV)

Going to Jesus means: LEAVING the camp that has become unclean and being prepared to endure CONTEMPT and ostracism in return.

The Jewish Christians at that time knew what it meant to break away from the Jewish system. There was a storm of opposition and persecution; their own fellow Jews and family members turned against them and mistreated them.

And even today, following one's conscience and separating oneself from the crowd can mean great hardship for any sincere Christian.

Is there really only one big life raft, that is, one congregation? One new religion?


“For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there I am in their midst.”

(Matthew ‭18‬:‭20‬ ‭NWT‬‬)

Our idea is that there are many small life rafts, small Bible reading groups, house churches, which all together form the "body of Christ", his worldwide church. Experience has shown that anything larger than about eight people is susceptible to power structures.

Eight people - the size of the Ark's crew, by the way ...


Several small life rafts

Entering the life raft

What does it mean to enter the life raft? That we bring our spiritual efforts now for our King Jesus to earn our salvation? ... if only we try hard enough?

No. Romans 13:14 puts it so beautifully:


„Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ ...“

(Romans 13:14a NIV)

When we put Him on like a piece of clothing, He is all around us, He envelops us. He is even IN us! (John 17:21) He and the Father will make their dwelling with us. (John 14:23)

Jesus is the joy of the Father. So we are enveloped and filled with the joy of the Father, with his love, his pleasure! We can feel this, enjoy it, REST in it.

This is not in the future, it is HERE and NOW.

And if we remain in our life raft, IN Jesus, then we can never lose it again. That is the will of our Heavenly Father.

And then the works of faith will come all by themselves, naturally, from within. We don't need to earn our salvation, Jesus has already paid the bill.

Grace = "joyful giving"

In my faith community, grace was always translated as "undeserved kindness", which nevertheless contains the word "deserve".

"Grace" (Greek χάρις, charis) is also translated as "joyful giving", a gladly given gift from our heavenly Father, YHWH God. We only need to accept it, grasp it, hold on to it.