Christian Fellowship – Words that Promote Fellowship

Christian Fellowship – Words that Promote Fellowship

Then they that feared the Lord spoke often to one another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for those that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name” (Malachi 3:16)

Over four hundred years later the risen Christ asked two of His followers, “What manner of communications are these that you have?” (Luke 24:17). It is a question we sometimes need to ask ourselves. By offering hospitality, providing physical assistance and sharing financially, we show fellowship with other believers. Such things give evidence of the genuineness of our love and care. However it is only how we speak when with them that shows whether we know the joy to be found in conversational fellowship. That is the subject of this article.

Speech That Attracts

Isaiah prophesied that the Messiah’s physical appearance would not be that which would draw people to Him; He was to have “no form or comeliness… no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isa. 53:2). It was His words that attracted those who had any hunger for the truth. His words were like “apples of gold in settings of silver. Like an earring of gold and an ornament of fine gold”; always “fitly spoken”. He was “a wise rebuker” to those with “an obedient ear” (Prov. 25:11,12). This was true whether the one who had ears to hear was a Nicodemus looking for instruction, a Peter requiring correction, or a penitent woman bathing His feet with her tears; His words were always apt. We are not suggesting that we will be able to come close to that level of perfection, but true conversational fellowship between two believers is of the same order. It is spiritually attractive in the same way, lifting the spirits of both in a manner not known among the lost. It offers a deeper, sweeter, purer, more rewarding socializing than can be known in any human society, even that which can be experienced by those in the same physical family; it is a foretaste of heaven. The bonds of love to which it gives expression are eternal. It is supernatural thing, a coming together, a meeting of spirits, known among those whose tastes in other ways may be quite different. It is the result of our being united to “Him who was raised from the dead that we should bring forth fruit unto God” (Rom. 7:4) and our being in dwelt by the Holy Spirit, thus becoming members of one Body (1 Cor. 12:12,13).

How is it that we know so little of the working out of Christian fellowship in our speech? So often we are not ourselves, our true selves, but act as though we are what we once were — that is, before that wonderful change came about and Christ became our life!

Cluttered Air Waves

Fellowship is not Christian simply because Christians are talking to each other. Most, if not all the readers of this article, are mature enough to keep clear of gossip. But even though we refrain from harmful speech, we may still forfeit opportunities for a much richer experience. It happens when we allow what goes on in the school yard, on the campus, in our place of employment, in parliament or in the world generally to fill the time we are with each other. That kind of conversation is common among those who are lost. It rises no higher and does not resemble what is suggested by the idea of fellowship in Scripture. It is not necessarily evil, but it does not edify. When you part from your Christian friend you are not left longing for more of the same.

Trivial Words?

We are not suggesting that all conversation that deals with what might be called trivia is to be avoided. Even though such things are not of eternal value they can be used to promote right thinking.

Comments about the weather may be of little consequence, but important lessons can be learned from it. Jesus said, “Whenever you see a cloud rising out of the west… you say a shower is coming… you can discern the face of the sky… how is it you do not discern this time?” (Lk. 12:54-56). Incidentally, we cannot imagine the Son of God complaining about the weather, can we? Instead, He used the sun and the rain to teach that God is kind, even towards those choosing to be His enemies (Matt. 5:45). Bringing the Creator into the picture moves things on to higher ground. I once heard a young Christian complaining about the rain. The lady to whom he spoke replied graciously but with conviction, “But God sent it, didn’t he?

My wife was brought up in a tiny northern mining community known as Dome Extension. Years later, after we were married and living in southern Ontario, she received an invitation from someone who had attended the same small school. She thought it would be for a kind of reunion of “northerners”. Some of them had not had contact with the others for years and so knew little of each other. You can imagine the chit chat that went on. Then one of them spoke of Christ. Immediately the tone of things changed. It turned out that most of those invited had experienced His grace in one way or another. Heaven seemed to come down to earth and His saving glory filled the room! Joan came home walking on air. That is what can happen when someone is not too shy (ashamed?) to break the ice and believers are encouraged to enjoy true conversational fellowship.

Filled With The Spirit

Sometimes we need to discipline our wayward tongues; the apostle James has much to say about that. But the mouth’s outflow is best regulated by the heart’s inflow. If we live according to that principle it will enable us to be spiritually natural and naturally spiritual! “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Matt. 12:34). What we are advocating will not be the outcome of merely following rules that restrict and constrict. Nothing will be stilted or stiff in our speech if it is our habit to drink from the pure stream of God’s word. Instead, we will find ourselves happily sharing from our little cup that which will provoke us and our friends to live closer to the Spring. “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt” (Col. 4:6).

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, Tune my heart to sing Thy grace; Streams of mercy, never ceasing, Call for songs of loudest praise. (Robert. Robinson)

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Colin Anderson

Bible teacher, with a particular interest in building up new and struggling churches. Commended from Danforth Gospel Hall. Married Joan Michell from Grace Bible Chapel, Timmins, ON in 1960. Worked with Chester Donaldson in the early days of Northland Bible Camp, and with Jim Booker to start Galilee Bible Camp. Taught for three years at a Bible school in Kampala, Uganda (1967-1970). Helped establish Richvale Bible Chapel, Markham Bible Chapel, and Sudbury Bible Fellowship. Currently serving in southwestern Ontario.