Christian Friendship
Malachi 3:16-17
Then they that feared the LORD spoke often one to another: and the LORD listened, and heard it…

To the majority of the nation of Israel God seemed to have utterly forsaken His people, and few believed Malachi as he faithfully proclaimed God's intention of sending a Messenger, a Refiner, a Purifier, in the person of the Messiah, who was to fulfil the prophecies of the last and of all previous prophets. This prevailing unbelief was the cause, as it always is, of widespread wickedness. Malachi's picture of his time is a dark one. Nevertheless, a remnant was left. A few did believe in the coming of Christ, and lived in preparation for the Refiner's fire. What were the means which, by God's grace, enabled them to resist the temptations of an unbelieving and a wicked generation? Holy friendship. Knowing that union is strength in religious as well as in secular things, they formed close friendships one with another, and often spoke together of their hopes and fears. In forming friendships, young people would do well to remember that the friend ship of the bad, or of those who never try to live at all above their world, is enmity against God. Another rule is not to choose friends on a low principle and from a low motive. The best definition of a friend is, "He who makes you do what you can." It is by their unconscious influence that friends help every moment to mar or make our characters. Our Lord did not so much enjoin it as take it for granted that His followers would always strengthen and encourage each other by praying and speaking together. Those ,who are Christians in earnest gradually lead one another on to higher views of life and duty; a know ledge of their mutual faults makes them unreserved to each other; they are not afraid of saying all that is in their hearts; they make known to each other their particular difficulties and temptations; they feel that they are engaged in the same struggle; and each is often able to give assistance to the other on one point, whilst by others he may himself require to be aided in his turn.

(E. J. Hardy, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

WEB: Then those who feared Yahweh spoke one with another; and Yahweh listened, and heard, and a book of memory was written before him, for those who feared Yahweh, and who honored his name.

Christian Fellowship in a Backsliding Church
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