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

The temple was built when Malachi wrote, and the Divine ordinances were established there; but few were devout and sincere worshippers. The priests were given to secularising tendencies; many professed worshippers were guilty of sacrilege. This is a dark picture. It is relieved by the few "zealous for the Lord of hosts." These, by their invincible faith in God, by the oneness of their unity, and by the holiness and frequency of their fellowship, rebuked the infidelity of the period.

I. TRUE PIETY MAY EXIST IN A CORRUPT CHURCH. This Church was corrupt. The priests were unfaithful to their sacred trust. The people were guilty of treacherous dealing, of departing from the Divine ordinance, and of seeking to justify this manifold wickedness before God. But a few had genuine piety.

1. They "feared the Lord." This was a filial fear. The sinner fears God because of the penal consequences of sin. The fear of the Christian springs from different considerations, filial not slavish.

2. They "thought upon His name." Here we have devout meditation.

(1)  Pious meditation is possible to all.

(2)  It is profitable to all.Our piety will be dwarfed if this duty is neglected. "His name." Every appellation of Jehovah is calculated to inspire the Christian with confidence and courage.


1. They "spake one to another" words of encouragement. There may be fellow ship without words. There is a heart fellowship. Then the countenance speaks.

2. They spake "often." Then they must have assembled often. The topics of conversation are not recorded, but "out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh."

III. God encourages the faithful to maintain Christian fellowship in the time of the Church's degeneracy.

1. He delights in their fellowship; listens to and permanently records their conversation.

2. He rewards with present security and eternal salvation. They are God's "jewels " in the highest sense, who are faithful when many in the Church backslide.

(E. D. Solomon.)

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.

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