Thursday, July 08, 2010

The Vision (7/8/10): The Communion of Saints

In preaching our current Sunday afternoon series on Matthew 6:9-13 I have been aided by reading through Thomas Watson’s book, The Lord’s Prayer. In discussing the petition “Thy kingdom come,” Watson explains the importance of “the communion of saints” (i.e., fellowship among Christians) in attaining the kingdom:

If we would obtain this kingdom we must be much in the communion of saints. One coal of juniper will warm and inflame another; so, when the heart is dead and frozen, the communion of saints will help to warm it.  “They that feared the Lord spake often one to another” (Mal 3: 16). “Christians should never meet,” says Mr. Boston [the Scottish minister Thomas Boston], “without speaking of their meeting together in heaven.” One Christian may be very helpful by prayer and conference to another, and give him a lift towards heaven. Old Latimer was much strengthened and comforted by hearing Mr Bilney’s confession of faith [Latimer and Bilney were Protestant martyrs under “Bloody” Mary]. We read that when Moses’ hands were heavy, and he was ready to let them fall, Aaron and Hur stayed them up (Exod 17: 12). A Christian who is ready to faint under temptation, and lets down the hands of his faith, by conversing with other Christians is strengthened and his hands are held up. A great benefit of holy conference is counsel and advice. “If a man,” says Chrysostom [Note: Chrysostom, or “the golden mouth,” was a famous preacher at Constantinople in the 4th century], “who has but one head to advise him, could make that head a hundred, he would be very wise; but a single Christian has this benefit by the communion of saints, that they are as so many heads to advise him what to do in such a case or exigency.” By Christian conference the saints can say, “Did not our hearts burn within us?” Communion of saints we have in our creed, but it is too little in our practice. Men usually travel fastest in company; so we travel fastest to heaven in the communion of saints.

May the Lord continue to use our fellowship to spur us on toward the heavenly kingdom.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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