Pastoral Letter November 2014

Can two walk together, unless they are agreed? Amos 3.3

Dear Friends,

A friend recently mentioned this verse, and I thought it was worth a little further examination. We are all very used to the ‘standard’ application of this verse, of course — which is that we should be careful about what ‘associations’ we make, as individual believers or as a church. For example, last week I was contacted by a local organisation seeking our support for a ‘worship experience’ they are hosting soon. The young lady seemed a little taken aback when I told her (gently) that I couldn’t pass her invitation on to the church here because we cannot agree with the beliefs of the group (which are, in fact, heretical and very dangerous). We cannot ‘walk’ with those with whom we do not agree on the essential and non–negotiable truths of the gospel. But there is a lot more to this verse, and I found it challenging to ponder.

What do we do to surround ourselves with Christian friends?

It is very true that we need to find ways to be friendly with those all around us, so that we might have gospel opportunities. We do well to heed Psalm One, and not to linger in the company of those who reject God, but sometimes we can be so introverted that we never come near enough to the ‘seat of the scornful’ to risk the temptation of sitting in it!

With all that said, we must beware the danger of spending so much time seeking to reach those around us that we spend no time at all with those who are one with us. Who will help you in your Christian walk? Your brothers and sisters in Christ! Who will encourage you, bring scripture to you, sympathise with you in spiritual battles and offer help? It won’t (usually) be your mate from the local amateur dramatic society or pie–bakers guild, will it?

We are on the road to heaven, and we need to make progress. We need those who will walk with us, not in the other direction or off to the side. This is especially important for people considering whom they might marry, but vital for all of us.

Perhaps, in the style of Jonathan Edwards, we would be well–served to make a resolution something like this: “Resolved: To be friendly, kind, and supportive to all we meet for the sake of the gospel, but to reserve our best efforts and our precious time for the assembly of the saints, and for true and lasting friendships with those who know and love our Lord Jesus Christ”.

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