We have a small Sunday Evening Gathering at our home where we are studying the Old Testament Book of Malachi. Tonight we opened up chapter 3:13-18. After the study we have a Q & A time where people may pass comments or ask questions. Tonight a good friend raised a good conversation point around the fact that, as Christians now a days, we seldom converse around with each other about God, Who He is and What He has done for us. That is, we seldom talk to each other and even outsiders about the Lord.
Mal 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD talked with each other, and the LORD listened and heard. A scroll of remembrance was written in his presence concerning those who feared the LORD and honored his name.
Those who feared the Lord were those who were the righteous (right with God through faith and in obedience). Whilst others were grumbling, complaining and insulting God, these people were serving, loving and honouring God. There was a holy fear in their hearts for God, because they knew God and understood God’s character and person. These people talked to each other and their conversation was pleasing to God. As He heard the conversations of the wicked, for He commented on what they spoke about (3:13-15), He heard the conversations of the righteous:
Mal 3:16 and the LORD listened and heard.
These were the people who were confirmed and intentional in their relationship with God. God penned their names in the register of heaven and Malachi knew this … and so did the people who had been saved by grace. What a delight and comfort to have the assurance that you are a citizen of heaven. Remembering that God hears our conversations … when we as people who fear (understand His holiness and supremacy) God, what do we speak to each other about?
Perhaps the best place to learn how to talk to each other about the things of God, is to start with Moses’ instruction to the families of Israel.
Dt 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. 5 Love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength. 6 These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. 7 Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. 8 Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. 9 Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.”
We have discussed this passage before, but re-think the teaching here in the context of Christians talking to Christians about wholesome doctrine and theology coming from the pages of the Bible. Although the concepts of doctrine and theology sound scary, they need not be because in just taking about Bible themes, passages or verses could be very helpful and without knowing it you are talking about doctrine and theology.
Another great talking subject could be personal salvation leading into a more in depth meaning of the Substitutional Penal Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus for you sin. Every Christian has a salvation story. Something happened to convince you of truth of the gospel message. After talking about this, you could dig deeper and talk about why we need a Substitute, who this Substitute is and how He came into this world. Matthew presents us with a good start to such a discussion.
Mt 1:20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel”—which means, “God with us.”
You could then move onto John 3:16, which says:
Jn 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
Now it’s time to speak about Isaiah 53:4:
Isa 53:4 “Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
Perhaps as a third idea is to talk about Christians encouraging Christians. In general, life is hard and even harsh. Even though we are heaven bound, we need to journey through this earth, facing all the arrows of the evil one and all the attacks of the world. Couple our sin to this and we find that often we are despondent and in need of being lifted up. Paul writes:
Phil 2:1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4 Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
That is, in place or personal interests (selfish attitudes) uplift, support and encourage other Christians. Invest in their lives and you invest in their eternity!
Gal 6:1 Brothers, if someone is caught in a sin, you who are spiritual should restore him gently. But watch yourself, or you also may be tempted. 2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
It’s when you have the interest of others at heart that you are able to carry each other’s burdens.
Dear God, Thank You for given me brothers and sisters in Christ to fellowship with. Help me to understand the many and varied needs of my spiritual family. Help me to be sensitive and gentle to those who are hurting. Grant me the ability to offer encouraging language to lift up, restore and bless. Teach me the art of servanthood. Amen.