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Honiton Evangelical Congregational Church July

From the Pastor’s Pen



Dear Friends,  


WHAT SHOULD OUR CHURCH LIFE LOOK LIKE? (4)



We’re looking at Colossians 3: 16 as a pattern for our church life:

‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, TEACHING AND ADMONISHING ONE ANOTHER IN ALL WISDOM, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God’.


If we put this into practice what would we actually need to do?  Here is a challenging quotation from John Angell James, a 19th Century Congregationalist:

‘Better, far better, not to speak at all, but go home in silence, than to enter upon all kinds of general conversation as soon as the service is over’.


I couldn’t agree more – much conversation that takes place after a service is not helpful. However the biblical ideal isn’t going home with a minimum of conversation apart from polite greetings. If we want to be obedient to the LORD we need to add to the quotation:  ‘Better, far better, not to speak at all, but go home in silence, than to enter upon all kinds of general conversation as soon as the service is over. BUT BEST OF ALL, ENGAGE IN SPIRITUAL CONVERSATION BY TEACHING AND ADMONISHING ONE ANOTHER’


Hebrews 10: 24 & 25 speak very directly to this subject, and demand obedience – blessing comes not from merely hearing but hearing and doing:

‘And let us consider how to stir one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the day drawing near’.


We don’t simply encourage by being there, although we can easily discourage by not being there, we have to consider how our conversations could help encourage and stir up others to good works – which means conversations should take place. Some suggestions then as to what we can be doing:


Talk about the sermon Hours of work and prayer went into preparing it and every part of God’s word is needed by you. Ask if there was something you didn’t grasp, share with others what you found helpful, and discuss how you might put it into practice.


Share in your conversation what has blessed you from God’s word this week Our walk with God combines obeying his word and submitting to his control of all things. Share how your walk has been during the week.


Work at spiritual conversation I once had a sabbatical at Westminster College, Cambridge which was great intellectually but fellowship and Christian friendship was lacking. One weekend I visited a church in London to preach. I enjoyed it but the greatest blessing of the weekend was the elder I stayed with – he was a spiritual man who talked about spiritual things and it was so good for me.




Yours in the Lord, Mike

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