Torchbearers for Christ
Friday, September 29, 2023
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In our last message on The Faithful Few, we noted that God’s people in Malachi’s time had largely lost their love for God and, while going through the motions of religion, they really didn’t take God seriously at all. God described them in Malachi 3:7 in this way, “Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned away from my decrees and have not kept them. Return to me and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty”. On the other hand, we noted that there was a small group of people who loved God, who feared Him, and who sought to please Him in every way. So we had the apathetic majority on one hand and the faithful few living in the same land.
Unfortunately, we would have to say that in many nations today the same situation applies. Sad to say, here in Australia, there is a widespread apathy towards Bible Christianity, and the percentage of born again believers would be relatively small. In recent years here we have seen an extraordinary growth of other religions, include Islam, Buddhism and New Age. We need to be constantly reminded of the words of the Lord Jesus when He said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).
Returning to the faithful few of Malachi’s time, we learn that they “feared God and 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 honoured His name” (Malachi 3:16). These people, like true believers today, enjoyed fellowship with each other. Throughout the New Testament, we read how God’s people met regularly. We are told how they “devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer” (Acts 2:42) and in Acts 20:7 we read how “On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread”. Following the conversion of the apostle Paul who had persecuted believers relentlessly, we learn that the church enjoyed a time of peace. It was strengthened and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it grew in numbers, living in the fear of the Lord” (Acts 9:31).
There is no doubt that there is security in being part of a Christian fellowship. Meeting with spiritually minded people encourages us to be better people. On the other hand, we are told “Do not be misled; bad company corrupts good character” (1 Corinthians 15:33). How thankful we can be for people with whom we can share our joys and our sorrows and whose prayers we value so much, especially when we are passing through a difficult time.
We learn, too, that the faithful few “spoke one to another”. No doubt they spoke words of encouragement, words of kindness, words that would help, heal and uplift their spirits. The Scripture, particularly the book of Proverbs has a great deal to say about the power of the tongue, either for good or evil. We learn from Proverbs 15:4 that “A wholesome tongue is a tree of life” and that “Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul and health to the bones” (Proverbs 16:24). “The tongue of the just is as choice silver” (Proverbs 10:20). A very timely prayer for us all is found in Psalm 19:14, “Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my redeemer”. 
This faithful few had a blessed hope beyond this life. Malachi 3:17 tells us concerning this godly minority, “And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts in that day when I make up my jewels and I will spare them as a man spares his own son that serves him. Chapter 4:2 reads “But for you who revere my name the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall”. Malachi also tells us in chapter 4:1 of the dreadful fate awaiting the unbelieving majority, “Surely the day is coming, it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evil doer will be stubble and that day that is coming will set them on fire, says the Lord Almighty”.
Surely these are solemn words. Let us take them to heart and pray that with God’s help we will stay faithful to Him in a world that is largely without God and without hope (Ephesians 2:12). What an unspeakable privilege we have as believers in the lord Jesus; our sins are forgiven and we look forward to that blessed day when Jesus returns and we will be “forever with the Lord” (1 Thessalonians 4:17). In the meantime, may God help us to reach out with love and compassion to those who do not know Him.
This article was written by Pastor Geoffrey Davies. He is a frequent contributor to this column. He lives in Melbourne, Australia, where he pastored a church for over twenty-five years.  For many years, he has travelled widely, continuing his ministry of encouragement and Bible teaching.