1 Thessalonians 5:11
Why comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also you do.
This forms an article of the Christian faith; but the profession of a truth and the experience or practice of it are widely different things.
I. WHAT THIS COMMUNION IS.
1. Saints are those who have been convinced of sin and saved by Christ, and are now living under the sanctifying influence of the Holy Ghost.
2. Their communion is a union of heart with Christ and one another. This is confined to no Church, age, people, or place. If grace sanctify some poor heathen five thousand miles away, and any poor sinner amongst ourselves, let them meet, and there will be a communion of feeling and interests between them. This communion has its type in the walk to Emmaus. The topics are —
(1) Themselves — their joys, griefs, failures, triumphs, fears, hopes.
(2) Their Lord — His condescension, goodness, love, truth.
(3) Christ's kingdom and doctrine — how most effectually they may further the one and adorn the other.
(4) Their heritage — in its future and all glorious perfection.
II. ITS ADVANTAGES.
1. Comfort. The followers of Christ, so far from being exempt from trial, are often most troubled; but by communion they comfort themselves together. When one member suffers, all suffer.
2. Edification. Sometimes it is humbling, sometimes encouraging or consoling; but it is always edifying to commune with believers. Such an interchange of thought, feeling, and affection, produces often a friendship as intimate and endearing as that which subsisted between Jonathan and David. In conclusion, I would recommend —
1. Religious intercourse.
(1) There is an intercourse which seems to be religious, but is far from being so. Many talk about religion without talking religion itself.
(2) Many professors are wanting in Christian openness and candour. How freely worldlings communicate their ideas to each other. Should Christians be less communicative?
2. Devout retirement. Without this the life and power of religion cannot be maintained, much less communion.
(W. Mudge, B. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.