Now therefore you are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God;…
"It is not good for man to be alone." There are few things more terrible than to be utterly friendless and alone in the world. One of the most awful forms of punishment is solitary confinement, and many a poor prisoner has grown gray and old in a few years, or has gone mad, because he was not allowed to see, or speak to, a fellow creature. In days gone by, we read that one of these unhappy captives actually made friends with a spider, finding the company of an insect better than absolute solitude; and that another captive devoted all his thought and affection on a prison flower. Quite lately I read of a prisoner in one of our gaols who had tamed a rat as a companion, and who became almost mad when his only friend was taken from him. We have all heard of the sufferings of those who have been cast away in shipwreck upon lonely islands, with no companion to share their exile. But let Christ's servant be where he will, on lonely island, in solitary prison, among crowds of strangers, he is never alone, because he believes in the communion of saints.
I. FELLOWSHIP WITH THE MARTYRS. We need not die for Christ in order to be His martyrs. St. Paul would have been a martyr if he had died quietly in his bed, and never felt the sword of the Roman headsman. His years of patient suffering in Christ's service, his bold preaching in the face of persecution and death, made him the faithful martyr of Jesus. And so now, those of us who are trying to do their duty where God has put them, doing what is right at any cost, bearing loss, trouble, insult, it may be, rather than commit sin, they are Christ's martyrs, no matter how lowly and obscure their lives may be.
II. FELLOWSHIP WITH THE PROPHETS. But you may say, "How can I do the work of a preacher or prophet like Elijah, or Jonah, or Ezekiel, or the rest?" You need not be preachers as they were, yet you can be like them. They were not afraid to speak the truth, they were not too timid to rebuke vice wherever they saw it. They defended the honour of God and His Church at all times, and never thought of their own safety. Now you, my brothers, can be brave for Jesus; show that you are not ashamed of your Master, or your Christian calling.
III. FELLOWSHIP WITH THE APOSTLES. The name apostle means one who is sent forth; the first apostles of Jesus were sent to preach the gospel to every creature. We, as Christian men and women, are all, in one sense, apostles. The pure man, the honest man, the faithful man, is an apostle of Jesus; his life is a gospel, a sermon on purity, honesty, faith. The temperate man is a preacher; his example is the best lesson on self-control.
(H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God;