The stories behind most of our great hymns of the faith are nothing short of amazing. A good example is John Fawcett, who came to a saving knowledge of Christ at an evangelistic meeting held by George Whitfield in 1756. Shortly after the Lord called him into the ministry, John accepted his first pastorate at a small, impoverished assembly in Wainsgate, England. After several years at the church, with his family growing larger in number, he was struggling to make ends meet; therefore, he reluctantly accepted a call to pastor a large church in London.
When the day arrived to move, the members of the congregation gathered around the wagons in tears to bid their beloved pastor farewell. Pastor and Mrs. Fawcett had grown so close to the congregation that it broke their heart to see them weeping uncontrollably. They both agreed they could not leave these dear saints and instructed those who were helping, to unload the wagons. A short time later, Pastor Fawcett was preparing a message when he incorporated the words of what would become one of the most beloved hymns of the Christian faith.
Blest be the tie that binds / Our hearts in Christian love!
The fellowship of kindred minds / Is like to that above.
When we asunder part/ It gives us inward pain;
But we shall still be joined in heart,/ And hope to meet again.
The world will never understand the depth of our fellowship with those of like-precious faith. Brother Stam’s good friend, Pastor Edward Drew, once shared these insightful words with his congregation:
“Fellowship is the knitting together of all saved souls into a unity and oneness in Christ. If you are saved, you will feel a nearness to all others who are saved, and you will find it a peculiar joy that you cannot feel in any other human relationship. It is wrought only by the Holy Spirit, and is a very precious thing among believers. Unfortunately, it is often marred in our assemblies. It is God’s method of blessing His Church, and so it is the purpose of Satan to mar and spoil it among God’s people. Where there is true fellowship there is blessing that cannot be attained in any other way.”
Although the above stanzas of “Blest Be the Tie That Binds” were written centuries after the ministry of the Apostle Paul, they pretty well sum up his relationship with the saints at Philippi. The mutual tie that bound their hearts in Christian love was Christ. When they were torn asunder by Paul’s unjust imprisonment, it caused both Paul and them inward pain. But they were still joined in heart and longed to meet again (Phil. 2:24).