As fellow believers, we often refer to each other as brother and sister.  Have you given much thought as to why we do that?  The simple answer is that we are all part of Christ’s spiritual family.  Jesus had performed many wonderful miracles and His teachings were well received.  As a result, multitudes of people pressed around Him.  At one point, He was told that His brothers and mother had come and were wanting to speak to Him.  Mark 3:33-35 “But He answered them, saying, ‘Who is My mother, or My brothers?’  And He looked around in a circle at those who sat about Him, and said, ‘Here are My mother and My brothers!  For whoever does the will of God is My brother and My sister and mother.’”  In reference to Jesus, the writer of Hebrews states in Hebrews 2:11 “For both He who sanctifies and those who are being sanctified are all of one, for which reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren.”  Jesus is our elder brother; we are all brothers and sisters in His family.

Although we may have different talents, roles and responsibilities in the church, we should not elevate one over another; we are just brethren.  Matthew 23:8-12 “But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren.  Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven.  And do not be called teachers; for One is your Teacher, the Christ.  But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.  And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  The apostles who wrote the letters of the New Testament frequently addressed the members of the various churches as brethren; the apostles did not seek to elevate themselves even though they had greater authority as individuals sent by Jesus.

When we have the mindset that we are brothers and sisters in Christ’s family, how will we treat each other?  First of all, we will love one another.  1 John 4:11-12 “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.  No one has seen God at any time. If we love one another, God abides in us, and His love has been perfected in us.”  1 Peter 3:8-9 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing.”  1 Peter 1:22 “Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart.”  As you know, you are not perfect nor are your brothers and sisters.  In spite of our imperfections, let us love one another fervently with a pure heart.

Next, since we are brothers and sisters, we will seek harmony and oneness.  1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”  What a blessed harmony exists when brethren are joined together in the same mind and the same judgement.  It doesn’t come easy – you must work at it.

If one of your brothers or sisters has a need, you will want to help.  1 John 3:16-18 “By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.  But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide in him?  My little children let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”  Be eager to help your brother or sister in need.

When one of your brothers or sisters falls away, you will seek to restore such a one.  James 5:19-20 “Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.”  Galatians 6:1-2 “Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass, you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.  Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”  You should not want to lose a brother or sister; do whatever you can to bring them back to the family.

Finally, you will consider your brother or sister more important than yourself.  Philippians 2:3-4 “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.  Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.”

My encouragement to you is to consider your fellow believer as your beloved brother or sister.  Treat them as a valued member of your spiritual family.

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