Brotherly Love

As a believer in Jesus Christ, you know how important it is to obey God’s commandments.  1 John 2:3-4 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He who says, ‘I know Him,’ and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.”  And surely you appreciate that love is at the top of the list as far as God’s commandments.  Matthew 22:37-39 “Jesus said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’   This is the first and great commandment.   And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’”  Jesus gave the story of the “Good Samaritan” in Luke 10:30-35 to demonstrate what it means to love your neighbor.  Love for your neighbor includes helping those people you come across that are in need.

Jesus took love one step further in commanding you to love your fellow Christian.  John 13:34-35 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.   By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”  People in the world will know that you are a Christian by the love you demonstrate for your fellow Christian.  Jesus also commanded you to love your fellow Christian as He loved you; of course you know that Jesus laid down his life because of His love for you.  To demonstrate how important love for your fellow Christian is, Jesus repeated the command.  John 15:12 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”  John 15:17 “These things I command you, that you love one another.”  You should be getting the picture of how important it is for you to love your fellow Christian.

What does this love for your brother or sister in Christ look like?  Galatians 5:13-15 “For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.  For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’   But if you bite and devour one another, beware lest you be consumed by one another!”  Your love should be a serving love and not a “bite and devour” relationship.  At the last supper, Jesus washed his disciple’s feet.  John 13:14-15 “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.”  I am not convinced that if your fellow disciple wears closed shoes, walks on pavement and travels mostly in modern transportation that he has a big need to have his feet washed.  But I am convinced that you should be providing humble service to your fellow Christian.

How else should you demonstrate love for your brother and sister in Christ?  Consider the following scriptures.  Romans 12:9-10 “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.  Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”  1 Corinthians 16:14 “Let all that you do be done with love.”  Philippians 2:1-4 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.  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.”  Colossians 3:12-14 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.  But above all these things put on love, which is the bond of perfection.”   1 Peter 3:8 “Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous.”

I want to specifically emphasize the following command on love.  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.”  Your love for your fellow Christian must not be shallow or a matter of tolerance.  It must be a fervent or deep love from a pure and sincere heart.

So how do you measure up in keeping the command of love?  My encouragement is for you to make up your mind to increase your love for your fellow brother and sister in Christ.

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