Love for your Christian brother and sister is very important and something you should seek to cultivate. 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.” The Apostle Paul wrote the following to the church in Thessalonica in 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10 “But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia.” Let us consider how God teaches you to have brotherly love.
First of all, God gave His son to save you. John 3:16-17 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” This great demonstration of love from God for you should teach you to love your brother. You should not want to keep the blessing of salvation from God to yourself but you should want your brother to enjoy it also.
Jesus demonstrated His love by laying down His life for you; His love should teach you to pass that love on to your brother. John 15:12-13 “This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.” 1 John 3:16-17 “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?” Since Jesus loved you so much and gave His life for you, if you shut up your heart and don’t love your brother, you show that you don’t have love for God.
Jesus also demonstrated His love for His disciples by showing compassion and serving them. When Lazarus died, Jesus had compassion upon Lazarus and his sisters Mary and Martha by raising him from the dead (John 11). Many times, people came to Jesus with illnesses and He had compassion upon them. He even washed His disciple’s feet. John 13:13-17 “You call Me Teacher and Lord, and you say well, for so I am. 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. Most assuredly, I say to you, a servant is not greater than his master; nor is he who is sent greater than he who sent him. If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them.” Jesus wants you to learn from His example of compassion and serving so that you love and serve your brother.
There should be no competition or comparison between you and your brother. It appears that Cain saw that God was more pleased with his brother Abel. 1 John 3:11-15 “For this is the message that you heard from the beginning, that we should love one another, not as Cain who was of the wicked one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his works were evil and his brother’s righteous. Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love his brother abides in death. Whoever hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.”
Consider what you share in common with your Christian brother. Jesus prayed in John 17:20-23 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” With your brother you share a common heavenly Father, a common Savior, a common salvation, a common faith, a common hope and a common enemy, the devil. Through the teachings of Jesus and His apostles written in the Bible, you share common principles and standards for living. Jude 3 “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” This commonness that you have with your brother should teach you to love him.
My encouragement is for you to learn to grow your love for your brother and sister in Christ. 1 John 3:18 “My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth.”