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Love One Another

 
Loving The Brethren
 
INTRODUCTION
 
1. Growing in the knowledge of Jesus Christ has an inward focus as
   evidenced by...
   a. Building upon one's personal faith
   b. Striving for excellence as an individual goal
   c. Increasing one's own knowledge
   d. Controlling the passions and desires of the self
   e. Bearing up under trials with a positive attitude
 
2. It also has an upward focus...
   a. With the addition of godliness
   b. I.e., a pious conduct based upon a desire to be pleasing to God
 
3. Then there is the outward focus...
   a. With the addition of brotherly kindness - 2 Pe 1:7
   b. Followed with the addition of love - 2 Pe 1:7
   -- Both affecting how we act towards other people
 
[In this study we will direct our attention to brotherly kindness,
certainly a necessary element in developing a Christ-like character...]
 
I. THE DEFINITION OF BROTHERLY KINDNESS
 
   A. THE GREEK WORD IS PHILADELPHIA...
      1. A compound involving two words:
         a. "phileo" (love)
         b. "adelphos" (brother)
      2. It literally means "the love of brothers"
 
   B. AS USED IN THE NEW TESTAMENT...
      1. It describes the love which Christians cherish for each other
         as brethren (Thayer)
      2. Christians were charged to display this virtue - He 13:1
      3. They were to increase in it more and more - 1 Th 4:9-10
      4. They had been purified for this very purpose - 1 Pe 1:22
      5. Ro 12:10 reveals that it is through brotherly kindness we can
         have "kind affection" toward one another
 
[It is brotherly kindness, therefore, that provides a true sense of
family in our association as members of the Lord's body.  Why is such
love of the brethren important...?]
 
II. THE DEMAND OF BROTHERLY KINDNESS
 
   A. NECESSARY TO KNOW GOD...
      1. Without sincere love for brethren, any claim to know God or
         love Him is impossible - cf. 1 Jn 4:7-8,20-21
      2. If we truly desire to know God (and grow in the knowledge of
         Jesus), then it is essential to develop brotherly kindness!
 
   B. NECESSARY TO BE JESUS' DISCIPLES...
      1. Jesus made love for brethren an identifying mark by which the
         world can know we are His disciples - Jn 13:34-35
         a. Right doctrine is certainly important - 2 Jn 9
         b. But the world pays little attention to what is perceived as
            minor doctrinal differences
         c. What people do notice is love in a world filled with hate
         d. Especially when such love is observed among individuals who
            come from various social, economic, and racial backgrounds
      2. Any attempt to proclaim New Testament Christianity...
         a. Will fail to appeal to those in the world
         b. Unless it is accompanied by a visible demonstration of true
            brotherly kindness among Christians!
 
   C. NECESSARY TO ANSWER JESUS' PRAYER FOR UNITY...
      1. Unity among brethren is also very important, as indicated in
         the prayer of Jesus - Jn 17:20-23
      2. The unity made possible through the cross of Christ is
         maintained as we endeavor to keep the unity of the Spirit in
         the bond of peace - Ep 4:3
      3. Crucial to that endeavor is "bearing with one another in love"
         - Ep 4:2
         a. There will be times when brethren sin against one another
         b. Where brotherly kindness prevails there will also be
            forbearance and forgiveness
         c. This provides time for repentance and reconciliation
            necessary to remain united
      4. Unless we develop brotherly kindness, churches will be prone to
         split at the earliest indication of conflict!
 
[I trust that we see the importance of adding brotherly kindness.  How
does one go about doing this...?]
 
III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF BROTHERLY KINDNESS
 
   A. REQUIRES PURITY OF SOUL...
      1. Brotherly kindness can easily be misdirected, especially in a
         sex-crazed society
      2. Through obedience to the gospel, our souls are purified - 1 Pe
         1:22-23
         a. We have been born again by incorruptible seed
         b. Sincere and fervent love of the brethren is now possible
      -- If we desire true brotherly kindness, make sure that we have
         purity of soul!
 
   B. REQUIRES BEING TAUGHT BY GOD...
      1. Those taught by God need little to be said - cf. 1 Th 4:9-10
      2. The Father teaches the meaning of love through the giving of
         His Son - 1 Jn 4:9-10
      3. The Son demonstrates true love by the example of His sacrifice
         - 1 Jn 3:16
      -- The more we reflect upon the love and sacrifice of Jesus, the
         sooner we understand the true meaning of brotherly kindness 
         - cf. Jn 13:34
 
   C. REQUIRES SPENDING TIME WITH BRETHREN...
      1. This I have gleaned from personal experience
         a. The more I am around people...
         b. The more I come to know them personally...
         c. The more I share experiences with them (both good and
            bad)...
         -- The easier I find it to "fall in love" with them!
      2. It is not much different than with one's own physical family
         a. I had no choice who my three physical brothers would be
         b. But as we experience life together our love and appreciation
            for one another deepens
      -- I find it to be the same with my brethren in Christ; spend time
         together!
 
   D. REQUIRES PRAYING FOR BRETHREN...
      1. This also is gleaned from personal experience
      2. Pray fervently for your brethren, especially those with whom
         you may have a personality clash
      3. It is hard to remain angry or maintain a strong dislike for
         someone when you spend time praying for them
      -- "Pray for one another" (Ja 5:16), and there will be brotherly
         kindness!
 
[Finally, a few thoughts about...]
 
IV. THE DISPLAY OF BROTHERLY KINDNESS
 
   A. AS IT AFFECTS OUR ATTITUDE TOWARD BRETHREN...
      1. Brotherly kindness will lead one to be considerate
         a. A brother who is strong will be considerate of his weak
            brother - Ro 15:1
         b. Where a brother may have liberty in Christ, he is willing to
            limit that freedom if it is beneficial to the spiritual
            well-being of his brother - 1 Co 8:13; Ga 5:13
      2. Brotherly kindness that will lead one to be cautious
         a. About what they say about them - Ja 4:11a
         b. About judging a brother - Ja 4:11b-12
 
   B. AS IT AFFECTS OUR SERVICE TOWARD BRETHREN...
      1. Brotherly kindness will lead us to truly care for one another
         - 1 Th 5:14
         a. To warn the unruly, to comfort the faint-hearted
         b. To uphold the weak, to be patient with all
      2. Brotherly kindness will prompt us to pursue the right things 
         - Ro 14:19
         a. Things that make for peace
         b. Things by which we may edify one another
 
CONCLUSION
 
1. As we give thought to...
   a. What it means to grow in the knowledge of Jesus Christ
   b. What it means to develop a Christ-like character
   -- May we appreciate the importance of developing a strong love for
      the brethren!
 
2. We may think that we have a strong love for the brethren...
   a. Indeed we might
   b. But we need to always increase more and more! - cf. 1 Th 4:9-10
 
And so may this prayer be fulfilled in us:
 
   "...may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one
   another and to all, just as we do to you, so that He may 
   establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God 
   and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all
   His saints." - 1 Th 3:12-13

 

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