Care For One Another
When Jan Paderewski was to leave his native Poland to play his first recital in London, he asked an influential compatriot to give him a letter of introduction to a leading figure in Britain's musical world, who might be of assistance should anything go amiss. The letter was handed to him in a sealed envelope. He hoped that everything would proceed smoothly and he would not have to use it.
He did not; his debut was a success and no snags developed. Some years later, while going through his papers, he came upon the letter and opened it. It read:
"This will introduce Jan Paderewski, who plays the piano, for which he demonstrates no conspicuous talent."
Bits & Pieces, January 9, 1992, p. 1- 2.
The soldier's first article of faith is summed up nowhere more eloquently than in an 1865 letter from William Tecumseh Sherman to U.S. Grant: "I knew wherever I was that you thought of me, and if I got in a tight place you would come--if alive."
People need people. Laurie was about three when one night she requested my aid in getting undressed. I was downstairs and she was upstairs, and ... well. "You know how to undress yourself," I reminded. "Yes," she explained, 'but sometimes people need people anyway, even if they do know how to do things by themselves."
William C. Schultz, Bits & Pieces, December 1990.
With Active Good Will Towards All
1. As noted throughout this series, growing in the knowledge of Jesus
Christ involves the development of a Christ-like character...
a. A development that requires diligence
b. A character that includes eight graces working together in
2. This Christ-like character is developed through...
a. Building On Faith (faith)
b. Striving For Excellence (virtue)
c. Increasing In Knowledge (knowledge)
d. Controlling The Self (self-control)
e. Bearing Up Under Trials (perseverance)
f. Seeking To Please God (godliness)
g. Loving The Brethren (brotherly kindness)
3. But this "spiritual construction project" is not complete without the
addition of love...
a. Which serves as the epitome of Peter's list of graces
b. Which must be something special, for it is often exalted above
1) Exalted above faith and hope - 1 Co 13:13
2) Given first place in what constitutes the fruit of the Spirit
- Ga 5:22
3) To be adorned "above all" the graces mentioned by Paul - Co
[What is "love", and how is it any different than "brotherly
I. THE DEFINITION OF LOVE
A. THE GREEK WORD IS AGAPE...
1. One of four Greek words translated love
a. philia - the love of close friends or brothers
b. storge - the love of family
c. eros - carnal or sexual love
d. agape - love which seeks the highest good of others
1) Not just friends, family, or brethren, but even enemies
- cf. Mt 5:44
2) Thus it is a higher form of love than "brotherly
kindness" (love of brothers)
2. It can be said that agape love:
a. Does not depend upon the one being loved as having earned
b. Is not an exclusive love (brothers only), but an
c. Is not an uncontrolled reaction of the heart, but a
concentrated exercise of will
d. Is a caring love, one which becomes involved in the needs of
-- Perhaps the simplest definition is the one often given:
"active good will"
B. BEST EXEMPLIFIED BY THE FATHER AND THE SON...
1. God the Father demonstrated agape love
a. His love for sinners is completely undeserved by them - Ro
b. Naturally, His love is called a "great" love - Ep 2:4-7
2. God the Son demonstrated agape love
a. By laying down His life for us - 1 Jn 3:16
b. There is no "greater" love - Jn 15:13
-- Truly the Father and the Son have exemplified "active good
will" towards all!
[Since the Father and the Son have shown "active good will" towards all,
we should not be surprised that it is required of those who would be
II. THE DEMAND OF LOVE
A. NECESSARY TO BE SONS OF GOD...
1. Jesus commanded His disciples to love their enemies - Mt 5:
2. In showing "active good will" to our enemies...
a. We will be like our Father in heaven - Mt 5:45
b. We will be different than those who love only their friends
- Mt 5:46-47
c. We will be perfect (complete) in the area of love and mercy,
even as our Father in heaven is perfect (merciful) - Mt 5:
58; cf. Lk 6:35-36
-- Jesus expects us to follow God's example of "active good will"
B. NECESSARY COMPONENT TO THE CHRISTIAN LIFE...
1. The atmosphere of the Christian life ("walk in love") - Ep 5:2
2. The garment of the Christian ("put on love") - Co 3:14
3. The motive of Christian service ("done with love") - 1 Co 16:14
4. The glue of Christian unity ("knit together in love") - Co 2:2
5. The controller of Christian liberty ("through love serve one
another") - Ga 5:13
-- Every facet of our lives is to be governed by "active good
will" towards all!
[As important love is to the Christian life, we can appreciate why Paul
says "the greatest of these is love" (1 Co 13:13) and "above all these
things put on love" (Co 3:14). So how do we go about putting on love,
or adding it to brotherly kindness...?]
III. THE DEVELOPMENT OF LOVE
A. LET THE FATHER TEACH YOU...
1. The Thessalonians had been taught by God - cf. 1 Th 4:9-10
2. How does the Father teach us to love?
a. By virtue of His character
1) God is love - 1 Jn 4:8
2) His grace, mercy, longsuffering and abundant goodness are
indicative of His love - cf. Exo 34:5-8
b. By virtue of His example
1) He sent His only begotten Son - 1 Jn 4:9; Ro 5:8
2) He sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins
- 1 Jn 4:10
-- As the Father "so loved us", let us learn to love others!
- 1 Jn 4:11
B. LET THE SON TEACH YOU...
1. "By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us"
- 1 Jn 3:16
2. "Walk in love, as Christ also loved us..." - Ep 5:2
3. "Love one another, as I have loved you" - Jn 13:34
-- Contemplate how Jesus died for you, and you will learn the
meaning of love!
C. LET THE APOSTLES TEACH YOU...
1. Paul described what love is - 1 Co 13:4
2. Paul prayed for His brethren regarding love
a. For the Thessalonians - 1 Th 3:12
b. For the Ephesians - Ep 3:17-19
c. For the Philippians - Ph 1:9
-- Through diligent study of the Word, and fervent prayer, our
love will abound still more and more!
[And finally, some concluding thoughts regarding...]
IV. THE DEMONSTRATION OF LOVE
A. DEMONSTRATING OUR LOVE TOWARD GOD...
1. Some may think we ought to show our love by:
a. Shouting if from the rooftop
b. Declaring it on bumper sticker ("Honk if you love Jesus!")
c. Doing whatever they think pleases God
2. Proper demonstration of love toward God means:
a. Keeping His commandments - cf. Jn 14:15,21; 1 Jn 5:3
b. Loving the brethren - 1 Jn 4:20-21; 5:1
-- Do we really love God? Then keep His commandments!
B. DEMONSTRATING OUR LOVE TOWARD MAN...
1. Begins with keeping the commandments of God ourselves - 1 Jn
2. Not limited to friends and loved ones - Mt 5:43-48
3. Helping to meet their needs - 1 Jn 3:16-18
-- Do we really love our fellow man? Then love in deed and in
1. As we come to the end of our study, what have we learned about
"Growing In The Knowledge Of Jesus Christ"...?
a. It requires effort ("giving all diligence") - 2 Pe 1:5,10
b. It requires an ever-increasing growth in Christ-like qualities
- 2 Pe 1:8
1) Building on faith (faith)
2) Striving for excellence (virtue)
3) Increasing in knowledge (knowledge)
4) Controlling the self (self-control)
5) Bearing up under trials (perseverance)
6) Seeking to please God (godliness)
7) Loving the brethren (brotherly kindness)
8) With active good will towards all (love)
2. Is the effort worth it? Indeed it is, for as we grow in this
a. The grace and peace of God is multiplied - 2 Pe 1:2
b. All things pertaining to life and godliness are provided - 2 Pe
c. We can avoid spiritual myopia and spiritual amnesia - 2 Pe 1:9
d. We will never stumble so as to fall - 2 Pe 1:10
e. We will have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom
- 2 Pe 1:11
Therefore I pray that in some way our study has encouraged us to be
diligent in supplying these eight graces of Christ-like character in an
ever-increasing measure to our lives, mindful of Peter's final
"But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior
Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and forever. Amen."
- 2 Pe 3:18