Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in Heaven is perfect.
Matthew 5:48 NKJV
But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness (affection)…
II Peter 1:5-7 NKJV
In our previous session we learnt that Brotherly Affection refers to loving a brother dearly, the way you would love your self. We also realized that our brethren referred to our fellow Christians and it was such a relief to many to realize that it is not always easy to show brotherly affection.
Many have been hurt and betrayed by their fellow Christians. Some of these deeds are so horrible that you think that these offenders were never Christians to begin with.
Nevertheless, we are instructed to love them. Love in Christ comes through obedience to the Word of God and not feelings. If this was left to feelings, many Christians will be my hate and vengeance list for sure.
The Word of God speaks much about loving our fellow Brethren and the implications that result when we disobey. This is what 1 John has to say:
If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
1 John 4:20-21 NASB
Loving our brethren is not an advice or a recommendation. It is a commandment. Our Lord Jesus made mention in John 14:15 that keeping His commandments is the sure way of exhibiting your love for Him; not singing or proclaiming that you love Him.
The passage of Scripture above clearly indicates that when we fail to show love to our brethren, we fail to show love to God. Anyone who hates his brethren who He can see cannot possibly love God whom He has not seen. This is mainly because the God resides in that person the same way He resides in you through His Spirit. We know that some believers in Christ make terrible mistakes and commit wrong deeds but upon self-reflection, haven’t we done wrong deeds to others before? Haven’t we made terrible mistakes in our lives as Christians? The commandment of loving the brethren also includes other fellow Christians loving you and I despite our mistakes and wrong deeds committed against them.
TESTIMONY TO THE WORLD
If we are interested in evangelism, let’s bear in mind that the greatest method of evangelizing the world is for Christians to treat one another with love and brotherly affection. In John 13:34-35, Jesus says:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.”
John 13:34-35 NASB
What will speak to the watching world is the spectacle of Christians loving one another. It is the one testimony that will reach the whole world.
How can we talk about evangelizing the love of God to outsiders when we are prepared to show this kind of love to our fellow brothers and sisters. What is the guarantee that when these unbelievers convert and become part of the family of Christ, they would be love by you and I?
Many of you would agree with me that there are many moments when you speak the unbelievers about becoming Christians, one of the major arguments they make against Christianity is the divisions and quarreling they see in the Church.
Church Organizations, members of One Body of Christ, attacking one another because of doctrinal issues forgetting that none is absolutely perfect in the doctrine of Christ. What is worse is that many have forgotten that what made them believers in the first place wasn’t all these doctrines but rather faith in the Lord Jesus Christ by the free gift of God’s grace(Ephesians 2:8, Romans 10:9-10)
Some Churches even battle each other to get more of the unconverted to attend their church. A race for unbelievers, let the best church organization win. The winner is the one with the largest population. This is not what the Lord envisioned for the Church.
Loving the brethren is a commandment. If we don’t do it, we are being disobedient.
The true definition of Love is not about how you feel but rather obedience to the Word and Will of God. The main reason for Jesus’ death for the whole world was obedience to Will of His Father. He loved through obedience and He learned obedience by things which he suffered. The same goes for us his disciples. Obedience is not particularly a bed of roses, especially in cases like these.
Do you feel challenged beyond your ability to handle this building block? Why don’t we just take it to Lord in prayer ?
Dear Lord, this building block seems out of my reach. I’m still dealing with the hurt I have received from my fellow believers. Some of whom I trusted so much. I bring those hurts to You again for healing and restoration.
Please help me, Lord, to love my brothers and sisters in Christ. For His Sake. In Jesus Name. Amen.
Grace is always available and ever-sufficient for you in Jesus Name.