Love Your Brethren

“Our weekly article in the Northport Gazette and the West Alabama Gazette”.

Watering the Tulips

01/11/2012

“And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing” - 1 Corinthians 13:2

Wow! What a powerful statement! The apostle, Paul, here says that even if he understood the theology behind every verse from Genesis 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, if he didn’t use this knowledge with love, it was useless to him. If, perhaps, he had more faith than any other person that has ever lived, if he didn’t use this faith with love, it was useless. Without doubt, we need to examine our motivation immediately.
Jesus Himself said, “By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). The world will recognize us as followers of Jesus if they see our love for one another. Oftentimes, it seems we try to show our love for the Lord in many ways (as we well should). However, one sure fire way to show our love for Christ is to show our love for our brethren. This love for our brethren is even given as proof of our salvation (1 John 3:14).
How much are we to love our brethren? Surely, Jesus said we were to love our neighbor as ourselves (Luke 10:27). How much more should we love our own brethren? Paul said, “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all, especially to those who are of the household of faith” (Galatians 6:10). We are to do good (love) all people (our neighbor). However, we are to be especially good (love) to those who are considered our brethren – that is, to other believers in Christ.
This love for our brethren is not just empty words. This love should result in actions. In fact, 1 John 3:16-18 says, “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? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth”. Our love for the Lord should produce love for our brethren. Our love for fellow believers should produce good will and good works towards them.
When a person is saved, the Spirit immediately empowers the Gospel message so they believe in Christ (1 Thessalonians 1:4-5). Then, the Spirit instantaneously indwells and seals the believer (Ephesians 1:13-14). The Holy Spirit will then produce certain “fruits” in the believer. The first of these fruits mentioned in Galatians 5:22 is “love”. Surely, there is a reason this one is listed first, especially in light of the verse before us today.
A quick word of warning, “If someone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also” (1 John 4:20-21). A lack of love for the brethren is proof that a person does not really love God. There is little that can be added to this passage.
Child of God, commit yourself to love as God loved us. “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). Surely, if God could love those that were so opposed to Him, we can love those who are trusting in Christ as we are.


Watering the Tulips is brought to you by Sovereign Grace Baptist Church in Northport, AL. For more information, please visit www.sovereigngrace.net. “Your app to the Gospel” is available for download in the iTunes app store and the Android market. Download it today.

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