PHBC June 29, 1997
Series: First Peter, Sermon #21
PILGRIMS ADMONISHED TO UNFEIGNED LOVE OF THE BRETHREN
TEXT: 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
INTRO: Brotherly love, the love of Christian for Christians, is a very prominent theme in the word of God. Jesus said, John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
About 150 AD a heathen writer made a statement that went something like this, "These Christians, behold how they love one another." Peter declared that Christian maturity and assurance of salvation is only possible if we love one another. 2 Peter 1:5-10 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But he that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. 10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.
John also affirms that love of the brethren is essential to assurance of salvation. 1 John 3:14 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. There is no way one can have any assurance that he has eternal life if there is a question mark over his love for those who are his brethren and sisters in Christ. As a matter of fact, John says, "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." Note that there is no equivocation on the part of John or the Holy Spirit who inspired him to write this. It is simple and blunt and to the point. "He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."
I. ADMONITIONS AND COMMANDS TO LOVE THE BRETHREN (SISTERS ARE INCLUDED, ALSO)
A. Two admonitions are found in our text. 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
1. One aspect of obeying the truth through the Spirit is that it provokes us to unfeigned love of the brethren.
2. In the light of this Peter admonishes, "See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."
3. Peter also admonished love for the brethren in the second chapter of this epistle. 1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
B. Jesus admonished his people to love one another.
1. He commanded us to love one another. John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.
2. He repeated this commandment again. John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.
3. He repeated it a third time. John 15:17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
4. Paul also taught brotherly love.
5. He said that God has taught us to love one another. 1 Thessalonians 4:9 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.
6. He admonished us to walk in love. Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.
C. John is sometimes called the apostle of love and he did write admonitions and certain facts about brotherly love.
1. He declared this was a message that Christ taught them from the very beginning of his ministry. 1 John 3:11 For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another.
2. He affirms that love of the brethren is a natural associate of believing on Jesus Christ as Saviour. 1 John 3:23 And this is his commandment, That we should believe on the name of his Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as he gave us commandment.
3. He affirms that brotherly love is an inseparable companion of the new birth. 1 John 4:7-8 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. 8 He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.
4. John further asserts that brotherly love is the evidence that God is dwelling in us. 1 John 4:11-12 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. 12 No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.
5. Again John insists that this commanded to love the brethren is one of the earliest commandments of Christ. 2 John 5 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another.
D. It is abundantly evident that one of the most certain evidences of regeneration and conversion, and one of the most urgent responsibilities of true Christians is love for one another.
II. A FEW WORDS OF CAUTION CONCERNING THIS MATTER OF BROTHERLY LOVE.
A. It should be remembered that this is love for those who are evident brothers and sisters in Christ. 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
B. Brotherly love does not negate the commandments concerning church discipline.
1. It does not negate the commandment of Christ concerning the way to deal with personal offences between two members of the church. Matthew 18:15-17 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. 16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. 17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
2. It does not negate the commandments concerning public, moral offences. 1 Corinthians 5:1-13 It is reported commonly that there is fornication among you, and such fornication as is not so much as named among the Gentiles, that one should have his father's wife. 2 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. 3 For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, 4 In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ, 5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. 6 Your glorying is not good. Know ye not that a little leaven leaveneth the whole lump?
3. 7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our passover is sacrificed for us: 8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.
4. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators: 10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat. 12 For what have I to do to judge them also that are without? do not ye judge them that are within? 13 But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person.
5. Nor does it negate the commandments concerning those who come into the church and advocate heretical doctrines. Titus 3:10 A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject.
C. It should also be remembered that brotherly love should never be used as an excuse to get into bed with heretics of other so-called "Christian" organizations.
1. David indicates that the more truth we learn the more holy hatred we should have for false doctrine. Psalm 119:104 Through thy precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way.
2. He also indicates that the more we esteem the word of God as truth the more we should hate heresy. Psalm 119:128 Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate every false way.
3. David also indicates that we are to hate those who hate God and his word. Psalm 139:21-22 Do not I hate them, O LORD, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee? 22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.
a. It is possible to hate with a perfect and holy hatred.
b. God, whose attribute of holiness governs all his other attributes, hates some people. Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, 19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
c. God hates the wicked and those who love violence. Psalm 11:5 The LORD trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.
d. God abhors the covetous. Psalm 10:3 For the wicked boasteth of his heart's desire, and blesseth the covetous, whom the LORD abhorreth.
e. God hates all workers of iniquity. Psalm 5:4-5 For thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness: neither shall evil dwell with thee. 5 The foolish shall not stand in thy sight: thou hatest all workers of iniquity.
f. Jesus has not set his love on those who will finally be cast into hell. Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.
g. There are some folks whose very soul is loathed by God. Zechariah 11:8 Three shepherds also I cut off in one month; and my soul lothed them, and their soul also abhorred me.
h. Even some in Israel were the objects of Godís hatred. Hosea 9:15 All their wickedness is in Gilgal: for there I hated them: for the wickedness of their doings I will drive them out of mine house, I will love them no more: all their princes are revolters.
D. Donít let false teachers ever misguide you and make you feel guilty with their appeals to brotherly love.
1. Over the years I have been berated and chided a number of times for not loving my brethren because of my exposure of false teachers and their heresies.
2. I assure you my beloved brothers and sisters that these admonitions and commandments to love the brethren in no way obligate me to love those who teach rank heresy. Since God hates them, so should we.
E. Brotherly love does not mean that we should not expose, in a Christian manner, those brethren who are guilty of error.
1. Paul withstood Peter face to face for his error. Galatians 2:11-14 But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. 12 For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. 13 And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 14 But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?
2. John publicly exposed Diotrephes for his love of preeminence among the brethren. 3 John 9-10 I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. 10 Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church.
3. There are times when we must simply challenge what people say, expose their error, and shut their mouths, if possible. Titus 1:10-11 For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: 11 Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake.
III. THE CHARACTERISTICS WHICH THIS BROTHERLY LOVE IS TO EXHIBIT
A. It is to be unfeigned love of the brethren. 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren.
1. The word unfeigned is translated in the KJV as follows: unfeigned, 4 times, without dissimulation, 1 time, without hypocrisy, 1 time; for a total of six times. It means unfeigned, undisguised, sincere.
2. It is used with love in 2 Corinthians 6:6 By pureness, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned.
3. It is used as a characteristic of true faith in 1 Timothy 1:5 Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned.
4. It is used as a characteristic of faith again in 2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.
5. It is used as a characteristic of love in Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Here it is translated, without dissimulation.
6. It is used as a characteristic of the wisdom that God gives in James 3:17 But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Here it is translated without hypocrisy.
B. This love which Peter urges for the brethren is from a pure heart. 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
1. The word translated pure means free from any admixture of insincerity or falsehood.
2. Again there is the idea of unfeigned love, love that is from a heart without any admixture of falsehood, insincerity, or hypocrisy.
C. This love is to be a fervent love. 1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.
1. The word fervently comes from a word which means earnestly, intently, strenuously.
2. The idea is to be stretched out as one stretches out the hand.
CONC: It is easy to say, "I love my brothers and sisters in Christ." It is not easy to love them without a certain amount of hypocrisy. This love of the brethren is to be an unconditional love. We are to love them even if they have personalities or other things with which we disagree.
I close by reading the 13th chapter of I Corinthians. 1 Corinthians 13:1-13 Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. 2 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, and have not charity, I am nothing. 3 And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. 4 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 5 Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; 6 Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; 7 Beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. 8 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9 For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10 But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. 11 When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 13 And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.
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