PHBC April 5, 1998
Series: First Peter, Ser. #46
UNITY PROMOTED THROUGH BROTHERLY LOVE
Scripture: I Cor. 13:1-13
TEXT: 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.
INTRO: We have read in I Corinthians 13 that the greatest and most enduring of all the spiritual gifts is the gift of love. When the gift of miraculous healing ceased with the completion of the Scriptures, love endured. When the gift of prophecy ceased with the writing of the book of Revelation, the gift of love continued. When the churches had matured enough and the Word of God was fully written and the gift of tongues ceased, the gift of love lived on. One day, the spiritual gift of hope will be needed no more for, as Paul tells us, hope that is seen is no more hope. When hope is needed no more, love will prevail. And, the gift of faith will one day be needed no more. Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. One day our hope will be seen and faith will be needed no more, but, guess what, the gift of love will endure and only increase in its greatness. "Love never faileth!"
In our text from I Peter, he says that we should "love as brethren." Peter uses one word to say this. Filadelfoi. As he pursues this theme of unity, he admonishes them to love as brethren. I am reminded of Paul's commendation of the church at Thessalonica. 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. Commenting on this verse Matthew Henry wrote, "All who are savingly taught of God are taught this lesson, to love one another." Since we are especially taught of God to love one another as brethren, it must be very grievous to him when we do not love one another as we are taught.
With these things in mind let us consider the subject Unity Promoted Through Brotherly Love.
I. IT SHOULD BE OBSERVED THAT BROTHERLY LOVE IS OFTEN ADMONISHED AND COMMENDED IN SCRIPTURE
A. Observe again Paul's commendation of the brotherly love of the Thessalonians. 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.
1. There was no need for his admonishing them to love one another for they gave evidence that God had taught them and they had learned well this Christian grace and had cultivated this Spiritual gift.
2. But, even a commendation such as Paul give has the effect of an admonition to them as well as to others who, like us, read it.
3. Paul uses that same Greek word that we noted above. filadelfia"
4. He does not call on us to have the agapaw degree of love which most often is manifested by the Trinity but to have a lesser degree of love which is brotherly love. John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. Ephesians 2:4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us.
5. There is a special relation between true children of God that binds us together in brotherly love.
6. This bond takes on even more significance within a local church of the Lord Jesus Christ were we are not only brothers and sisters in Christ but members one of another. Ephesians 4:25 Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another. Romans 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.
7. We are members one of another who are fitly joined together. Ephesians 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
a. Here Paul does not use the Greek word for brotherly love.
b. When a church body reaches the unity and mutual care one for another that is suggested in this verse, its love will grow from the brotherly to that deeper kind of love that is expressed in the Greek word, agapaw.
B. Consider also the admonition of Peter in our text. 1 Peter 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.
C. In his epistle to the Hebrews, Paul issues a similar admonition. Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
1. It is evident that this congregation was already exercising this gift of brotherly love.
2. Here we have an admonition that is also a commendation of their exercise of this gift.
3. He calls on them to continue this gift.
4. This love was in danger of being diminished and possibly lost among these Hebrews as they disputed about the respect they should or should not maintain for the ceremonies of the Law of Moses.
D. Jesus taught that love for one another, and he uses the deeper kind of love, is an identifying characteristic of true disciples. John 13:34-35 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
1. This matter was not optional for us. John 15:12-17 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.
2. Being a friend (filoi) of Jesus Christ requires that we love one another as he has commanded. 14 Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. 15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you. 16 Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. 17 These things I command you, that ye love one another.
E. Paul admonished the congregation to have this brotherly love one for another. Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectioned (filadelfia)one to another with brotherly love (filostorgoi); in honour preferring one another.
F. In Ephesians 5:1-2 Paul changes to the word agapaw again as he admonished that church to love one another. Ephesians 5:1-2 Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; 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.
G. It is interesting that Peter, in his second epistle, indicates that this matter of loving one another is a growth process that progresses from the brotherly love (filadelfia) to that deeper degree of love (agaphn). 2 Peter 1:5-8 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.
II. SOME BLESSINGS AND BENEFITS OF BROTHERLY LOVE
A. Love for one another helps to keep us from being barren and unfruitful in the knowledge of Christ. 2 Peter 1:8 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.
B. Love for one another helps to give assurance of being washed from our sins. 2 Peter 1:9-10 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.
C. Love for one another assures us that we are walking in the light. 1 John 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him.
1. John is sometimes nicknamed The Apostle of Love.
2. It is interesting to note that he does not use Paul's and Peter's word (filadelfia); he always uses the word that signifies a deep, Divine type of love, (agaphn).
D. Love for one another assures us that we have passed from death unto life. 1 John 3:14-19 We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. 15 Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. 16 Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. 17 But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth. 19 And hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him.
E. Love for one another assures us that we have been born of God, that we do truly know God, and that God dwells in us and we in him. 1 John 4:7-16 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. 9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. 10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 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. 13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world. 15 Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. 16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.
CONC: Let me close with these words that we have just read a moment ago. 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.
A. How can we know that we are born of God? If we have love for one another.
B. How can we know that God and Christ dwell in us? If we love one another.
C. How can we know that we have passed from death unto life? If we love one another.
D. How can we know that we are in the light? If we love one another.
E. How can we know that we dwell in God and Christ? If we love one another.
F. How will other men know that we are truly the followers of Christ? If we love one another.
It is better for each of us individually if we love one another. It is better for us as a body if we love one another. It is better for the lost world if we love one another. John 13:35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Hebrews 13:1 Let brotherly love continue.
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