PHBC January 3, 1999
Series: First Peter, Ser. #66
Pilgrims are to love one another
Scripture: I Cor. 13:1-13
TEXT: 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
INTRO: I seriously considered bypassing verses 8 and 9 because of the lessons Bro. Holladay has been bringing on the subject. I also remember that back when we were in chapter 1, we studied this same subject on verse 22 of that chapter. 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.
Then I noticed again that the verse shows the importance of this matter of loving one another by saying that it is above all else. It is paramount in our relations with our brethren in Christ that we love one another. 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Consider also that Paul gives almost the same admonition. Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
As I pondered whether to deal with this matter again, I remembered that this is our first service together in 1999 and what better theme on which to start the New Year than on the admonition to fervently love one another.
I. COMMANDS AND ADMONITIONS TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER ARE ABUNDANT IN SCRIPTURE
A. Let us look again at 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. Obedience to truth and love of the brethren are vitally associated in Scriptural teaching.
2. I fear that we sometimes do not manifest this love in our zeal for truth.
3. In the light of this Peter admonishes, "See that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently."
4. I would remind you of another admonition of brotherly love found the second chapter of this epistle. 1 Peter 2:17 Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
B. The commandment to love one another was prominent in the teaching of Jesus.
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.
C. Consider also some of the things Paul taught concerning brotherly love.
1. He placed brotherly love among those things which God himself has taught us. 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.
2. He also 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.
D. John is sometimes called the apostle of love so we should examine some of his teaching on the matter of 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.
II. NOTE ALSO SOME OF THE CHARACTERISTICS THAT BROTHERLY LOVE SHOULD POSSESS
A. It should be manifest in a manner that shows its great importance to us. 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins. Colossians 3:14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
B. It is to be sincere and not faked or feigned. 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.
C. This love which Peter urges for the brethren is love that 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.
D. 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.
III. THE BLESSINGS OF FERVENT BROTHERLY LOVE
A. It covers a multitude of sin. 1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
B. Solomon says much the same thing and this may be a quote from him. Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.
C. I like what Matthew Henry says on this statement that love shall cover a multitude of sin. "It is the property of true charity to cover a multitude of sins. It inclines people to forgive and forget offences against themselves, to cover and conceal the sins of others, rather than aggravate them and spread them abroad. It teaches us to love those who are but weak, and who have been guilty of many evil things before their conversion; and it prepares for mercy at the hand of God, who hath promised to forgive those that forgive others, Mt. 6:14."
D. It was this kind of love and compassion that caused Barnabas to come to Paul's defense and aid when the church at Jerusalem was about to refuse to receive him. Acts 9:26-27 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
E. Compare the conduct of Shem and Japheth to Noah in contrast to Hamís exposure of his fatherís shame. Genesis 9:22-23 And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without. 23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their fatherís nakedness.
F. We ought to cover the sins of others unless love itself requires the contrary.
1. We are not obligated to tell everything we know about someone, even when it involves sin. Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
2. Some old writer has said, "It was an oversight; therefore overlook it. It was done through forgetfulness; therefore forget it. It perhaps made nothing of you; do you make nothing of it."
3. I should point out that this does not refer to trying to cover our own sins from the sight of God. Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.
CONC: There is no way to overstate the importance of brotherly love. It is above all other considerations in our relationship with other Christians. As we enter this new year and always, let brotherly love continue and grow and mount up.
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