LET BROTHERLY LOVE CONTINUE
by Pastor Jeromy John Visser
Brothers and sisters in Jesus Christ, the critical topic of "brotherly love" is an often overlooked aspect of the Christian walk and one that is seemingly becoming less-discussed as we draw deeper into today's swift apostasy. Our Redeemer teaches us that near the end of this world "the love of many shall wax cold" because "iniquity [lawlessness] shall abound (Matthew 24:12)" and John explains; "Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him (I John 3:15)" making this Bible teaching an important component of salvation itself. Brotherly love is considered essential.
At least from my own experience, I frequently notice far too many remnant Christians attacking one another over simple doctrinal differences and most times the end result is broken relationships or general disrespect aimed towards each another. There are many different people within the Body of Christ and each has a vital role to play -- some are Bible teachers, others are outright soldiers, many have duties solely towards family and there are literally hundreds more "members" of position and use. In this evening's study we will examine some of these concepts and see how brotherly love is vital for the predestined elect.
Solomon has given us this wisdom; "Your own friend and your father's friend, forsake them not; neither go to your brother's house in the day of your calamity. Better is a neighbor who is near [in spirit] than a brother who is far off [in heart] (Proverbs 27:10 amp)" and further elaborates; "A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity (Proverbs 17:17)" showing us the importance of camaraderie and Christian friendship. It's through fellowship that we love one another and this helps us to "Let brotherly love continue (Hebrews 13:1)" as commanded by Jesus Christ in numerous passages found throughout the Gospels.
(Sheep and Goats:)
Very early in Israel's history they were given certain fraternal Laws by Yahweh such as; "You shall not hate your brother in your heart; but you shall surely rebuke your neighbor, lest you incur sin because of him. You shall not take revenge or bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself (Leviticus 19:17 amp)." Jesus says; "For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother (Matthew 12:50)" making those who follow God's Will or His eternal Law an identifying trait of His true followers and in essence His own bloodline on earth.
Jesus teaches; "When the Son of Man comes in His glory (His majesty and splendor), and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them [the people] from one another as a shepherd separates his sheep from the goats; And He will cause the sheep to stand at His right hand, but the goats at His left (Matthew 25:31-33 amp)." This is a teaching on Yahweh's Judgment and the separation of the godless from the righteous seed during that hour so we should focus on what happens to those from the wicked left or the hypocritical "Judas goats."
Here the passage; "He will say to those at His left hand, Begone from Me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me no food, I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not welcome Me and entertain Me, I was naked and you did not clothe Me, I was sick and in prison and you did not visit Me with help and ministering care. Solemnly I declare to you, in so far as you failed to do it for the least [in the estimation of men] of these, you failed to do it for Me (Matthew 25:41-46 amp)." As I stated before, brotherly love is considered essential.
(Apostle of Love:)
John is considered by many Christians to be "the apostle of love" because he teaches extensively on the subject in all three of his New Testament epistles. John tells us how to spot real Christians in statements such as this; "This is how we may discern [daily, by experience] that we are coming to know Him [to perceive, recognize, understand, and become better acquainted with Him]: if we keep (bear in mind, observe, practice) His teachings (precepts, commandments) (I John 2:3 amp)." We should be able to notice that those who keep God's commandments or eternal Law are those who have deeper relationships with Yahweh.
He continues to teach on false brethren; "Whoever says, I know Him [I perceive, recognize, understand, and am acquainted with Him] but fails to keep and obey His commandments (teachings) is a liar, and the Truth [of the Gospel] is not in him. But he who keeps (treasures) His Word [who bears in mind His precepts, who observes His message in its entirety], truly in him has the love of and for God been perfected (completed, reached maturity). By this we may perceive (know, recognize, and be sure) that we are in Him (I John 2:4-5 amp)." In short, those who profess to be Christians but deny the Law aren't really loving brethren at all.
He even elaborates on the importance of love; "Whoever says he is in the Light and [yet] hates his brother [Christian, born-again child of God his Father] is in darkness even until now. Whoever loves his brother [believer] abides (lives) in the Light, and in It or in him there is no occasion for stumbling or cause for error or sin. But he who hates (detests, despises) his brother [in Christ] is in darkness and walking (living) in the dark; he is straying and does not perceive or know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes (I John 2:9-11 amp)." By these particular passages we should all be able to spot the many false Christians.
(The Loveless World:)
Like most teachings to be found in the Holy Bible, "loving John" also tells us that those who follow after the world and it's so-called "treasures" also hate Yahweh; "Do not love or cherish the world or the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world--the lust of the flesh [craving for sensual gratification] and the lust of the eyes [greedy longings of the mind] and the pride of life [assurance in one's own resources or in the stability of earthly things]--these do not come from the Father but are from the world [itself] (I John 2:15-16 amp)." We're to love one another.
The reason is true Christians are His seedline; "See what [an incredible] quality of love the Father has given (shown, bestowed on) us, that we should [be permitted to] be named and called and counted the children of God! And so we are! The reason that the world does not know (recognize, acknowledge) us is that it does not know Him. Beloved, we are [even here and] now God's children; it is not yet disclosed (made clear) what we shall be [hereafter], but we know that when He comes and is manifested, we shall [as God's children] resemble and be like Him, for we shall see Him just as He [really] is (I John 3:1-2 amp)."
The teachings of man's erroneous world are contrary to Yahweh's eternal Law so John goes into detail; "Everyone who has this hope [resting] on Him cleanses (purifies) himself just as He is pure (chaste, undefiled, guiltless). Everyone who commits (practices) sin is guilty of lawlessness; for [that is what] sin is, lawlessness (the breaking, violating of God's law by transgression or neglect--being unrestrained and unregulated by His commands and His will) (I John 3:4 amp)." This is the very Biblical definition of sin; "Sin is the transgression of the law" so let's all be leery of groups who encourage antinomian lawlessness.
(Jesus on Love:)
Nobody teaches as comprehensively on brotherly love as does Jesus; "No servant is able to serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will stand by and be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon (riches, or anything in which you trust and on which you rely) (Luke 16:13 amp)" and He told the jews; "If God were your Father, you would love Me and respect Me and welcome Me gladly, for I proceeded (came forth) from God [out of His very presence]. I did not even come on My own authority or of My own accord (as self-appointed); but He sent Me (John 8:42 amp)."
When Jesus Christ was asked which eternal Law was the greatest of all He replied; "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment (Matthew 22:37-38)" but He also adds; "The second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets (Matthew 22:39-40)." With a profound simplicity that is able to utterly bewilder His enemies to this day, Jesus Christ gave us such pearls of scripture to express the absolute importance of loving one another and Yahweh above all things.
Even though a majority of Jesus' own ministry was spent teaching the Law, He stressed the importance of brotherly love when He commanded; "I give you a new commandment: that you should love one another. Just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that you are My disciples, if you love one another [if you keep on showing love among yourselves] (John 13:34-35 amp)." By these perfect teachings we can "try the spirits (I John 4:1)" and when we notice "certain men crept in unawares (Jude 1:4)" who continually hurl insults at other brethren we know they are not of Yahweh.
(God Is Love:)
There are without a doubt many imposters amongst the Saxon-Christians who feel they must belittle and attack other followers of Christ who are at a different level then they are, such lawless groups are to be avoided as they will only lead to more confusion. Many dishonest groups exploit the names of genuine Christians subtlety replacing the doctrines of Christ with their own traditions and many times teach directly opposite of what we're commanded. Such groups seemingly find justifications for many clear-cut aspects to be found within the Holy Bible. Many of these snakes "went out from us, but they were not of us (I John 2:19)."
For example, John writes; "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is (springs) from God; and he who loves [his fellowmen] is begotten (born) of God and is coming [progressively] to know and understand God [to perceive and recognize and get a better and clearer knowledge of Him]. He who does not love has not become acquainted with God [does not and never did know Him], for God is love (I John 4:7-8 amp)." Like He is Jealous (Exodus 34:14), Yahweh is also Love and those who don't have devotion to their racial brother as commanded (Leviticus 19:18) could be considered the worst type of infidel, much like Cain who slew Abel.
John gives us yet another defining trait of the snake when he says this; "If anyone says, I love God, and hates (detests, abominates) his brother [in Christ], he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, Whom he has not seen. And this command (charge, order, injunction) we have from Him: that he who loves God shall love his brother [believer] also (I John 4:20-21 amp)." A casual glance at the world today shows the love of many dissipating while evil men and seducers are becoming "worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived (II Timothy 3:13)." There are many false prophets.
(Sons of Glory:)
Indeed, many "wolves in sheep's clothing" find weak rationalizations for who they choose to consider their brother or sister but I prefer Jesus' own description much better; "You are not to be called rabbi (teacher), for you have one Teacher and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone [in the church] on earth father, for you have one Father, Who is in heaven (Matthew 23:8-9 amp)." He also says; "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 (Matthew 18:15)." Jesus died for all His children so we must always do as He says.
We can also read this about Jesus' sacrifice; "For it was an act worthy [of God] and fitting [to the divine nature] that He, for Whose sake and by Whom all things have their existence, in bringing many sons into glory, should make the Pioneer of their salvation perfect [should bring to maturity the human experience necessary to be perfectly equipped for His office as High Priest] through suffering. For this reason He is not ashamed to call them brethren; For He says, I will declare Your [the Father's] name to My brethren; in the midst of the [worshiping] congregation I will sing hymns of praise to You (Hebrews 2:10-12 amp)."
Jesus specifically taught that those who hate their brethren should also suffer by man's Law like that of Yahweh's when He says; "I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire (Matthew 5:22 amp)."
My intention with this evening's study is to call for unity among the brethren, it's essential and commanded. There are too many broken feelings over minor doctrinal differences and in the grand scheme of things the hatred that is directed towards each other should be converted into energy to fight for the Gospel and Yahweh's perfect Kingdom here on earth. Jesus says plainly; "No one has greater love [no one has shown stronger affection] than to lay down (give up) his own life for his friends (John 15:13 amp)" making Him Love itself and proving once again that He was "God manifest in the flesh (I Timothy 3:16)" sent for Israel.
There are many spiritual forces at work in the world today and many of them are outright evil. The enemies of Jesus Christ and His followers would like nothing more than to sow discord from within the ranks causing us to take our eyes off of the real threat, let's not fall into their many traps nor allow their stumbling-blocks to hinder our devotion towards each other. Like many other teachings to be found in the Word of God, brotherly love is another aspect that is under attack so we cannot afford to allow any man to take our glory nor the many promises made to us by Yahweh in the covenant itself, we must be one in Christ.
It's my prayer that those who are brethren in Jesus Christ will work together to rebuke the many false prophets who aren't really Christians at all. Jesus taught us; "By their fruits ye shall know them (Matthew 7:20)" so we should continually be looking at the works that are coming from the numerous groups claiming to represent Jesus and His teachings. It's my sincere wish that this evening's study will help "Let brotherly love continue (Hebrews 13:1)" and also touch those seeking Biblical Truth. Like usual, I hope that this sermon will glorify our Creator Jesus Christ and help to shatter the many myths that have caused offense. War for Christ! Amen.
[ Let Sisterly Love Continue ]
Wednesday, September 14th, 2005 ]
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