Unfeigned Love of the Brethren
a) LOVE. What a precious word. What a precious thing. We like to be where ther's love. It brings happiness, satisfaction, and inspiration to life. To be loved and to love. It makes the hard experiences in life so much more bearable.
b) "The one thing we can never get enough of is love; and the one thing we can never give enough of is love."
c) It has been called the greatest thing in the world. And indeed it is. It is that "more excellent way", more to be desired than to be an apostle, a teacher, than to do miracles or speak in tongues. It is that which will endure when all other virtues have faded away.
2) I Peter 1.22
a) Our text talks about unfeigned love. What is that?
i) Unfeigned - real, sincere, without hipocrisy
(1) a love that comes from the heart
(2) unless love is unfeigned it is not love
3) What is Love?
a) it is a feeling - a fond or tender feeling which we feel toward someone.
i) But as all feelings, love cannot be hidden but if felt will be expressed by words and actions. And may I say especially actions.
(1) schoolteacher who asked students what love is.
(2) the story of the good samaritan.
(3) think of God's love - shown by what He did
(4) I John 3.18 - Let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in DEED and in truth.
(a) not all good deeds are motivated by love
(i) selfish motives: good name, good feeling, praise of men
(ii) That does not make the actions of love any less valid or important.
4) Where does unfeigned love come from?
a) I John 4.7,8 - "Love is of God." God is the fountain of love. From Him all love flows. Our ability to love comes from Him. Without God there is no genuine love. The love that exists in the world about us exists because of the respect that people yet have for God and the basic moral principles of the Bible, though they may not acknowledge them as being Bible. The farther man goes away from God the more selfish and uncaring he becomes. His relationship with others is based on their relationship with him and what he gets out of that relationship for himself. When we think of hell we think of the absence of love. Why? Because God will not be there. And God is love. Without God there is no love.
i) The Christian knows love in a way the world dosen't.
b) I Thes. 4.9 - We are taught of God.
c) On that premise John continues: 3.14-18
d) Because of that, love is such an important expresion of our Christian life
i) It is one of the outstanding virtues of God's people. In fact Jesus said that about love "By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." John 13.36. Are you known to be a loving person?
ii) The ordinances of the Christian salutation, feet washing are to remind us of the importance of love in the body of believers.
e) There is nothing that can do more to ruin the testimony of the believers than attitudes and words and actions that express a lack of love. Everyone expects that the Christian be a loving person.
f) This morning we are considering love - not for our enemies, not for our neighbor but love toward our brethren and sisters in the church.
i) although I think that the same principles apply to all of them, maybe with some different applications.
5) The Expresion of Unfeigned Love
a) Two very familiar Scriptures as a basis for our discussion.
i) Luke 10.27-37
ii) I Corinthians 13.4-7
iii) We want to consider these two scriptures in relation to each other - the teaching and the practical expression of the teaching.
b) suffereth long - is patient, is long suffering
i) We think of God as being longsuffering. A God who though offended manyy times is patient, forbearing. He forgives us over and over. That's how we should be toward each other.
ii) Some people take more patience than others.
(1) Because of our differences in personality. They conflict sometimes.
(a) slow - It takes them so long to make up their minds. We need to sit and wait.
(b) have funny ideas - we need to submit or relate in love without offend them.
(c) contrary or stubborn
(2) immature in their Christian lives.
(a) in relating on the mission field. Continue to do things they shouldn't do. You're sure they know better.
c) and is kind - is loving
i) Again we look at Jesus - So much of His life was spent making people happy. Doing things for others. Doing favors. Without discrimination. Without calculating what it would cost him. Without holding back.
ii) The good samaritan.
(1) saw a man in need. He stopped to help without discriminating. Without considering first what it would cost him, the time he would lose, that he would get his good clothes dirty. He did more than really he had to do. He was kind, compassionate.
iii) Eph. 4.31,32 - the abscence of v.31 and the expression of v.32
(a) James 3.17
iv) That's what love is. Kindness. Making others happy by our good deeds. Sensing their needs and reaching out to help them. Not discriminating. Not overly concerned about the sacrifices we may need to make.
v) Expressed by showing a loving concern in little things. A cup of water. A meal. A visit.
vi) by an understanding attitude in relating to others problems, other's failures. Not critical.
d) envieth not
i) envy - the feeling of desiring bad for those who are on the same level as us.
(1) Joseph's brothers
(2) Saul for David's victory
(3) the Jew's for Jesus wisdom and popularity
(4) expressed many times by a spirit of coveteousness
e) vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up
i) does not brag or praise itself for what it does.
(1) does not need to be recognized.
(2) does not praise itself to others.
(3) needs no pats on the back
(a) the Pharisee who went up into the temple to pray
(4) Jesus didn't even say what his name was (Good Samaritan.)
(a) Do you get the impression that the Good Samaritan went away bragging about what he did?
(b) the levite and the priest were proud men
(6) is not easily offended - Haman
(a) poor in spirit - to be surprised that others treat us as good as they do, talk about us as good as they do.
(b) does not discriminate
(7) The Good Samaritan
(8) love relates to all men equally
(a) old and young, poor and rich, educated and uneducated, neat or sloppy, etc...
(i) whom do we visit?
(ii) it is true that we enjoy associating with others who have like interests.
1. if your interest is in farming you enjoy sharing with other farmers, carpenters with carpenters, etc...
a. we must be careful that we do not neglect others who may have different interests than what we do.
(iii) our common spiritual interests should prevail over material interests.
(b) is one of the tests that missionaries face. To refuse to relate to your native people as equals is to lose your efectiveness as a missionary.
ii) Does not demand special attention or priviledges
f) doth not behave itself unseemily
i) is not rude. Now these expresions of love are so interrelated it is hard to seperate one from another.
(1) it is courteous
(a) please, thank you, excuse me
(2) our speech - not loving, degrading, critical, mocking
(a) How do we talk about each other? Each others families.
(b) We are careful not to hurt others by the things we say. We're sensitive about that. We think about that before we speak.
(c) careful not to discourage others by what they say or do
g) seeketh not her own
i) one of the greatest tests of love. The outstanding quality of the good samaritan. Lessons:
(1) love is inconvenient
(a) to put himself in danger; to get to Jericho later than planned; to get himself dirty; to risk being mocked and critizised by others; it meant he had to walk part of the way instead of ride.
(i) to help someone when you are busy
(ii) to give up your daughter for a day or two to help another sister
(iii) to provide a home for someone who may need a home
(2) love takes time
(a) think of all the time he lost helping this man. We all have lots of things to do. It takes time to visit our sick brother, to visit our older brothers and sisters who can't get around as much, to write a letter of encouragement, to give a day of work to help a busy brother or sister.
(b) to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.
(3) love costs money
(a) I'm not sure what he was going to Jericho for but he may have arrived unable to do all the business he was planning having spent to help his brother.
(b) Not hard to do when we have plenty, are we willing to do with less, are we willing to sacrifice, to give up some of the things we need for our brother?
(i) the anabaptist baptismal vows.
1. that they would be willing to give up all their posessions to help a brother in need.
h) Is not easily provoked
i) I believe this is the real test of love. There are many men whom we would qualify as godly men and women whom we would consider virtuous who have but this one fault in their lives.
(1) the seriousness of this one failure is seen in it's relation to the other expressions of love.
(2) it is when a man is provoked that he:
(a) loses his patience
(b) is unkind
(c) is downgrading and mocking
(d) is rude
ii) It is only through the power of the spirit in redeeming man and changing that cruel heart that he can be changed.
i) thinketh no evil
i) does not hold grudges, is forgiving, not easily offended
ii) gives our brother the benefit of the doubt
(1) not suspicious - "Pure love and suspition cannot dwell together, at the door where the latter enters the former makes its exit."
j) rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth
i) this includes refusing to benefit from others faults
ii) the compassion that does not enjoy exposing the weaknesses of others
iii) is very careful not to make false accusations
(1) as lying. God hates false witness. God is just. He cannot bear to see someone suffer unjustly.
(2) gossip - things we imagine; making conclusions without hearing the other side of the story.
(a) not make judgements on the basis of imagination, things we do not know are true or not.
(b) Recognize that many times we do not know the motives or intentions of our brother. We only see a part of the picture.
(3) it hurts - it destroys confidence in the brethren
iv) the effort to see things as they are
(1) comunicate with our brother to see if the things we hear or imagine are true. to go and talk face to face with the brother or sister
(2) part of being a peacemaker.
k) I don't think we should stop here yet. Love is not always Positive
i) Is an aspect of love that many people like to overlook.
(1) not pleasant
ii) Eph.4.15 - speaking the truth in love
v) Love for our brother is more than a concern for his material needs and wellbeing. We are concerned that he lives right, that he experiences victory, that he does not become involved in something that may be a hindrance to his spiritual life. That sometimes may mean confonting him with a concern, or a challenge - and love does that. There is a danger of being misunderstood when we do that.
vi) We need the help of each other. Let's be willing to except it from each other.
a) May our testimony to the world about us be one of love for each other.
b) John 15.9-17