Lesson 6 - Loving the Brethren

Lesson 6 - Loving the Brethren

(1 John 3:11-24)

In our last lesson we learned that those who have been born again practice righteousness.  One way that this life style is manifest is in loving the brethren.  It's easy to believe that everybody will be pleased with our new life in Jesus Christ.  How wonderful to become a new creature in the Lord!

"Do not marvel, my brethren, if the world hates you."  Jesus had said to His disciples, "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you."  John 15:18.  Don't be surprised that others do not look favorably upon your conversion to the Lord.  In much of this world in which we live a simple profession of faith in Christ means ostracism, imprisonment, and death.

Cain is John's example of the world's hatred toward believers.  He killed his brother, Abel.  Why did he commit such a horrible act?  "Because his works were evil and his brother's righteous."  The world won't hate you when you participate in their worldliness.  When you practice righteousness, their evil works are exposed and they become angry.

Our love for the brethren, fellow believers, is another evidence of our right relationship with God.  It is proof of our new life in Christ.  "We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love the brethren."

Three things can be said of those who hate the brethren.

  • 1.  They walk in darkness.  "He who hates his brother walks in darkness, and doesn't know where he is going."  1 John 2:11.
  • 2.  They continue in death.  "He who does not love his brother abides in death."  1 John 3:14.
  • 3.  They don't really love God.  "If someone says, 'I love God,' and hates his brother, he is a liar."  1 John 4:20.

In the Sermon on the Mount Jesus spoke of anger as being at the heart of murder.  Matthew 5:21, 22.  John likened someone who hates his brother as being "a murderer."

Love is more than talk.  We should show our love by deeds of compassion.  As we love the brethren we know that we are of the truth.  Even if our heart condemns us, we rest in God, knowing that "God is greater than our heart, and knows all things."  However, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence in God.  Either way we don't trust our feelings and emotions, but rather continue to trust in Him.

We have received a two-fold commandment from God: (1) "We should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ," and (2) we should "love one another."  Believing in Jesus and not loving the brethren is inconsistent with the Christian faith.  Love for others flows from our faith in Christ.  Our faith in the Lord Jesus is expressed in our love for others.

"The love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us."  Romans 5:5.  All believers are indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  The fruit of the Spirit is love.  Galatians 5:22, 23.  "We know that He (Jesus) abides in us by the Spirit whom He has given us."  Those who trust in Jesus and love the brethren are alive in Him, and He in them.  This is the spiritual dynamic of being a Christian, and walking with God.  We know the truth of this because "the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God."  Romans 8:16.

 

Lesson 7 - Trying the Spirits

 
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