A Brotherly Love
Brotherly love means open your heart and your life to people. It also means compassion for the suffering.
Alright. Thank you very much and hello again, radio friends. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your good friend, Bob Cook, and we’re back together again, you and I, for some precious moments together around the Word of God. I like this, don’t you? I look forward just to being able to share some of these wonderful truths from God’s eternal Word, the Bible.
We’re talking about brotherly love. It starts at Calvary. “Seeing you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto the unfeigned love of the brethren. See that you love one another with a pure heart fervently,” said Peter in I Peter 1:22.
What else? Romans 12:10 says: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.”
Brotherly love is related in this case to my attitude toward the other person insofar as his advantage is concerned. “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” Paul says in Philippians, “Look not every man on his own things only, but every man also on the things of others.” He said, “Let each consider other better than himself.” Do you remember that passage in Philippians 2: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” and so on? He said, “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory but in lowliness of mind. Let each esteem other better than themselves, looking at every man on his own things.” I put in the word “only,” but every man also on the things of others.
So Romans 12:10: “Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.” What is the outworking of brotherly love there? You consider the other person worthy of going ahead of you. There is something in every one of us that likes to push ahead, doesn’t it? You don’t like to wait in line and it aggravates you if someone steps ahead of you in a line where you’re waiting to buy a ticket or waiting to be waited on in the store or whatever it may be. Doesn’t that really get you when somebody just edges in?
I was met many years ago, this would have been 1949, I guess, ’49 to ’90. It’s 41 years. Oh, what a long time! Well, I was a young man, very young. I was landing in France at the airport and was met by the representative of Youth for Christ in those days and he was a very knowledgeable person with contacts all over the place. He knew the head of customs, for example. So as I jumped off that plane and may baggage, of course, was checked and was waiting for me at the customs and I was whisked through immigration without so much as a question. And then we came to where they were examining baggages and people were being asked to open their suitcases and their garment bags were being thoroughly searched. And there was a long line waiting of people that happened to be a time when folk from Great Britain were going on their holiday over onto the continent. So there was a long line of people waiting.
Well, my friend just brought me right straight up the head of the line, said “hello” familiarly to the person at the custom’s desk, and pointing to me he said, “This man has nothing to declare.” And the man said “oui,” you know, “yes” and put the chalk mark on the bags and away we went. Well, as we went down the line on our way out, I was stopped by this huge elegantly dressed Englishman holding one of these meerschaum pipes in his hand, you know, the expensive kind that are supposed to smoke better. I don’t know. I never tried. But there he stood looking down on me from that lofty height, holding the pipe in one hand and speaking in a voice that rattled the window set. “Is there some reason why you can’t stand in line like the rest of us?” Oh, he was upset. Well, you know, four decades and more later I don’t blame him a bit. Do you? No, these brash Americans, they think they can run ahead of everybody, you know. You want to know the first three words that I heard when I first landed in France in 1948? You can’t guess. Well, I won’t tell you. Now, shall I? Here they are, “You stupid American.” That was the first three words I heard.
So, you know, you don’t blame these people for being upset and really you can’t blame yourself because it’s part of human nature. Somebody else gets an advantage, somebody else has made the head of the committee when you know perfectly well that you could do a better job, somebody else is commissioned the job of buying the supplies for whatever it is and you know that you could get wholesale and this other person doesn’t have a clue. Oh, you think to yourself, “Why do they do that?” Does that sound a familiar note to you? Well, we’ve all been through it I guess, haven’t we? Now, he says, “brotherly love in honor preferring one another.”
I read all the books I can. I’m an omnivorous reader and I remember reading in a book back in 1950s, I guess it would have been. Someone who said, “Form the habit of turning a compliment back on the giver.” Somebody compliments you about something, turn the compliment back on the giver. That’s a pretty good idea, isn’t it? Now, you can’t always do it I suppose but you can work at it. “In honor preferring one another.” Let somebody else be chairman of the committee. Let somebody else lead the parade. Let somebody else sing the solo. Let somebody else introduce the visiting speaker. It doesn’t always have to be you or it doesn’t always have to be I. No, it doesn’t.
Long ago God taught me a lesson about this. I was complaining to God one hot summer afternoon, sitting in a basement office where the humidity had been so great that all the drawers in my desk had swollen shut and I was not only hot and complaining but I was also angered. I couldn’t do anything because I couldn’t get anything in and out of that swollen desk. And I remember sitting there complaining to God that other people were getting all the sunshine and I was doing all the work. Sounds familiar? Well, I did and as I paused — you know, it’s a good thing to pause after you get through praying because God will say something to you.
And after I got through complaining to God about it on that hot summer’s afternoon, “God, I’m doing the work and other people are getting the credit,” you know what the Lord said to me? So clearly, I remember it to this day, He said, “You just do what I tell you to do. I’ll take care of the sunshine.” You just do what I tell you to do, and I’ll take care of the sunshine; the idea that there would be enough credit. And after all Paul says, “Whatever you do, do it heartily as for the Lord and not just for people knowing that of the Lord you shall receive the reward of the inheritance for ye serve the Lord Christ.” Who are you doing it for anyway? He said, “You just do what I tell you. I’ll take care of the sunshine.” It don’t matter who gets the credit as long as God’s will is done and God is glorified. Isn’t that true? “In honor preferring one another.” That’s part of brotherly love.
Well, in Hebrews 13:1, the writer to the Hebrews, I always thought it was the Apostle Paul but you talk to some of the profs and they may have different ideas. Whoever it was, the writer to the Hebrews says, “Let brotherly love continue. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Remember them that are in bonds as being bound with them. And remember them that had suffered adversity as being yourselves also in a human body.”
Brotherly love means hospitality. Hospitality. Make room in your time and in your heart and in your schedule and in your home for people who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. Now, this is a hurry up age and we are so busy that oftentimes simply in self-defense we tend to build some walls around ourselves. A busy executive will have a barricade of secretaries around him or around her and you come in that door into the reception area, the receptionist will say, “May I help you?” And you say, “I want to see Mr. So and So.” So then the receptionist says, “Just a minute. May I tell him your name?” “Yes,” you say, “My name is Bob Cook.” All right. Pretty soon she says, “Just step this way over into the office there,” and you come into another office and there is a secretary that says now, “What is it that you wanted to see Mr. So and So about?” And so you have to tell what you wanted to see the important man about. “Well, I don’t know whether he has time today. His schedule is very full,” and so on and so on. And you somehow have to try to sell the idea that you need to get in to see this important man. And by and by, if you’re lucky, you get in.
Well, don’t blame the man. He is so busy that if he didn’t have that kind of protective procedure, he never would get anything done. So don’t blame him. But the problem is that we’re not all busy executives, but we all are busy enough that we build walls around ourselves and we realize that if you’re going to care about people, it makes you vulnerable and you’re apt to get hurt by the things that hurt them and you’re apt to have your time taken up with their concerns and you’re apt to be burdened with the burdens that are weighing them down. And so we’re not as hospitable as we might be. We’re not as quick to say, “Oh, come on in for a moment and let’s talk and have a cup of coffee and have a prayer together.” You’re not just quick to do that. But he said, “Be hospitable. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers,” he said, “because you might be entertaining an angel unawares.” I have to say that there have been times in my life when unwillingly — I have to be honest about it — unwillingly I invited someone in either to my office or home, whatever it was, and I found that God had sent the individual to bless me.
Brotherly love means open your heart and your life to people. It also means compassion for on the suffering. He said, “Remember them that are in bonds and remember the people who are suffering.” Brotherly love means you’re going to hurt when the other person hurts. Don’t try to be so emotionally safe that you’re not willing to risk caring about other people. Take the time to care. There’s a television campaign on some of the television stations in our area talking about taking the time to care. Well, it’s a very good concept. He said, “Remember them that are in bonds. Remember those that are suffering.”
Brotherly love means open your heart and take time to care. It’s a pretty plain truth, isn’t it? And that’s what Peter is talking about when he says, “By faith, you add brotherly love.” You work on it by faith. You trust Jesus to put these things into your life as you walk closely with Him in prayer and in obedience.
Dear Father, today guide us by Thy Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Until I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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