Showing Brotherly Love
Brotherly love for other people comes out of prayer and feeding on God's Word. God will give us all we need even to love those who are difficult.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend, Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you to share from the Word of God. I look forward to these times like a missionary looks forward to furlough. I tell you, it’s great just to look into God’s Word and share. We’re in 1 Thessalonians; we’ve been walking around in the fourth chapter and talking about pleasing God: how you ought to live every day and to please God. Verses 1 to 8 take in a holy life, a life devoid of the immorality that was so common in those days and is today. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification.” And the proof of that was that they were clean morally. That is verses 1-8. And the point he brings out in verse 8 is that if I say, “Well, I’m going to do it my way; I’m going to have my way anyway,” “he that despiseth,” (in other words, if I just go my own way) “despiseth not man but God, Who also hath given unto us His Holy Spirit.” And so, willfulness in this matter of one’s own personal life grieves the Spirit of God and leaves you then in the condition where it’s difficult, if not impossible for you to be a blessing to others.
Bob Pierce came into my office back in the late 1940’s, I guess it would have been. I was then in a little office in Youth for Christ in Chicago, on Wells Street. It was a little cubicle just big enough for a chair, a desk, and another chair alongside of it. It was a little office, I remember that. And Bob Pierce, who is now with the Lord, the founder of World Vision (you remember him) came into my office one day, sat down without a word, laid his head down on the desk and just cried. Well, I waited for a few moments, and then when he composed himself I said, “What in the world is the matter?” He said, “I’ve just come from spending six hours with a man who has lost the blessing of God and doesn’t even know it.” Well, he was speaking with someone who I knew quite well, and for a great number of years had been quite effective in Christian work. But, he had done his own willful thing; he had broken up his family and done a number of other things. It just seemed, to all of us who observed him, seemed like it was an insane business that couldn’t avoid destroying him, and so it did. But there he was. And Bob Pierce said, “He doesn’t know that he’s lost the blessing of God, and so he’s working harder than ever.” And he wept again.
A sad business, and it happens every day, somewhere. I have to remind myself, beloved, and I have to remind you: be careful about the life you live inside, because it affects all that you do outside. A holy life (Verses 1-8), a life of brotherly love: we had just about gotten to that passage when we had to go off the air last time.
“As touching brotherly love, ye need not that I write unto you, for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.” It’s an interesting statement, but so true, because you know it in your own heart: whenever you get really right with God, there is an automatic, I guess, outflow of divine love for other people, especially those who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. A brotherly love: Philadelphia (we have the City of Brotherly Love that we know about in Pennsylvania; I lived there for five years when we were first married.) In those days, they would say jokingly, it’s the “City of Brotherly Shove,” and so maybe it is sometimes.
But this matter of considering other people who belong to my Heavenly Father my brothers and sisters with that unqualified personal regard that accepts them as they are for Jesus’ sake, is brotherly love. Now, remember, we’re talking about how to please God. This actually pleases God for me to have brotherly love toward you, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Every time I go on the air, before I open my mouth, before I turn on the tape recorder (because these messages are prepared on tape and then distributed to the various radio stations), every time before I broadcast I pray, “God, fill my heart with your love and put it in my voice so they know that God loves them, and I do too.” I want that always, when I speak.
He said, “You are taught of God.” The fact is, if you and I will be faithful in our praying, in our feeding on God’s Word, our hearts will be filled with His love. Paul says in Romans, Chapter 5, that “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, who is given unto us.” The blessed Holy Spirit comes to dwell in your life the moment you are saved, and there, as you yield to God’s will, He spreads around the love of God.
Now, my problem is that there are some areas of my life where I don’t feel particularly loving toward individuals. Do you have that difficulty? I think probably you may. What do we do about that? Well, you can take by faith everything you need because the Lord Jesus Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, and we are in Christ. We are complete; Paul says in Colossians, “Ye are complete in Him who is the fullness of Him that filleth all in all. Beloved, if there’s an area in your life that is lacking, if there is some relationship where you feel a little gravelly and there’s not really love there, but maybe resentment instead, you can, if you will, by faith, take love for that individual, because Jesus bought it for you at Calvary and He gives it to you just like He gives any other blessing.
You pray for wisdom, don’t you? You pray for guidance. You pray for help when you’re under pressure. You pray for patience (and then in answer God sometimes gives you tribulation; you know how that goes.) We already are asking God for things that we receive from Him in answer to prayer because we belong to Jesus. Isn’t it true? Well, then, you can take love for a person toward whom you have formerly felt nothing but resentment. Quite legitimately, perhaps. Someone may have hurt you so deeply that you think you can never get over it (and humanly, you may be right.) But you can take by faith the love that you could never generate on your own. Oh, that’s a great truth. You can take from Jesus by faith what you need, and that includes what Paul calls here, “brotherly love.”
Now, that may not make the other person any less difficult to deal with. I’ve been through that, and I suppose some of you have as well. You pray through a matter concerning your attitude toward somebody else, and they are just as difficult as they ever were, and they put thought into being impossible. But you’re different, and the fact that you’re different ultimately makes a difference in the relationship.
My inner attitude, even though I may not verbalize it, determines how the atmosphere’s going to be in my relationship with other people, and if I’ll get my inner attitude straightened around, if I’ll get my heart filled with the love of God, the atmosphere will be different, because I’m different. That’s the truth that we’re trying to put across here. Do you understand that? Take it to yourself, beloved. Use it today. You’ll be delighted with the results.
You are taught of God to love one another, and indeed, he said, you do it. You do. “All the brethren in Macedonia, and we beseech you, increase more and more.” There is such a thing as an increasing atmosphere of love in your life. Charles E. Finney was already a Christian when one night he lingered in his office to pray, and as he prayed, God met him in a very special way, and he writes in his memoirs, “It felt like wave upon wave of liquid love filling my soul.” It is possible to increase in your experience of God’s love in your life. Would you believe God for an increase in that department today? By faith, he that cometh to God must believe that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. “Without faith it is impossible to please God.” “The just shall live by faith.” How do you live? A moment at a time. You live by trusting God and by taking what he offers you. Faith risks the situation on God’s promises. Do that today and ask Him, and believe Him for an increase of divine love in your life.
Then there are what we call “Christian values.” He said, “We beseech you that you increase more and more,” (that’s the end of Verse 10) “and that ye study,” (he’s still beseeching) “to become quiet and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, that you may walk honestly toward them that are without and that ye may have lack of nothing.” Christian values: quietness, minding your own business, hard work, honesty, and success.
Study to be quiet. Did you ever realize that you have a choice between being fussed or being peaceful? Martha discovered that, didn’t she? She was busy preparing a meal; the Lord Jesus was a guest in her home. The Bible actually says it was her house, so she evidently owned it. She was busy preparing the meal and facing all of the last-minute tasks that have to be done at the last moment, and she became so frustrated that she zoomed into the living room and said “Master, dost Thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? Bid her, therefore, that she help me!” Jesus said, “Martha, you are care-filled and troubled about so many things, but one thing is needful. Mary hath chosen that good part.” You have your choice: either to be quiet before God and peace-filled, or fussed. We’ll get at that again the next time we get together.
Holy Father, today, fill our lives with Your love. Give us peace and quietness in our hearts. I pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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