Love each other (part II)
Michael F. Chandler
I recently enjoyed a visit with my two brothers. The three of us grew up together and shared similar experiences. We have mutual love for our parents – mom is now in eternity but dad alert and still happy to see his family together.
There is an indescribable peace, respect and affection that we feel when we are with each other. It is very special. My wife and I had the same blessing of having three sons, and as they grew older we taught them the wisdom of Proverbs 17:17: “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity ”.
We always say to them, “You share the same blood, so continue to nurture this brotherly love; develop your mutual faith in Christ; Honor each other, support each other and pray for one another. You need each other and when adversity strikes you will not be alone.
Heavenly Father also conceived his family because, throughout his word, he teaches us to love one another. Consider how this vast expectation of family love and support is expressed among his people. “Have peace with one another,” Jesus told his disciples (Mark 9: 50b).
In the ancient world, salt was the convenient way to store food, and Jesus said, “Have salt in you” (Mark 9: 50a). Christians work hard to preserve peace in all their dealings – to make peace (Mt 5: 9; James 3:18), to be peaceable (Rom 12:18), to live in peace (2 Cor 13:11), and most importantly preserve peace and reconciliation in their spiritual family.
“Be kind to one another”, exhorts the apostle, “with brotherly love, in honor, giving preference to one another” (Rom 12:10).
The attitude of the Christian towards his fellow believer is one of love and acceptance of the family. The Greek word philos prefixes these terms – “kindly affectionate… brotherly love”. In all of his interactions with other followers of Christ, the believer in Jesus treats them as family, which they truly are.
In his writings, Paul borrows from the analogy of the human body – a complex creation with many interrelated parts. He writes to a church, sadly known more for its divisions than its devotion, “that there should be no schism in the body, but that the members should have equal care for one another.” And if one limb suffers, all the limbs suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all members rejoice ”(1 Cor 12:25).
No one has ever improved their overall health by neglecting certain aspects of their body! Even so, Christians treat each other with as much care as the members of their own bodies. How foolish we are to imagine that we can have an effective ministry while despising one another.
“Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:11; 1 Thess 5:26; 1 Pet 5:14). A kiss on the cheek was a sign of greeting in the culture of the time, a custom still practiced in some societies. It was a way of showing honor, as to a guest in his house (Luke 7:45), expressing acceptance.
The Christian treats others in the same way, perhaps with a handshake, joining both hands, or kissing. And it is done in a “holy” way – a way that suits those who see their relationship with one another in terms of mutual reconciliation with the God who forgives sins!
What more can we say, except that Christians are “kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another” (Eph 4:32; Col 3:13); they sing to one another (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16) and “submit to one another in the fear of Christ” (Eph 5:21; 1 Pet 5: 5).
In love, Christians also “serve one another” (Gal 5:13), “bear one another” (Eph 4, 2), “have compassion on one another” (1 Pet 3: 8), and “another” with the gifts entrusted to them by God (1 Pet 4:10).
They are honest with one another (Col 3: 9), confessing their faults to each other (James 5:16), and they “comfort one another” by the hope that their Lords will return for their own (1 Thess 4 : 18; 5:11).
Christian, you are a member of the family of God. You belong to the most wonderful expression of divine love on this side of eternity. Don’t take your church for granted, but work to build such a community that honors the doctrines of the Bible and that others will say, “See, how they love one another. “
Scriptures to memorize: Hebrews 10: 24-25
Pastor Chandler serves Victor Valley Bible Church, 16439 Hughes Road, Victorville. Services take place on Sundays at 10:15 a.m. and are streamed live on Facebook. It also broadcasts a weekly devotional, “The Bible in Our Time”. For more information, visit VictorValleyBibleChurch.org or email the pastor at [email protected]