"The most important of life's battles is the one we fight daily in the silent chambers of the soul."

Friday, July 13, 2007

Christian Brotherly Love

My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
John 15:12

Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for your brothers, love one another deeply, from the heart.
Peter 1:22

Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
1 Peter 2:17

Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble.
1 Peter 3:8

Above all, love each other deeply,
1 Peter 4:8

and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
2 Peter 1:7

This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God; nor is anyone who does not love his brother.

This is the message you heard from the beginning: We should love one another.

We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him?

Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.
1 John 3

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.

Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.
No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

If anyone says, "I love God," yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.
And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.

1 John 4

I ask that we love one another.
2 John 1:5

Whoever loves his brother lives in the light
1 John 2:10

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up....

always try to be kind to each other
1 Thessalonians 5:13 and 15

and the love every one of you has for each other is increasing.
for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.
1 Thessalonians 4:9

Love must be sincere. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.
Romans 12:9-10

If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames,but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.

Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.....

But the greatest of these is love.
1Corithians 13:1-13

the love of most will grow cold,
Matthew 24:12

Oh Jesus, they have built these churches for the sake of their own glory, and embellished them with silk and melted gold. . . . They left the bodies of Thy chosen poor wrapped in tattered raiment in the cold night. . . . They filled the sky with the smoke of burning candles and incense and left the bodies of Thy faithful worshipers empty of bread. . . . They raised their voices with hymns of praise, but deafened themselves to the cry and moan of the widows and orphans. Come again, Oh Living Jesus, and drive the vendors of Thy faith from Thy sacred temple, for they have turned it into a dark cave where vipers of hypocrisy and falsehood crawl and abound.
Kahlil Gibran(1883 - 1931)
Source: Wisdom of Gibran

In our eyes, what do others see? Do they see love? Have we lost our love for our brothers and sister in Christ? Do we select little cliques and groups and push others away in His house? How is the house also seperated? Seperated not just in doctrine but rich/poor, between races, countries, you name it. We find any reason to distinquish ourselves from other believers. Why do we do this? We are in the Laodecian chuch age.

One of the most frightening group of verses in the Bible are found in Rev 3:14-19, when Christ is talking to the Church of Laodicea. He is addressing the people of a city known for its wealth. But despite its financial prosperity, it was spiritually impoverished. He says to the people "You are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of My mouth. For you say 'I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.' You don’t realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked." What’s frightening about this statement is that most people in this world who call themselves Christians are lukewarm. Yes we might go to church on Sundays, make an appearance, and think to ourselves, hey, I don’t sell drugs, I haven’t killed anybody, I never robbed a bank, I even give to charities. But think what Christ is saying here "I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing." Not too many years ago, the Dow Jones average had a tough time breaking 1000. Since then, it has been over 10,000. IRAs have come into the picture, and many typical people have savings well into the six figures. And every average neighborhood seems to have a quiet millionaire living in it. But with all this prosperity also comes a falling away from God.

There is a group of prophecies in Zechariah 6:1-8 that I think ties in with Revelation 3:14-19. In the Zechariah prophecy there are four different colored horses with chariots that are sent out across the earth. Although these horses resemble the four horses in the book of Revelation, don’t mix them up, the Revelation prophecy has not taken place as of yet, but the prophecy in Zechariah, Chapter 6, has already been fulfilled. In these prophecies, two of the horses, the black followed by the white, go to the "north country." Then comes the statement "Behold these that go to the north country have quieted My Spirit in the north country." What I believe God is saying here is that the black horses are Capitalism and prosperity, and that the north country represents Europe, the United States and Canada. Then the white horses follow, which I believe are false religions and idol worship, and will hinder God’s Spirit in the rich north countries. All these north countries are basically Christian, and due to the great riches of these countries, many false religions have popped up. I believe most people are worshiping money more than God. Money seems to be the Number 1 idol, and pride is another idol.

As for the other two sets of horses, the dappled gray go to the south, and the red patrol back and forth across the earth. The dapple grays I believe are poverty, disease and hunger. They go to the southern area of the globe, such as Africa and South America, where the economy isn’t so good, along with famine, starvation, and widespread disease. The red horses represent war and unrest, and as they patrol back and forth across the earth, war follows. God foretold 2500 years ago in Zech 6:1-8, what the economy and situations would be like in the northern and southern areas of the globe.

Now Jesus understood riches, luxury and opulence can become idols, creating a false sense of security. They bestow a power that can easily drive a person to arrogance, cheating and selfishness. For this reason, Jesus said wealth posed a challenge to the spirit. It was harder for a rich person to fulfill his true purpose in life than for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle (Matt 19:24). Which brings us back to Rev 3:14-19 "So because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth." Here we have God Himself condemning us, for worshiping money and other idols, instead of worshiping Him. We have become whitewashed tombs, which look beautiful on the outside but on the inside are full of dead men's bones" (Matthew 23:27). We have turned our churches into social clubs.

John the beloved knew about love. He stood by his friend. We cannot even be corjual to each other. We won't speak to others treating them like they have leprosy or something. Speak only when spoken too is our mantra. And even then we can't wait to get away from that person talking. Uncaring about their troubles or cares. Lukewarm is what we have become. Cold and unfeeling are we. Sour looks upon our faces. Come on my christian sisters and brothers we are suppose to be so loving and kind to each other.We have little family cliques others cannot enter. We are so unloving toward each other, how can we love those who are not believers. They see this among us. "House of hypocrites are they," is their taunt. How not very far from those words are we. We are supposed to love everyone that come through those doors and mean it. We should not have that phoney love but agape love. We have lost our natural affection. Let's quit trying to be the church big shot or compete to see who runs the show.

What has happened to Christian brotherly love?
Lance Gargus

Holy Spirit,Doves,Love,Children,Heaven


Enemy of the Republic said...

Ouch! Well, guilty as charged. I have a hard enough time loving people who really haven't done anything bad to me--I find it nearly impossible to love those who treat me poorly, so how can I call myself a Christian? This has been on my mind--I am so unloving in my own heart, and yet I know I am called to love, even made for it according to God's design. I'm at a point that I either must submit entirely to Jesus or just say--cut it out, you aren't fooling anybody. Yet I am learning that the more I see hate and indifference in the world, the more I need to love. It hit me today very hard. But can I in myself? No, I am so flawed. With God, yes it is possible--all things are. So you are right on as usual, and I hope you might pray for me that I can fulfill what Jesus asks: Love one another. Thank you, Lance. Good post.

FishHawk said...

Oh my, have we been inspired or what??? Wow, what a wonderful post!!!

SuzyQ said...

This was an important post Lance.
Christ's message stands on the commandments of love.We cannot presume that we love God if we don't love our neighbour.
This was a powerful post.
I loved it.
Have a great weekend.

Susanno said...

Speechless Lance... I could feel you write this with your heart. And sure this write will sinked to the bottom of who read it. GBU ...

Best Wishes

Anonymous said...

Initially, I thought you were quoting something someone else had written - as this seemed (to me) so different from all your other postings. You were definitely open to the working God's Spirit of Holiness within you - within your heart. I praise God for you.

As to the content of the article -- It can sometimes be so very hard to look at someone who has done something offensive and see them as God sees them -- covered with the blood of Christ. It is so much easier for us to fall back on our self-centeredness than it is to "love each other as He [Jesus] commanded us" (1 John 3:23).

Let me add to your citations of scripture with a word of encouragement from the letter to the Hebrews -- "Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." --Hebrews 12:12-14, ESV

Blessings in Christ,

Adullamite said...

Ouch indeed!

Franx said...

Lance you are good writer and very talent to make other people feel so good and more understand about life and God..As a humankind we share a wonderful love God Bless You and Keep it up

MarLa said...

Thanks for the timely reminder Lance. We get so caught up with the mad rush of the world, that we forget to love.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Lance! Sometimes I think the reason I don't attend church is because it's so difficult to get to know people nowadays, even at church!

The usual "visitors please stand up to be welcomed" is there, but after the service nobody, not even the pastor, makes an effort to come say 'hi'.

And you're so right -- when we ourselves are in a church we get into cliques and don't bother about others whom we don't know personally.

I'm guilty of it as well.

You've struck this right at its nerve, brother.

Shalom Aleichem.

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Shalene said...

Very nicely written, Lance; and I agree wholeheartedly. Blessings to you!

paul maurice martin said...

I think that what verses we choose to emphasize says a lot about us. Great "picks," and I only wish there was a more widespread emphasis on those you've selected.

Lance Mac said...

Thanks for your insight into the horseman. I never thought about it like that at all since I'm always afraid to delve into the more apocalyptic sections of Revelation, but the way you put it makes sense.

Why do we see so little Christian brotherly love? Because grace goes so against "common sense" that we fashion a religion around a bastardised version of Jesus. When we try to follow anyone or anything other than Jesus, it just becomes the same old crap.

Awesome post as usual Lance.

Carol said...

Very good post Lance. Now let's talk about practical application. "Loving" your brother goes beyond being nice and warm, fuzzy feelings. (as I'm sure you already know)

Briefly - the proof of love is in action i.e. practical application.

We should forgive (that also means never again to bring up a wrong that was done to you)

We should not keep a tally of the wrongs done to us.

We should provide any material things to people if we are able - this goes beyond our 'brothers'. (food, shelter, money etc.)

We seek the best for that person.

We do not rejoice in their misfortune. (even if they 'deserved' it)

We are not to cause our brother to stumble. (be sensitive to those of 'weaker faith.')

Bear one another's burdens.

This next part is just my opinion as to why the 'loving of our brother' is a sort of test that we are in the faith...

While Satan hates everyone, he especially hates a child of God. He attacks, deceives, and lies to us in order to draw us away from God much more so than an unregenerate person. It is this same hostile spirit within an unregenerate person towards a believer. People hate us because they sense and know we are lot like them so they hate us. (overall - just look at the world and it's animosity towards Christians)

But a believer will NOT have this hostility towards other believers. If they are in a group of believers, it will feel like home to them. These feelings and actions flow out naturally in a believer because they know they are among their own siblings. Our spirits will react much differently to a believer. We will not have the type of spirit Satan has towards believers. (again, just my opinion)

So if we are believers, our love extends beyond our brothers and sisters....it also extends to our enemies. (of which I think is the ultimate 'test' because that is truly Christ-like)

God bless you Lance for this post. Blessings to everyone else too :)

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