This Preaching in Shorts sermon series is called “The Church”.
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Over the last few weeks in our discussion on the church we have said that the church is ultimately about relationships. Relationship with God, relationship with the people of God, and relationship with those who do not yet know Jesus. These relationships are developed in the context of worship, discipleship, fellowship, and mission. We are going to continue our discussion about fellowship. Christian fellowship is believers in Christ coming together in unity, love and humility to mutually support and encourage one another. Last week we looked at unity, this week we are going to talk about love.
John 15:12-17 (NIV)
12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit–fruit that will last. Then the Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. 17 This is my command: Love each other.
1. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love
Romans 12:10a (NIV)
10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.
This is an interesting verse. The word translated devoted in this passage (philostorgos) only occurs once in the New Testament. It actually means “tender affection or kindly affection”. Then at the end of the verse we have the word for brotherly love which is philidelphia. Both these words are descriptive of different types of love.
C.S. Lewis writes about the four different type of love we find in the Bible in his book, The Four Loves. They are, agape—the God-like self-giving love even toward enemies; philia—the love of friendship and camaraderie; eros—the love of romance and desire and sexual attraction; and storge—the love of affection that arises through natural attachment, a child, a dog, a favorite old shabby sweater, a spot in the woods.
So this love we are to have with the people of God is a tender or kindly affection for our precious family in Christ.
2. Why is it important to be devoted?
John 13:34-35 (NIV)
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
This tender affection for our brothers and sisters in Christ is a witness to the reality that God is our Father.
With the people of God, we are not only to treat them the way we want to be treated, we need to see that God wants us to love another because we are His kids. We are His sons and daughters and He wants us to have an affection for another.
The church is more than just an institution, it is the family of God.
And as His family, our devotion to one another in brotherly love has an impact on the future people of God by allowing them to see and know that God is real.
3. How are we to love like this?
How? Because it is not always easy to feel a tender and kindly affection for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Two thoughts. First, we need the help of the Holy Spirit.
Galatians 5:22-26 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. 25 Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.
And second, we must have a constant realization of our own desperate need for the grace of God. This awareness of our need for grace allows us to extend grace to others and to look for what God is doing in their lives.
More One Anothers.
1 Thessalonians 3:12 (NIV)
12 May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.
Galatians 5:13 (NIV)
13 You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Ephesians 4:2 (NIV)
2 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.
1 Peter 5:14 (NIV)
14 Greet one another with a kiss of love. Peace to all of you who are in Christ.
1 Thessalonians 4:9 (NIV)
9 Now about brotherly love we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other.