Loving your Bothers and Sisters in Christ

©2021 mark montgomery | ask@lifefellowship.org

loving your brothers and sisters in Christ

section 1

It has been long understood that man was built for relationship – from the Garden of Eden forward. God, in his graciousness to us, purpose built us for relationships with Himself and others. In such relationships camaraderie, joy, accountability, mutual edification are all held in abundance.

Jesus, Himself, gave us the command to "Love one another" john 13:34 . He spoke about it as a "new command", because He wanted it to be taken up anew, refocused and He told us that it would be a witness to the world around us if and when we did leviticus 19:18 john 13:35 . This then means that all people will know how you follow the King by how you love others.

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supporting scriptures

john 13:34 niv

"A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

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leviticus 19:18 esv

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.

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john 13:35 esv

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."

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section 2

The Bible describes platonic affection/friendship with the word, "Phileo": – Brotherly love. There are 286 uses of this word throughout the Scriptures. Let’s look at just three examples right away before we dive in:

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supporting scriptures

2 peter 1:5-8 niv

For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6  and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7  and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. 8  For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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hebrews 13:1 nkjv

"Let brotherly love continue."

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1 peter 1:22 esv

"Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,"

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It takes work, perseverance and genuineness.

my notes:

section 3

our mission within the Body

It can be easy to reconcile that as we are called to be in the world, but not of the world that we will stand out… but for what 2 corinthians 5:18-19 john 17:15-18 john 15:18-19 ? Loving our brothers and sisters in Christ, our fellow disciples, is something we know that we should do john 14:15 .

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supporting scriptures

2 corinthians 5:18-19 hcsb

Everything is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19  That is, in Christ, God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed the message of reconciliation to us.

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john 17:15-18 niv

My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one. 16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. 17  Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. 18  As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world.

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john 15:18-19 niv

"If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19  If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.

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john 14:15 rsv

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments.

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section 4

Yet "talk is cheap" 1 john 4:20 . Our "talk" about loving our family in Christ must be backed up with commitment to action and that action is based on our relationship with God the Father, His Son and the Holy Spirit philippians 2:1-4 . It calls us to also "Agape" love our brothers and sisters – that self-sacrificial love that we keep hearing about. All this we are called to without the promise of ease, reciprocation or acceptance but with a promise galatians 6:9-10 . The world, by contrast, is full of empty promises and false notions. God wants us to take our cue from Him 1 peter 4:8 1 john 4:7-10

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supporting scriptures

1 john 4:20 esv

"If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen."

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philippians 2:1-4 niv

If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2  then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3  Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. 4  Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.

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galatians 6:9-10 niv

Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. 10  Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

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1 peter 4:8 hcsb

Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins.

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1 john 4:7-10 esv

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. 8  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9  In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. 10  In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins."

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section 5

joyous, yet real, relationships

A Godly relationship is one of the true joys in life – seeking each others’ good, strengthening each others’ walk, sacrificing for each other proverbs 27:17 (encouragement verses). As our friendships grow, the goal should be the same: to see each other grow closer to the Lord. If this is not taking place, then the relationship needs work or needs to be laid down. God is the goal in any and all relationships 1 john 4:7 matthew 18:20 proverbs 22:11 . A relationship that is devoted to God and each other reveals at its core selfless love and therein the heart of God ruth 1:16-17 1 samuel 20:17 2 samuel 1:26 . Paul spoke of being mutually encouraged by each other’s faith romans 1:11-12 . May this honestly be the relationships we seek, invest in and trust the Lord for.

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supporting scriptures

proverbs 27:17 esv

Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another.

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1 john 4:7 niv

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

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matthew 18:20 asv

For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

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proverbs 22:11 esv

"He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend."

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ruth 1:16-17 niv

But Ruth replied, "Don’t urge me to leave you or to turn back from you. Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay. Your people will be my people and your God my God. 17  Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried. May the LORD deal with me, be it ever so severely, if anything but death separates you and me."

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1 samuel 20:17 esv

And Jonathan made David swear again by his love for him, for he loved him as he loved his own soul.

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2 samuel 1:26 esv

I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.

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romans 1:11-12 rsv

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, 12  that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.

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my notes:

section 6

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encouragement:

hebrews 10:24-25 hcsb

And let us be concerned about one another in order to promote love and good works, 25  not staying away from our worship meetings, as some habitually do, but encouraging each other, and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

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proverbs 12:25 esv

"Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad."

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hebrews 3:13 niv

But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.

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philippians 2:17-22 hcsb

But even if I am poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with all of you. 18  In the same way you should also be glad and rejoice with me. 19  Now I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon so that I also may be encouraged when I hear news about you. 20  For I have no one else like-minded who will genuinely care about your interests; 21  all seek their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. 22  But you know his proven character, because he has served with me in the gospel ministry like a son with a father.

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colossians 2:2-3 niv

My purpose is that they may be encouraged in heart and united in love, so that they may have the full riches of complete understanding, in order that they may know the mystery of God, namely, Christ, 3  in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

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romans 15:5-6 esv

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant you to live in such harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, 6  that together you may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

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section 7

fulfillment:

we have all heard the example:

If one horse can pull a cart weighing 6,000 lbs, two horses should be able to pull 12,000 lbs, right? If those horses are working together, they can actually pull 18,000 lbs — three times the load one horse working alone can pull.

But the truth is that we as Christians are mutually encouraged when we live things out, together, God’s way. There is God-given joy in pulling alongside and being with/doing life with a brother or sister psalm 133:1 . There is God-given encouragement and motivation gleaned hebrews 10:23-25 . There is a God-given ability to face and overcome trials ecclesiastes 4:9-12 exodus 17:8-13 . There is a God-given comfort and blessing in the ability to show hospitality and exercise the gifts that have been bestowed upon you 1 peter 4:7-11 .

But the responsibility for fostering such relationships lies with each of us as individuals. We, again as individuals, are responsible for being sincere in love and honoring others above ourselves or as other translations put it "outdo one another showing honor." romans 12:9-21 .

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supporting scriptures

psalm 133:1 esv

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

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hebrews 10:23-25 nlt2

Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. 24  Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. 25  And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.

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ecclesiastes 4:9-12 esv

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10  For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11  Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12  And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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exodus 17:8-13 nlt2

While the people of Israel were still at Rephidim, the warriors of Amalek attacked them. 9  Moses commanded Joshua, "Choose some men to go out and fight the army of Amalek for us. Tomorrow, I will stand at the top of the hill, holding the staff of God in my hand." 10  So Joshua did what Moses had commanded and fought the army of Amalek. Meanwhile, Moses, Aaron, and Hur climbed to the top of a nearby hill. 11  As long as Moses held up the staff in his hand, the Israelites had the advantage. But whenever he dropped his hand, the Amalekites gained the advantage. 12  Moses’ arms soon became so tired he could no longer hold them up. So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. 13  As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.

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1 peter 4:7-11 nlt2

The end of the world is coming soon. Therefore, be earnest and disciplined in your prayers. 8  Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9  Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay. 10  God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another. 11  Do you have the gift of speaking? Then speak as though God himself were speaking through you. Do you have the gift of helping others? Do it with all the strength

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romans 12:9-21 niv

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10  Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13  Share with God’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. 14  Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15  Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16  Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. 17  Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18  If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19  Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20  On the contrary: "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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section 8

heartfelt gratitude

Paul was a man known for being sold out for the Lord. He was also known for holding others accountable and not shying away in his letters from confronting things head on. As such he has been perceived to have an intimidating reputation. Yet this same man earned the equity to speak such words because of his overwhelming sense of gratitude and genuine love for his brothers and sisters in Christ philippians 1:3-11 .

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supporting scriptures

philippians 1:3-11 esv

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4  always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5  because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. 6  And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. 7  It is right for me to feel this way about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel. 8  For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. 9  And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, 10  so that you may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, 11  filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

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questions to consider:

Q. Are we the true encouragers we should be?

Q. Are we grateful for those brothers and sisters around us?

Q. Do they know our heart for them? Dare we let them know?

section 9

it sounds fun… but wow

The idea of becoming weary in doing good for others most people can identify with. Unfortunately it seems to come with the territory, but it also casts questions over the heart with which these actions are being done in the first place. Have we ever asked the question, "Why is this so hard?" james 1:14 james 4:1-2 . It feels appropriate at such a juncture to consider profound words of the great theologian Mick J. "Crocodile" Dundee, "Outta the way dopey!" One may wonder with such subtlety if his point is sufficiently communicated. We must recognize and act on the need to deprioritize ourselves john 3:30 galatians 2:20 .

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supporting scriptures

james 1:14 nkjv

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.

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james 4:1-2 esv

What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? 2  You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask.

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john 3:30 esv

He must increase, but I must decrease."

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john 3:30 nlt2

He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.

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galatians 2:20 niv

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

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section 10

We can be overcome by the fear that if we entrust ourselves to others they will just use and abuse us. So we can fight to protect ourselves in an effort to ensure that never happens again. But we must take a different view romans 12:2-3 1 peter 2:23 . It is as we follow the example of Christ, we become aware that God’s standard is completely different to ours. Jesus taught that the greatest among us would be the servant of all matthew 23:11-12 .

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supporting scriptures

romans 12:2-3 niv

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will. 3  For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

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1 peter 2:23 esv

When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly.

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matthew 23:11-12 niv

The greatest among you will be your servant. 12  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

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section 11

Understand that it is not just the person that we are serving but the goal is to do everything unto the Lord 2 corinthians 12:15 colossians 3:23-24 and that He sees and will reward in due time hebrew 6:10-12 . So for now the call is to be honest and real joshua 24:15 . It can be a scary prospect but one that is necessary. We may be able to pull the wool over one another’s eyes, but not the Lord’s. So let us just come into the light and walk in honesty. This will be the catalyst to honest relationship with others james 5:16 .

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supporting scriptures

2 corinthians 12:15 esv

I will most gladly spend and be spent for your souls. If I love you more, am I to be loved less?

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colossians 3:23-24 niv

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, 24  since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

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hebrews 6:10-12 niv

God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. 11  We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. 12  We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

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joshua 24:15 esv

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."

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james 5:16 nlt2

Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The earnest prayer of a righteous person has great power and produces wonderful results.

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section 12

are you a brother or sister?

Pastor Mike asked the question recently: Are you a neighbor? Let’s consider today a few questions to close:

question:

Are we a true brother or sister 2 corinthians 13:5 ?

2 corinthians 13:5 esv

Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Or do you not realize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you fail to meet the test!

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question:

Is fear of being hurt holding us back from loving as we should proverbs 29:25 1 john 4:18 ?

proverbs 29:25 hcsb

The fear of man is a snare, but the one who trusts in the LORD is protected.

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1 john 4:18 niv

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

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question:

Is the shame of past sins holding us back 1 john 1:8-9 ?

1 john 1:8-9 niv

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9  If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

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question:

It’s outside of our comfort zones, does that mean it’s impossible philippians 2:1-3 mark 9:23 1 thessalonians 5:24 ?

philippians 2:1-3 esv

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, 2  complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. 3  Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.

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mark 9:23 hcsb

Then Jesus said to him, "‘If You can’? Everything is possible to the one who believes."

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1 thessalonians 5:24 esv

He who calls you is faithful; he will surely do it.