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The Importance of Brotherly Love

A devotional by Grace To You for reading on January 12th

“Let love of the brethren continue” ( Hebrews 13:1 Chapter 13 1 Let love of the brethren continue. ).

Genuine love among Christians is a testimony to the world, to ourselves, and to God.

The importance of brotherly love extends well beyond the walls of your local church or fellowship hall. In John 13:35 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. Jesus says, “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” In effect, God has made love for one another the measuring stick by which the world can determine if our Christian profession is genuine. That’s why it’s so important that we have a selfless attitude and sincerely place the interests of our brothers and sisters in Christ ahead of our own.

If you are a parent, you know what a delight it is when your children love and care for one another. Such harmonious relations make for a close-knit family and fulfill the words of the psalmist: “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity!” (Ps. 133:1). God is both pleased and glorified when Christian brothers and sisters love each other and minister together in harmony.

Neither the author of Hebrews nor the apostle John is equating love with a sentimental, superficial affection. As already suggested, practical commitment marks true brotherly love. If you do not have such commitment, it is fair to question your relationship to God ( 1 John 3:17 17 But whoso hath the world's goods, and beholdeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his compassion from him, how doth the love of God abide in him? ). Refusing to help a fellow believer when you can, John reasons, reveals that you don’t really love him. And if you don’t love him, God’s love can’t be in your heart, which proves that you don’t belong to Him. This logic is sobering and persuasive. It should motivate us all the more to see the importance of practicing brotherly love: “Let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him” ( 1 John 3:18-19 18 `My' Little children, let us not love in word, neither with the tongue; but in deed and truth. 19 Hereby shall we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before him: ).

Suggestions for Prayer

Ask the Lord’s forgiveness for times when you did not show brotherly love or when you were reluctant to help another Christian in need.

For Further Study

Read Luke 6:31-35 31 And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise. 32 And if ye love them that love you, what thank have ye? for even sinners love those that love them. 33 And if ye do good to them that do good to you, what thank have ye? for even sinners do the same. 34 And if ye lend to them of whom ye hope to receive, what thank have ye? even sinners lend to sinners, to receive again as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do `them' good, and lend, never despairing; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be sons of the Most High: for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. and notice how our duty to love extends even beyond the sphere of fellow believers. What kind of reward results?

From Strength for Today by John MacArthur Copyright © 1997. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.

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Copyright 2017 by John MacArthur. Used by permission from Grace to You.

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