Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Brotherly Kindness

(Add) “to godliness brotherly kindness:” 2 Peter 1:7

Ref: Rm. 12:10; Ph. 2:3; 1Pt. 2:17; Rm. 14; Rm.15; Eph. 6:18; Heb. 10:25; Gen. 4; Amos 1:9-11; Ps. 50:10; Pr 18:19; Pr 17:17; Pr 18:24; Mt 7:3;

Up to this point, the ingredients that you have been adding daily have been things that have to do with yourself: ingredients which are necessary for you to be pleasing to a holy God. The God who called you to be holy as well.
Just as the bread batter changes as you add and stir ingredients: the changes in you should slowly start to become more and more noticeable, to you and to those around you.

Here in this next ingredient the focus changes to include others; as is only natural when you are being conformed to the image of Christ. (Christ himself was focused on the needs of others and not himself.)
Because this letter is addressed to the saved of the church, this “brotherly kindness” Peter list here is the kindness shown to brothers and sisters within the body of Christ.

Looking back through the ingredient of knowledge(the Bible) that you are already adding, you will see that brotherly kindness is quite a large part of the whole loaf that you are working on.
God takes brother to brother relationships very seriously: not only in the New Testament, but also in the Old. He calls on you now to help a brother in need.

You cannot get by with saying “I have nothing to give”: that is a selfish excuse that Satan offers. Lift up your brother in prayer. Remember the promises in the “starter faith”? God owns the cattle on a thousand hills and they are yours for the asking. Read on to find ways to help your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Accept a brother into your circle of friends. No one likes to be left out, but there are restrictions that apply here. Don’t let him come in and cause problems by doubts that he might have, but don’t drop him either. Encourage him in his walk of faith, so that he will understand his doubts are groundless. Take him to Ephesians chapter six and show him where doubts come from. A true brother will have the weaker brother’s best interest at heart.
As the weaker brother grows spiritually he, in turn, will be able to encourage you and others.

Discipline is part of brotherly kindness as well. For example, if you were to see your earthly brother doing something that was wrong, and you knew that it would hurt him, would you not tell him? If you loved him you would. You would go to him and let him know that he was headed for trouble. If he didn’t pay any attention, as sometimes he won’t, you would enlist the help of someone else he knew and respected to come with you to talk to him. The two of you would try to get him to stop before it was too late.

This is exactly what God tells you to do with a brother of the church. Point him to the one who can help far more than you will ever be able to. Show him kindness, don’t run and tell someone else, that’s gossip.
Go to God first, and then go to the brother. Not in a “Hey, you better quit that!” attitude, but in the attitude of humbleness knowing that tomorrow, except for the grace of God, you may be in the same predicament.

There are times when it is best to “clean up around your own back door” first. You are in no position to point out sin in another’s life, if there is known sin in yours that has not been confessed to God and that you are not earnestly trying to be rid of.

Paul says that the kingdom of God is not contained in meat and drink. In other words the things that we place so much importance on in this life, will soon be gone, and are not worth arguing over.
Don’t allow Satan the opportunity to take your focus off the real prize: which is reaching heaven with that brother in Christ.

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