Thursday, January 21, 2010

Selfless Love

“and to brotherly kindness charity” 2 Peter 1:7

Ref: Rm 15:1; Ac 2:44; Ac 4:32; Eph 6:28; Heb 10:25; 1Cor 13; Heb 13:1; Titus 2:2; 2Tim 2:22; 2Tim 3:51; Gal 6:10; Gal 5:14;

The final ingredient of our spiritual friendship bread is charity. Today the word has come to mean certain kinds of organizations to help solve different social problems; anything from caring for stray animals to supplying food and clothing for orphans overseas. That is not the meaning in this verse.

The charity Peter list here is a deep continual love not just for Christ, but for brothers and sisters in Christ. The more you dig into the knowledge of the Word the more you will see that charity (brotherly love) in the New Testament is a flag that shows just who is a true follower of Christ.

Paul in 1Cor 12 is letting the church in Corinth, and you, know that there are many different gifts given through the Holy Spirit for the growing and the carrying out of the work of the church, and he encourages you to strive to be the best you can, but look at the final verse in chapter 12:

“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” 1Cor 12:31

If you look in chapter 13 you will see that the way Paul is talking about is charity. He explains it in detail so that there can be no mistaking what it looks like.
I know many people who will tell me that they have no gifts. They can't sing, they can't teach,those are the things that people see and admire. I ask, "Can you love?" Love sends a person a card just to encourage, love fixes a dish for a sick person and takes it to them. Can you love?" These gifts of love often go unnoticed by others, but not by God. Look back at the scripture:

What Peter and Paul are both trying to tell you is that it is possible for you to have all these things that they have both listed, but unless you have true charity you lack what is necessary for your salvation. Charity is love. Love is God. Can you truly say that you are saved and NOT love the brethren?

Having said that, take a look at what God says is true charity. Verses 1-3 in 1Corinthians 13 lets you know that charity is not works. Look at the list of things that Paul mentions: “all faith, so that I could remove mountains, understand all knowledge, gifts of prophecy, a wonderfully persuasive speaking voice; giving away everything you own to the poor, even to giving your body to be sacrificed for your faith, Paul says you can count all those things as nothing without charity!

In other words those things will not count unless you love the brethren! So what is brotherly love? Verse 4 tells you that charity is kind, willing to be patient with another brother who is struggling with his faith.

Just as an example;perhaps this brother thinks because you don’t wash your hands before you eat, that you are wrong, and he makes the judgment in front of others. You are to be patient with him, knowing that your heavenly father is patient with you.

Love looks for the best in a brother or sister and encourages it.
Love prays for the bad.
Love rejoices in the truth of the living Word. Love is never rude, or prideful.
Love doesn’t envy something that another brother has.
Love doesn’t “look out for # 1”, but tries to look out for other brothers and sisters in Christ.
Love uses the Word to remind others of God’s promises and goodness toward them.
Love endures all things for Christ’s’ sake, believes the truths of the scripture, and believes that others in the family of God genuinely care for her.
Love will hope for the best and pray to back it up. Having prayed the prayer of faith, love will endure not just many but all things, for the overall good of the brethren.

2 Tm 3:5 gives you a warning about those who have no love for the brethren:

“Having a form of godliness but denying the power. And from such people turn away!”

Love will never give up, love will never fail. The faith you have here on earth will one day be sight. The hope you have of Christ return will one day be realized. But when heaven and earth have passed away the love for the brothers and sisters in Christ church will still stand. In heaven it will remain eternal!

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