We spend a considerable amount of time talking about The Ten Commandments which is God’s law that governs our relationship with Him. But this law of love also begins to show us how we are to interact with others in a Godly fashion.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
We won’t cover loving our brother today specifically, because everything Godly that we talk about is based in love (like The Ten Commandments), it is outgoing, towards others. Our whole duty is and will always be founded in love.
That being said, one of our obligations towards our brothers in Christ is to serve them:
He is considered great who is servant to his brethren.
Matthew 20:26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. [diakonos] Matthew 20:27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave— [doulos] Matthew 20:28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve [diakoneō], and to give His life a ransom for many.”
Great in what way?
In the eyes of God, because that’s all that matters
The plan that the Father and Son made together was for Jesus Christ to come and set an example of giving and service
Diakonos = servant; deacon; server; one who serves
Minister= attend to the needs of (someone);
Doulos = Lit. a slave; bondservant; A person obligated to serve without wages.
Metaphorically: one who gives himself up to another’s will those whose service is used by Christ in extending and advancing his cause among men
We serve God by serving others
You have done to the least of the brethren
We are all called to serve God!
Why don’t we serve? Preoccupation with our own things. We are all “busy”. We are burdened with the things of our life, but:
Matthew 25:34 Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
Matthew 25:35 for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;
Matthew 25:36 I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’
Matthew 25:37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?
Matthew 25:38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?
Matthew 25:39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’
Matthew 25:40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least [to those that seem to be unimportant] of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
So how important are they then? They are necessary for our growth. Our serving them helps them physically in obvious ways; helps them spiritually by setting a good and right example of Christianity; and helps us fulfill our duty and learn how to be Christ like (follow His example of serving)
Restore the Sinner
Not only are we to help physically but we are serve spiritually
James 5:19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back,
James 5:20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.
It is showing love to help someone one who is straying from the truth. If we can help restore them and return them to the path that they were previously on, we are saving them from the second death.
Galatians 6:1 Brethren, if a man is overtaken in any trespass [sin], you who are spiritual restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness, considering yourself lest you also be tempted.
Galatians 6:2 Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.
When we do this we are to do it in the right manner, for the right reasons or we open ourselves up to being taken advantage of by Satan. If we are prideful, unloving, unchristian, etc when we try to “help” someone else, not only is there the chance that we will do harm to that person but we open ourselves up to be taken advantage of. And there is no doubt that Satan will make the most of a situation like this.
Render Spiritual Aid Carefully
Romans 14:1 Receive one who is weak in the faith, but not to disputes over doubtful things.
We are to welcome all those that are following Christ and not ignore them.
Also, there is a limit as to how far we are to go with an issue like this…especially one that is not unlawful.
We are help when we can, but not as much as we can, BUT as much as they can.
But we are also to realize, that even with doctrinal issues there are boundaries as well.
One of the biggest mistakes that we can make in doing this though is to be unchristian in preaching Christianity
1 Corinthians 13:2 And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
This is one of the reasons that we are told to:
Bear One Another’s Burdens
Romans 15:1 We then who are strong ought to bear with the scruples [reluctances; doubtful things of Romans 14:1] of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
Romans 15:2 Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, leading to edification.
Lay Down Your Life
How long are we to bear with others? To what extent are we to continue to give to them and serve them?
1 John 3:16 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
The answer is up to the laying down our lives for the brethren. This is also following the example of God who gave his life for us.
He sacrificed His life not for the righteous but for the sinners. Not for those that deserved it but for us who had nothing to warrant this gift.
Now we are called to do the same for our brethren:
Being a living sacrifice
Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.
Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
This is how we can know and know that we know the will of God.
Romans 12:3 For I say, through the grace given to me, to everyone who is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think soberly, as God has dealt to each one a measure of faith.
This how we can “restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness” (Galatians 6:1)
We are to present our bodies for … service
The sacrifices that we are to make are for the improvement of our relationship with our fellow man as well as God
Love not your life
Matthew 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
Matthew 16:25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.
Matthew 16:26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?
Matthew 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.
Are we willing to give up our life and die every day as Paul said he did? Give up not only his physical life, but His eternal one
Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
Use Your gift
1 Peter 4:10 As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
Use the gifts you have been given
Romans 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, but all the members do not have the same function,
Romans 12:5 so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and individually members of one another.
Romans 12:6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith;
Romans 12:7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching;
Romans 12:8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.
Romans 12:9 Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.
How we are to act and walk as Christians using the gift that we have been given? Paul tells us to be a Philadelphian.
Romans 12:10 Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love [philadelphia], in honor giving preference to one another;
Comfort and Edify
1 Thessalonians 5:11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.
We are to inspire with courage and hope
We are to console and exhort and encourage
Jude 1:3 Beloved [brethren, loved of God, the saints], while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation [notice the topic of discussion], I found it necessary [he was compelled like we should be] to write to you exhorting [or encouraging and what was the context] you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.
This is what we are to encourage others to do persuade our brothers and sisters in Christ to stay the course, run the race and fight the good fight. This is our job, because there are hard times ahead
Acts 14:22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Everyone needs it from the least to the greatest
Philippians 2:1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy,
Philippians 2:2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.
Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
Philippians 2:4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,
Hebrews 3:12 Beware (take to heart), brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God;
Hebrews 3:13 but exhort one another (how often) daily, while it is called “TODAY,” lest any of you be hardened [:8] through the deceitfulness of sin. [nature of sin; fool ourselves]
Hebrews 10:23 Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful.
Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another in order to stir up love and good works,
KJV Hebrews 10:24 And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works:
This goes hand in hand with what we were saying before. The fruits of what we are trying to accomplish will be seen in the outcome of our interactions. If we berate and beat other brethren over the head with our doctrine then result of our effort will reflect that.
Hebrews 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more (not less;) as you see the Day approaching.
As we get closer to the end-time this will become more imperative.
Do Unto Others
Matthew 7:12 Therefore, whatever you want men to do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.
This is a summation of what God has to say to us.
Says it in similar ways elsewhere. Love towards mankind.
To offend someone is to do just the opposite of this
Do not Offend
Luke 17:1 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come!
Luke 17:2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
This is a manner in which we can lay down our lives as we were previously speaking about.
2 Corinthians 6:1 We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain.
2 Corinthians 6:2 For He says: “IN AN ACCEPTABLE TIME I HAVE HEARD YOU, AND IN THE DAY OF SALVATION I HAVE HELPED YOU.” Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.
2 Corinthians 6:3 We give no offense in anything, that our ministry [diakonia] may not be blamed.
2 Corinthians 6:4 But in all things we commend [act] ourselves as ministers [diakonos] of God: [so here are the situations in which we are to act Godly] in much patience, in tribulations, in needs, in distresses,
2 Corinthians 6:5 in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labors, in sleeplessness, in fastings; [now how are we to act in a way not giving offense] 2 Corinthians 6:6 by purity, by knowledge, by longsuffering, by kindness, by the Holy Spirit, by sincere love,
2 Corinthians 6:7 by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armor of righteousness on the right hand and on the left,
2 Corinthians 6:8 by honor and dishonor, by evil report and good report; as deceivers, and yet true;
2 Corinthians 6:9 as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold we live; as chastened, and yet not killed;
2 Corinthians 6:10 as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
2 Corinthians 6:11 O Corinthians! We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open.
2 Corinthians 6:12 You are not restricted by us, but you are restricted by your own affections.
2 Corinthians 6:13 Now in return for the same (I speak as to children), you also be open. [do the same as Christians, because it is your/our duty]
When we offend, we are messing with God’s Work and I can’t imagine that He would be happen if you undid any of the growth that He had accomplished in one of His children.
Now we can see more readily why He says what He does in Luke 17:1-2
KJV: Luke 17:1 Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!
Luke 17:2 It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.
See how serious a matter it is.
But also notice that He says it impossible that offense will not come
Do not be offended
Endure all things for the sake of the elect.
2 Timothy 2:10 Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
Think of all the examples of Paul and what he was willing to do for the brethren’s sake
John 11:9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world.
John 11:10 But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
David sums it up well:
Psalms 119:165 Great peace have those who love Your law, And nothing causes them to stumble.
We need to be magnanimous in our approach to others, considering the whole law of God – if we do then we will not be easily offended.
Pray for Brethren
John 17:9 “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours.
Here is Jesus Christ about to die and what are His last words? They are for the brethren.
John 17:14 I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
John 17:15 I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one.
John 17:16 They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.
John 17:17 Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.
His prayer is for us and on our behalf to God the Father.
He knows that we have a lot to go through, like all the things that we have been talking about.
So what does He pray for? That we come out of the world and stay grounded in the truth.
Brethren, we have a tough road ahead of us, but we do not have to go it alone.
We have God who knows us and our weaknesses and what we are capable of.
We have Jesus Christ who showed us an example of how to make it and how to help others accomplish the task before them.
And also we have each and every one of us working jointly together towards a common goal.
With all of this going for us, what can be against us?