John Stott on the Christian Community

“The invisible God, who once made himself visible in Christ, now makes himself visible in Christians, if we love one another.  God is love in his essential being, and has revealed his love in the gift of his Son to live and die for us  Now he calls us to be a community of love, loving each other in the intimacy of his family –especially across the barriers of age and sex, race and rank–and loving the world he loves in its alienation, hunger, poverty and pain.  It is through the quality of our loving that God makes himself visible today.  We cannot proclaim the gospel of God’s love with any degree of integrity if we do not exhibit it in our love for others.”

John Stott

For more posts about loving one another see:

Little Children, Love One Another

Love One Another

By Our Love

 

 

 

Bear One Another’s Burdens by Martin Luther

“To love is not to wish one another well, but to carry one another’s burdens–that is, things that are grievous to us, and that we would not willingly bear.  Therefore Christians must have strong shoulders and mighty bones …..

Martin Luther

Loving Near and Far

“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.  And this commandment we have from him;  whoever loves God must also love his brother.”  1 John 4:20

The quote below by Elizabeth Charles was included in my devotional reading. Elizabeth was an Anglican author. Her works include The Voice of Christian Life in Song; or, Hymns and Hymn-writers of Many Lands and Ages (1859), The Three Wakings, and Other Poems (1859), Wanderings over Bible Lands and Seas (1862), The Early Dawn (1864), Winifred Bertram and the World She Lived In (1866), Poems (1867), The Draytons and the Davenants (1867), Songs Old and New (1882), and Conquering and to Conquer/The Diary of Brother Bartholomew. Our Seven Homes (1896) is autobiographical. A number of her hymns appeared in The Family Treasury, edited by William Argnot(1808–1875).

“It requires far more of the constraining love of Christ to love our cousins and neighbors as members of the heavenly family, than to feel the heart warm for our suffering brethren in Tuscany or Madeira.  To love the whole church is one thing;  to love–that is, to delight in the graces and veil the defects–of the person who misunderstood me and opposed my plans yesterday, whose peculiar infirmities grate on my most sensitive feelings, or whose natural faults are precisely those from which my natural character most revolts, is quite another.”

Can you love all Christian brothers and sisters, near and far?

Practicing Brotherly Love

The Bible not only tells us to continue in brotherly love, it gives us instructions on how to do that.  I’ve heard them called the “one anothers”:

  • Be at peace with one another (Mark 9:50)
  • Outdo one another in showing honor (Romans 12:10)
  • Serve one another (Galatians 5:13)
  • Forgive one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ (Ephesians 5:21)
  • Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you (Romans 5:17)
  • Instruct one another (Romans 15:14)
  • Bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2)
  • Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
  • Admonish one another (Colossians 3:16)
  • Be patient with one another (Ephesians 4:2)
  • Be kind and compassionate with one another (Ephesians 4:32)
  • Pray for one another (James 5:16)
  • Confess your sins to one another (James 5:16)

Then there are some “do nots.”

  • Don’t pass judgement on one another (Romans 14:13)
  • Do not lie to one another (Colossians 3:9)
  • Do not slander one another (James 4:11)
  • Do not grumble against one another (James 5:9)

How do you do with this list?  If you’re like me, you fall down quite a bit.  I have to admit patience and not grumbling are areas I really need to work on;  serving and submitting deserve extra attention as well.  What about confessing sins to one another — I would really rather not go there!

It boils down to this:  brotherly love requires humility and sacrifice.  It involves imitating the one who loved us like a brother — Jesus.  He did all these things and did them perfectly.  He’s the one who teaches us to love.