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Rays of Light Bible Lessons by Keith Holder

AS TOUCHING BROTHERLY LOVE

1 Thess 4:9-12 But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren, which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more.

Within the chapters preceding the lesson text, Paul had commended the Christians of Thessalonica, for their faithfulness, and their many deeds of kindness. Timothy had brought, to Paul, a good report of their faith and charity (or love), (Chap. 3, Vs. 6). Although commended for their love for one another, Paul mentions it again, which emphasizes its importance, in the life of all Christians. They are not to become lax and complacent in keeping this commandment of God. Indeed, the teaching of love for one another, can never be taught too much; it never becomes commonplace, stale, or trite; its application never loses its power to inspire Christians to be obedient to the complete will of God.

Why does Paul consider brotherly love so important? Because this was a direct commandment from our Savior, Jesus Christ, when He said, A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:34-35). No doubt Jesus' commandment was foremost in the mind of Paul, when he gave the Christians in Rome this exhortation: Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another (Rom. 12:10). Brotherly love was one of the main themes in the inspired New Testament scriptures, especially in the writings of the apostle John. He wrote, He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him (1 John 2:10), and also, And this is His commandment, That we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ, and love one another, as He gave us commandment (1 John 3:23).

Paul told the members of the Thessalonican church of Christ that they were ensamples (examples) to all that believe, in Macedonia and Achaia (1 Thess. 1:7). He specifically says, in the lesson text, that they demonstrated brotherly love toward all the brethren, which are in all Macedonia. However, Paul indicates that such love for others can never reach its fullness within a Christian. When used as a guide in one's life, love grows stronger with each application. True love never becomes stagnant; it either wanes from lack of use, or it grows with every occasion that it is outwardly demonstrated toward others. To obey this commandment of God, Paul says that brotherly love must increase more and more.

Loyalty, and company productivity, increases when a business manager compliments the employee that demonstrates and accomplishes a bonding affection of brotherly love for fellow workers. So it is with obedient service to God through Christ Jesus. Love abounds when it is recognized and commended in others. Complimenting others for their deeds of love and kindness is their encouragement to abound more and more in such good works. Brotherly love also grows and abounds when others that, by example, demonstrate the effective, physical and spiritual benefits that love produces. Paul demonstrated his love toward the Christians of Thessalonica, which resulted in their own love abounding. This is exactly the message he had previously written to them. And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: to the end He may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints (1 Thess. 3:12-13). They were to love one another even as Paul, and his fellow laborers in Christ, loved them.

God is not only our Creator, and the Author of eternal salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ, but He is also the very essence of perfect love. Reading the fourth chapter of 1 John one finds this description of true brotherly love. Love is of God; love had its origin in the mind of God, therefore we can say, as did the apostle John, when, by inspiration he wrote that God is love. With His perfect example of love, all Christians are required to love one another. God's love was manifested toward us because He sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. (He) sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and His love is perfected in us. And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also. To know God is to love God, and keep His commandments!