Verse of the Day Devotion. Hebrews 13:1
“Let love of the brethren continue.” – Hebrews 13:1
When we read this verse it implies that brotherly love already exists within the church, but the writer was telling them it was important to continue in it. And we must be careful that we today do the same. There are many things that can do away with it, and we must eliminate them in order to keep brotherly love alive. Jesus felt this was so important, He declared it a new commandment. “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” John 13:34-35. This is important regarding how the world sees us. If people see two Christians arguing and speaking harshly to each other, they may decide the Christian life is no different than what they see now.
We must see others better than ourselves; therefore we must seek our brother’s and sister’s good to their edification. Unfortunately, the church today is divided into various denominations, and unfortunately beliefs as well. We must look for peace and unity with all those who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity. Hold firmly on to what you believe, for we must not change what we believe on a whim. But wherever you see anything of Christ, confess relationships there, and act as a brother or sister in Christ with all who declare Christ as Savior.
Brotherly love is a major theme of the New Testament. In a healthy family, brothers and sisters love one another and look out for each other. If one family member is in trouble, the whole family rallies around to help. The old adage “He ain’t heavy; he’s my brother” captures God’s ideal for His children. We are to be kind to each other the way brothers and sisters in a loving family are.
Scripture gives examples of people practicing brotherly love. After David ascended to the throne of Israel, he said, “Is there yet anyone left of the house of Saul, that I may show him kindness for Jonathan’s sake?” 2 Samuel 9:1. He had no relationship with Saul’s extended family, yet, because of his close friendship with Saul’s son Jonathan, he wanted to show brotherly love to Jonathan’s family. When the church at Antioch heard that the church in Jerusalem would soon be suffering from a famine, they gave sacrificially to help relieve their brothers’ and sisters’ financial burden. “Now at this time some prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and began to indicate by the Spirit that there would certainly be a great famine all over the world. And this took place in the reign of Claudius. And in the proportion that any of the disciples had means, each of them determined to send a contribution for the relief of the brethren living in Judea. And this they did, sending it in charge of Barnabas and Saul to the elders.” Acts 11:27-30. Churches in Macedonia and Achaia also contributed to the poor in Jerusalem. These are all examples of brotherly love.
And one last thing. We are actually called to love everyone, including our enemies. “You have heard that it was said, YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR, and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you in order that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax-gatherers do the same? And if you greet your brothers only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48.
I want to encourage everyone reading this to be kind to, and love all of our brothers and sisters in Christ. However, we are also called to love the unsaved, to bring them to the Lord, including our enemies. When we love everyone, we will show the reality of our Christian walk. When we as a church are in unity, we show that the body of Christ is a good and safe place to be, and when we love our enemies, we may make a big difference in their lives by making them not an enemy anymore. Love is the solution for reaching the lost and working together as the body of Christ. We will be amazed at what we can accomplish if we do all.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.