Date written: November 21st, 2003
Scripture ref: 1 John 3:14
TITLE: Impediments to Loving our Brother
PROPOSITION: In this lesson we will discuss things that the Bible says impedes loving our brother. We impede ourselves from loving our brother when 1) We put a stumbling block before our brother; 2) We serve self instead of our brother; 3) We bite and devour our brothers, 4) We speak falsehoods to our brothers.
OBJECTIVES: Each listener should be able to understand what kind of behavior God says impedes loving our brothers.
AIM: To encourage the brethren to behave in a way that shows genuine love, compassion, and mercy for our brethren.
1. Read: 1 John 3:14 "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death."
2. Read also: 1 John 4:7, 8 "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love."
3. About the Text:
1) The book of first John has two themes.
2) The first is the fact that God is light (1 John 1:5).
3) The second is the fact that God is love (1 John 4:8).
4) When we read the book of John, we learn that love is not just some theoretical concept, but a very practical element of the Christian life.
5) There are actions to show our love one to another.
6) There are also actions that impede our love for one another.
7) It is this second class of actions that I wish to discuss today.
4. Ref. to S, T, P, O, and A.
DISCUSSION: We impede ourselves from loving our brother when . . .
I. We put a stumblingblock before our brother.
1. 1 John 2:10, 11 "He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes."
1) John tells us that loving our brother means we don't put a stumbling block before our brother.
2) If we put a stumbling block before our brother, then John says, we hate our brother.
2. Balaam was condemned for putting an occasion of stumbling before the children of Israel. Revelation 2:14 "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumblingblock before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols, and to commit fornication."
3. Notice Phil.1:9, 10 "And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and all discernment; so that ye may approve the things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and void of offense unto the day of Christ;"
1) Paul prayed that their love would abound.
2) With the results that they would
a. Approve the things that are excellent.
b. Be sincere.
c. Be void of offense. Greek scholars say this word means not causing others to stumble. (Robertson, Word Pictures).
4. Paul recognized that we don't desire our brother's salvation when we put an offense before them. 1 Corinthians 10:32, 33 "Give none offense, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God: Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved."
II. We serve self instead of our brother
1. Philippians 2:1-4 "If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others."
1) Paul desires that he joy be fulfilled and that the brethren love one another.
2) This means nothing is to be done through strife or vainglory.
3) It means that each esteems others better than self.
4) It means that we don't look to self first.
2. Selfishness is the first step toward hating our brother. 1 John 3:11, 12 "For this is the message that ye heard from the beginning, that we should love one another. Not as Cain, who was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother's righteous."
1) John tells us that Cain slew Abel because of jealousy.
2) Jealousy has its roots in selfishness.
3. John speaks about a very selfless kind of love in 1 John 3:16-18 "Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth."
1) God's love for us is our first and foremost example of what true love really is.
2) If God was selfless in giving his only Son for our sins, then we should be selfless in relationship to loving our brethren as well.
3) This means laying down our life for other brothers.
4) This means giving to our brothers what they need in this life.
5) The love of God does not dwell in a selfish brother.
III. We bite and devour our brother.
1. Galatians 3:13-15 "For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this; Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed that ye be not consumed one of another."
1) We are to, by love, serve (enslave ourselves) to one another.
2) Loving our neighbor at least includes loving our brother.
3) In contrast to love, there is biting and devouring.
a. These words are only used once.
b. In secular Greek they were used to describe wild animals fighting with each other.
2. 1 Corinthians 3:3 "For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?"
1) Where envying, strife, and divisions exist among brothers, that is carnality.
2) Those who love carnality, do not love their brothers.
3. James 3:14-18 "But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work."
1) Bitter envyings is devlish wisdom.
2) Envying and strife only results in confusion and evil works.
3) One cannot be part of such and love his brother.
IV. We speak evil to or of our brothers.
1. Ephesians 4:31-5:2 "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour."
1) Walking in love means that we don't speak evil of our brother.
2) It is certainly possible for us to tell the strict truth, yet speak evil of our brother.
3) That's why when we speak the truth we are also supposed to do it in love, practicing kindness, gentleness, meekness, gentleheartedness, and forgiveness.
2. We are to speak the truth in love one toward another. "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:" (Eph.4:15).
1) We cannot lie to our brother and expect others to believe that we love him. "Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds;" (Col.3:9).
2) Ephesians 4:25 "Wherefore putting away lying, speak every man truth with his neighbour: for we are members one of another."
3. There are many things that we ought to think about first before speaking evil of our brother. Paul gives us an extensive list in Romans 12:9-18 "Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another; Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord; Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer; Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality. Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men."
1. We impede ourselves from loving our brother when . . .
1) We put a stumbling block before our brother.
2) We serve self instead of our brother.
3) We bite and devour our brother.
4) We speak evil to or of our brother.
1) If you are a Christian but have fallen away
a. Have you been loving your brother by letting sin back into your life?
b. Don't put stumbling blocks before your brothers.
2) If you are not a Christian this morning . . .
a. You need to become a brother today through the New Birth.
b. You can then begin to love your brother as you ought.
c. Heed the plan that it has for man's salvation today!
a) Hear the word; Romans 10:17 "Faith comes by hearing . . ."
b) Believe with all your heart; Hebrews 11:6 "For without faith it is impossible . . . ."
c) Repent of your sins (Acts 17:30).
d) Confess Jesus as the Son of God (Matt.16:16).
e) Be baptized for the remission of your sins (Mark 16:15,16).