Loving Believers Like Family
“And to godliness brotherly kindness”
1 Peter 3:8
A. Faith gets us into God’s family, and forms the foundation upon all the rest of our life
B. Virtue keeps us from getting trapped and defeated by sin
C. Knowledge gives me answers for the problems I go through, and for the uncertainties in those troubles – in other words, if I could just KNOW some things, the devil cannot scare me!
D. Temperance helps me control myself when I want to do wrong!
E. Patience enables me to wait on God as I grow and as I struggle – he has grace with me, I should too!
F. Next comes godliness, and it is directed towards the world I live in
G. The main emphasis of “religions” today is to try to get to people to be “kind to one another” and to “love one another”
H. But notice how the Bible says that is something that can only be accomplished when attempted AFTER these other things are part of your life – Brotherly Kindness
II. Through Thick and Thin – Defining Brotherly Kindness
A. It is A Uniquely Christian Concept (Jn 13:34)
1. Treating Christians like they are “family” (1Pet 3:8; 2:17)
2. Before you try to “love everybody” you had better get a good handle on loving the brethren, and being kind TO THEM
3. Preferring one another over the pub, the old friends (Rom 12:10; Gal 6:10), over your own wants, and pleasures
4. Why? Because
a. We have the same Father now
b. We serve the same Master – Jesus
c. We are all in the same Family – the family of God
d. We are all travelling through the same strange land
e. We are all heirs of the same inheritance
B. It is Definitely Not Easy - This is the second hardest challenge for the Christian (2Pet 1:7)
1. Maybe you are able to get along with people
2. Maybe able to like them
3. Some even able to love
4. But to love FERVENTLY? Yeah right! (1Pet 1:22)
5. This attitude and approach towards Bible believers must be worked on (Col 3:12)
6. This step will be attacked – yet must be maintained (Heb 13:1) – through thick and thin – like a marriage
a. Someone entered your family – gotta love them!
b. Got to love them in good times, AND bad, sickness and health
C. It is Proof that You are a Christian - Loving and caring about Christians is a proof that you are a Christian (1Jn 3:14,18,19)
D. It is More than just being “Nice” - The way you ought to treat your brother – not always soft and gentle, but always in love
1. Kind, tender, sacrificial over-all (1Jn 3:16)
2. Yet, straight-up, direct, correcting (Gal 4:16; Eph 4:15)
3. Always because you are looking out for a member of the family (Pr 27:6)
4. That’s God’s kind of kindness (Ps 141:5; Isa 54:8,10)
III. What is a Christian Without Brotherly Kindness?
A. Alone - Without brotherly kindness in our words, and relationships, a person may be saved, but will end up not an active part of the new family that God placed them in (Eph 2:19)
1. It is the natural replacement of kindness
2. Knowledgeable of the Bible, but harsh, and cruel, spiteful, vengeful – not aware that God commands us to treat each other with great care!
C. Anti-christ – ends up working against the work of Christ in people’s lives, and in their own (1Pet 2:21-25)
IV. Example of Brotherly Kindness - Joseph towards his brothers (Gen 37-45)
1. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, then came his Twelve Sons
2. Joseph was favoured by his Daddy (Gen 37:3,4)
3. The other brothers let jealousy ruin their home (37:18-20, 23-28, 36)
a. Hated, envied, and ultimately ABUSED their brother Joseph
b. Thought about just killing him – as Cain did
c. Then decided to sell him – for the cut-rate 20 pieces of silver (less than the normal 30 pieces that a slave would be worth)!!!
4. Joseph is gone (39:1)!
a. Into slavery Joseph went – for the next 13 years
b. Then into prison for the next 3 years (39:20)
c. But then, God raised up Joseph to rule as prince of Egypt
d. But won’t meet his brothers for another 8 years
e. Through it all, God was with Joseph – GOD didn’t abandon him – God had a plan he was working out (Gen 39:2, 21)!!!
f. But Joseph DOES see his brothers again – after 22 years (42:3-8)!!!!
B. Lessons to learn - How would you handle a family situation like Joseph’s? Let’s look at Joseph’s “Brotherly Kindness”
1. Loved them still – never stayed angry at them, or got bitter – EVER!
2. Left off the past – no revenge sought
3. Learned them their lesson – was “rough” with them “for a season” but with kindness in the background through it all
a. Carefully worked things so they would care about Benjamin like they should have, and not ever treat Benjamin the way they treated him
b. Made sure they cared about their father’s feelings
c. Made sure Judah was not a killer anymore
4. Let them stew, and think things through – wasn’t quick to fix things (God does that) – just wanted a strong family
5. Lent them a hand - Took care of them – blessed them
6. Loved them openly – not ashamed to show them off as his brethren
C. How does that Apply to a Church? To the Family of God?
1. We are a big family now
2. Envy (imagination) still hurts and abuses people
3. How we REACT is far more important than how we are treated
4. Is God “with us?” Does God have a plan for each of us? Can we be a blessing anyway?
5. Ephesians 4:30,31 is still a direct command in the Bible
V. Nurturing Brotherly Kindness in Myself, AND in Others
A. Accept it From God – He is VERY kind towards you!!! Very gentle!
B. Do things NOT because someone is WORTHY, but because they are FAMILY
C. Show kindness with FERVENCY – it will grow on you!
D. Ask God to help you take this step
A. All begins with Jesus, who went through all that Joseph experienced, but on a massive scale – and yet loves us still – is kind to us still
B. Have you accepted His kindness in dying for your soul’s sins? Have you been truly born again?
C. If you are a child of God, believers deserve your kindness, your loving kindness, NOT because they are worthy, but because they are family
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland