BROTHERLY LOVE

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[1 John:1:1-10]; [1 John:2:1-17],[1 John:2:24-25], [1 John:2:28-29]; [1 John:3:1-24]; [1 John:4:7-21]; [1 John:5:1-21]; [2 John:1:1-6], [2 John:1:12-13]; [3 John:1:1-8], [3 John:1:12-14].

Lesson No.: 
361
Class: 
Senior
Memory Verse: 

“If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar:  for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?” (I John 4:20).

Cross References: 

  I Fellowship with God
1. Jesus Christ, the manifestation of God’s love to us, is the only basis of eternal joy, [1 John:1:1-4]; [1 John:2:25]; [1 John:5:11-13]; [John:3:14-15], [John:3:36]; [Acts:4:10-12]; [John:17:2-3].

2. God is light, and those who fellowship with Him must walk in the light and keep His commandments, [1 John:1:5-7]; [1 John:2:3-6], [1 John:2:24], [1 John:2:28]; [1 John:5:1-3].

3. The children of God enjoy great fellowship one with another as they walk in the light, [1 John:1:7]; [2 John:1:1-6], [2 John:1:12-13]; [3 John:1:1-4], [3 John:1:12-14].

4. All have sinned, but those who confess their sins to God find forgiveness, [1 John:1:8-10]; [1 John:2:1-2]; [Proverbs:28:13]; [Isaiah:55:7]; [Acts:3:19].

5. Those who love the world have no fellowship with God, [1 John:2:15-17]; [Romans:12:2]; [Titus:2:12]; [James:4:4].

II Sonship of Believers
1. The Father’s great love paid the price that the sons of men might become the sons of God, [1 John:3:1-3]; [John:3:16]; [Romans:5:8]; [Ephesians:2:4-5].

2. The sons of God -– born-again Christians -– do not commit sin, I [John:3:4-10];:2:12-14, 29;:5:4,5,18-21; [Galatians:6:7];[Galatians:6:8]; [James:1:27].

3. Children of God love their brothers, [1 John:3:11-19]; [1 John:4:7-12], [1 John:4:20-21]; [1 John:2:7-11]; [1 John:5:16-17]; [Luke:10:25-37]; [John:13:35]; [John:15:12]; [1 Peter:1:22]; [3 John:1:5-8].

4. Obedience to God’s commandments produces faith and confidence, [1 John:3:20-23]; [1 John:4:17-19]; [1 John:5:14-15]; [John:15:7].

5. God witnesses faithfully to His children, [1 John:3:24]; [1 John:4:13-16]; [1 John:5:6-10]; [Romans:8:16]; [Galatians:4:6]. 

Notes: 

  God’s Love
John, the disciple who leaned upon Jesus’ breast, is often spoken of as the Apostle of love, not alone because he walked close to the Lord during His three years’ ministry, but also because of the profound teachings in his writings concerning God’s love. Because John was an eyewitness of Jesus Christ from the beginning of His ministry to His death upon the cross, and saw the effect of God’s love upon himself and upon the other Apostles, the subject of God’s love struck deeply into his soul. Many years later, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, he wrote much on this important subject.

“God is love,” wrote the Apostle; and that love is outstandingly manifested in the gift of His only begotten Son to redeem the world. “He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name” [John:1:11-12]).

John was among that number who believed and received Jesus, the Son of God. After Jesus returned to Heaven John realised in a greater measure what a wonderful privilege he had had, to have been with Jesus. John could answer with firsthand, heartfelt knowledge those critics who said that Jesus was but a good man and teacher: “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life” (I [John:1:1]). Flesh and blood had not revealed this wondrous, eternal truth to the beloved Apostle, but God the Father had revealed this truth from Heaven. (See [Matthew:16:15-17].)

Born-Again Experience
John had an experiential knowledge of Jesus, and such knowledge is available to all men. Jesus said to Thomas: “Because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” [John:20:29]). In the writings of the Apostle, a truth is stressed that Jesus taught during His ministry; that is, to know Jesus and to believe in Him means far more than to have a mental knowledge or belief. This is an important truth, because a vast portion of professing Christians have gotten no farther than a mental conception of Jesus, and they are calling that “Christianity.”

Jesus can be known with an experiential knowledge only as men confess their sins and forsake them, and then walk in the light of God’s Word. The Bible conception of believing in Christ is that of obeying all His commandments. When a man comes thus to God, confessing and forsaking his sins, believing in Jesus Christ and the redemption that He purchased for mankind by His death on the cross, God is faithful and just to forgive the man’s sins. Such an experience with God is known as being born again. It is an essential experience without which no man will see the Kingdom of God. (See [John:3:1-8].)

Sons of God
The born-again experience transforms the man of the world (no matter how moral or how wicked he has been, no matter how high in worldly attainments or how deep into sin he has gone) into a child of God. The love for the things of the world is removed, and the love of God takes its place. Condemnation goes out of the heart, and a confidence toward God is born there that grows and grows as the child of God walks in the light of God’s Word. The Spirit of God also witnesses to the spirits of His sons that they are His children.

All these wonderful blessings, and many more, are bestowed upon the children of God because of the Father’s outstanding love. Another great work that is wrought in the human heart through redemption and adoption into the family of God is the hope that the children of God will one day see God as he is. “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure” ([1 John:3:3]). God saves a soul from his sins, but if he continues in that saved state, there must be a steady growth in grace from that time on until the soul is transported to Glory.

There are no sins in the lives of the children of God. Sin is the transgression of God’s law, and Jesus Christ was manifested to take away sin. In Christ there is no sin, and “whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him” ([1 John:3:6]). The Apostle, an eyewitness to Jesus’ miraculous power and an eager listener to His conversations and instructions, was very explicit about this matter of so-called Christians who sin. Through the Spirit the Apostle said that it is impossible to commit sin and still be a Christian. “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God” ([1 John:3:9]). God changes man and takes the desire for sinful things out of the heart when man is born of God.

Love for the Brethren
“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” ([1 John:4:10-11]). Herein is stated more than a free choice as to whether the children of God love their brethren or not, for this is a positive commandment. Throughout the New Testament we find that a man’s measure of love for God is displayed by his love or lack of love for his fellow men: “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us” ([1 John:4:12]).

Love for his fellow man does not precede love for God in the Christian’s heart, but the two are very closely tied together. Hardheartedness and love for God never dwell together. Some people would be content to love their friends and kinsmen, but they hate their enemies. Jesus said, “I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven” [Matthew:5:44-45]).

This love for the brethren is not man-made, for God imparts it to the human heart. Fellowship with God and fellowship with God’s people go hand in hand -– a person cannot have the one without having the other. Fellowship cannot be counterfeited; for, in reality, fellowship is a measure of God’s Spirit that flows between the spirits of the children of God. When the fellowship between a man and God is broken, then the fellowship between that one and the children of God is broken also.

How far-reaching should this love for the brethren be? It must be far-reaching enough to cause the child of God to share his bread and possessions with his needy brother. Whatever profession of godliness a man may have, if he has no compassion for his fellow man in need, then there is no truth in his profession. The Spirit of God dictated that as Christ laid down his life for us, so we “ought to lay down our lives for the brethren” ([1 John:3:16]). In the Apostle’s day martyrdom was prevalent, and no doubt it was possible for one of God’s children to spare the life or lives of others by giving his life. Love for the brethren should be no less today. The one who would withhold his bread from the hungry would never lay down his life for the brethren.

The lawyer asked Jesus, “Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” Jesus asked the lawyer what the law said about this question, and the lawyer stated it. Jesus said, “Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live” [Luke:10:25], [Luke:10:28]). What had the lawyer’s answer been? “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself” [Luke:10:27]). This love, then, will result in eternal life for the man who has it. Like so many people today, the lawyer wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus to define who his neighbour might be. Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan, and asked the lawyer who he thought was neighbour to the Jew who fell among the thieves. Perhaps the lawyer hated the Samaritans, as most Jews did, for he did not use the name, but he had to admit the truth: “He that shewed mercy on him.” Then Jesus said unto him, “Go, and do thou likewise” [Luke:10:37]).

Remember, the story of the Good Samaritan has an eternal bearing. “Who is my neighbour?” The question concerns all who would enter into Heaven. Our neighbour is anyone to whom we may do good, or whom we may lead to God. 

Questions: 

 1. How is it possible to have fellowship with the sons of God?
2. Who among the sons of men have sinned?
3. How is it possible to have our sins forgiven?
4. What happens when a man tries to love God and the world at the same time?
5. Who are the sons of God?
6. Why can there be no sin in the life of a child of God?
7. Why is it necessary for the sons of God to love their brethren?
8. How far should a child of God be willing to carry this love for his brother?
9. How should the sons of God treat those who preach a false doctrine?