Tuesday, August 11, 2009

LOVE TO THE BRETHREN


“There is no truer sign nor more alarming symptom of the decline of vital godliness than the want of love and union among those who profess the truth. If love to the brethren marks the dawn of spiritual life, the decay of that love most certainly denotes its decline. A house divided against itself cannot stand. A besieged city, if torn with internal faction, must fall before the enemy. Peace in the Church is the next blessing to peace in the soul, and is most intimately connected with it. It is as absurd as it is hypocritical to talk of having peace with God when the heart is at war with the brethren.

To peace, then, must we sacrifice everything but truth and conscience. Our strife should be, not to gain our own selfish ends, nor stiffly carry our own opinions, nor rule and domineer over the minds of others, as if our own views were necessarily infallible, but to preserve the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace. The prosperity of a church does not consist in the number of its members, nor in the praying gifts of its deacons, nor in its liberal contributions, nor in the gifts and abilities of the minister, nor in the clear doctrinal views of the people, BUT IN THE LOVE WHICH KNITS THE WHOLE BODY TOGETHER. The real increase of a church is not so much from without as from within, “the increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” Without this internal increase, members may be added to a church by scorn, and yet the whole body be a discordant mass of shapeless limbs, without union to the Head or to each other.”

(J.C. Philpot)

“Above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover a multitude of sins.”
(I Peter 4:8)

What is “charity”?

Does it mean “love”?

Are we blessed to watch over our brethren for good and not for evil?

Do we find ourselves caught in the same set up by Satan to be concerned about the faults of one another?

What causes us to criticize our brethren and why are we trying to “straighten” them out?

Are our eyes blind to our own faults?

Would it be a good idea to clean up our own house before we try to straighten up someone else’s?

This reminds us of one who had the beam in his eye trying to pull the mote out of his brother’s eye.

“And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother’s eye.”
(Matthew 7:3-5).

If we have the true love for our brethren, and if we are blessed with the right spirit, then we are also blessed to esteem others better than self, and to rejoice with them that rejoice and weep with them that weep. (Romans 12:15).

God draws His people to Him by love. The poet said: “Love is the golden chain that binds.” When we are blessed with the right spirit and feel this wonderful love of God, then we cannot help but love one another.

It brings sadness to the hearts of the saints to realize that we are living in the last age, or these latter days when “the love of many is waxing cold.”

“And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold.”
(Matthew 24:12)

Perhaps this is the answer to the cause of so much confusion today.

When that love is waxed cold in our hearts, does this mean the Lord has withdrawn His presence from us?

We pray that the Lord will revive us again.

"Wilt thou not revive us again: that thy people may rejoice in thee?"
(Psalm 85:6)

"Draw me, we will run after thee . . ."
(Song of Solomon 1:4)

After we are drawn by the love of God, then we find ourselves longing and seeking for the presence of the Lord. “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so pantheth my soul after thee, 0 God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?” (Psalm 42:1-2).

We feel the love for our brethren and are blessed to “have the same care one for another.” (I Corinthians 12:25).

We know and feel the sweetness of Psalm 133:1, “Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!”

May the Lord bless what is written in honor and praise and glory unto His Holy Name.

By Woodrow W. Hudson

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