Summary: Being devoted to one another in brotherly love requires a decision, determination, and demonstration. We put it into practice by being present, attentive, and expressive.
A. The story is told of an attorney who gathered the entire family for the reading of the will.
1. Relatives came from near and far, to see if they were included in the bequests.
2. The lawyer somberly opened the will and began to read:
a. “To my cousin Ed, I leave my ranch.”
b. “To my brother Jim, I leave my money market accounts.”
c. “To my neighbor and good friend, Fred, I leave my stocks.”
d. “And finally, to my cousin George, who always sat around and never did anything, but wanted to be remembered in my will, I leave my greeting, ‘Hi, George.’ ”
B. Most families have their share of unusual characters…like George in the opening story.
1. Rudy Carlson, my aged dear friend and brother in Christ, says, “Family is one of God’s masterpieces.” And family certainly is.
2. Family makes such a difference in our lives for our good or ill.
3. Because there are no perfect people, there are no perfect families.
4. Nevertheless, families can be very, very good.
C. I have been blessed to grow up in a very good family.
1. I’m the second oldest of 10 children.
2. As you know, we are a yours, mine and ours kind of family.
3. 4 Owens kids, 4 Grimsley kids, and then 2 Grimsley/Owens kids.
4. Needless to say, life in the Grimsley/Owens house was always interesting…never a dull moment.
5. Even though we were a blended family, we shared a deep and warm love for each other.
6. Of course, we experienced the usual knock-down drag-outs, disagreements, and selfish stages that all kids go through, but we were basically a close family.
D. Have you ever noticed how that within a family it’s okay to have some fighting within the family, or some complaining about family, or teasing about family, but it’s not okay for someone outside the family to do any of that.
1. In other words, let someone outside the family lay a hand on someone within the family, or say something negative about someone in the family, and you’ve got a fight on your hands.
2. Why is it that we often react so quickly and strongly to defend our family?
3. It is because of the devoted family love that develops within the family.
E. Today in our sermon, we want to, as a Church, learn something about being devoted to one another in brotherly love.
I. Devoted to One Another
A. As God inspired the writers of the Bible to address the development and growth of the church, He inspired them to use a number of analogies to illustrate the life of the church.
1. Those biblical writers frequently used the analogy of the human body to portray the life of the church (Like in Rom. 12; 1 Cor. 12; and Eph. 4)
2. And that analogy teaches us so many wonderful truths about the church.
3. We easily and clearly understand that the church as body means that all of us are members of the body, and that each member of the body is a necessary and important part of the body.
4. All of us can appreciate the need for all the parts of our bodies, and we like all of those parts to be functioning as they should.
5. And when a part of our body can’t do it’s job, we know it in a hurry.
B. Another analogy frequently employed by the biblical writers is the concept of church as family.
1. The family analogy gives us an even greater appreciation of what a functioning church should be.
2. The concept of family adds a dimension of warmth, tenderness, concern and loyalty that the body analogy lacks.
3. The family analogy adds the element of human emotion and devotion to our understanding of church.
C. The apostle Paul wrote, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.” (Rom. 12:10)
1. The term “brotherly love” (philadelphia in the Greek) refers to the love that should exist between the closest of friends.
2. When we apply it to the church, it refers to the love Christians should have for each other as brothers and sisters in Christ – a close, dedicated love.
3. We are the family of God.
4. Paul wrote, “For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom the whole family of believers in heaven and on earth drives its name.” (Eph. 3:14)
D. The term “brothers” is used to refer to the Christian family about 230 times in the NT.
1. The word “brothers” literally means “from the same womb.”
2. It is distinctly a “family term.”
3. When it refers to Christians, it means “fellow believers,” “members of God’s family,” “brothers and sisters in Christ.”