Summary: The Seventh message in the Kindred United series, this message follows the principle that God is first, Family is second and the brethren are third. This message is based predominently upon 1 John 3.
Kindred United: Love The Brotherhood
So far in the Kindred United series, we have studied how God must come first, then family and now we study how church family comes third. Next week, we will begin studying how we need to love others, with a special emphasis on one particular group that is, by and large, ignored by the church but perhaps needs the church more than other groups.
Loving The Brethren: What Is The Church?
When the term church is mentioned to most people, there is a view that comes up in their minds that is quite opposite of the original intent. Most often, the church is viewed as a building. Some people have a mental image people dressed in three piece suits; sun dresses and poofy hair; children in patent leather shoes. Some people have the idea that church is about perfect people, in perfect clothing, singing in perfect harmony, church choirs, preachers dressed in long robes or in a clerical collar with all of the perfect people looking down their noses at the dirty rotten sinners with disdain. All of these views are tragically wrong, but unfortunately have at times been fostered by those of the church itself.
The church is not a building; the church is, instead, a people. And, it is a peculiar (KJV) or special people (1 Peter 2:9). One's manner of dress does not make that person of the church, or how they do their hair, or if they sing in perfect tune. Jesus' intent with the church is radically different than that narrow, uppity view.
In the Old Testament, the word for assembly is qahal (kaw-hawl') and is translated in the KJV as "assembly, company, congregation, multitude". (New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary). While it can refer to people and assemblages, it most often refers to the nation of Israel in the Old Testament. This is important to know, because the Hebrew to Greek translation of the Old Testament, the Septuagint, uses a word that is most often translated as church.
There are two Koine Greek words that translate as church. The first is used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament) as mentioned above, the word ekklesia. This word can be used of secular meetings, and is also used to describe Israel in the wilderness (Acts 7:38) but is most often used to describe the church. Ekklesia is a combination of two words which mean "call" and "out of". In other words, the ekklesia--the church--are "called out ones".
The church, then, is not a building. It is a people. And God's people are no where mentioned as being any of the things mentioned; in fact, the idea that the church is a perfect people is absurd, and even more so is the idea that anyone in the church would think that they could ever be perfect in this life.
In the life of the believer, Jesus tells us to love God and love others. In loving others, we love family first, and then we show a love toward "called out ones".
Love The Brotherhood!
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. 1 Peter 2:17
I love this verse! Quite honestly, I think it would make a good movie poster. I could see this being used as a slogan for a movie based in the middle ages, in the day of knights in shining armor. It has such a ring of integrity to it, something that is so lacking these days. Let's look at this verse piece by piece:
Outward: Honor all people. This means that we as Christians should consider each person precious, as unique. I have heard, and this upsets me, people that will say "that person can never be saved" or "that person REALLY needs Jesus." First off, there is no disqualifier that excludes a person being saved other than unbelief. Second, every person REALLY needs Jesus; all people sin. You might appear moral on the outside, but truth is your righteous works are as "filthy rags" before God (Isaiah 64:6). You should look at each person that is outside the faith as someone that God is going to save, and that you might well be the instrument that God is going to use.
Inward: Love the brotherhood. Robertson notes this is written in the present active imperative form; in other words it means do it now and keep doing it, and it is a command. We are to show agapeo love, a love of the will, a love that expects no return, a love for those that are often unlovable. Also, this speaks of all Christians, not just those in your particular church. There is the local church, then there is the universal church, which would be the church all over the world. In fact, we are to have a love for the brotherhood that is above those outside of the faith.