Summary: We are to love what God loves
Who is your brother, where is your brother? What is Brotherly Love?
A well-known speaker started off his seminar by holding up a $20 bill. In the room of 200, he asked, "Who would like this $20 bill?" Hands started going up. He said, "I am going to give this $20 to one of you but first let me do this." He proceeded to crumple the dollar bill up. He then asked, "Who still wants it?" Still the hands were up in the air. "Well," he replied, "What if I do this?" And he dropped it on the ground and started to grind it into the floor with his shoe. He picked it up, now all crumpled and dirty. "Now who still wants it?" Still the hands went into the air. "My friends, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money, you still wanted it because it did not decrease in value. It was still worth $20. Many times in our lives, we are dropped, crumpled, and ground into the dirt by the decisions we make and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless. But no matter what has happened or what will happen, you will never lose your value in God’s eyes. To Him, dirty or clean, crumpled or finely creased, you are still priceless to Him. Psalm 17:8 states that God will keep us ’as the apple of His eye.’"
I am glad that God loves questions. He likes to know what we are up to. As we start this message it will begin with a question: “Where is your brother?” Way back in the Bible there is a story about two brothers. One is named Cain and the other is Abel. They both were born to worship God just as al of us are. God created angels to serve Him. He wanted a creation that could choose to love him and so He made man. We do not know but perhaps Cain thought God favored Abel. Cain looks for a way to get back at Abel. It comes time for worship and so they bring their gifts to God as an act of worship.
What do you bring to God as an act of worship? Heart full of praise, a hearty offering, a desire to sing from your heart, a listening ear to hear God’s voice and a restful spirit to enjoy God’s presence with his people?
When Cain came to worship that day it was with a heart full of envy. It was in church when Cain saw that God accepted Abel’s worship and Cain did not give his best at worship. Cain became so upset; he did not get anything out of the service but hardened his heart until it was full of hate. It stayed in his mind until he came up with a plan. Sin begins in the heart. Sin is not just an action but an attitude. As he thinks of his plan he does not know who to blame God or his brother Abel. A few days later he meets Abel out in the field. As they start working together it seems fine until Abel feels the blow of a garden tool on the back of his head. He falls over wondering what hit him only to find that there is another blow and he is bleeding badly. It does not stop until he breathes his last and lies dead in the field. God comes to Cain maybe an hour later and asks: “Where is your brother Abel?” Cain looks up with a fake surprise look on his face and says: “I do not know. Do you expect me to keep tract of that little brother of mine.”
2 PT 1:5-7
The Bible is very certain about the reality of brotherly love. We find stories of brothers who struggled with each other. Ishmael did not like Isaac, Jacob deceived Esau, the 11 brothers of Joseph wanted him dead, David’s brothers made fu at him, and it says that at one time the brothers of Jesus did not believe in Him. We also see intermixed in these stories that there was restoration, mercy, love and healing.
That question asked in a lonely field many years ago still troubles us. We see much division between different groups of people. “Make every effort to add to your faith brotherly kindness.” We ask, “Where is my brother? Who is my brother? Am I my brother’s controller?” As we come to this virtue it is the second to last one in the list. We have words for love that the Bible uses that we do not know about in our English language. The one used here is Philadelphia. Two other words could have been used here and the first is chrestotes which means to do show good behavior to another. The second is Philanthropia which is expressed in self-sacrificing generosity. These words are both great for showing kindness. So why does Peter pick Philadelphia? It is to show that we need to show more than just kindness in our brotherly love. The other two words can be done at a distance and not becoming attached to touching the one we show love to. Philanthropic can be done by writing a check to someone and not even knowing the person. These two words do not have to have a personal touch.