Exercising LoveBro. David Chancellor
11/7/2010 11:00 AM
1 Thessalonians 4:9-10
But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another. And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia, but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;
We’re taught of God to love one another. We need the love of God. There are things we can do to exercise love. For love to increase, you have to put it to work. Real love needs exercise. It is something we manifest toward others. When it rules in our hearts, it protects us from some of the world’s evil. When hurts come, exercise love to keep the hurt from turning into bitterness and wrong attitudes.
1 Corinthians 6:1-9a
Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unjust, and not before the saints? Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world? And if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters? Know ye not that we shall judge angels? how much more things that pertain to this life? If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church. I speak to your shame. Is it so, that there is not a wise man among you? no, not one that shall be able to judge between his brethren? But brother goeth to law with brother, and that before the unbelievers. Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? Why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded? Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? …
We don’t know what was going on to cause Paul to write to them this way, but it’s valid for us, too. Troubles will come up, but among ourselves we shouldn’t need the courts. To take the wrong, you need a love that can bear. "Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren. Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God?" If you are defrauding your brother, that’s unrighteous. In all we do, we need to consider what’s right.
We may not have opportunities to have business problems with each other, but there is always opportunity for misunderstandings. We always need to watch our attitudes and have the love of God for things. When troubles come, the love of God needs to go to work to keep bad things out of us. We need the love of God in our hearts enough to suffer ourselves to be defrauded , if need be, to keep the grace of God.
The love of God is needed to cover differences in understanding.
Moreover, if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask; it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven. For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.
"Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven…" This doesn’t describe a way to resolve doctrinal differences, but describes personal offences. This is how these situations should be resolved in the church.
If you have a problem with your brother go and say, "I have a problem that is causing me to have less of the love of God in my heart and I need it resolved to keep bad things from working in me." It’s possible that your brother doesn’t even know. You need to address it so that you can have the love of God in your heart. This should work if there is enough crying out to God.
If none of that works, how do you treat the heathen man or publican? Then why do you treat this one that way? If nothing works, it’s time for a prayermeeting for the problem, to seek salvation for that soul. Praying for someone keeps the love of God in your heart the way it ought to be. If your love would grow, you need to work at it. Good examples of this are Jesus and Stephen. They prayed for those who took their lives. This is love at work. Pray that God will resolve things in a good way.
When bad attitudes and ugliness try to come in, you need to let love have its perfect work. "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms." – James 5:13. When affliction comes, pray. Affliction is hard times. When those things come, pray. Take it to God in prayer and let God work it out. Prayer is a way to grow in love. Pour out your heart for the other person. Explain their need and case to God and ask for help. The act of beseeching God to move for someone else can work on you, too.
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour and hate thine enemy. But 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; for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.
"But 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." Pray for these ones. Seek God in their behalf. Love them and pray for them. Pray that God would bless them. Pray for those that make your life difficult. Instead of dwelling on the hurt, pray. Keep the love of God in your heart. Learn to love your enemies and those that treat you bad. Pray so that you can grow in love. We need to pray for others and not just ourselves. Learn to intercede for other people. Talk to God about others. Plead their case. It will help to keep the love of God in you. Keep your heart full of the love of God toward everyone. As we encounter hurts and difficulties, we’ll have to pray for ourselves and our brother, that God would work things out for the best.
1 Thessalonians 3:12-13
And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you: To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God, even our Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all his saints.
"And the Lord make you to increase and abound in love one toward another, and toward all men, even as we do toward you." God needs to do this in us. If the trials work as God intends, it will draw us closer together. God wants our love to grow. Why? "To the end he may stablish your hearts unblameable in holiness before God…" We want to be unblameable before men as well as God. Our love must increase and abound. Prayer is needed to do this. Prayer is where we increase in love. It works something in you to care for the needs of others. Can you pray and feel for them?