Whoever Loves God Must Also Love His Brother

While pondering Matthew 10:42 and “Because He is a Disciple“, I was wondering why does the Lord specifically say in many, many verses that our behavior towards disciples or the brethren should be in a certain way.  Honestly, while listing out verses from just the New Testament there seems to be more verses that deal with our behavior with the brethren or our brothers and sisters in the church than with any other type of individual, even our spouses or our children.  Isn’t that surprising and interesting?

But why?  Is that truly the harder relationship for believers?  Dealing with others in the church?

I won’t go through the explanation as to why when the words brother, sister or brethren is used it is referring to fellow believers.  I trust most understand that.  (My grandfather always called me “sister” which was quite confusing as a child because I wasn’t his sister.)

This is my best understanding of why so many verses about how we treat fellow believers:

1 John 4:20-21 (ESV)

20 If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen.
21 And this commandment we have from him: whoever loves God must also love his brother.

That is about as plain as it can get!

If we do not love our brothers in Christ then we do not love God!

How well do you love God?


Because He Is A Disciple

Matthew 10:42 (ESV) And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

The portion of this verse that caught my attention a few years ago was “because he is a disciple.” I thought that was so odd because I’d always heard others teaching as if this verse was talking about giving a cup of cold water to anyone. I’ve also been in churches where they had ministries called “Cup of Cold Water” which gave out water bottles at large sporting events.

Now don’t misunderstand me here there are plenty of other verses that talk of helping the widows and the orphans or the poor.  But this verse specifically says “disciples“.  That is just one odd verse, right?  Nope.  Look at these verses:

Matthew 25:35-40 (ESV)

35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,

36  I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’

37 Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?

38 And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you?

39 And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’

40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’

Mark 9:41 (ESV) For truly, I say to you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will by no means lose his reward.

Hebrews 6:10 (ESV) For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love that you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.

2 Corinthians 8:3-5 (ESV)

3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own free will,

4 begging us earnestly for the favor of taking part in the relief of the saints

5 and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us.

2 Corinthians 9:12 (ESV) For the ministry of this service is not only supplying the needs of the saints, but is also overflowing in many thanksgivings to God.

1 John 3:17 (ESV) But if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him?

We are to specifically be serving and supplying the needs of our brothers (and sisters) in the Lord.

  • Will not lose our reward

  • Shows love to Christ

  • Will not be overlooked by the Lord

  • Shows we have given ourselves to the Lord

  • Shows thanksgiving to God

  • If we do not, God’s love does not abide in us

We aren’t able to do this well unless we are part of a community of believers. Unless you are seriously fellowshipping and living out your life with other believers often their needs will go unnoticed.

Often it is easier to give some money to a ministry that will feed the hungry or help the poor than it is to actually be involved in ministry yourself.  We believers tend to prefer the sanitized methods of helping others more to the real handing out cold water to a fellow believer.  When it comes to helping those we know in the church often there are many excuses.

Judgement about how they arrived in their dire circumstances….

How you would do things differently ….

If only they would have listened….

That doesn’t mean we are to let believers sponge off others, that isn’t the point.

2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 (ESV)
10 For even when we were with you, we would give you this command: If anyone is not willing to work, let him not eat.
11 For we hear that some among you walk in idleness, not busy at work, but busybodies.
12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.

So how might this understanding change your ministry to others, especially the brothers and sisters in the Lord?


A Cup of Cold Water

Matthew 10:42 (ESV) And whoever gives one of these little ones even a cup of cold water because he is a disciple, truly, I say to you, he will by no means lose his reward.”

A year or so ago when reading this verse I realized something very interesting.  This means slightly different than what I’ve always been taught and that most people assume.  This is especially obvious when you compare the verse in other locations.

Do you see what caught my attention?


Do You Love The Brethren?

“To love those whom we do not like means that we treat them as if we did like them — to choose to act kindly toward them even though we do not like them….The Bible does not ask us to like the brethren, it asks us to love them, and that means, therefore, something like this: we may not like certain Christians. I mean by that, there is none of this instinctive, elemental attraction; they are not the people whom we naturally like; yet what we are told is that to love them means that we treat them exactly as if we did like them. Now, the men and women of the world do not do that; if they do not like people, they treat them accordingly and have nothing to do with them. But Christian love means that we look beyond that. We see the Christian in them, the brother or sister, and we even go beyond what we do not like, and we help that person. Love your brethren — that is the exhortation with which we are concerned?


Martyn Lloyd-Jones on I John 3:16-18 in his book Children of God


Is This Love?

Sometimes people just amaze me.

How about this quote from a news article about feuding sisters.

“I miss her so much, and I love her, and I don’t like what’s taken place,” Sokaitis said. “But all I want is what is rightfully mine. All I want is my share, nothing more.”

Now I can imagine hearing one of my daughters say something like this but they would get some “character development” afterwards.

Love does not demand for it’s rights.

1 Corinthians 13

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.
2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.
7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away.
9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part,
10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away.
11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways.
12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.
13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

The previous quote is not love according to these verses.

1 Corinthians 13:4-5

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant
5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

This sister is not patient or kind and she is definitely insisting on her own way.

As she said “… all I want is what is rightfully mine. All I want is my share….

Now this would be bad enough if it was a couple of teenaged sisters arguing or a couple of children, but the surprising thing is this is an 83 year old sister arguing with her 87 year old sister over lottery ticket winnings!

You would have hoped that by that age you could possibly understand love a little better.

Shows you are never to old to be a totally selfish, self-centered sinner.

I pray that the Lord will convict them of their sin and need for Him before it is to late, time is surely clicking quickly at that age.


Is God’s Love Unconditional? – Piper

Reading yesterday I found several references to God’s unconditional love and that we are to love others unconditionally. That is a concept that people say they believe but it really has no basis in Scripture the way they interpret it.

So I thought I’d see what really the Bible says about God’s Love and whether it is unconditional or not. I’ll start with John Piper’s explanation so you can see the verses he references.

Is God’s Love Unconditional?

There is such a thing as unconditional love in God, but it’s not what most people mean by it.

* It’s not a saving love that he has for everybody. Else everybody would be saved, since they would not have to meet any conditions, not even faith. But Jesus said everybody is not saved (Matthew 25:46).* It’s not the love that justifies sinners since the Bible says we are justified by faith, and faith is a condition (Romans 5:1).

* It’s not the love of working all things together for our good because Paul says that happens “to those who love God” (Romans 8:28).

* It’s not the love of the most intimate fellowship with the Father because Jesus said, “He who loves me will be loved by my Father” (John 14:21). And James said, “Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you” (James 4:8).

* It’s not the love that will admit us into heaven when we die because John says, “Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). And faithfulness is a condition.

How then does God love unconditionally? Two ways (at least):

1. He loves us with electing love unconditionally. “He chose us in him before the foundation of the world . . . for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4-5).

He does not base this election on foreseeing our faith. On the contrary, our faith is the result of being chosen and appointed to believe, as Acts 13:48 says, “As many as were appointed to eternal life believed.”

2. He loves us with regenerating love before we meet any condition. The new birth is not God’s response to our meeting the condition of faith. On the contrary, the new birth enables us to believe.

“Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been [already!] born of God,” (1John 5:1). “[We] were born, not . . . of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God” (John 1:13).

Let us pray that thousands of people who speak of the unconditional love of God would discover the biblical meaning of what they say. If that happened many would find their feet on solid ground.

Is God’s Love Unconditional?
February 20, 2009 By: John Piper
Category: Commentary


Love Not The World…

1 John 2:15-16
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
16 For all that is in the world— the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ESV

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world (this age), [fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs], but be transformed (changed) by the [entire] renewal of your mind [by its new ideals and its new attitude], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what is the good and acceptable and perfect will of God, even the thing which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His sight for you]. AMP

John Calvin

By the world understand everything connected with the present life, apart from the kingdom of God and the hope of eternal life. So he includes in it corruptions of every kind, and the abyss of all evils. In the world are pleasures, delights, and all those allurements by which man is captivated, so as to withdraw himself from God.”

Charles Spurgeon on Romans 12:2

Then come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, and touch not the unclean thing. Would you attain the full assurance of faith? you cannot gain it while you commune with sinners. Would you flame with vehement love? your love will be damped by the drenchings of godless society. You cannot become a great Christian—you may be a babe in grace, but you never can be a perfect man in Christ Jesus while you yield yourself to the worldly maxims and modes of business of men of the world. It is ill for an heir of heaven to be a great friend with the heirs of hell. It has a bad look when a courtier is too intimate with his king’s enemies. Even small inconsistencies are dangerous. Little thorns make great blisters, little moths destroy fine garments, and little frivolities and little rogueries will rob religion of a thousand joys. O professor, too little separated from sinners, you know not what you lose by your conformity to the world. It cuts the tendons of your strength, and makes you creep where you ought to run. Then, for your own comfort’s sake, and for the sake of your growth in grace, if you be a Christian, be a Christian, and be a marked and distinct one. (from Spurgeon’s Morning & Evening)

Who do you love?
The World ?
Or the Father?

How Can You Love Someone Who Rejects You?

The following scene from the movie Fireproof is profound.

1 John 4:10-12

10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. ESV

1 John 4:19 We love because he first loved us. ESV

Love Dare Book

For Donna along with many prayers.

See also Fireproof Quotes