A. DISCERNMENT BETWEEN RIGHT FROM WRONG (9).
A sign of maturity is that we are able to discern what is good from
what is evil. If we really love each other, we will not tolerate sin in one
another's life; or simply "live and let live". We will be concerned for one
another that true good is displayed on one another's life, and true evil is
abstained from (1 John 5:2-3).
B. AFFECTION IN BROTHERLY LOVE (v. 10).
This is a step beyond simply "going to church". This means that we
must put aside all hatred for another brother or sister (1 John 4:20-21).
We are to be willing to put up with one another's faults because we are
devoted to one another as family (1 Peter 2:17). We are to be truly
affectionately drawn to one another.
C. GIVING PREFERENCE TO ONE ANOTHER IN HONOR (v. 10).
Some in the body are wiser or more talented or stronger than others.
But we are to behave with true humility toward one another - preferring that
our brother or sister receive the honor before us (Phil. 2:3-4). This isn't
a matter of pretending that everyone else is superior to us; but an
imitation of Jesus' behavior toward us (Phil. 2:5-8). It means that I do
not seek honor for myself, but seek it for my brother or sister.
D. SUSTAINING OUR DILIGENCE (v. 11).
We are to never get lazy toward one another. God never gives up on
us. He began a good work in us and will see it completed (Phil. 1:6). We
are never to get comfortable with were one another is in their walk with
Christ, but to seek one another's progress - as well as our own. We will get
excited about one another's growth in Christ.
E. KEEPING FERVENT IN SPIRIT (v. 11).
We are to be "on fire" in our attitude about the body of Christ.
When the disciples walked with Jesus, there was always a sense of
anticipation and a feeling that great things were happening. Our times
together should never be greeted by us as "dull". We are gathering together
with others in whom Christ dwells. He is excited about it; and if we're
showing real love, so should we be.
F. SERVING THE LORD (v. 11).
Don't come to church anymore for what you can get out of it. From
now on, show up for work. Ask, "How can I serve Jesus Christ today in the
house of God?" If we do that, we will be looking at one another in a
completely different way. We are to do all that we do in the name of the
Lord Jesus Christ (Col. 3:17).
G. REJOICING IN HOPE (v. 12).
Literally, we're to be rejoicing in "the" hope. We have hope in the
glory of God (Rom. 5:1-2). We are destined to be conformed to His image (1
John 3:2-3) and share in His glory (John 17:24). We share this hope
together. When we encourage one another to look beyond the suffering of
this present age, and on to the glory which will follow, we are truly loving
H. KEEPING PATIENT IN TRIBULATION (v. 12).
Someone once said to a suffering saint, "Suffering sure colors all
of life, doesn't it?" And the suffering believer said, "Yes it does; but I
can choose the color." James 1:2-4 commands us to count it all joy, because
the testing of our faith is a part of God's program of perfecting us in
Christ. We show love to one another when we choose to see our suffering in
this light; and point one another to God's good purposes in it.
I. CONTINUING STEADFASTLY IN PRAYER (v. 12).
When we ask a fellow believer who is in a difficult time, and we
hear the response, "All you can do is pray for me, I guess"; we ought never
look at that as if it were scraping the bottom of the barrel to find
something to do. Real love brings one another before the throne of the
Almighty! It should be looked upon as the greatest thing we could give to
one another. And it is to be persistent (Matthew 7:8). The scariest thing
we could ever say to one another is, "Well; I took you off my prayer list
J. MEETING THE NEEDS OF THE SAINTS (v. 13).
Real love contributes to the needs of the saints faithfully and
gladly. To do otherwise is to do nothing (James 2:15-16). Real love takes
up the burden of one another's needs. We are to look out not only for our
own needs but also for one another's (Phil. 2:4).
K. PURSUING HOSPITALITY (v. 13).
Paul's original words suggest the idea of "perusing" or "chasing
after" hospitality. We're not to ask one another over - secretly hoping our
offer will be declined. (Remember what that's called!) Real love means we
actually seek out the opportunities to be hospitable to one another. We're
not to simply have a 'welcome mat'; we're to pursue one another with a