THINKING ABOUT THE BRETHREN
Intro: This whole chapter is a please for believers to live
lives that are pleasing to the Lord. Verses 1-2 are
about Thinking About The Believer. We are to
consider our own life and get it where it really needs to
be. Verses 3-8 are about Thinking About The Body.
They have to do with our place in the whole body of
Christ. They are a challenge for us to fulfill our God-given role in being everything the Lord has saved us to
be. Verses 9-21 continue the theme Paul is addressing
in this chapter. Now, he is going to speak for a while
about Thinking About The Brethren. These verses
are filled with challenges for the children of God to live
together, before the Lord and the world, as a God-honoring family. These verses, if they are heeded and
practiced, would revolutionize the average Christian's
life. There are three basic thoughts in view here as we
think about Thinking About The Brethren.
I. OUR ACTIONS TOWARD THE BRETHREN
A. Our Social Actions - (These make us a
pleasure to live with.)
1. V. 9a Be Honest - We are to love the
brethren with an honest love that knows no
pretense. It is to be genuine like that of our
Savior for us!
2. V. 10a Be Loving - Again, we are to love one
another with a faithful devotion. The kind of
love referred to here is that which can only be
found in the closest of families. Since we are
family, we should love one another as family!
3. V. 10b Be Humble - Here, we are
commanded to put others ahead of our owns
self. It is shameful what some people will do
to get their own way in a matter. God's way
is that we seek our brother's best in every
situation. God will look after us, Matt. 6:33.
4. V. 11a Be Diligent - In our dealings with
others, we are not to be slow or lazy. Paul is
speaking of our duty to our business
associates, but this command transcends all
of life. We are to be diligent in whatever work
our hand finds to do, whether secular or
spiritual, Eccl. 9:10. We are not to be
procrastinators, but we are to be busily
engaged in our work. By the way, this word
carries the idea of someone being hard to
deal with. We should be a pleasure to work
5. V. 13a Be Helpful - The idea of this phrase is
that we are to enter into the burdens of our
fellow believers. We are to help them as
their needs arise. This is the command of
6. V. 13b Be Open - Instead of building walls
between us and others, we are to reach out
as true friends do. The idea is that of being
available to the family of God.
7. V. 14 Be Kind - Regardless of what another
throws at us as we pass through this life, our
reaction should always be that of tolerance.
Let us never reach the place where we enter
into a mud slinging contest with a fellow
believer, or any man for that matter. The
command here is to be pleasant and kind to
others, regardless of what they may do to us!
8. V. 15 Be Compassionate - Since we are all
members of the same body, v. 5, we should
have a compassion for our fellow believer
that causes us to hurt when he hurts and to
rejoice when he rejoices. Instead of being
jealous when another is blessed, let us be
excited for and with him because of the
Lord's grace and goodness. Instead of being
indifferent when a time of crisis arises in the
life of our brother, let us endeavor to enter
into his need and help him carry his load.
(Ill. You will notice that these things are
merely ways in which the church can
demonstrate Christlike love one for another.
It is a way to show the world the reality of our
claims. It is a way to glorify Jesus in the
church and before the world, John 13:35.)
B. Our Spiritual Actions - (These equip us to be a
1. V. 9b Be Holy - In our personal walk before
the Lord, we are to hate the evil and be glued
to that which is right. Let us be careful how
we conduct ourselves. The Lord's desire is
that we be a holy people, 1 Pet. 1:16.
2. V. 11b Be Excited - The word fervent means
to be "boiling and bubbling." It carries the
idea of the bubbling sound water makes
when it is boiled. The idea is that we are to
be making some excited noise for the glory of
God. When we are in a vital, real relationship
with the Lord Jesus, there will be some
excitement in our hearts. It is the opposite of
deadness and stagnation. This world is
looking for something that is real, let the
Christian determine in his heart that he will
never be a dull, boring, dead, lifeless
believer. But, let him decide that he will
come alive spiritually so that Jesus might be
3. V. 11c Be Faithful - The word serving means
"to be in the position of a servant and to
act accordingly." When we were saved, we
were bought with a price, 1 Cor. 6:19-20.
We belong to Jesus and are to be His faithful
servants. We have no business being
engaged in any other business. When the
Lord looks at our lives, He should find us
actively engaged in faithfully doing His will
from our hearts.
4. V. 12a Be Happy - The believer should be
the happiest person on the face of the earth!
Your smile should be the biggest on the job!
Why? Because of our hope! Man, we are
saved, forgiven and heaven bound! We have
a hope that the world knows nothing about.
Let us not forget what the Lord has done for
us! Where He has brought us from, and
where He is taking us to. It's no wonder
some believers are so mean and
cantankerous, they have simply forgotten
what God has done for them.
5. V. 12b Be Hopeful - The idea here is that we
are to be steadfast under the pressures of
life. We are not to allow the things arise in
life drive us away from the Lord. The saint is
to keep his eyes on Jesus, knowing that the
Lord is working out His will everyday and that
He is seeking the best for His people all the
time, Rom. 8:28.
6. V. 12c Be Prayerful - The idea here is that
the saints are to be involved in a prayer life
that is vibrant and consistent. Prayer is the
life line of the believer, and too often it is
neglected. Let us never forget that God will
bless the praying person and the praying
church, James 5:16.
I. Our Actions Toward The Brethren
II. OUR ATTITUDES TOWARD THE BRETHREN
A. V. 16a Walk As A Family - The basic
admonition here is the same as mentioned
earlier. We are to operate as a family, with each
member feeling the hurts and afflictions of
another. We are never to allow ourselves to
become aloof and disconnected from our
Christian family. This is a plea for humility, unity
and compassion among the members of God's
B. V. 16b Walk In Fellowship - None in this family
of faith should feel that they are better than
another. We are all cut from the same cloth,
saved by the same blood and headed to the
same heaven. We are to stand together as one,
working for the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ,
Phil. 1:27. There is no one in this room that has
the right to think that they are better than anyone
else, Phil. 2:4.
C. V. 17a Walk In Forgiveness - According to
Jesus, there will be times when we become
offended by the words or deeds of another, Luke
17:1. When they do we are not to respond by
seeking to get even with the offending party.
Instead, we are commanded to practice
forgiveness one toward another, Luke 17:1-4;
D. V. 17b Walk In Faithfulness - This is a
command to live a "beautiful" life. We are called
upon to be faithful in the sight of all men by living
the kind of life that brings glory to the Lord. The
life we live should be a thing of beauty to those
who observe it and to the Lord, Who also sees
every move we make. Nothing is more God
honoring and beautiful than a faithful life!
I. Our Actions Toward The Brethren
II. Our Attitudes Toward The Brethren
III. OUR AFFECTIONS TOWARD THE BRETHREN
A. V. 18 Be Peaceful - Here, we are commanded
to see that there is peace in the family of God.
Notice that God says that each person is
responsible for their own actions in this matter.
You are to go the extra mile, without demanding
the same from your Brother. You are to offer the
apology first, without waiting on him before
reconciliation begins. You are to take the lead in
seeing there is peace and harmony in God's
family. The idea is that if each believer will do
his or her part, there will be no place for trouble
and disunity in God's House!
B. V. 19 Be Patient - Of course, the command here
is obvious. We are not to take matters into our
own hands. When we have been offended and
our brother refuses to make it right with us, then
we are to leave the matter in the hand of God.
It is not our place to get revenge. It is not our
place to extract our pound of flesh. It is our
place to love them and to leave them in the hand
of God. The Lord saw everything that happened
and He will see that the record is set straight,
whatever it takes!
C. V. 20 Be Positive - Since the Lord will deal with
fault, we are to take the lead in being a friend to
our enemy. The Lord would have us to reach
out to them in love and humility. If they rebuff
us, that is between them and the Lord. We have
done our part and that is all the Lord requires!
So, instead of getting all down and out when we
are done dirty by someone, let us seek to be like
Jesus Who literally blessed His enemies as He
died, Luke 23:34. That is godliness in action!
That is Christ living in us for the glory of God.
That is also something against which your
enemy cannot compete. He will have an answer
for your arguments, but he will have none for
D. V. 21 Be Pleasant - Don't be the kind of person
who is always looking for something to be upset
about. There are people like that! They love
nothing better than for someone to offend them
so they will have an excuse for their bitter
attitudes. Be a pleasant person by being
Christlike in every situation. You have no control
over how you are treated by others, but you
have absolute control over how you respond to
them. You have absolute control over how you
treat your fellow believers. Be pleasant and the
Lord will bless your life!
Conc: Well, how do you look when you are laid
alongside the word of God in this chapter? Is there
room for improvement in you walk with your fellow
believer? If so, there is no better time than no to make
the necessary adjustments in your life so that you will
be everything the Lord saved you to be. I personally
don't think there is anything in the world harder than
living with other people. They never do just like you
want them to! But, since I can't control them, I am left
with nothing to do to control myself. Let us be honest
about our own lives this evening. If there are matters
that need to be adjusted, come to the Father and He
will see that they get straightened out for you!