Sermon Prepared by James McCullen
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Brotherly Love
1 Thess 4:9-12

9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, 11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; 12 so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need. NAS

Introduction
The clerk in a posh hotel greeted a small man who asked for a room The fellow was so unimpressive that the clerk told him immediately no rooms were avail-able. About that time the hotel manager came out of his office to the desk, recognized the man and called the clerk aside. He whispered to her that the man asking for the room was Pierre Monteaux, who for many years was the distinguished conductor of the San Francisco Symphony.

The clerk came back to the desk, apologized and said, "Why of course we can take care of you, Mr. Monteaux! Why didn't you tell me you were somebody?" Whereupon Maestro Monteaux turned to leave, "Madam, everybody is somebody!"

Two lessons. One, everybody is somebody because everybody is a creation of God with the possibility of becoming a child of God.   Two, too many folks fall into the shameful pattern of ranking people and judging some as nobodies.   Maxie Dunnam, Perceptions, Bristol, 1990, p.69.

My relationship with God is part of my relationship with men. Failure in one will cause failure with the other.     -- Andrew Murray in With Christ in the School of Prayer.
 
 

1.    The Existence of . . Brotherly Love. v 9


9 Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;

A, Transcribing . . about Brotherly Love. v 9 a
        " Now as to the love of the brethren, you have no need for anyone to write to you,. . . "

        1.    Paul was not saying his writing was useless.
        2.    It was prompted by the Holy Spirit.
        3.    He wrote in spite of what he said.

B.    Teaching . . about Brotherly Love. v 9 b
            ".. . for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another;.. ."

        1.    Paul was reminding them what the Spirit had already said to them.

2 Peter 1:12-15 12 Therefore, I shall always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you.    13 And I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me.
15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you may be able to call these things to mind. NAS

Illustration
Johnny Hunt is pastor of FBC Woodstock Georgia He gave a good testimony of the first time he heard about being Baptized, tithing and etc. He said I did it because the word and the Spirit said I should.
 

Application

What about brotherly love? Should we love because we want to or because we are told to?

Who is Lord? If you and I are Lord we can pick and choose the commands we want to obey. If Jesus is Lord the Spirit is teaching us and God's people and preachers will be called upon to remind us.
 
 

2.    The Excelling . . of Brotherly Love. v 10


10 for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more,

A.    The . . Practice of Brotherly love. v 10 a
            ". . . for indeed you do practice it toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia.
 

B.    The . . Perfecting of Brotherly Love. v 10 b
        ". . . But we urge you, brethren, to excel still more, . . . "
 

Illustration
In Booker T. Washington's autobiography, Up from Slavery, Mr. Washington recalled a beautiful incident of an older brother's love. He said the shirts worn on his plantation by the slaves were made of a rough, bristly, inexpensive flax fiber. As a young boy, the garment was so abrasive to his tender, sensitive skin that it caused him a great deal of pain and discomfort.

His older brother, moved by his brother's suffering, would wear Booker's new shirts, until they were broken in and smoother to the touch. Booker said it was one of the most striking acts of kindness he had experienced among his fellow slaves. What a beautiful illustration of "bearing one another's burdens," which we are admonished to do in Galatians 6:20.
--James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) p. 117.
 

Application

Have you and I come to any place in our life where we could be judged as excelling in brotherly love?
 
 

3.    The Elevation of . . Brotherly Love. v 11-12


11 and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you; 12 so that you may behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need

A.    An Elevation of a . . Quiet Life. v 11 a
 

B.    An Elevation of a . . Employed Life. v 11 b
 

C.    An Elevation of a . . Evangelistic Life. v 12
 

Illustration
A person was speaking at the Indiana State Prison. Only weeks earlier, Stephen Judy had been electrocuted there. An execution always creates a special tension in a prison, and I could sense it that day. It was in the air, in the voices of the guards, in the faces of the men.

After their talk, the warden walked us through the maze of cell blocks to that most dreaded of places--an isolated wing where five men awaited their final decree and death. Nancy Honeytree, the talented young gospel singer who is part of our team, was with me; several of our volunteers came along as well. Finally, we were ushered through two massive steel gates into the secure area. The inmates were allowed out of their cells, and we joined in a circle in the walkway while Nancy strummed the guitar and sang. It was a beautiful moment for those condemned men--and for us--as we closed by singing together "Amazing Grace."

Two of the men, I knew from their correspondence with me, were believers. One of them, James Brewer, had the most radiant expression during our visit, and he sang at the top of his lungs.

As we were shaking hands and saying good-bye, I noticed that Brewer walked back into his cell with one of our volunteers. The others began filing out, but this volunteer remained in Brewer's cell; the two were standing shoulder to shoulder, together reading the Bible. I was expected in two hours in Indianapolis for a meeting with the governor, so I walked back into the cell. "We've got to go," I called out, beckoning to our volunteer.

"Just a minute, please," he replied. I shook my head and repeated, "Sorry, time's up, the plane is waiting."

"Please, please, this is very important," the volunteer replied. "You see, I am Judge Clement. I sentenced this man to die. But now he is born again. He is my brother and we want a minute to pray together.

I stood in the entrance to that solitary, dimly lit cell, frozen in place. Here were two men--one black, one white; one powerful, one powerless; one who had sentenced the other to die. Yet there they stood grasping a Bible together, Brewer smiling so genuinely, the judge so filled with love for the prisoner at his side.

Impossible in human terms! Brewer should despise this man, I thought. Only in Christ could this happen. The sight of those men standing together as brothers in that dingy cell will remain vivid in my mind forever.  --James S. Hewett, Illustrations Unlimited (Wheaton: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc, 1988) pp. 212-213.

Application

Love needs to be elevated in all of our relationships.

It needs to be our ambition to be more loving. Not just in word but in action.