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Monday, February 12, 2018

Eagle's parade 2/7/18  (Photo by Chris Leaman)
Eagle's super bowl victory parade in Philadelphia, "The City Of Brotherly Love"
(Photo by Chris Leaman)

"Brotherly Love"

Note: Valentine's Day is on Wednesday so this week we will prepare a series of messages on love.

Message summary: Today, let us indeed love one another which will also reveal our genuine discipleship!

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"Let brotherly love continue" (Hebrews 13:1). "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35). "Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth" (1 John 3:18).

Center City Philadelphia is just under 75 miles east of us as the crow flies (assuming the crow is flying straight). However you can't drive there in a straight stretch so with driving on roads it's about 85 miles. Last week a Super Bowl victory parade took place in Philadelphia, home of The Eagles Football team. The crowd was massive on a very long parade route. Winning sport's teams are like modern day Gladiators. We came across several that went to the parade including our friend, Chris Leaman.

Many are aware that
Philadelphia is known as "The City Of Brotherly Love" but most are probably unaware that "Philadelphia" is from a Greek word in the first daily text. "Let brotherly love continue" (brotherly love translates philadelphia, φιλαδελφία, see here). As far as I know it's the only major US city to have this characteristic in its name. (An international city that's also based on a Greek word, "anchor" is Ankara Turkey.)

But today we consider the Biblical command to express our love to one another as brothers and sisters in Christ. It is the love spoken of by our Lord Jesus in the second text.
"By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another" (John 13:35). Our world needs to see Christians demonstrating this mark of genuine discipleship at a time when the expression "I love you" in our day has become less meaningful. "Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God" (1 John 4:7a).

Christianity is often maligned and ridiculed in many parts of our world and increasingly here in our own country. The secular media and arts often mock our faith in Jesus Christ. Blaspheme the Lord, call it "art", and you might get a huge government grant.  Interestingly many of these same "artists" would never dare insult the founder of the Islamic religion!

Sadly, many of the programs on the "Christian" TV stations don't truly represent what we believe or practice as a follower of Christ. But millions of genuine disciples of Christ are planted all over the world today living out their faith in relative obscurity, usually seen only by God and those in their small area of influence.

Expressions of love and acts of compassion are continually happening as we "bear one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ" (Galatians 6:2). Genuine disciples are lovingly serving others in the name of Jesus Christ as modeled in the Bible and carried out in the lives of believers day after day. In many cases these are brothers and sisters who reach out to others in Christian compassion through their praying and giving without personally meeting the recipients of their kind acts or generous gifts.

Before Jesus went to the cross he gave a lengthy teaching recorded in John's gospel. In our second text He teaches a distinguishing mark of the true disciple: "By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you love one another." Coming out of Bible College this verse and a small booklet titled "The Mark Of The Christian" by Francis Schaeffer heavily influenced our understanding of Christianity.

As many believers already know, the word "love" in this verse comes from the Greek word "agapé" which speaks of an "in spite of" type of love.  Brooksyne and I were so impressed with this Greek word that we named the church we established in St. Marys, Pennsylvania "AGAPE" in 1977. It took a few years for the community to learn that the name of our church was not speaking of agapé as in "mouth open" but as in "the love of Christ"!

The third daily text somewhat intrigues us for surely there is an appropriate use for verbally expressing love. We believe John is saying, "Let us not love with words or tongue" only, for there is plenty of talk about love and merely saying "I love you" is not enough. Genuine disciples expressing genuine love need to back their verbal expressions with loving actions in accordance to God's Word. Today, let us indeed love one another which will also reveal our genuine discipleship!

Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

Be encouraged today.

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Father, may we be people who are quick to notice the ways in which we can be of special blessing to others. It seems quite easy when it comes to those whom we befriend. We often recognize their need before they express it and find genuine fulfillment in being Your hand extended to them. But You challenge us to go even further in making ourselves available to our enemies with whom it is not natural to provide for their needs. In expressing agapé to those around us we love in spite of what we see or have experienced. May all that we do on behalf of others be an expression of Your heavenly touch extended through Christian human service. It is in Your strength and compassion that we can do that which is unnatural to our human flesh, but natural to our redeemed spirit. Amen.

Here is an outline of our projected messages this week:
  • Brotherly love
  • Family love
  • Marital love
  • Our love to God
  • God's love for us

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Blessed Be The Tie That Binds"  Video  Homecoming Singers

"Beloved, Let Us Love One Another"  Video  Maranatha Kids

"Hold Us Together"  Video   Matt Maher

"How Beautiful"  Video Twila Paris

"Open Up The Heavens"  Video  Calvary Church

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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