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LESSON 1 –BROTHERLY LOVE BIBLE STUDY
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LESSON 1 – BROTHERLY LOVE
Table of Contents
1. Meaning of Brotherly Love
2. Place and Purpose of the Book of Revelation, Exposition of Chapter 1
3. Exposition of the Letters to the Seven Churches
4. The Miracle of Philadelphia
5. The Apostasy of Laodicea
6. Ecumenical Movement
7. Doctrine of Balaam
8. The Purifying Hope
THE MEANING OF BROTHERLY LOVE.
There are two closely related Greek words used in the New Testament relative to the matters hereinafter to be considered and it is important that the significance with which Scripture invests these words should be clearly understood.
First, there is the Greek word “Philadelphia’’ as it is used in five Scriptures (Rom. 12:10, 1 Thess. 4:9, Heb. 13:1, 1 Pet. 1:22 and 2 Pet. 1:7). This word is translated in the Authorised Version as ‘‘brotherly love’’, ‘‘love of the brethren’’ or ‘‘brotherly kindness”. In the Revised Version, it is always translated ‘‘love of the brethren’’. The Greek form of the word is the same in each of the five places where it is used.
The other word is “Philadelphia’’ the name of a place in Asia Minor to the Church at which place the Lord Himself dictated an important letter as recorded in Rev. 3:7-13. The word is used twice, first in Rev. 1:11 and then again in Rev. 3:7. This place name word has the same derivation as the other word ‘‘Philadelphia’’. Used five times, the place name was derived from the name of a King of Pergamos called ‘‘Philadeiphos’’, (a Greek word meaning ‘‘fond of brethren’’, ‘‘fraternal’’, ‘‘love as brethren’’).
Both of the Greek words used in Scripture, the word translated ‘‘brotherly love” and the place name ‘‘Philadelphia’’, are words derived directly from the parent word “Philadelphos”. There is a deep significance in this co-relationship. When it is considered that the place name is used in a strictly prophetic passage of Scripture, its meaning must be understood by reference elsewhere in Scripture to thoughts and significances given in the hidden form of other expressions of similar import. Prophecy hides its meaning to a degree always, but the meaning here has been hidden only very slightly, and as the time of fulfilment has come, we can be very sure of the meaning of the Prophecy. It is the purpose of the Chapters that follow to seek to review current Church forms and activities in the light of the revealings of this and related Prophecies. First, however, the meaning of ‘‘brotherly love’’ should be clearly understood.
Scriptural Brotherly Love.
It will be seen that the passages in which the expression ‘‘brotherly love’’ is found are all five of them passages relating to the calling and character of practical Christian living. The first reference is set in Romans, Chapter 12. The section which flows from Paul’s beseeching that ‘‘ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God’’. The last reference in 2 Peter 1 is in a section which commences ‘‘According as His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him that hath called us to glory and virtue.’’ (Verse 3).
The passage in Peter proceeds and this line of teaching is developed in verse 4 ‘‘When they are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might he partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust’’.
Peter then proceeds to give the progressive steps by which the promises of Godly living may be realized in practical experience here and now. Peter proceeds and says (R.V), ‘‘Yea, and for this very causes, adding on your part, all diligence, in your faith supply virtue (courage) and in your virtue knowledge; and in your knowledge self-control; and in your self-control patience; and in your patience godliness; and in your godliness love of the brethren; and in your love of the brethren love. For if these things are yours and abound they make you to be not idle nor unfruitful unto the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ’’. (2 Peter 1:5-8).
The order of advancement in practical holiness is accordingly:
7. Brotherly love (Philadelphia).
8. Love (agapee).
Who then are the people who ‘‘have’’ brotherly love? They are those who have graduated to, and are experienced in faith, virtue, knowledge, self control, patience and godliness. The brotherly love referred to in Scripture is not known or understood or experienced by any who have not also won through to godliness. Those who have ‘‘brotherly love” qualify to have ‘‘love.’’ Love does not exist apart from all the other qualities that compose it. For love is the sum and expression of all the graces.
Today we have a misconception of love which is the very essence of the end-age apostasy which the Lord finds nauseating. This is the subject of a later Chapter hereof headed ‘‘The Apostasy of Laodicea’’. Briefly, sentimentality is mistaken for love and that is spoken of as love which is not love, and that which is in reality ‘‘brotherly love’’ or ‘‘love’’ is not seen as such. It is impossible for one weak in the faith, with a spineless development of moral courage, not valuing a knowledge of the Word of God, feeding his fleshly appetite, impatient of rebuke, perhaps having a form of godliness but living without it - to appreciate any way the purpose and acting of true Bible brotherly love.
On the contrary, brotherly love is something which involves an absorbing into the life of faith, faith and courage, faith and courage and knowledge, faith and courage and knowledge and temperance, faith and courage and knowledge and temperance and patience, faith and courage and knowledge and temperance and patience and godliness.
The point is this, that the brotherly love of a brother who has not developed all these from faith to godliness is not the brotherly love of Scripture.
There is such a thing as a brotherhood of crime, and criminals can have their own form of brotherly love between themselves. But that is not the sort of brotherly love we are interested in.
No doubt there could be a brotherhood of drunken sets all in happy fellowship together around a keg of beer. They might tell dirty stories and swear and curse together and in the doing of all this have a brotherly love for one another. But, clearly, that is not the brotherly love of Scripture.
Scripture is its own interpreter and it is careful to define its expressions in the way it is intended they should be understood. The brotherly love of Scripture is a special, restricted form of brotherly love. It is the brotherly love of brothers who are men of faith, courage, knowledge, temperance, patience and godliness.
The other passages where the expression is used gives examples of the working of the form of brotherly love that is referred to. In 1 Thess. 4:9: brotherly love is declared to be God-taught. It is not any ordinary human brotherly love. ‘‘As touching brotherly love I need not that I write unto you, for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.’’
Then notice the setting in Hebrews: ‘‘Let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. For our God is a consuming fire.’’ (Heb. 12:28-29). The next words are ‘‘Let brotherly love continue.’’
In each place where the expression is used there is a sanctifying accompaniment which orders the shoes from the feet, for this is Holy Ground.
In Peter’s first epistle the setting of the word is thus: ‘‘Seeing ye have purified your souls in your obedience to the truth unto unfeigned love of the brethren (brotherly love), love one another from a clean heart, fervently.” (R.V. 1 Peter 1:22 marg.).
The order is
1. Obedience to the truth.
2. Has purified the soul.
3. Producing ‘‘unfeigned’’ brotherly love.
4. So now with this pure heart, proceed and love one another fervently.
A common idea of brotherly love among Christians today is that it is that which is elementary in Christian fellowship and is demonstrated in genial hand-shaking and as in happy tea-drinking occasions and the like, and that it is sometimes a means of providing an ‘‘atmosphere’’ to introduce a little truth, provided of course that this can be done without causing offence to anyone. Scripture, however, sets obedience to the truth first, with brotherly love resulting therefrom.
Scriptural brotherly love is holy. It is a loyalty first to God, which works out to brethren to help them to faith and godliness. All love is conditioned by respect and deference of some order, but the order here is not a first respect to the brethren as such, but it is a first respect to God and to His Word, His commandments and His interests and it reacts among brethren to express itself only in relation to these things and with these things in their right perspective.
It is a love which honours and rejoices with those who do the commandments of God, and which sorrows and grieves for brethren who do not attend to the directions of the Word of the Lord. It has close fellowship with the former, but it cannot identify itself with the latter, except to plead with it, deplore it, and rebuke it.
Accordingly, the brotherhood of the operation of brotherly love in the prophetic and spiritual sense, is a holy brotherhood, godliness having a brotherhood with godliness.
The tragedy of today is that too often, worldly and carnal and spiritually-proud Christians, who in their own brotherhoods are almost invariably tolerant and ‘‘fraternal’’ with doctrinally factious persons will quickly hand together against any brother who will not approve their worldliness or error. They will repudiate true brotherly love when it is shown to them, and in return give the opposite. The Lord Himself in the days of His earthly ministry experienced this from the religious leaders of His day, and they finally crucified the King of Love. As in Jewry, so now there can be a brotherhood among Modern Church leaders who are members together of a Christian committee or Board or Council who will be loyal to one another, even though they know they are acting contrary to Scripture and righteousness—Modern Pharisees. There are many, many brotherhoods among Christian people, some better, some worse. Scriptural brotherly love, Philadelphia, is distinguishable from all such unworthy human forms of brotherliness.
We, accordingly, understand from Scripture that brotherly love when referred to in the Holy Writings means a love which goes out from a godly brother toward his fellows, acting and re-acting among them in the fear of God, to the end that God Himself should be honoured, His truth sustained, His purposes furthered, and His commandments carefully kept.
The Scriptural meaning of brotherly love has been set out above sufficiently to reveal, illustrate and declare it. The Chapters that follow will deal with the prophetic form of Philadelphia as it operates today and the spiritual forces that bear upon it. To understand the prophetic portents of the times, it is necessary to have a sufficient appreciation of the first three Chapters of the Book of The Revelation. The next two Chapters of this study are accordingly devoted to exposition of this section of Revelation. The particular application of the prophecies to Philadelphia and the Church today, in all its phases, is then developed based on this exegesis.
TEST – LESSON 1 – BROTHERLY LOVE
TRUE OR FALSE
1. Philadelphia love means just love for God T__ F___
2. The meaning of Philadelphos should be clearly understood T__ F__
3. Without faith it is not possible to have brotherly love. T___F __
4. Sentimentality is true brotherly love T__ F___
5. There are modern Pharisees today T__ F__
Please fill in the blanks with CAPITAL LETTERS
6. Let __ have _____ whereby we may ______ God _________
7. __________ brotherly _____is _____
8. Brotherly ____ is _______to be God ______.
9. Scripture is its own __________
10. Let _______ love ________
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