Love One Another
Love One Another.
9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.
“Let love be without dissimulation”—that is, without hypocrisy. Don’t pat another believer on the back and say something that you don’t mean. Let love be without hypocrisy.
“Abhor that which is evil” means to express your hatred of that which is evil: when you find something wrong in business or in the church, bring it to the attention of the proper authorities. If you are on the board of directors and you find things are being done which are not honest, you are to stand up for the truth. There are too many Mr. Nice guys and Sally sweetness; some of these sweet folks haven’t the intestinal fortitude to stand for that which is honorable. We need men and women with backbone to express their hatred for that which is evil.
“Cleave to that which is good.” Cleave means to stick like adhesive tape, to be welded or cemented together with the good things. The believer should always be identified with good things rather than shady or questionable practices. Your testimony and your witness are at stake, the world watches each of us who profess to be Christians just waiting for the opportunity to point their fingers at us and say “they are no better than the rest of the lost”.
10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another;
11 Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;
My, how wonderful these things are: have a code of honor, and be aglow with the Spirit of God. Never swaying in zeal—have a zeal for the things of God.
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love.”
In other words, as to your brotherly love, have family affection one to another. Farrar puts it in this language, “Love the brethren in the faith as though they were brethren in blood.
” For example, three men are sitting together. Two of the men are identical twins; one twin is a Christian and the other is not. Sitting with these men is a believer from Africa. His culture, background, and language are all different. The color of his skin is different, but he knows the Lord as Savior. The Christian twin is actually closer to the man from Africa than he is to his twin brother.
We ought to be nicer to our fellow believer because we will have to live with him throughout eternity. You had better start getting along now and practice putting up with his peculiar ways. However, he will have a new body then, and he will be rid of his old nature—and you will also! It will make it better for both of you.
“Not slothful in business” is better translated “never sway in zeal.” It has nothing to do with business. Luther gives it this translation: “In regard to zeal be not lazy.”
“Fervent in spirit” or aglow with the Spirit suggests that our zeal and enthusiasm should be under the control of the Holy Spirit.
“Serving the Lord” points everything in Christian conduct toward this focal point.
12 Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer;
13 Distributing to the necessity of saints; given to hospitality.
14 Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not.
“Rejoicing in hope” should be the portion of the believer. The circumstances of the believer may not warrant rejoicing. The contrary may be true. But he sees the future, and in hope projects himself into other circumstances which are more favorable. I think of a brother down in my Southland years ago. In a church service they were giving favorite Scripture verses. He stood and said that his favorite verse was “It came to pass.” Everyone looked puzzled. The preacher stood up and said, “Brother, how in the world can ‘It came to pass’ be your favorite?” His answer was, “When I have trouble, and when I have problems, I like to read that verse, ‘It came to pass,’ and I know that my trouble or my problem has come to pass; it hasn’t come to stay.” He was looking for a new day out there, and that is what Paul has in mind when he says, “rejoicing in hope.”
“Continuing instant in prayer” is to be a man or woman of prayer.
“Distributing to the necessity of saints” means sharing the necessities of life with needy believers. A great many churches make a great deal of having a fund for the poor, but how much do they use it? God expects us to share what He has given to us with fellow believers who are in need.
“Given to hospitality” means actually to pursue hospitality. That is, we are to seek out other believers to whom we can extend hospitality. There may be a person in your neighborhood or even in your church who is introverted and retiring yet longs for Christian fellowship. We are to look him up and extend our fellowship to him.
“Bless them which persecute you” seems to be a needless injunction for believers. Surely one believer would not persecute another—or would he? It is difficult to bless a man who is kicking you! But we are to bless and “curse not.”
15 Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep.
16 Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescendc to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits.
“Rejoice with them that do rejoice.” The world’s motto is “Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.” But that is not true of the believer. We are to enter into the joys and sorrows of other believers. Weep with those who weep.
“Be of the same mind one toward another” doesn’t mean uniformity of thought but that we are to have the mind of Christ.
Believers ought to enter emotionally into the lives of other believers. I think that is something that makes genuine Christians so wonderful.
“Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate.” My friend, let’s not be afraid of associating with humble men and things of low estate. Paul said to the Philippians, “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 2:5): “Let this mind be in you, which also in Christ Jesus”—what kind of a mind did Christ have? A humble mind.
“Be not wise in your own conceits.” In other words, stop being wise in your own opinion. What an injunction that is! A great many of the saints think they are spiritual giants, but they are not. Solomon, who was a man with wisdom from God, gave a very interesting injunction: “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? there is more hope of a fool than of him” (Prov. 26:12). I wouldn’t dare say a thing like that, but Solomon said it.
17 Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.
18 If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
You and I live in a world of unbelievers. What is to be our relationship with them?
“Recompense to no man evil for evil.” The suggestion is that the believer may expect evil at the hands of the world. However, we are not to strike back.
“Provide things honest in the sight of all men.” There is nothing that can hurt the cause of Christ more than a dishonest Christian. The non-Christian is not concerned about the doctrine you hold—whether you are a premillennialist or whether you believe in election or free will. However, he does want to know if you are truthful or not, and he does want to know if you pay your honest debts. Are you a person that a man can depend upon? Providing things honest in the sight of all men is a lot better than giving out tracts, my friend. Let me illustrate this. Some years ago in Memphis, Tennessee, a Christian handed a man a tract. “What is this?” asked the man. The Christian replied, “It is a tract and I want you to read it.” “I don’t read,” the man replied, “but I will tell you what I will do—1 will watch your tracks!” Oh, how accurate that is! The world is watching the tracks that you make, not the tracts you give out. Don’t misunderstand me; giving out gospel tracts is important. But you had better have a life that will back them up when you give out tracts.
“If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably”—I love this because there are people that you just cannot get along with; they won’t let you get along with them. A dear lady who lived alone, a wonderful Christian, called me one day in deep concern because she had a neighbor whom she couldn’t get along with, and she wondered if I would come and talk with the neighbor. As I was driving out there, I was thinking that since this lady had been living alone, although she was a Christian, she might be a little difficult herself. So I went out and talked to her neighbor. Well, the neighbor told me what she thought of me as well as this dear lady. I went back to this wonderful Christian and said, “I don’t think you need to worry anymore if you can’t get along with her. Nobody can get along with that woman. The Bible says ‘as much as lieth in you’; it doesn’t say you have to get along with her. Just do the best you can.”
19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
20 Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.
This is one of the greatest principles you will find in the Word of God, yet it is the most difficult thing for a child of God to do. When somebody hits you on one cheek, it is difficult to turn the other cheek. I am like the Irishman who was hit on one cheek, and he got up and turned the other cheek. This time the fellow hit him so hard, he knocked him down. Then the Irishman got up and beat the stuffings out of the other fellow. Somebody asked him, “Why in the world did you do that? You turned the other cheek; why didn’t you leave it like that?” “Well,” he said, “the Bible says to turn your cheek, and I had only one other cheek to turn. The Lord didn’t tell me what to do after that, so I did what I thought I ought to do.” That is what most of us do. We find it difficult not to hit back. But the minute you and I take the matter into our own hands and attempt to work the thing out by hitting back as hard as we can, we have taken the matter out of God’s control, and we are no longer walking by faith. God is saying to us, “You walk by faith with Me, and let Me handle the matter for you, because I will handle it in a just manner. If this person has injured you, I’ll take care of him.” You and I can turn these matters over to the Lord, and we ought to do that. I can tell you what to do, but I confess that I find it most difficult to do myself. But there have been one or two times when I have turned it over to the Lord, and I have been amazed at how well He handled it. He does it a lot better than I do it.
21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.
In other words, stop being overcome of evil; overcome evil by means of good. As the believer walks through this evil world with its satanic system, he cannot fight it. If you attempt to fight this satanic system, my friend, it will whip you. You cannot adopt the same worldly tactics of hate and revenge. If you do, you can be assured of defeat.
“Overcome evil with good.” God has given the believer the “good,” which is the Holy Spirit.
He is to walk in the Spirit. “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh” (Gal. 5:16).
Paul goes on to say, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).