Fervent Brotherly Love – I Peter 4:8

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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It was my joy to be the pastor of man who was a tremendous example in fervent brotherly love. Newton frequently came to see me, constantly told me how much he loved me, showered us with gifts to demonstrate his affection, promoted our ministry, prayed for us, and overlooked our faults to see only the positive. He always acted in a way that enabled us to feel completely safe and confident in his love.

We learn from the Book of Acts and the early chapters of Revelation that Jewish believers with a Kingdom hope gathered regularly, as do we today, in local assemblies. These saints had the hope of eternal life and many things in common, but this did not mean they always peacefully coexisted. Therefore, Peter instructed these saints: “And above all things have fervent charity [or love] among yourselves; for charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (I Peter 4:8). These saints needed to realize that, as they interacted with one another, there would be nothing more important than demonstrating love toward each other. This by no means minimized the importance of sound doctrine that taught them what God expected in their daily walk. But towering even above sound doctrine was their need to demonstrate love. The Savior had told them: “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:35). Without love, their testimony, and their doctrines, would be worthless before the unsaved. But when genuine love prevailed, it gave a powerful testimony that attracted others to their message. Moreover, they were not to demonstrate a shallow, “on again, off again” sort of love. They were to love one another with a “fervent” love, meaning a love that is intense and without ceasing. The Lord wanted strong, bonded relationships demonstrated by keen affection and kindness. Here’s where the rubber meets the road. When others hurt, disappointed, or angered them: “…charity shall cover the multitude of sins” (vs. 8). That simply means their love for others would overlook the offence while continuing to love the wrongdoer and demonstrate love. If they would obey these instructions, their assemblies would experience harmony and effectiveness.

The Apostle Paul likewise taught that love is the paramount thing needed in our assemblies. Without it, even with doctrinal correctness and busy activity, we are nothing and our work for Christ profits us nothing (I Corinthians 13:1-3). Today, raise God’s standard of love as the highest priority in your church.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."