ADD SOME BROTHERLY AFFECTION
2 Peter 1:7
1. The term used suggests what a jewel this quality is.
a. It is “philadelphia,”-- “brotherly love,” “brotherly kindness,” “brotherly affection.”
b. It describes the friendship, warmth and fondness that exists between brothers.
2. Its place in this map of Christian development also emphasizes the value of this quality.
a. It adds to the character which has been described a dimension of tenderness, concern and loyalty.
b. Devotion to the Father is tempered with human emotion and affection toward his children.
1. The capacity for affection like this what makes possible and enriches every human relationship.
a. Peter mentions it as a building-block for each of the institutions of life.
i. Church – 1 Peter 1:22
ii. Community – 1 Peter 2:17
iii. Family – 1 Peter 3:8
b. It is what makes relationships enjoyable and rewarding.
i. To be “without natural affection” is to be “heartless” (2 Tim. 3:3).
ii. A congregation without brotherly affection is missing heart.
2. Brotherly affection is a quality for which we all hunger.
a. From the Old Testament we can see that it always has been.
i. 1 Samuel 18:1 – “...the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.”
ii. Psalm 133:1 – “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity.”
iii. Proverbs 17:17 – “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
b. The New Testament makes it clear that we will always need brotherly affection.
i. The heroes of our faith taught, and practiced, brotherly love (Jn. 13:34; Philemon 7, 16, 20)
ii. We are taught of God to show brotherly love, and to do so more and more (1 Thes. 4:9-10).
iii. Common sense tells us tells us we cannot be children of the God who has loved and without loving as brothers (1 Jn. 4:7, 20-21).
3. The fact that we are so frequently urged to continue in something we all need tells us that brotherly affection is not easy.
a. Sometimes it is hard to maintain because we are so familiar with each other.
i. We may take strengths for granted and grow impatient with faults.
ii. We may miss those who are not present to the point of overlooking those who are.
iii. Our desire to be “one big happy family” may leave no room for increasing brotherly affection.
b. Sometimes it is difficult to develop because we are so isolated from each other.
i. People can be all around without any of them being close.
ii. Busy-ness and mobility contribute to the problem.
iii. Too much of our attention may be invested in impersonal things.
4. How may we go about adding some brotherly affection to our lives?
a. There is a negative side to developing brotherly love.
i. Resist the self-absorption which remains aloof from brothers (Gen. 4:9).
ii. Guard against the anger or gossip or ill will which would destroy the fraternal spirit (Eph. 4:31).
iii. Forego the tendency to notice slights and to assume the worst (1 Pet. 4:8).
b. There is a positive aspect to growing in brotherly kindness.
i. Identify with your brothers and sisters in Christ (1 Cor. 12:25-26).
ii. Feel for each other (1 Pet. 3:8; Rom. 12:15).
iii. Bear each other’s burdens (Gal. 6:2; Heb. 13:3).
iv. Practice the grace of hospitality (Heb. 13:2).
v. Outdo one another in showing honor (Rom. 12:10).
1. Barclay says that Epictetus, who was a renowned Stoic philosopher, never married, and that he explained, only half in jest, that he was doing far more for the world by being an unfettered philosopher than if he’d had two or three dirty-nosed children. He asked, “How can he who has to teach mankind run to get something in which to heat the water to give his baby his bath?”
2. The importance which the New Testament attaches to brotherly affection emphasizes to us that there is something wrong with a religion which views the demands of personal relationships as a nuisance and an interruption.