Act 4:32-33 says, “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: ..... and great grace was upon them all.” We see in in the book of Acts that the first church walked in such brotherly love and unity that they willingly and without compulsion sold what they had and gave it for the benefit of all the church. That is truly Agape love in action. I’m not saying that your not walking in love if you don’t do the same; but I do want to make the point that this is truly a demonstration of the Spirit of God having full reign in the church.
This same kind of brotherly love does not have to be taught to those who have been born again, but we do need to be reminded to increase in this love more and more (1Thess 4:9-10). Hebrews 13:1 says, “Let brotherly love continue”. Abraham, our father in the faith, gives us this example in Genesis 13:7-8. Even though he was in the right, he reached out to Lot and said, “Let their be no strife between us, for we are brethren.” Where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work; but the wisdom from above is pure, peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, & full of mercy (Jam 3:16-17). Peacemakers are blessed, and will be called the children of God (Mat 5:9).
1Jn 4:11-12 says, “Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. No man hath seen God at any time. If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” As Christians, we ought to love one another to the same degree that Christ loves us. The world cannot see God. However, God dwells in us; and when we love each other, the world sees God’s love demonstrated in us. Jesus said that all men will know we are His disciples, when we have love for one another. That’s a powerful statement. He is saying that love demonstrated for each other is the “litmus test” that we are His disciples. In John 17:20-21, Jesus says that when the church is one in Him, that the world will believe that God sent Him.
Let us imitate the barber who one week noticed that there was a good increase in his business. When he tried to find out why, he discovered that his competitor, another barber in the village, was ill. When the week ended, he took all that he had made above his average earnings and carried it to his competitor with his Christian love and sympathy. This kind of love opens the door to speak the truth of the Gospel. Love is not a substitute for preaching the truth; but rather it is door that opens that opportunity.
Let us take note of the following Scriptures: Rom 12:10 Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another; Eph 4:2-3 With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. 1Pe 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 1Pe 3:8 Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous: Pro 10:12 Hatred stirreth up strife: but love covereth all sins. 1Pe 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
During World War II, an enemy submarine approached a fleet of ships in the North Atlantic. The captain of one vessel spotted the white mark of a torpedo coming directly at his ship. His transport was loaded with literally hundreds and hundreds of young soldiers on the way to the European front. He realized they would not have time to maneuver to avoid the torpedo. He grabbed the loudspeaker and cried out, "Boys, this is it!" Nearby, though, a little escorting destroyer also observed the torpedo. The captain ordered, "Full speed ahead." His ship steamed into the path of the torpedo. The destroyer was blown up; it sank very quickly. Every man on it was lost. The captain of the troop transport ship sadly commented, "The skipper of that destroyer was my best friend." Now one verse in the Bible has an even deeper meaning for that captain: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friend" (John 15:13).
Jesus is like that skipper. He steamed in front of the torpedo of eternal damnation and saved our lives. We should do the same for our brethren. Let us look out for each other. Let us esteem our brother higher than ourselves. Let us be quick to forgive, and not spread a matter any further. May the song be true in us that says, “And they’ll know we are Christians by our love, by our love, yes they’ll know that we are Christians by our love.” Love is the great commandment (Mk 12:30-31), and it never fails (1Cor 13:8). May it be real, living, and demonstrated in our lives. In Jesus name, Amen.