Updated: Jul 31
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Text: 2 Peter 1:5-9
SUMMARY: Peter emphasizes the importance of brotherly kindness and love within the Christian faith. In today's fast-paced and interconnected world, are we disconnected? Drawing from 2 Peter 1:5-9, how should these virtues be actively cultivated and applied today? Brotherly kindness and love stress the significance of genuine, face-to-face human interaction.
Few argue that we live in a very fast-paced world today. Not only do we live in a fast-paced world, we live in an interconnected world. We watch news in real-time from around the globe. We can instantly video chat or message our friends or family members from other states or even the other side of the world with minimal interruption or delays. Yet with all the advantages of technology and our interconnected world today, depression and feelings of isolation remain high in our culture. Some argue more so than in times past. It would seem we have less real, face-to-face human interaction.
In 2 Peter 1:7, we find a powerful message about the importance of human interaction and its relationship in the church. We have been in a series from 2 Peter 1:5-9, Increase. In this series, we have been examining several virtues the apostle Peter says we are to "add to our faith" (2 Peter 1:5).
2 Peter 1:5–9
"But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins."
Today, I would like for us to consider brotherly kindness and love.
The term "brotherly kindness," or "Philadelphia" in Greek, refers to the affectionate and compassionate love shared among believers in Christ, similar to the love between siblings in a family. It is a warm and caring bond that unites Christians as members of God's family. Just as brothers and sisters support and care for one another, brotherly kindness calls believers to do the same within the body of Christ.
Brotherly kindness involves genuine action and concern for the well-being of others. It means rejoicing with those who rejoice and mourning with those who mourn (Rom. 12:15). Brotherly kindness fosters a community in Christ where we can find comfort, encouragement, and friendship in one another.
Peter's emphasis on brotherly kindness is closely tied to the concept of "agape" love. Agape is selfless and unconditional love, exemplified by Jesus Christ when He willingly gave of himself on the cross. This divine love is sacrificial and goes beyond emotions or personal preferences.
Agape love forms the foundation for brotherly kindness. It compels believers to put others before themselves, seek their best interests, and humbly serve one another. When agape love is the motive behind our actions, brotherly kindness becomes a natural expression of our hearts.
Peter's exhortation to add brotherly kindness and love to our faith emphasizes the intentional and ongoing nature of cultivating these virtues. It is not enough to acknowledge their importance; they must be actively practiced and nurtured in our daily lives. Although we live in an interconnected world, it seems we are becoming increasingly disconnected. This is experienced in the church as well.
The progression of virtues leading up to brotherly kindness and love in 2 Peter 1:5-7 reveals a beautiful pattern. Faith forms the foundation, followed by goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, and godliness. These qualities build on each other, culminating in brotherly kindness and love. As we grow and add to our faith, we become better equipped to love and care for others, following the example of Christ.
While the call to brotherly kindness and love is compelling, it is not without its challenges. Putting others before ourselves in a world mixed with selfishness and division can be difficult. Misunderstandings, conflicts, and personal preferences may hinder our commitment to genuinely loving one another.
Jesus and the Scriptures offer direction and examples of how to overcome these difficulties. Jesus' life serves as the ultimate model of agape love, as He demonstrated kindness, compassion, and forgiveness even to those who opposed Him (Luke 23:34). The parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37) teaches us the importance of reaching out to those in need, regardless of our differences. It emphasizes the universal nature of love and teaches us that showing mercy to others is central to living a life in alignment with God's purposes.
How can we add brotherly kindness and love to our faith? How do we apply these so that they are not simply concepts? Here are some ways:
Acts of Service: Seek tangible opportunities to help and support others. Visit and talk to each other in person, not just over chat or messaging. Develop tangible relationships.
Empathy and Compassion: Take time to understand others. Truly listen and develop a genuineness of caring for others. So often in our world, we are told how we should feel about others. Often, Christians forget to seek Christ's direction as we examine our attitudes toward others.
Forgiveness: We must be willing to extend grace and forgiveness, just as Christ has forgiven us, fostering an environment of reconciliation and healing. Among the body of Christ, we have experienced the devastation of grudges and unforgiving hearts.
Encouragement: Build one another up with your presence through your prayers and in the Scriptures as we encourage one another in the faith.
Brotherly kindness and love should not be seen as optional add-ons to our Christian faith; they are at the core of what it means to follow Christ. Brotherly kindness and love transform our lives and the life of the church.
As we live out brotherly kindness and love, we bear witness to the love of Christ. In this, we demonstrate Christ's love to others.
Our world, and even the church community today, needs to know and experience genuine, authentic relationships. In an interconnected world, it seems we are less and less connected.
My prayer is that the church would not follow this pattern. But that we would be a community that demonstrates the profound relationship of Christ and his church with one another and in our love for one another to a world that desperately needs it.
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"In a fast-paced, interconnected world, let's remember the value of genuine human interaction. Adding brotherly kindness and love to our faith bridges the gaps between us, creating a community that supports and cares for one another.” #ChristianLove #AuthenticCommunity
"Brotherly kindness and love are not just concepts; they're transformative virtues we actively cultivate. Let's break barriers, actively serve, and listen with empathy. Together, we'll shine Christ's love in an increasingly disconnected world.” #LoveInAction #ServeOneAnother
"As followers of Christ, we're called to be a family in faith, united by love and compassion. Let's be intentional about forgiveness, encouragement, where everyone feels valued. Together, we'll bear witness to God's love and impact lives for His glory.” #ChristianUnity #LoveLikeJesus
Unless otherwise noted: Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.