Love the Brotherhood
“Love the brotherhood”
1 Peter 2:17
The brevity of this statement may cause us to overlook the power of its message. Simple as it might be, it holds within it the very purpose of God. It requires a living faith to even begin to plumb its depths. The “brotherhood” spoken of here is not the segregated few with whom we happen to have fellowship. Nor is it speaking of the alignment with others of the same doctrinal persuasion. The Greek word used here for “brotherhood” literally means of the same womb, not the same mind. It is a brotherhood based upon new birth, new life, and the unifying faith of the Son of God.
“Till we all come in the unity of the faith…”
(read the context)
The true purpose of the five-fold ministry is to bring God’s people to this wondrous state. This unity cannot be attained by agreement of doctrinal persuasions, ecumenical endeavors, or the diluting of purity and holiness. The true ministry of God has but ONE purpose: to bring every believer to Christ Himself. It is our mutual relationship in Him wherein the unity of the faith is known. The sad truth of our day is that we have a church system that prospers on division. It highlights our differences so that we can propagate our programs, our doctrines and our growth using the same worldly stratagems as the corporate businesses of the world: branding and advertising. Often those with positions in this church are in competition and sadly God’s people are drawn to winning personalities and comfortable teachings. We fail to understand that God is the author of the diversity in the ministries He has placed in the Church.
“For who maketh thee to differ from another?”
1 Corinthians 4:7
The differences are for our growth. We do not have the right to prefer one over another.
Paul prefaced this truth with
“…that in us you might learn not to think beyond the things which are written, that none of you be puffed up against one another”
1 Corinthians 4:6
The carnality of God’s ministers clamoring for more followers at the expense of devaluing others is the carnality which pervaded the Church of God in Corinth. In choosing one ministration over another we are robbing God of His purposes in the diversity of ministry given for the building up and the safety of His Church. The five-fold ministry is comprised of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, teachers and shepherds; this is not debatable. While many love the shepherds who gently tend the flock of God, few care to be around the prophetic or the apostolic; their ministry (divinely appointed) is for correction, maintaining the purity of the life of the church, and dealing with false and heretical practices (things which cause factions to HIS Body). The Church of God at Corinth; (not the Corinthian church — 1 Cor. 1:2), had at least 4 or 5 apostolic expressions who paid regular visits to them, each bearing their own unique ministrations of the Spirit of God. Where would the New Testament be without Peter, Paul, James, Jude and John? Each one had a clear and distinct expression of Christ without which we would be lacking many great truths.
“I fed you with milk, not with meat; for you weren’t yet ready. Indeed, not even now are you ready, for you are still carnal. For insofar as there is jealousy, strife, and factions among you, aren’t you fleshly, and don’t you walk in the ways of men? For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” aren’t you carnal? Who then is Apollos, and who is Paul, but servants through whom you believed; and each as the Lord gave to him? I planted. Apollos watered. But God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are the same, but each will receive his own reward according to his own labor. For we are God’s fellow workers…”
1 Corinthians 3:2-9
In the early church the ministry went from house to house so that the people of God would receive the richness of the variety of God’s wisdom and provision. In the Epistle of John, the evil of the spirit of Diotrephes rose up to cut off others from ministering and sharing in his church. That same spirit is at work in much of the landscape of the church today. Those who refuse the ministrations of others (from outside their circle) often walk in the spirit and works of Diotrephes. It is the nature of carnal fallen men that usurp God’s ways for their own; they will face the judgment of God in the day of His reckoning!
“I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes,
who loveth to have the preeminence among them,
receiveth us not”
3 John 1:9
There are things that need to be fervently refuted in the truth and power of the fire of God. Love “rejoices in the truth” and contends against all things that would contaminate the purity and wisdom of the living God.
Let us read afresh the beauty of this singular statement:
“Love the brotherhood”
1 Peter 2:17
May the ministry of this day love God enough to confront the adulation of those who would ascribe to them the honor that belongs only to Him. May they minister out of the motivation to facilitate and foster the truth and wisdom of God into the tapestry of His One Church.
“That there should be no schism in the body;
but that the members should have the same care one for another”
1 Corinthians 12:26
(read the whole chapter)