“Now concerning brotherly love you have no need for anyone to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love one another.” – 1 Thessalonians 4:9
Scripture reading: 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12
Today is Sunday. Today we go to church to experience the communion of the saints. In verse 8, Paul has just taught the Thessalonians that the Holy Spirit had been given to the church in Thessalonica. He now adds that the indwelling Spirit has already taught them to love one another. We would think it unnecessary to repeat himself.
Paul was a skilled, competent teacher, but he was also a compassionate pastor. He loved the people of God as a mother loves her child. Here we see that Paul was probably one of the most effective and tactful missionaries of all times. He wants to avoid giving any offence which might hinder the advance of the gospel and he wants to give credit where credit is due.
The Lord had instructed the Thessalonian congregation. Apart from the power of the Holy Spirit there is no true biblical love for one another, but authentic brotherly love was evident in the congregation. By telling them that he sees evidence of that, he skilfully opens the door to further instruct them in some other deficiencies. He wants them to know that although he thanks God for the blessing upon His work among them, at the same time he wants them to know that the love among the brothers needs to grow.
That is still true for us today. With the Holy Spirit in our born-again hearts, brotherly love reaches out to our brothers and sisters sitting in the pew with us and beyond.
Suggestions for prayer
Thank God for the work of the Holy Spirit in the church and your heart and then ask God to instill in you genuine love for the brothers and sisters of your congregation. Ask him to provide opportunities for you to give expression to that love.
Rev. Mark Zylstra is an emeritus minister of the United Reformed Churches in North America. He and his wife Corrie, live in Smithville ON and their home church is Wellandport, ON URC. Get this devotional delivered directly to your phone each day via our RP App. It is also available in print, for purchase, at NTGDevotional.com.