Genuine and Sacrificial Brotherly Love in the Early Church

This Sunday I will conclude my series on 1 Thessalonians.  Not too long ago I preached from 1 Thessalonians 4:9-10.  

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,  [10] for that indeed is what you are doing to all the brothers throughout Macedonia. But we urge you, brothers, to do this more and more (ESV).

Christians were often a despised group of people, especially in the Roman empire.  This was, in large part, due to their exclusive religion; failure to pay homage to all gods of the Empire was viewed as invoking their displeasure.  This is why Christians would often be blamed for disasters such as fires, etc.  In light of this cultural mileu, it is no wonder that Christians exhibited a phenomenal philadelphia, or brotherly love. 

Such manifestations of Christian affection were documented by historians, Christian and non-Christian alike.  Chuck Bumgardner, a member and deacon in our church as well as a post-grad seminary student, recently cited one of these historians on his blog.  It is worth reading and asking ourselves how we might attain to this kind of love towards other Christians in general and towards those in our local congregations in particular.

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