Note: It is not necessary, but having a small community service project ready for the youth to tackle after this talk is recommended to enhance the illustration and build relationships. Also, have a volunteer discreetly ready with a chair, a small towel and a large bowl of warm water.
What do the Eagles, Phillies, 76’ers and Flyers all have in common? PHILADELPHIA! Did you know that Philadelphia is called “The City of Brotherly Love?” Do you know why? Because that is what it means in Greek! It is made of two greek words philos (fondness or love) and adelphos (brother).
Over the last seven months we have studied a letter written by a guy named Peter (specifically 2 Peter 1:3-9). Peter is one of Jesus’ closest followers/disciples. He wants us to be productive in our faith as a Christian. In order to do that, He suggests seven qualities or characteristics we should add to our faith. Today, we talk about the sixth characteristic, brotherly kindness or brotherly love…
In his letter, Peter is specifically talking about Christians loving other Christians. It is worth noting Jesus’ words about Christians loving other Christians (READ John 13:34-35). Are you, am I loving other believers in a way that lets the world know I am a disciple of Jesus?
Then Jesus takes this idea and expands it to say that we should show love to ALL people. (The Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37)
But why are Jesus and Peter telling this to us? Are they just trying to be Hippies? Love everyone, Man! Why do we need someone to tell us this? Doesn’t it seem obvious that we should love one another?
So… why don’t we? Why are we surrounded by turmoil? What are reasons that we see all the hate and destruction?
LISTEN TO THE YOUTH’S ANSWERS (Perhaps you could write them on a whiteboard)
The root of most of these problems is what? That we are all selfish. And that is the whole reason that we can’t easily act in brotherly love isn’t it? Selfishness.
Well, we all know what selfishness is. But I often find it helpful to consider the opposite of an idea to further understand it. So, what is humility? To love your brother is to consider him to be more important than you. (READ Philippians 2:3-4) Jesus did not simply TELL us to love others, He LIVED this way in His own life. Jesus never did anything for himself. You see, in spite of all the disaster caused by selfishness in the world, there is good news, there is hope.
Even Jesus, the Creator of the Universe, did not come to be served but to serve and to give His life as a ransom for many. (Mark 10:45) Even when He was dying on the cross, he prayed for the soldiers who beat Him, nailed Him to the cross and were making fun of Him “Father, forgive them, they know not what they do!” (Luke 23:34) Everything He did was out of Love for His Father, God, and other people…even to the point of giving His own life. (READ John 15:12-14). He paid for our sins and allowed us to be once again in right standing with God.
Without that, Man, without that…I have no hope of being able to truly show brotherly love to anyone.
The Bible gives us descriptions of brotherly love (ASK A VOLUNTEER TO BEGIN TAKING THEIR SHOES OFF)
Outdo one another in showing honor, Bless those who persecute you, Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep, Live in harmony, Don’t be haughty, but associate with the lowly, As far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Don’t try to pay someone back who hurt you. If your enemy is hungry, feed him. If he is thirsty give him water. Do not be overcome by evil, but Overcome evil with good. (Exerpts from Romans 12:10-21)
Do not be sexually immoral, but control your body so you do not wrong your brother. God has not called us act in an impure way, but He has called us to Holiness. When we ignore this and commit sexual sins, we are not only dishonoring our brother, but God Himself. (Excerpts from 1Thess 4:2-9) Love one another earnestly from a pure heart. (1 Peter 1:22b)
Jesus did not simply TELL us to love others, He LIVED this way in His own life. Jesus never did anything for himself. Before Jesus went to the cross, he was having dinner with his disciples and He wanted to give them an example of brotherly Love. The Lord and Creator of all the universe, Jesus got down and… (WASH THE VOLUNTEERS FEET. DO NOT SPEAK DURING THIS SOLEMN MOMENT)
Then He said “I have given you this example that you also should do just as I have done for you”
We are now going to go out and literally help others in our community. This is why we call our community service projects…Footwashings! We can begin by building our own city of Philadelphia, our own city of Brotherly Love here, today.
Jesus wants to start this city by living in your heart.