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For Christians, Jesus is the supreme example to follow, no matter what area of life we are considering. When we study His life, we should be eager to find out how He conducted Himself in the many situations He encountered, and when we study His teaching, we should be looking for information about how we should deal with whatever we have to deal with.
This week, let’s look at the Lord’s life and teaching with a specific goal in mind. Let’s see what we can learn about how we should relate to one another as brothers and sisters in the Lord’s family. In everything else, we should want to be Christlike, so it stands to reason that our relationships with fellow Christians should be Christlike. We need to think about what’s involved in that.
For this study, let’s think of Jesus’ fellow Jews as His “brethren” and the Gentiles as those who would have been “unbelievers” to Him. Granted, the Jewish people were going to have to repent, just like the Gentiles, in order to enter the kingdom, so from that standpoint, all the people that Jesus dealt with were unbelievers. But Jesus was a Jew, and the Jewish people were on the inside of a covenant with God that the Gentiles were not a part of, so from that viewpoint we can think of the Jews as Jesus’ brethren. How He related to the Gentiles would be a good study for another time, but for this week, let’s see what we can learn about how Jesus dealt with His “brethren” — and what He taught about how we should relate to our brethren in His church today.
What we will find is that Jesus calls us to have a different kind of relationship with one another than people in the world have among themselves. Love may be the most obvious example, since Jesus taught that we should love one another as He has loved us. But there are other applications we can think about as well. In each case, Jesus calls us to higher ground. In the way we relate to our brethren, we are to show the world a different way for human beings to relate to one another.
Ultimately, there is nothing that impacts our work of spreading the gospel any more than the way Christians treat each other. So let’s spend this week learning how we can better relate to our “siblings” in the Lord’s family. The Lord Himself has some wonderful things to teach us about this.
Monday: Luke 4:16
Key Idea: Just as Jesus went to the synagogue, we should be eager to study and worship together.
Questions for Family Growth: What do we learn from this text about the frequency with which Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath? Although the Jewish practices of Jesus’ day are no longer in effect, in what ways should His example serve as an example for us today?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:24.
Tuesday: John 13:34,35
Key Idea: We should love one another with the kind of love that Jesus exemplified.
Questions for Family Growth: What was “new” about the commandment the Lord gave to His disciples? How was the love He taught them to have for one another different from the kinds of love that are known in the world? What did Jesus say would result from their showing this love?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:25.
Wednesday: John 8:3-11
Key Idea: We should encourage one another, especially when someone has fallen into sin.
Questions for Family Growth: Did Jesus condone or minimize the seriousness of what the woman had done? In v.11, what word did He use to describe her deed? In regard to this woman’s future, what encouragement did He give to her?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:26.
Thursday: Ephesians 4:31,32
Key Idea: We should eagerly and generously forgive one another.
Questions for Family Growth: In this passage, what motivation are we given to forgive our fellow Christians? Also read Col. 3:12,13. Just as Jesus’ concept of love is different, how is His concept of forgiveness different than what is known in the world?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:27.
Friday: John 17:20,21
Key Idea: For the Lord’s sake, we should strive for unity with our fellow Christians.
Questions for Family Growth: What was Jesus’ prayer for those who would believe in Him through the teaching of the apostles? In v.21, what did He say would result from the unity of His followers? Without this unity, what can we expect to happen to the work of evangelism?
Wisdom for the Day: Proverbs 25:28.