Strive to Work Together in Brotherly Love

In the New Testament of the Bible, the Apostle Paul speaks on the diligent use of spiritual gifts among the brethren. Right at this time, he makes the following statement: “Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honour giving preference to one another.” Romans 12:9 & 10

Be Kindly Affectionate

In these words, our hope reigns!

The Apostle Paul goes on to give us a glimpse of what brotherly love looks like.

“Not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. Therefore ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head. Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.’”

Romans 12:11 – 21

The Calling of Peter, James and John

In the Gospels of the New Testament, three of Jesus’ disciples are mentioned together: Simon (who was Peter), James and John. There was great significance in the three, for by these three men, many people were later set free. Simon Peter, James and John, were Jewish fishermen. They were partners in the natural, but they were soon to also become partners with Christ in the Kingdom of God.

“So it was, as the multitude pressed about Him (speaking of Jesus) to hear the word of God, that He stood by the Lake of Gennesaret, and saw two boats standing by the lake (there is significance in the two); but the fishermen had gone from them and were washing their nets. Then He got into one of the boats, which was Simon’s, and asked him to put out a little from the land. And He sat down and taught the multitudes from the boat. When He had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’ But Simon answered and said to Him, ‘Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word I will let down the net.’ And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. So they signalled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them. And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. When Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’ For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, ‘Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.’ So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him.”

Luke 5:1 – 11

It was after Jesus taught the multitude, that He instructed Simon to again let down his nets. Simon’s catch became so large that his net began to break, so he signaled for his partners in the other boat to come and help. There was more than enough for two! When they saw the great catch of fish that followed, they forsook all and followed Him.

These same nets which moments before had brought in an enormous catch of fish, became symbolic of Simon Peter becoming a fisher of men, saving many lives through the proclamation of the Gospel. Just as with Simon Peter, there are times in ministry when God places people together, so that working together, they may have greater success.

Can Two Walk Together Unless They are Agreed?

But the Prophet Amos warns us,

“Can two walk together, unless they are agreed?”

Amos 3:3

He goes on to address his concerns.

“Will a lion roar in the forest, when he has no prey? Will a young lion cry out of his den, if he has caught nothing? Will a bird fall into a snare on the earth, where there is no trap for it? Will a snare spring up from the earth, if it has caught nothing at all? If a trumpet is blown in a city, will not the people be afraid? If there is calamity in a city, will not the Lord have done it? Surely the Lord God does nothing, unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets. A lion has roared! Who will not fear? The Lord God has spoken! Who can but prophesy?”

Amos 3:4-8

There is a cause and an effect in all of these words. Amos is warning the people, that just as in the natural things happen for a reason, so too is there a cause and an effect in the spiritual realm. He is warning the people of Israel, that there is a reason for all of their problems. The enemy had laid a trap, and like birds caught in a snare they had unwittingly walked right into the enemy’s plans. But in His love, through the Prophet Amos, the Lord is warning them – “Take heed, lest you perish with the rest.”

Jesus Fulfilled all Righteousness so That we Would be Redeemed

It was John the Baptist who prepared the way for Jesus Christ by warning the people to repent from their sinful acts that led to death saying,

“Repent, for the Kingdom of heaven is at hand!”

Matthew 3:2

When baptizing the people, John said,

“I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I is coming, Whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.”

Luke 3:16

When Jesus came to John the Baptist to be baptized, there was a sense that John felt unworthy to carry out the task that the Lord had requested of him.

“Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, ‘I need to be baptized by You, and are You coming to me?’ But Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Permit it to be so now, for thus it is fitting for us to fulfil all righteousness.’ Then he allowed Him.”

Matthew 3:13 – 15

It was after this act of obedience, that the heavens opened and the Spirit of God descended on Christ, alighting upon Him like a dove (accompanying and staying with Him).

“And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased.’”

Matthew 3:17

Becoming Fishers of Men

When Simon Peter saw the miraculous catch of fish that occurred, there was a similar sense of ‘here is one whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.‘ Like John the Baptist, Simon Peter felt a sense of unworthiness before the Lord. But while John’s came out of a reverence for the Lord – knowing that it was the Christ Who stood before him; the Son of God Who had come in the flesh, Simon Peter’s was out of fear because of the great miracle that had just occurred. He knew that the power to perform it had not come from him.

“When Simon Peter saw it (the great catch of fish), he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!’”

Luke 5:8

And it is right at that moment that Jesus spoke to Peter’s heart, saying to Peter,

“Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.”

Luke 5:10

Just like Simon Peter, there is a sense in all of us when we have had a revelation of the Holiness of God and all that He has called us to, that we can begin to feel unqualified or unworthy for the task that lies ahead. But it is exactly at this time (when this revelation occurs) that we begin to cry out to the Lord for His help – and that is exactly where He needs us to be!

All three men, Simon Peter, James and John, were experienced fishermen. But all three required the Lord’s help to bring the mighty catch in. The same as with these three, God does not want us to rely on our natural resources or our natural abilities to become fishers of men – He simply asks us for our obedience and to rely completely on Him for the outcome!

  • Then God will receive all of the honour and glory! And God will receive all of the praise!

Nevertheless, at Your Word

When Simon Peter heard the address of the Lord, and though he already felt weary – at His word, he let down the net saying, ‘Nevertheless at Your word I will.’ And when Simon Peter, James and John, saw all that the Lord did when Simon Peter was obedient to the word of the Lord – for it was Simon Peter who was the first to take the test – they forsook all (laid aside everything) and followed Him.

  • They forsook (laid aside) their ways to follow His. They chose to become fishers of men.

I believe it was because Simon Peter had the revelation that he could not do it alone or in his own strength and ability, that he was able to proceed with the task ahead. Like Simon Peter, who later became the Apostle Peter, we all have to come to the point of believing what Christ says of us.

“You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.”

John 15:3-5

Our Acts of Obedience are Important to God

What a difference, when Simon Peter, James and John, acted out of obedience to the word of the Lord, instead of relying on their own abilities, their own timing or their own expertise.

  • With the Lord’s help they did together what they could not have done alone.

The change took place when the disciples saw the fruit (the large catch of fish) after Jesus had taught the multitude. For it was after the multitude had heard the words of Christ, that the miracle occurred.

“For ‘whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ How then shall they call on Him in Whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of Whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the Gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!’ But they have not all obeyed the Gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘LORD, who has believed our report?’ So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”

Romans 10:13-17

They Became Witnesses of Christ

These same three, Peter, James and John, became mighty apostles of the Lord; proclaiming the Gospel; receiving many into the Kingdom of God.

The Lord Himself brought Peter, James and John, together on another important occasion. When all three witnessed the transfiguration of Christ, all three became witnesses of the changes that took place.

“Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them.”

Matthew 17:1 & 2

The word ‘transfigured‘ here is translated ‘metamorphoō‘ meaning ‘to transform (literally or figuratively, ‘metamorphose’): —change, transfigure, transform.’ – See Strong’s Concordance.

Christ’s image was changed before their eyes into the Holy One of God; to the King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lord of all the earth. At His transfiguration, they saw Christ for Who He really was and is. Their Redeemer, their Master, their Friend, and the Saviour of all mankind.

When Light Over-Shadows You, Your Breath is Taken Away

When the disciples saw these things take place and heard the words of the Father, a holy fear came upon them.

“His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. And behold, Moses and Elijah appeared to them, talking with Him. Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Lord, it is good for us to be here; if You wish, let us make here three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.’ While he was still speaking, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them; and suddenly a voice came out of the cloud, saying, ‘This is My beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased. Hear Him’! And when the disciples heard it, they fell on their faces and were greatly afraid. But Jesus came and touched them and said, ‘Arise, and do not be afraid.’ When they had lifted up their eyes, they saw no one but Jesus only.”

Matthew 17:2 – 8

These three were witnesses to the truth of Christ, and that truth went on to transform their lives and the lives of many others. For it was at this time that they received their apostolic call to the nations. For Jesus commanded them, saying,

“Tell the vision to no one until the Son of Man is risen from the dead.”

Matthew 17:9

The Transformative Power of the Cross

These three were to be witnesses for Christ of all that they saw, and went on to speak of the coming Holiness of Christ and the tabernacle of God. Unlike Peter, James and John, we do not have to wait, because that witness has already occurred. That which was declared at the first has already been made known. The resurrection power of Christ took place over two thousand years ago and is here to stay, for whosoever will come to Him in faith. Two thousand years ago, Christ bore the curse of the law for all mankind.

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, ‘Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree).’”

Galatians 3:13 See also Deuteronomy 21:23
  • Following the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, every generational curse and every curse of the law has been broken! Hallelujah!
  • We can now pray therefore, believing, that at the mention of His name — the enemy must flee!
  • Through the cross, the power of every curse has been broken – but we must pray believing and appropriate the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on our behalf, to begin walking in complete freedom.
  • This is the resurrection power of Christ.
  • In Christ the work is finished!

“And He (Jesus) said to them (the seventy He sent before Him to go into every city where He Himself was about to go), “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I give you the authority to trample on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall by any means hurt you.”

Luke 10:18&19

It Takes Faith to Move in the Power of God

Peter, James and John, were all apostles who walked in Christ’s power — not in their own. But the power of their combined efforts was greater than one who worked alone. When Peter, James and John, cast their nets down at the Lord’s command, a bountiful catch of fish was won.

  • With the Lord’s help they did together what they could not have done alone!
  • Christ can work most powerfully through us in overthrowing the enemy’s plans, when we ‘work together as one.’
  • Souls are won or lost on the battlefield of faith!

The writer of Hebrews said,

“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Hebrews 11:6

Actions of Obedience Must Follow our Faith

It took faith for Joseph who was betrothed to Mary to obey God, and to believe that the words spoken to him by the angel of the Lord would come to pass.

“After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”

Matthew 1:18 – 25

“Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, ‘Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.’ When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, ‘Out of Egypt I called My Son.’”

Matthew 2:13 – 15

On both of these occasions, Joseph had faith enough to heed the words of the angel of the Lord and to step out in obedience to what the angel had told him. Though many innocents were massacred as a result of Herod’s attempts to destroy the Christ Child, as prophesied by the prophet Jeremiah,

“A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation and bitter weeping, Rachel weeping for her children, refusing to be comforted for her children, because they are no more.”

Jeremiah, 31:15

The life of Jesus the Messiah was saved, because Joseph was a man of faith.

“Then Herod, when he saw that he was deceived by the wise men, was exceedingly angry; and he sent forth and put to death all the male children who were in Bethlehem and in all its districts, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the wise men.”

Matthew 2:16

Saving the Next Generation

As I was writing this article and contemplating these things, the Lord began to speak to me about the priests of Midian and saving the next generation.

“Now the priest of Midian had seven daughters. And they came and drew water, and they filled the troughs to water their father’s flock.”

Exodus 2:16

As the Lord began to speak, He showed me, that the priests of Midian were water carriers for the Lord. That just as in the natural, the daughters of Midian were water carriers who watered their father’s flock, so too, many daughters of the Lord are known as ‘priests of Midian’ or water carriers for the word of the Lord — carrying living water for the households of Christ! Water carriers will always point to a living Christ Who comes with a plan of Salvation and rescue. For Jesus said,

John 10:10

When questioned by the Sanhedrin, quoting Psalm 118:22, the Apostle Paul answered,

“This (speaking of Jesus Christ) is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there Salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Acts 4: 11 & 12

Humble Hearts Receive Help From the Lord

The Lord then went on to remind me, that earlier in this same book of Exodus, is the true story of a child named Moses. Moses, after his birth, was in a very similar situation to that of the Christ Child.

For as the Israelites multiplied and grew, and because of their size, Pharaoh and all the people of Egypt were in dread of the people of Israel. Pharaoh had already given an order to the midwives to kill all the new-born males on the birthing stool, but when the midwives disobeyed and secretly saved these children alive, Pharaoh issued a new command.

“So Pharaoh commanded all his people, saying, ‘Every son who is born you shall cast into the river, and every daughter you shall save alive’. And a man of the house of Levi went and took as wife a daughter of Levi. So the woman conceived and bore a son. And when she saw that he was a beautiful child, she hid him three months. But when she could no longer hide him, she took an ark of bulrushes for him, daubed it with asphalt and pitch, put the child in it, and laid it in the reeds by the river’s bank.”

Exodus 1:22 – 2:1-3

As a young baby, Moses’ mother had to entrust him into the hands of the Lord. But by God’s design, he was then protected by Pharaoh’s own daughter, and brought up in the very house of Pharaoh. This boy Moses, then grew to become the man Moses, a great man of God. This same Moses (representing a type or archetype of Christ), went on to lead God’s people out of their captivity in Egypt (symbolic of our sin) and into the Promised Land (our full redemption through the Cross at Calvary). Moses is described in the Bible as,

“Very humble, more than all men who were on the face of the earth.”

Numbers 12:3

Moses as an Archetype of Christ

For Moses to be used as ‘a type’ or archetype of Christ, exemplifying the same character, fashioned after the same pattern of Christ, he also had to be humble like Him. And just as the Lord saved Christ out of the hand of Herod, so too, did He save Moses out of the hand of Pharaoh. The Apostle Peter used these words,

“Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, ‘Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame’ (Translated, “not act hastily” in the KJV – Quoted from Isaiah 28:16). Therefore, to you who believe, He is precious; but to those who are disobedient, ‘The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone,’ (From Psalm 118:22) and ‘A stone of stumbling and a rock of offence’ (Quoted from Isaiah 8:14 which also adds, ‘As a trap and a snare’). They stumble, being disobedient to the word, to which they also were appointed. But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.”

1 Peter 2:6 – 10

Praise God for These Words!

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When the mother of James and John, two of Jesus’ disciples, asked Jesus if both her sons could be given a place in heaven at His side, Jesus said to her, “You don’t know what you are asking.”  – Matthew 20:22

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If you would like to have a relationship with God through accepting His Son Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, please pray the prayer below.

Dear Heavenly Father. Thank You for sending Your Son Jesus to die on the cross for my sins. I am sorry for the sins I have committed and I ask You to forgive me. I now turn away from all the things that I know to be wrong and I receive Your Holy Spirit and Your gift of eternal life. Thank You for this free gift of Salvation and eternal life. Help me to come to know and experience Your love for me more and more, and to now share the love You have given me with others. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

We would love to hear from you: If you have prayed this prayer for the first time, or have recommitted your life to Christ today I would love to hear from you to encourage you in your new walk with Christ. You can send me an email by clicking 'Get in Touch' on the yellow bar at the bottom of the Home or Articles pages.

What next: Once we have started our relationship with Christ – it is important that we continue to grow in our understanding of Him, and experience His love for us on a regular basis. God does this for us as we read the Bible, which I encourage you to do on a regular basis, asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand it and make it “come alive” to you in a very personal way. May I encourage you to do this every day, and to actively pursue those things that God reveals to you. We also need to be spending time with other like-minded Christians on a regular basis, who are also growing in their relationship with God. We gain encouragement from being with other growing believers. Ask God to lead you to a Bible-believing church (or Bible-believing Christian group) that will encourage your relationship with Christ and help to meet your needs. Ask Him, and trust that He will guide you to the place of fellowship that is right for you.

May God both work in you and through you, those things that He desires, as you continue to submit your life to Him each day.