Who Is My Brother?

Text: 1 Peter 2:17

Peter said we are to “love the brotherhood.” This is a special group of people. But who are they? It is important that we know who our brethren are. We need to appreciate the blessings of this brotherhood and fulfill our responsibilities to our brethren.

“Brother” Used Different Ways in the Bible

  • One who is a brother in the flesh (Genesis 37:26-27)
  • One who is a friend (2 Samuel 1:26)
  • One who is a fellow countryman (Acts 2:29, 37; 7:2)
  • One who is a fellow Christian (Acts 9:29-30) – it is this type of brother we will discuss in this lesson

What Makes Us Brethren?

  • Brethren are those who are disciples, whether Jew or Gentile (Acts 15:23) – how did Jews/Gentiles become brethren/disciples?
  • Congregation in Jerusalem (Jews) were brethren (Acts 6:3) – they believed, repented, and were baptized (Acts 2:37-38)
  • Congregation in Corinth (mostly Gentiles) were brethren (Acts 18:18) – they believed, repented, and were baptized (Acts 18:8; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11)
  • We are brethren because we have a common ancestry – one in Christ (Galatians 3:28-29); through faith and baptism (Galatians 3:26-27)
  • So who are our brethren? – those who by faith have been baptized into Christ
  • What if one did this but is in an “institutional” group or joined a denomination? – still a brother (erring)
  • What if one did not do this but is religious and claims to believe in God/Jesus? – not a brother; we may have things in common with him, just as Christians did with Jews, but are not brethren

Types of Brethren

  • Faithful brethren (Colossians 1:2) – not just to one another, but faithful to the Lord (Colossians 2:5); faith is demonstrated through works (James 2:14-18)
  • Weak brethren (1 Thessalonians 5:14) – could be due to being immature (2 Timothy 3:6), ignorant (Hosea 4:6), or discouraged (2 Corinthians 2:7); but not to remain in this condition (1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:11-14; 1 Thessalonians 5:14)
  • Erring brethren (2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14-15) – those who are practicing sin need to be turned back to the Lord (1 Corinthians 5:4-5; James 5:19-20); those who are teaching error need to be corrected (2 Timothy 2:24-26; Titus 1:10-11)
  • False brethren (Galatians 2:3-4) – one who are deliberately trying to lead Christians away from the Lord by promoting a “different gospel” (Galatians 1:6-9); not to be tolerated

Responsibilities as Brethren

  • Love one another (1 John 3:23; John 13:34-35) – not just something we talk about, something we do (1 John 3:18; Galatians 5:13)
  • Encourage one another (1 Thessalonians 5:11) – help the weak (1 Thessalonians 5:14) and prevent others from becoming weak (Hebrews 3:12-13)
  • Do good for one another (Galatians 6:10) – not just about helping others, this is also about pleasing God (Hebrews 13:16)

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