I JOHN... YOUR BROTHER—3
The simplicity and humility of John's self-introduction "I John...your brother" exalts the nobility of Christian
brotherhood. Biblical evangelism to be he "full Gospel" or "the whole counsel" should lead us to a twofold vision, the
first vision being that f Christ, the Head, and then the second of the brotherhood, the Body of Christ. Saul of Tarsus
as led into this twofold vision in Acts 9. He meets Christ first, Who, in turn, leads him to Ananias and other disciples.
We enter into Christian brotherhood positionally by virtue of the death of Christ. The practical outworking of our
"brotherhood" depends upon four factors. They are the Divine Love, Unity, Service and Sacrifice. Against the
backdrop of these four values let us consider Abraham and Lot is recorded for us in Genesis 13. We are introduced
to Lot in Genesis 11. He lost his father Haran at an early age. God spoke to Abraham to move out of Ur of
Chaldees. Abraham, the uncle of Lot, took Lot along with him. Abraham became a worshipper of Jehovah because
the God of glory appeared to him (Acts 7:2). Abraham gave up all idolatry to follow the true God. We are not clearly
told in the Scriptures as to how Lot came into the experience of knowing God. In all probability, his uncle must have
shared this knowledge with him. The Bible tells us that Lot too came into the position of salvation like Abraham. 2
Pet. 2:7-9 refers to Lot as "just", "righteous" and "godly". Apostle Peter, under the guidance of1he Holy Spirit used
these terms to show the positional sanctification of Lot. God had indeed "worked in" the marvels of His grace as we
read in Phil. 2:13. Did Lot grow further in his knowledge of God is a serious question to ask. His life, his attitudes
and reactions to situations show that he did not "work out" his salvation with fear and trembling. In modern terms,
here is a believer who repented and trusted God. He enjoyed the fellowship of a great man of faith, Abraham. That
was the farthest distance he did go in his spiritual life. The second epistle of Peter is written for those who have
obtained precious faith through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ. To such, Peter wrote
"...giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; And to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to
temperance patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness- brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness
charity"(2 Pet.1 :5-7). Why this constant addition? That these believers be saved from "unfruitfulness and
barrenness"(v.8), "fall"(v.10), and may receive an abundant entrance into the coming Kingdom of Christ (v.11).
Positional sanctification should lead us into progressive sanctification. Our Christian life must begin by "obtaining
precious faith" but it should not rest until it reaches brotherly kindness and charity. Lot seemed to have been
ignorant or indifferent to these realities.
Everything went on well in Lot -Abraham relationship till the happenings in Gen.13. The chapter discloses to us the
riches of both Abraham and Lot. Gen.13:2 says, "And Abraham was very rich in cattle, in silver, and in gold". Later,
.in Gen. 13:5 we read, " And Lot also, which went with Abraham, had flocks, and herds, and tents". Notice that in
describing Lot's wealth the Bible adds a parenthesis -inserts a clause, "which went with Abraham". Why this added
information which is quite obvious? The Holy Writ will not record anything without significance. What could it mean?
It is simply this: Lot became rich and was blessed because he went with Abraham. There was no other obvious
reason for this orphan boy to become so wealthy. God blessed Lot for Abraham's sake. Look at the case of Laban
who deceived his son - in -law and nephew Jacob by changing his wages ten times. At last he was forced to admit
in Gen.30:27, "...1 have learned by experience that the Lord hath blessed me for thy sake". In Lot's case the
nephew was blessed because of the uncle. In Laban's case, the uncle was blessed because of the nephew. It is
said of Joseph in Gen.39:5 that, "...the Lord blessed the Egyptian's house for Joseph's sake". Today, God has
blessed us for Jesus' sake, for in Eph.4:32 we read that God has for Christ's sake forgiven us.
In all the above examples -Lot, Laban, Potiphar and we, are blessed because of someone else. We could never be
the cause of our own blessing. Left to ourselves, we would have been a curse. Lot should have remembered his
former state and present blessing. He forgot it all wholesale. With all the advantages that riches and wealth bring
us, they also bring us this evil. Riches make us self -confident, blind and ungrateful. Abraham, Isaac, Joseph,
Daniel, Job, Nehemiah were all-rich in their generations, yet they never failed to give God the full credit. Deut.8:
12-14, 17, 18 warns us of this danger of forgetting God's goodness. Often, it looks like we are on much safer
ground in poverty than in prosperity. The difficulty lies not with God but with us. Both Lev .26 and Deut.28 are
written to show us that Scriptural obedience brings material prosperity. He is our God Who according to 1 Tim.6: 17
"giveth us richly all things to enjoy". In the argument of God, we are told in Rom.8: 32, "He that spared not his own
Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" The answer is obvious.
In poverty Lot stuck to Abraham but in prosperity he chose to part ways with him.
Genesis 13 tells us that there was a strife between the herdsmen of Abraham and the herdsmen of Lot. The
obvious cause might have been this. With the increase of cattle wealth, they found a. shortage of available grazing
land. The herdsmen came to a conflict. These herdsmen, drawn from heathen backgrounds could not be expected
to behave better. Not so with Abraham and Lot who knew the true and the living God.
Notice that the problem did not begin with Lot or Abraham. It began in others. The situation offered an opportunity to
prove the hidden natures of both men of God. Problems may often come from others but they often reveal
ourselves to others. Lot chose to maintain silence. Was it wisdom that kept him quiet? It appears from the context
that by his silence he gave tacit approval to the conflict. As "speech" conveys a message, "silence" too conveys a
message. Often believers try to maintain silence stating that they choose to stay away uninvolved and neutral.
There is no neutrality in Christian life. Either we are for Christ or against Christ. Like the two thieves who hung on
both sides of the cross of Christ, we must be either this side or that side. We cannot choose to be on "neither" side.
Christ "nullified" and "invalidated" the neutral position. In Luke 11 :23 we read, "He that is not with me is against me:
and he that gathereth not with me scattereth".
It was not "spirituality" but "subtlety" that made Lot to be quiet when he should have spoken. It is true that speech is
not always silver nor silence always golden. In this situation Lot should have spoken to bring an amicable
settlement. Abraham speaks to bring about a solution. It is interesting to note that he does not go to the herdsmen
to speak but he goes to Lot for Abraham knew where the problem lay.
From the way Abraham spoke in Gen. 13:8,9 Abraham's spirit of brotherhood comes out for our instruction, and
edification. Abraham said, "...Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, and between my herdsmen
and thy herdsmen; for we be brethren. Is not the whole land before thee? separate thyself, I pray thee, from me; if
thou wilt take the left hand, then I will go to the right; or if thou depart to the right hand, then I will go to the left".
Clear, outspoken words! Abraham used directness of speech and no diplomacy.
In Abraham's words we discover four truths.
Firstly, he named the problem. It is "between me and thee" before it is between "my herdsmen and thy herdsmen".
The ego -clash on top has resulted in two warring groups below. In the context, Abraham did not begin the conflict
but was dragged into the conflict.
Secondly, Abraham was humble. Twice in this short speech he says, "I pray thee", which literally means "please".
The senior who is the benefactor condescends to talk to the junior, the beneficiary .He did not remind Lot of his
former destitution and poverty. "Humility" is the unmistakable badge of any great man. Pride goeth before
destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Thirdly, Abraham desired peace and avoidance of confrontation. It is said that the best way to win an argument is to
avoid it. Abraham wished to avoid a conflict. Why? Was not Abraham right and Lot wrong? Well, a. Christian does
not insist on his rights. He seeks the good of all. Secondly, Abraham did not wish to create a scene in front of his
neighbours. Gen.13:7 says that "...the Canaanite and the Perizzite dwelled then in the land". The presence of
watching unbelievers should put an end to all our strife. The unbeliever does not ask the question: "Who is right or
who is wrong?" They will, gladly make a sweeping statement: "Christians are always trouble -makers". Abraham
was more interested in the testimony than in the treasures. Lot was more interested in the treasures than in the
Fourthly, Abraham chose to be the loser in the race by asking Lot to make the first choice. How wicked, hard
-hearted and ungrateful was Lot to accept the proposal! Abraham knew that his safety and success lay with God
and not in his calculations. He whom God blesses is blessed indeed. Balaam and Balak cannot reverse what God
Why did Abraham condescend so much before Lot? For only one reason; Abraham says, "We be brethren". These
three words should settle at once all our disputes. As subsequent history shows us Abraham was no loser for giving
up his rights. Lot chose Sodom and Gomorrah and went into ruin. Abraham chose to honour his brother, love and
follow God. He inherited Canaan and through him God brought Jesus, the Saviour of the world.