Sabbath, December 23, 2006
“Wherever there is an impulse of love and sympathy, wherever the heart reaches out to bless and uplift others, there is revealed the working of God’s Holy Spirit.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 385.
“Every Christian saw in his brother the divine similitude of benevolence and love. One interest prevailed. One object swallowed up all others. All hearts beat in harmony. The only ambition of the believers was to reveal the likeness of Christ’s character, and to labor for the enlargement of His kingdom. …
“These scenes are to be repeated, and with greater power.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, pp. 120, 121.
LET US LOVE AS HE LOVES
1. In what position were we when God, the fountain of love, revealed His compassion to us?
Romans 5:8, 10 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us… For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.
“All the paternal love which has come down from generation to generation through the channel of human hearts, all the springs of tenderness which have opened in the souls of men, are but as a tiny rill to the boundless ocean when compared with the infinite, exhaustless love of God. Tongue cannot utter it; pen cannot portray it. You may meditate upon it every day of your life; you may search the Scriptures diligently in order to understand it; you may summon every power and capability that God has given you, in the endeavor to comprehend the love and compassion of the heavenly Father; and yet there is an infinity beyond. You may study that love for ages; yet you can never fully comprehend the length and the breadth, the depth and the height, of the love of God in giving His Son to die for the world.” –Testimonies for the Church,
2. What law does Paul say will be fulfilled through deeds of love? Is this a difficult commandment to observe for those who have been born again?
Romans 13:8, last part – for he that loveth another hath fulfilled
Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.
“The precepts of the Decalogue are adapted to all mankind, and they were given for the instruction and government of all. Ten precepts, brief, comprehensive, and authoritative, cover the duty of man to God and to his fellow man; and all based upon the great fundamental principle of love. ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbor as thyself.’ Luke 10:27. See also Deuteronomy 6:4, 5; Leviticus 19:18. In the Ten Commandments these principles are carried out in detail, and made applicable to the condition and circumstances ”–Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 305.
3. How did Jesus summarize the Ten Commandments?
Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
“The divine law requires us to love God supremely, and our neighbor as ourselves. Without the exercise of this love, the highest profession of faith is mere hypocrisy. … ‘The second principle of the law is like unto the first, ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ ‘This do and thou shalt live.’ These are the words of Jesus Christ from which there can be no departure on the part of any man, woman, or youth who would be a true Christian. It is obedience to the principles of the commandments of God, that molds the character after the divine similitude. …
“To leave a suffering neighbor unrelieved is a breach of the law of God…. He who loves God will not only love his fellow men, but will regard with tender compassion the creatures which God has made. When the Spirit of God is in man it leads him to relieve rather than to create suffering….” –Sons and Daughters of God,
4. What is another Christian motive for keeping the law of God?
Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.
“The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God. … “The rapidly diminishing space of time between us and eternity should more deeply impress us. Every day that passes makes one less left us to complete our work of perfecting character. …” –Maranatha, plete p. 220.
LOVE POURED INTO THE HEART
5. How is this fruit of the Spirit completely ripened?
Romans 5:5, last part – because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
“God’s law is fulfilled only as men love Him with heart, mind, soul, and strength, and their neighbor as themselves. It is the manifestation of this love that brings glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and good will to men. The Lord is glorified when the great end of His law is attained. It is the work of the Holy Spirit from age to age to impart love to human hearts, for love is the living principle of brotherhood.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8, p. 139.
“They will no longer fashion themselves according to the former lusts, but by the faith of the Son of God they will follow in His steps, reflect His character, and purify themselves even as He is pure.” –Steps to Christ, p. 58.
6. What actions will a Christian reject?
Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
Galatians 5:19-21 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
“Every hour’s work passes in review before God and is registered for faithfulness or unfaithfulness. The record of wasted moments and unimproved opportunities must be met when the judgment shall sit and the books shall be opened and everyone shall be judged according to the things written in the books. Selfishness, envy, pride, jealousy, idleness, or any other sin which is cherished in the heart, will exclude one from the blessedness of heaven. ‘To whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are.’” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 4, p. 453.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT
7. What will a Spirit-filled Christian produce?
Galatians 5:22, 23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
“The things they once hated they now love, and the things they once loved they hate. …
“In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, subdues enmity, and ennobles the affections. This love, cherished in the soul, sweetens the life and sheds a refining influence on all ”–Steps to Christ, pp. 58, 59.
8. What is the next step in the development of a Christian character?
Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
“The lower passions have their seat in the body and work through it. The words ‘flesh’ or ‘fleshly’ or ‘carnal lusts’ embrace the lower, corrupt nature; the flesh of itself cannot act contrary to the will of God. We are commanded to crucify the flesh, with the affections and lusts. How shall we do it? Shall we inflict pain on the body? No; but put to death the temptation to sin. The corrupt thought is to be expelled. Every thought is to be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ. All animal propensities are to be subjected to the higher powers of the soul. The love of God must reign supreme; Christ must occupy an undivided throne. Our bodies are to be regarded as His purchased possession. The members of the body are to become the instruments of righteousness.” –Adventist Home, pp. 127, 128.
• Do I owe something to my fellowman, whether materially or in my showing him love?
• How great is my love towards those who still walk in darkness?
• Do I live in such a manner that I do not displease God or my brethren?