Sabbath, May 21, 2016

“It is the greatest and most fatal deception to suppose that a man can have faith unto life eternal, without possessing Christlike love for his brethren. He who loves God and his neighbor is filled with light and love. God is in him and all around him. Christians love those around them as precious souls for whom Christ has died. There is no such thing as a loveless Christian; for ‘God is love,’ and ‘hereby we do know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.’…” –(MS 133, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1141.

Brotherly love and light

1. What is stated in God’s word about those who truly love one another?

1 John 4:7; 3:10 Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God…. 3:10In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

“True sanctification unites believers to Christ and to one another in the bonds of tender sympathy. This union causes to flow continually into the heart rich currents of Christlike love, which flows forth again in love for one another.

“The qualities which it is essential for all to possess are those which marked the completeness of Christ’s character–His love, His patience, His unselfishness, and His goodness. These attributes are gained by doing kindly actions with a kindly heart….

“ ‘This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.’ This is the fruit that is to be given back to God.” –(MS 133, 1899) Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 5, p. 1141.

2. If we dislike our fellow man, what condition are we still in? Having such feelings, what hope do we have of eternal life?

1 John 2:9; 3:15 He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now…. 3:15Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

“These natural brothers must be fully reconciled to each other before they can lift the reproach from the cause of God that their disunion has caused. ‘In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.’ ‘He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now.’ Those who labor for God should be clean vessels, sanctified to the Master’s use. ‘Be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.’ ‘If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God love his brother also.’ ” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 59, 60.

3. When we love our brother, what can be said about our walk? Is there any danger of walking in darkness and stumbling?

1 John 2:10 He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. 

“The Lord is waiting to bestow rich blessing upon us if we will only comply with the conditions. We cannot glorify Him while we cherish doubt. We must believe that He will do just what He has said He would. Remember that we have a living Saviour. If you do not feel lighthearted and joyous, do not dishonor God by talking of your feelings. Talk of the promises, talk of Jesus’ willingness to bless; and before you are aware of it, the cloud will lift, light will come into the soul, and you will find peace and rest in Jesus. Cherish love. ‘Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.’ Romans 12:10. Form a habit of speaking words of cheerful hope and courage, words of love and appreciation, that will bind hearts together. ‘If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin.’ 1 John 1:7.” –Gospel Workers, pp. 437, 438 (1892).

In word and action

4. Is it helpful to just say we love someone, without really showing it by our actions?

1 John 3:18 My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.

1 Peter 1:22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently.

Romans 12:9 Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good.

“Unbelievers are watching to see if the faith of professed Christians is exerting a sanctifying influence upon their lives; and they are quick to discern the defects in character, the inconsistencies in action…. Christians are all members of one family, all children of the same heavenly Father, with the same blessed hope of immortality. Very close and tender should be the tie that binds them together…. ‘Let us not love in word,’ the apostle writes, ‘but in deed and in truth.’ 1 John 3:18.” –Conflict and Courage, p. 357.

Love is active

5. What shows that we love the Lord and are in communion with Him?

John 14:15 If ye love me, keep my commandments.

1 John 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

“There are conditions to the fulfillment of God’s promises, and prayer can never take the place of duty. ‘If ye love Me,’ Christ says, ‘keep My commandments.’ ‘He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me; and he that loveth Me shall be loved of My Father, and I will love him, and will manifest Myself to him.’ John 14:15, 21. Those who bring their petitions to God, claiming His promise while they do not comply with the conditions, insult Jehovah. They bring the name of Christ as their authority for the fulfillment of the promise, but they do not those things that would show faith in Christ and love for Him.

“Many are forfeiting the condition of acceptance with the Father. We need to examine closely the deed of trust wherewith we approach God. If we are disobedient, we bring to the Lord a note to be cashed when we have not fulfilled the conditions that would make it payable to us. We present to God His promises, and ask Him to fulfill them, when by so doing He would dishonor His own name.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 143.

6. What is divine love willing to do in us whenever help is requested?

Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

Philippians 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

1 Timothy 6:17-19 Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; 18That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; 19Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.

“The apostle Paul shows the only true use for riches, and bids Timothy charge the rich to do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate; for in so doing they are laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come–referring to the close of time–that they may lay hold on eternal life. The teachings of Paul harmonize perfectly with the words of Christ: ‘Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.’ Godliness with contentment is great gain. Here is the true secret of happiness, and real prosperity of soul and body.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 1, p. 542.

7. How will those who are full of God’s love respond to slander?

Romans 12:21 Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

Luke 6:27 But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you.

“Do not retaliate. So far as you can do so, remove all cause for misapprehension. Avoid the appearance of evil. Do all that lies in your power, without the sacrifice of principle, to conciliate others. ‘If thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.’ Matthew 5:23, 24.

“If impatient words are spoken to you, never reply in the same spirit. Remember that ‘a soft answer turneth away wrath.’ Proverbs 15:1. And there is wonderful power in silence. Words spoken in reply to one who is angry sometimes serve only to exasperate. But anger met with silence, in a tender, forbearing spirit, quickly dies away.

“Under a storm of stinging, faultfinding words, keep the mind stayed upon the word of God. Let mind and heart be stored with God’s promises. If you are ill-treated or wrongfully accused, instead of returning an angry answer, repeat to yourself the precious promises:…” –The Ministry of Healing, pp. 485, 486.

For further study

John 14:21, 23

Ecclesiastes 10:12

Love transforms

If something is cold, you have to warm it up! “But if one is cold himself…?”

Have you ever heard of something needing to be warmed up when it was already hot? Perhaps you were pleased to receive an electric blanket; but if you had been warm, would you have needed it? However, since it was warm and you were cold, it provided you with heat.

One can only heat something cold by radiating heat.

How can a person be sanctified? God is love; and when one is changed by the power of His grace, God’s love will be transmitted to him or her, and the person will radiate an image of God. Think about the symbol of warmth–sunshine. If you want to make someone enjoy the warmth, you must first be warm yourself. A block of ice cannot resemble the sun until it melts and the water gets hot and evaporates! So, if you wish someone to become warm because you are radiating heat, you may help him to become loving by loving him and practically manifesting your love! –Adapted from A.A. Combes, Gott spricht (God speaks), pp. 30, 31.