Sabbath, November 10, 2018

Lesson 6 – Love and Service for the Master

“Personal labor is greatly needed. Many, many souls might be saved if those who claim to be followers of Christ would work as Christ worked, living not to please self, but to glorify God, acting as missionaries, showing genuine love for the Master by making every possible use of their entrusted talents. From the very nature of work in Christ’s lines, those who do it will lose sight of self. We are called upon to love souls as Christ loved them, to feel a travail of soul that sinners shall be converted. Present the matchless love of Christ. Hide self out of sight.” –Review and Herald, June 21, 1898.

The Master loves His disciples deeply
1. What strong ties did Jesus have with His disciples? How strong was His love for them, and still is for His disciples today?
John 13:34; 15:12, 13. 34A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another…. 12This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. 13Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

“His [Christ’s] very first injunction when alone with them in the upper chamber was, ‘A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’ To the disciples this commandment was new; for they had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. He saw that new ideas and impulses must control them; that new principles must be practiced by them; through His life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to love one another had a new meaning in the light of His self-sacrifice. The whole work of grace is one continual service of love, of self-denying, self-sacrificing effort. During every hour of Christ’s sojourn upon the earth, the love of God was flowing from Him in irrepressible streams. All who are imbued with His Spirit will love as He loved. The very principle that actuated Christ will actuate them in all their dealing one with another.” –The Desire of Ages, pp. 677, 678.

2. What do the holy Scriptures say about the Saviour’s love for His disciples right before His terrible agony in Gethsemane?
John 13:1. Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.

“Christ knew that the time had come for Him to depart out of the world, and go to His Father. And having loved His own that were in the world, He loved them unto the end. He was now in the shadow of the cross, and the pain was torturing His heart. He knew that He would be deserted in the hour of His betrayal. He knew that by the most humiliating process to which criminals were subjected He would be put to death. He knew the ingratitude and cruelty of those He had come to save. He knew how great the sacrifice that He must make, and for how many it would be in vain. Knowing all that was before Him, He might naturally have been overwhelmed with the thought of His own humiliation and suffering. But He looked upon the twelve, who had been with Him as His own, and who, after His shame and sorrow and painful usage were over, would be left to struggle in the world. His thoughts of what He Himself must suffer were ever connected with His disciples. He did not think of Himself. His care for them was uppermost in His mind.” –The Desire of Ages, p. 643.

The disciples’ love for their Master
3. What can we say about a person’s love if he puts the Master in the second or third place? What love alone is worthy of Him? Can we say that our greatest love is for the Lord?
Matthew 10:37. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
Luke 14:26. If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

“But in order to accept the invitation to the gospel feast, they must make their worldly interests subordinate to the one purpose of receiving Christ and His righteousness. God gave all for man, and He asks him to place His service above every earthly and selfish consideration. He cannot accept a divided heart. The heart that is absorbed in earthly affections cannot be given up to God.
“The lesson is for all time. We are to follow the Lamb of God whithersoever He goeth. His guidance is to be chosen, His companionship valued above the companionship of earthly friends. Christ says, ‘He that loveth father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me, and he that loveth son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.’ Matthew 10:37.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 223.

4. What is a clear sign that a person loves the Master with all his heart? What will automatically follow?
John 14:21. 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.

“No one can love God supremely and transgress one of His commandments. The heart softened and subdued with the beauty of Christ’s character and bridled by the pure and lofty rules which He has given us will put into practice what it has learned of love, and will follow Jesus forthwith in humble obedience. The living power of faith will reveal itself in loving acts.
“What evidence have we that we have the pure love, without alloy? God has erected a standard–His commandments. ‘He that hath My commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth Me.’ John 14:21. The words of God must have an abiding place in our hearts.” –Our High Calling, p. 73.

5. What question did the Lord ask the disciple who had denied Him under temptation? What was the answer?
John 21:15. So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.

“This heart-searching question was necessary in the case of Peter, and it is necessary in our case. The work of restoration can never be thorough unless the roots of evil are reached. Again and again the shoots have been clipped, while the root of bitterness has been left to spring up and defile many; but the very depth of the hidden evil must be reached….” –Conflict and Courage, p. 322.
“It was after Peter had been led to self-renunciation and entire reliance upon divine power, that he received his call to act as an undershepherd. Christ had said to Peter, before his denial of Him, ‘When thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.’ Luke 22:32. These words were significant of the wide and effectual work which this apostle was to do in the future for those who should come to the faith.

“For this work, Peter’s own experience of sin and suffering and repentance had prepared him. Not until he had learned his weakness, could he know the believer’s need of dependence on Christ. Amid the storm of temptation he had come to understand that man can walk safely only as in utter self-distrust he relies upon the Saviour.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 515.

6. With what did Jesus entrust him after Peter firmly repeated his love for Him? What similar mission does the Lord entrust to all who love Him?
John 21:16. He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.

“Christ mentioned to Peter only one condition of service–‘Lovest thou Me?’ This is the essential qualification…. The love of Christ is not a fitful feeling, but a living principle, which is to be made manifest as an abiding power in the heart….

“The Saviour’s manner of dealing with Peter had a lesson for him and his brethren. Although Peter had denied his Lord, the love which Jesus bore him had never faltered. And as the apostle should take up the work of ministering the word to others, he was to meet the transgressor with patience, sympathy, and forgiving love. Remembering his own weakness and failure, he was to deal with the sheep and lambs committed to his care as tenderly as Christ had dealt with him.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 515, 516.

The test of love
7. Why did the Lord ask Peter the same question three times? What would our answer be under similar circumstances? As His disciples, how would we feel if someone led us to a place where we did not want to go?
John 21:17-19. 17He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep. 18Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. 19This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

“When, the third time, Christ said to Peter, ‘Lovest thou Me?’ the probe reached the soul center. Self-judged, Peter fell upon the Rock, saying, ‘Lord, Thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love Thee.’

“This is the work before every soul who has dishonored God, and grieved the heart of Christ, by a denial of truth and righteousness. If the tempted soul endures the trying process, and self does not awake to life to feel hurt and abused under the test, that probing knife reveals that the soul is indeed dead to self, but alive unto God….
“Peter was now humble enough to understand the words of Christ, and without further questioning, the once restless, boastful, self-confident disciple became subdued and contrite. He followed his Lord indeed–the Lord he had denied. The thought that Christ had not denied and rejected him was to Peter a light and comfort and blessing. He felt that he could be crucified from choice, but it must be with his head downward. And he who was so close a partaker of Christ’s sufferings will also be a partaker of His glory when He shall ‘sit upon the throne of His glory.’” –Conflict and Courage, p. 322.

For additional study
“Every church-member who has been truly converted is to be given some work. ‘The cause which I knew not I searched out,’ Job declared. Consideration is to be given as to what service for God means. It means that we are to do the same kind of ministry that Christ did when He was in our world. In this work, whether we are rich or poor, we are called upon to wear Christ’s yoke, and learn of Him to be meek and lowly in heart. Some more especially may be given the work of setting forth Christ from the pulpit, opening the oracles of God to the churches. Yet they should not seclude themselves from visiting families, talking with them, praying with them, exhorting them, encouraging those who need encouraging, and presenting a ‘Thus saith the Lord’ to meet every cause of deficiency. Altogether too little of this work is done. Personal labor is greatly needed.” –Review and Herald, June 21, 1898.