October 5, 2008 – October 11, 2008
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.” Romans 12:10.
Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 677, 678.
“One of the strongest evidences of true conversion is love to God and man. Those who accept Jesus as their Redeemer have a deep, sincere love for others of like precious faith.” The Acts of the Apostles, 262.
1 What is written about the early Christian church? Acts 4:32–35. When was this love manifested?
Note: “After the descent of the Holy Spirit, when the disciples went forth to proclaim a living Saviour, their one desire was the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth’s sake. In their daily association with one another, they revealed the love that Christ had enjoined upon them. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts.
“Such a love the believers were ever to cherish. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment. So closely were they to be united with Christ that they would be enabled to fulfill all His requirements. Their lives were to magnify the power of a Saviour who could justify them by His righteousness.” The Acts of the Apostles, 547, 548.
2 How did Paul exhort the Thessalonian believers in this regard? I Thessalonians 4:9, 10.
Note: “One of the strongest evidences of true conversion is love to God and man. Those who accept Jesus as their Redeemer have a deep, sincere love for others of like precious faith.” The Acts of the Apostles, 262.
3 What essential theme is included in Paul’s message to the believing Jews? Hebrews 13:1–3; Matthew 25:40.
Note: “Paul exhorts the Hebrews: ‘Let brotherly love continue.’ Do not flatter yourselves that there is a time when this exhortation will not be needed; when brotherly love may cease. He continues: ‘Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.’ [Hebrews 13:1, 2.] Please read Matthew 25:31 and onward. Read it, brethren, the next time you take the Bible at your morning or evening family devotions. The good works performed by those who are to be welcomed to the kingdom were done to Christ in the person of His suffering people. Those who had done these good works did not see that they had done anything for Christ. They had done no more than their duty to suffering humanity. Those on the left hand could not see that they had abused Christ in neglecting the wants of His people. But they had neglected to do for Jesus in the person of His saints, and for this neglect they were to go away into everlasting punishment. And one definite point of their neglect is thus stated: ‘I was a stranger, and ye took Me not in.’ [Matthew 25:43, first part.]” Testimonies, vol. 1, 679, 680.
“It is the will of God that union and brotherly love should exist among His people. The prayer of Christ just before His crucifixion was that His disciples might be one as He is one with the Father, that the world might believe that God had sent Him. This most touching and wonderful prayer reaches down the ages, even to our day; for His words were, ‘Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word.’ John 17:20. While we are not to sacrifice one principle of truth, it should be our constant aim to reach this state of unity. This is the evidence of our discipleship. Said Jesus, ‘By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.’ John 13:35.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 520.
4 How only can we climb the Christian ladder successfully? Hebrews 12:1–4.
Note: “All [the] successive steps [in Peter’s ladder] are not to be kept before the mind’s eye, and counted as you start; but fixing the eye upon Jesus, with an eye single to the glory of God, you will make advancement.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 5, 1893.
5 What special promise is included in the prophecy given to the church of Philadelphia? Revelation 3:7–12.
Note: “The one who stands nearest to Christ will be he who on earth has drunk most deeply of the spirit of His self-sacrificing love,—love that ‘vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, … seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil’ (I Corinthians 13:4, 5),—love that moves the disciple, as it moved our Lord, to give all, to live and labor and sacrifice, even unto death, for the saving of humanity.” The Desire of Ages, 549.
6 How can we who live in the period of Laodicea partake of the wonderful promise given to the Philadelphia church? Revelation 3:21; 20:4.
Note: “Soon we heard the voice of God like many waters, which gave us the day and hour of Jesus’ coming. The living saints, 144,000 in number, knew and understood the voice, while the wicked thought it was thunder and an earthquake. When God spoke the time, He poured upon us the Holy Ghost, and our faces began to light up and shine with the glory of God, as Moses’ did when he came down from Mount Sinai.
“The 144,000 were all sealed and perfectly united. On their foreheads was written, God, New Jerusalem, and a glorious star containing Jesus’ new name. At our happy, holy state the wicked were enraged, and would rush violently up to lay hands on us to thrust us into prison, when we would stretch forth the hand in the name of the Lord, and they would fall helpless to the ground. Then it was that the synagogue of Satan knew that God had loved us who could wash one another’s feet and salute the brethren with a holy kiss, and they worshiped at our feet.” Early Writings, 15.
7 What position does brotherly kindness hold in the ladder of Christian perfection? II Peter 1:7.
Note: “We should have that love for others that Christ has had for us. A man is estimated at his true value by the Lord of heaven. If he is unkind in his earthly home, he is unfit for the heavenly home. If he will have his own way, no matter whom it grieves, he would not be content in heaven, unless he could rule there. The love of Christ must control our hearts.” The Review and Herald, February 21, 1888.
8 What key point did Christ emphasize before His crucifixion, and why was this called “a new commandment”? John 13:34; 15:10, 12, 13, 17.
Note: “ ‘These things I command you,’ He [Christ] said repeatedly, ‘that ye love one another.’ [John 15:17.] His very first injunction when alone with them [His disciples] 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.’ [John 13:34.] 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 Desire of Ages, 677.
“Such a love the believers were ever to cherish. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment.” The Acts of the Apostles, 547.
9 How does John explain the “new commandment”? I John 2:7–11.
Note: “It is not the opposition of the world that most endangers the church of Christ. It is the evil cherished in the hearts of believers that works their most grievous disaster and most surely retards the progress of God’s cause. There is no surer way of weakening spirituality than by cherishing envy, suspicion, faultfinding, and evil surmising. On the other hand, the strongest witness that God has sent His Son into the world is the existence of harmony and union among men of varied dispositions who form His church.” The Acts of the Apostles, 549.
10 How can we fulfill God’s law in our life? Romans 13:8–10.
Note: “Righteousness is love, and love is the light and the life of God. The righteousness of God is embodied in Christ. We receive righteousness by receiving Him.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 18.
11 How can we receive this love in our heart? Romans 5:1–5; John 16:13.
Note: “Not by painful struggles or wearisome toil, not by gift or sacrifice, is righteousness obtained; but it is freely given to every soul who hungers and thirsts to receive it. ‘Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat, … without money and without price.’ ‘Their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord,’ and, ‘This is His name whereby He shall be called, the lord our righteousness.’ Isaiah 55:1; 54:17; Jeremiah 23:6.
“No human agent can supply that which will satisfy the hunger and thirst of the soul. But Jesus says, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.’ ‘I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst.’ Revelation 3:20; John 6:35.
“As we need food to sustain our physical strength, so do we need Christ, the Bread from heaven, to sustain spiritual life and impart strength to work the works of God. As the body is continually receiving the nourishment that sustains life and vigor, so the soul must be constantly communing with Christ, submitting to Him and depending wholly upon Him.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 18, 19.
“Christ has shown His great love for us by giving His life that we should not perish in our sins, that He might clothe us with His salvation. If this divine love is cherished in our hearts, it cements and strengthens our union with those of like faith. ‘He that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him’ (1 John 4:16). The strengthening of our love for our brethren and sisters strengthens our love for Christ. This principle of love for God and for those for whom Christ died, needs to be quickened by the Holy Spirit and cemented with brotherly kindness, tenderness; it needs to be strengthened by acts which testify that God is love. This union, which joins heart with heart, is not the result of sentimentalism, but the working of a healthful principle. Faith works by love, and purifies the soul from all selfishness. Thus the soul is perfected in love. And having found grace and mercy through Christ’s precious blood, how can we fail to be tender and merciful?” In Heavenly Places, 110.
“Enoch walked with God. He honored God in every affair of life. In his home and in his business he inquired, ‘Will this be acceptable to the Lord?’ And by remembering God and following His counsel, he was transformed in character, and became a godly man, whose ways pleased the Lord. We are exhorted to add to godliness, brotherly kindness. O how much we need to take this step, to add this quality to our characters! … We should have that love for others that Christ has had for us. A man is estimated at his true value by the Lord of heaven. If he is unkind in his earthly home, he is unfit for the heavenly home. If he will have his own way, no matter whom it grieves, he would not be content in heaven, unless he could rule there. The love of Christ must control our hearts. … Seek God with a broken and contrite spirit, and you will be melted with compassion toward your brethren. You will be prepared to add to brotherly kindness, charity, or love.” My Life Today, 98.
“The Word of God enjoins upon every one of His children: ‘Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous.’ I Peter 3:8. Now unless godliness was added to patience man would not show that brotherly kindness. In His mission to our world, Christ has shown man the graces of the Spirit of God which, when accepted, fashion and mold the entire man, externally as well as internally, by abasing his pride and leading him not to esteem himself highly but to esteem his brother as precious in the sight of God because Christ paid an infinite price for his soul. When man is valued as God’s property then we will be kind, amiable, and condescending toward him.” Our High Calling, 72 .
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.