Bible Study Guides – God’s Love in the Church Pt.2

November 15, 2008 – November 21, 2008

Key Text

“Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.” I John 4:7.

Study Help: The Desire of Ages, 662–680.


“Whatsoever is done out of pure love, be it ever so little or contemptible in the sight of men, is wholly fruitful; for God regards more with how much love one worketh, than the amount he doeth. Love is of God. The unconverted heart cannot originate nor produce this plant of heavenly origin, which lives and flourishes only where Christ reigns.” Gospel Workers (1892), 312.

1 In His intercessory prayer, how did Christ define life eternal? John 17:3.

Note: “It is only by knowing Christ that we can know God. … To know Christ savingly is to be vitalized by spiritual knowledge, to practise [sic] His words. Without this, all else is valueless.” The Signs of the Times, January 27, 1898.

2 What evidences will show that we know God? I John 4:7, 8.

Note: “Pure love is simple in its operations, and is distinct from any other principle of action. The love of influence, and the desire for the esteem of others may produce a well-ordered life, and, frequently, a blameless conversation. Self-respect may lead us to avoid the appearance of evil. A selfish heart may perform generous actions, acknowledge the present truth, and express humility and affection in an outward manner, yet the motives may be deceptive and impure; the actions that flow from such a heart may be destitute of the savor of life and the fruits of true holiness, being destitute of the principles of pure love. Love should be cherished and cultivated; for its influence is divine.” Gospel Workers (1892), 313.

3 What should the manifestation of God’s love cause us to consider? I John 4:9, 10.

Note: “The love of our heavenly Father in the gift of His only begotten Son to the world, is enough to inspire every soul, to melt every hard, loveless heart into contrition and tenderness; and yet shall heavenly intelligences see in those for whom Christ died, insensibility to His love, hardness of heart, and no response of gratitude and affection to the Giver of all good things? Shall affairs of minor importance absorb the whole power of the being, and the love of God meet no return?” Christian Education, 96.

4 How does the law of God go hand in hand with true love? Matthew 22:35–40; Romans 13:10.

Note: “We have full faith in the scripture that says, ‘God is love’ (1 John 4:8); and yet many have shamefully perverted this word, and have fallen into dangerous error because of a false interpretation of its meaning. God’s holy law is the only standard by which we can estimate divine affection. If we do not accept the law of God as our standard, we set up a standard of our own. God has given us precious promises of His love, but we are not to ascribe to Jehovah a tenderness that will lead Him to pass over guilt and wink at iniquity.” Selected Messages, Book 1, 311.

5 Since God has manifested such a great love for us, how should we act toward our neighbors? I John 4:11. Whereby will the world see that God dwells in us? I John 4:12.

6 What must we realize as we seek to develop this love in our heart? Jeremiah 17:9.

Note: “God considers more with how much love we work, than the amount we do. Love is a heavenly attribute. The natural heart cannot originate it. This heavenly plant only flourishes where Christ reigns supreme. Where love exists, there is power and truth in the life. Love does good, and nothing but good. Those who have love bear fruit unto holiness, and in the end everlasting life.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 13, 1898.

7 What are the main characteristics of perfect love? I John 4:17, 18.

Note: “There are many who desire to love and serve God, and yet when affliction comes upon them, they do not discern the love of God in it, but the hand of the enemy. They mourn and murmur and complain; but this is not the fruit of love to God in the soul. If we have perfect love, we shall know that God is not seeking to injure us, but that in the midst of trials, and griefs, and pains, he is seeking to make us perfect, and to test the quality of our faith. When we cease to worry about the future, and begin to believe that God loves us, and means to do us good, we shall trust him as a child trusts a loving parent. Then our troubles and torments will disappear, and our will will be swallowed up in the will of God.” The Youth’s Instructor, January 6, 1898.

8 How should we deal with those who fall in sin? Matthew 18:14–17.

Note: “In dealing with erring church members, God’s people are carefully to follow the instruction given by the Saviour in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew.

“Human beings are Christ’s property, purchased by Him at an infinite price, bound to Him by the love that He and His Father have manifested for them. How careful, then, we should be in our dealing with one another! Men have no right to surmise evil in regard to their fellow men. Church members have no right to follow their own impulses and inclinations in dealing with fellow members who have erred. They should not even express their prejudices regarding the erring, for thus they place in other minds the leaven of evil. Reports unfavorable to a brother or sister in the church are communicated from one to another of the church members. Mistakes are made and injustice is done because of an unwillingness on the part of some one to follow the directions given by the Lord Jesus.” Testimonies, vol. 7, 260.

“Divine love makes its most touching appeals to the heart when it calls upon us to manifest the same tender compassion that Christ manifested. That man only who has unselfish love for his brother has true love for God. The true Christian will not willingly permit the soul in peril and need to go unwarned, uncared for. He will not hold himself aloof from the erring, leaving them to plunge farther into unhappiness and discouragement or to fall on Satan’s battleground.” The Acts of the Apostles, 550.

9 How did Christ answer Peter’s question about forgiveness? Matthew 18:21, 22.

Note: “The rabbis limited the exercise of forgiveness to three offenses. Peter, carrying out, as he supposed, the teaching of Christ, thought to extend it to seven, the number signifying perfection. But Christ taught that we are never to become weary of forgiving.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 243.

10 What parable did Christ present to clarify the issue of forgiveness? Matthew 18:23–34.

Note: “The pardon granted by this king represents a divine forgiveness of all sin. Christ is represented by the king, who, moved with compassion, forgave the debt of his servant. Man was under the condemnation of the broken law. He could not save himself, and for this reason Christ came to this world, clothed His divinity with humanity, and gave His life, the just for the unjust. He gave Himself for our sins, and to every soul He freely offers the blood-bought pardon. ‘With the Lord there is mercy, and with Him is plenteous redemption.’ Psalm 130:7.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 244, 245.

11 Since we have received pardon from the Lord, how should we deal with our fellow sinners? Matthew 18:32, 33.

Note: “In the parable, when the debtor pleaded for delay, with the promise, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all’ [Matthew 18:26], the sentence was revoked. The whole debt was canceled. And he was soon given an opportunity to follow the example of the master who had forgiven him. Going out, he met a fellow servant who owed him a small sum. He had been forgiven ten thousand talents; the debtor owed him a hundred pence. But he who had been so mercifully treated, dealt with his fellow laborer in an altogether different manner. His debtor made an appeal similar to that which he himself had made to the king, but without a similar result. He who had so recently been forgiven was not tenderhearted and pitiful. The mercy shown him he did not exercise in dealing with his fellowservant. He heeded not the request to be patient. The small sum owed to him was all that the ungrateful servant would keep in mind. He demanded all that he thought his due, and carried into effect a sentence similar to that which had been so graciously revoked for him.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 245.

12 What admonition is given us when we are tempted to act like the forgiven debtor who was unforgiving? Colossians 3:13.

Note: “There are many who hope by their own works to merit God’s favor. They do not realize their helplessness. They do not accept the grace of God as a free gift, but are trying to build themselves up in self-righteousness. Their own hearts are not broken and humbled on account of sin, and they are exacting and unforgiving toward others. Their own sins against God, compared with their brother’s sins against them, are as ten thousand talents to one hundred pence—nearly one million to one; yet they dare to be unforgiving.” Christ’s Object Lessons, 245–247.

13 If we are unforgiving, how will God deal with us? Matthew 18:35; 6:14, 15.

Note: “Jesus teaches that we can receive forgiveness from God only as we forgive others. It is the love of God that draws us unto Him, and that love cannot touch our hearts without creating love for our brethren.

“After completing the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus added: ‘If ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: but if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.’ [Matthew 6:14, 15.] He who is unforgiving cuts off the very channel through which alone he can receive mercy from God. We should not think that unless those who have injured us confess the wrong we are justified in withholding from them our forgiveness. It is their part, no doubt, to humble their hearts by repentance and confession; but we are to have a spirit of compassion toward those who have trespassed against us, whether or not they confess their faults. However sorely they may have wounded us, we are not to cherish our grievances and sympathize with ourselves over our injuries; but as we hope to be pardoned for our offenses against God we are to pardon all who have done evil to us.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 113, 114.

Additional Reading

“O that the mercy and love of God were cultivated by every member of our churches! O that brotherly love might be revived, never to wane, but to grow more and more fervent! It is true that words of admonition and counsel are frequently needed in the church, but they are never to be given by those who are filled with suspicion and distrust, who are eager to weigh others in the scales of their own opinions. No one can do the work of reproving and counseling in the way that Christ would have it done, whose heart is not filled with peace and love. We are near the end, there is no time to waste in educating ourselves in the line of accusation of brethren, and we are not to take up a reproach against our neighbor. Deal tenderly and graciously with every soul, and especially deal tenderly with those who are liable to err. They, of all others, need your help the most. Never take up a report against a brother or a neighbor, or harbor evil surmisings against him. Thou shalt not imagine evil in thy heart against thy brother.” Review and Herald, October 24, 1893.

“Bear in mind the fact that the church militant is not the church triumphant. Cultivate a spirit of kindness, of true, heavenly courtesy. Some may look upon this manner of courtesy as mere weakness; but do not regard it thus. It will always pay to be kind, to be courteous. ‘Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another. … Bless them which persecute you: bless, and curse not. Rejoice with them that do rejoice, and weep with them that weep. Be of the same mind one toward another. Mind not high things, but condescend to men of low estate. Be not wise in your own conceits. Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men. If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.’ [Romans 12:9, 10; 14–18.]” Manuscript Releases, vol. 19, 203, 204.

“If brethren would meet together once or twice a week, and with humble minds, feeling their weakness and realizing their defects, would then ask the Lord to enlighten their understanding and fill their hearts with His love, examining not one another, but the Scriptures, Satan would be defeated. Many imaginary difficulties, mere molehills that have been magnified into mountains and have made barriers between brethren, would vanish, and love, compassion, and respect would take the place of jangling and accusation. When you begin to judge your brethren, you are doing a work God has not given you to do. You are not working with Christ. God did not place you upon the judgment seat to measure and pronounce sentence upon your brethren.” The Ellen G. White 1888 Materials, 1087.

©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission.