December 7, 2008 – December 13, 2008
“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” I Corinthians 12:31.
Study Help: The Acts of the Apostles, 309–312; Testimonies, vol. 2, 411–418.
“True love for God carries with it true, reverential trust. And he who loves God will love his brother also.” Sons and Daughters of God, 193.
1 What is the value of various gifts without love? I Corinthians 13:1–3.
2 What is the first characteristic of true love? I Corinthians 13:4.
Note: “The Christian who manifests patience and cheerfulness under bereavement and suffering, who meets even death itself with the peace and calmness of an unwavering faith, may accomplish for the gospel more than he could have effected by a long life of faithful labor.” The Acts of the Apostles, 465.
3 What will kindness do when associated with true love? Ephesians 4:32.
Note: “Love should be revealed in action. It should flow out in all home intercourse, showing itself in thoughtful kindness, in gentle, unselfish courtesy. From a worldly point of view, money is power; but from a Christian standpoint, love is power. Wealth is often an influence to corrupt and destroy; force is strong to do hurt; but pure love has special efficacy. It prevents discord and misery, and brings the truest happiness. It gives intellectual and spiritual strength, and truth and goodness are its properties.” The Bible Echo, December 15, 1893.
4 What are the fruits of envy? Job 5:2; Proverbs 14:30; 27:4.
Note: “Envy, malice, evil thinking, evilspeaking, covetousness—these are weights that the Christian must lay aside if he would run successfully the race for immortality. Every habit or practice that leads into sin and brings dishonor upon Christ must be put away, whatever the sacrifice. The blessing of heaven cannot attend any man in violating the eternal principles of right. One sin cherished is sufficient to work degradation of character and to mislead others.” The Acts of the Apostles, 312.
5 What condition will the remnant people of God reach before they can receive the latter rain? Isaiah 11:13.
Note: “The cross of Christ is the pledge of our fellowship and union. The time must come when the watchmen shall see eye to eye; when the trumpet shall give a certain sound; when ‘Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim’ [Isaiah 11:13.] any more.” The Review and Herald, January 3, 1899.
“Oh, that all might repent and do their first works. When the churches do this they will love God supremely and their neighbors as themselves. Ephraim shall not envy Judah, and Judah shall not vex Ephraim. Divisions will then be healed, the harsh sounds of strife will no more be heard in the borders of Israel. Through the grace freely given them of God, all will seek to answer the prayer of Christ that His disciples shall be one, even as He and the Father are one. Peace, love, mercy, and benevolence will be the abiding principles of the soul. The love of Christ will be the theme of every tongue, and it will no more be said by the True Witness, ‘I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love’ (Revelation 2:4). The people of God will be abiding in Christ, and the love of Jesus will be revealed, and one Spirit will animate all hearts, regenerating and renewing in the image of Christ, fashioning all hearts alike. As living branches of the True Vine, all will be united to Christ the living Head. Christ will abide in every heart, guiding, comforting, sanctifying, and presenting to the world the unity of the followers of Jesus, thus bearing testimony that the heavenly credentials are supplied to the remnant church. In the oneness of Christ’s church it will be proved that God sent His only begotten Son into the world.” Manuscript Releases, vol. 5, 51, 52.
6 How does God consider human pride and arrogance? Proverbs 8:13; 11:2; 16:18. In what sense did Cain show a proud heart?
Note: “Cain was willing to offer the fruit of his ground, but refused to connect with his offering the blood of beasts. His heart refused to show his repentance for sin, and his faith in a Saviour, by offering the blood of beasts. He refused to acknowledge his need of a Redeemer. This, to his proud heart, was dependence and humiliation.” Confrontation, 22, 23.
7 What was King David’s attitude toward a proud heart? Psalm 101:3–5.
Note: “The vows of David, recorded in the 101st psalm, should be the vows of all upon whom rest the responsibilities of guarding the influences of the home.” Counsels to Parents, Teachers, and Students, 119.
8 What quality must we be especially careful to cultivate in these last days? Matthew 11:29; I Peter 5:6.
Note: “Humility is a characteristic of those who have true wisdom, and no matter what may be their attainments, they will not be self-confident and boastful.” The Sabbath School Worker, March 1, 1892.
“Truly great men are invariably modest. Humility is a grace which sits naturally upon them as a garment. Those who have stored their minds with useful knowledge, and who possess genuine attainments and refinement, are the ones who will be most willing to admit the weakness of their own understanding. They are not self-confident nor boastful; but in view of the higher attainments to which they might rise in intellectual greatness, they seem to themselves to have but just begun the ascent. It is the superficial thinker, the one who has but a beginning or smattering of knowledge, who deems himself wise and who takes on disgusting airs of importance.” Testimonies, vol. 4, 338, 339.
“It is the superficial thinker who deems himself wise. Men of solid worth, of high attainments, are the most ready to admit the weakness of their own understanding. God wants everyone who claims to be His disciple to be a learner, to be more inclined to learn than to teach.” Ibid., 361.
9 What is the effect of grievous words? On the other hand, what will kind words do? Proverbs 15:1; 16:24; 25:15.
Note: “Love, lifted out of the realm of passion and impulse, becomes spiritualized, and is revealed in words and acts. A Christian must have a sanctified tenderness and love in which there is no impatience or fretfulness; the rude, harsh manners must be softened by the grace of Christ.” The Adventist Home, 51.
“Courtesy, even in little things, should be manifested by the parents toward each other. Universal kindness should be the law of the house. No rude language should be indulged; no bitter words should be spoken.
“All may possess a cheerful countenance, a gentle voice, a courteous manner; and these are elements of power. Children are attracted by a cheerful, sunny demeanor. Show them kindness and courtesy, and they will manifest the same spirit toward you and toward one another.” Ibid., 421.
10 What should we learn from the way kind words settled a great difficulty in the time of Joshua? Joshua 22:10–31; I Corinthians 13:5.
Note: “Had the men of Gad and Reuben retorted in the same spirit, war would have been the result. While it is important on the one hand that laxness in dealing with sin be avoided, it is equally important on the other to shun harsh judgment and groundless suspicion.
“While very sensitive to the least blame in regard to their own course, many are too severe in dealing with those whom they suppose to be in error. No one was ever reclaimed from a wrong position by censure and reproach; but many are thus driven further from the right path and led to harden their hearts against conviction. A spirit of kindness, a courteous, forbearing deportment may save the erring and hide a multitude of sins.
“The wisdom displayed by the Reubenites and their companions is worthy of imitation. While honestly seeking to promote the cause of true religion, they were misjudged and severely censured; yet they manifested no resentment. They listened with courtesy and patience to the charges of their brethren before attempting to make their defense, and then fully explained their motives and showed their innocence. Thus the difficulty which had threatened such serious consequences was amicably settled.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 519, 520.
11 What is included in the eighth commandment? Exodus 20:15.
Note: “Both public and private sins are included in this prohibition. The eighth commandment condemns manstealing and slave dealing, and forbids wars of conquest. It condemns theft and robbery. It demands strict integrity in the minutest details of the affairs of life. It forbids overreaching in trade, and requires the payment of just debts or wages. It declares that every attempt to advantage oneself by the ignorance, weakness, or misfortune of another is registered as fraud in the books of heaven.” Patriarchs and Prophets, 309.
12 What will characterize the life of true Christians, and why? Matthew 5:37; Hebrews 13:5.
Note: “Everything that Christians do should be as transparent as the sunlight. Truth is of God; deception, in every one of its myriad forms, is of Satan; and whoever in any way departs from the straight line of truth is betraying himself into the power of the wicked one. Yet it is not a light or an easy thing to speak the exact truth. We cannot speak the truth unless we know the truth; and how often preconceived opinions, mental bias, imperfect knowledge, errors of judgment, prevent a right understanding of matters with which we have to do! We cannot speak the truth unless our minds are continually guided by Him who is truth.” Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 68.
“Love cannot live without action, and every act increases, strengthens, and extends it. Love will gain the victory when argument and authority are powerless. Love works not for profit nor reward; yet God has ordained that great gain shall be the certain result of every labor of love. It is diffusive in its nature and quiet in its operation, yet strong and mighty in its purpose to overcome great evils. It is melting and transforming in its influence, and will take hold of the lives of the sinful and affect their hearts when every other means has proved unsuccessful. Wherever the power of intellect, of authority, or of force is employed, and love is not manifestly present, the affections and will of those whom we seek to reach assume a defensive, repelling position, and their strength of resistance is increased. Jesus was the Prince of Peace. He came into the world to bring resistance and authority into subjection to Himself. Wisdom and strength He could command, but the means He employed with which to overcome evil were the wisdom and strength of love. Suffer nothing to divide your interest from your present work until God shall see fit to give you another piece of work in the same field. Seek not for happiness, for it is never to be found by seeking for it. Go about your duty. Let faithfulness mark all your doings, and be clothed with humility.
“ ‘Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them.’ [Matthew 7:12.] Blessed results would appear as the fruit of such a course. ‘With what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.’ [Matthew 7:2.] Here are strong motives which should constrain us to love one another with a pure heart, fervently. Christ is our example. He went about doing good. He lived to bless others. Love beautified and ennobled all His actions. We are not commanded to do to ourselves what we wish others to do unto us; we are to do unto others what we wish them to do to us under like circumstances. The measure we mete is always measured to us again. 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.” [Emphasis in original.] Testimonies, vol. 2, 135–136.
©2005 Reformation Herald Publishing Association, Roanoke, Virginia. Reprinted by permission