Thouhgts on “Loved and Loving: John’s Epistles” Lesson 1

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Note: Sorry for the misspelling of the word ‘thoughts” in the title. Since the misspelling is in the title if I corrected it it would change the whole URL and the original link would not work. So I have to leave it.

This week’s SS Lesson asks the question, “Though not downplaying the seriousness of these false teachings, John deals with them by emphasizing the positive. There is an important principle here for us. How easy it is to get so caught up in fighting error that we focus on it instead of truth. What’s your own way of dealing with what you deem wrong: Do you focus on the error at the expense of truth? How can you start training yourself to deal with problems in a more positive manner?” 

For we can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.  2 Corinthians 13:8

While those who have the seal of God in Ezekiel 9 cry and sigh for all the abominations being done, Paul tells us not to despair. “We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” After Jesus raises Lazarus from the dead, the Jews decide to kill Lazarus. What good would that do? God would just raise him to life again making it an even greater miracle than before. There is really no reason to debate God’s word. Noah said it would rain and it rained. He did not have to win any debates or arguments. When the rain came everybody knew. 

Here are some relevant passages I have found in the Spirit of Prophecy: 

The way to dispel darkness is to admit light. The best way to deal with error is to present truth. It is the revelation of God’s love that makes manifest the deformity and sin of the heart centered in self.  {Desire of Ages, p. 498.5}  

The time has come when those who are rooted and grounded in the truth may manifest their firmness and decision, may make known the fact that they are unmoved by the sophistry, maxims, or fables of the ignorant and wavering. Without foundation men will make statements with all the positiveness of truth; but it is of no use to argue with them concerning their spurious assertions. The best way to deal with error is to present the truth, and leave wild ideas to die out for want of notice. Contrasted with truth, the weakness of error is made apparent to every intelligent mind. The more the erroneous assertions of opposers, and of those who rise up among us to deceive souls, are repeated, the better the cause of error is served. The more publicity is given to the suggestions of Satan, the better pleased is his satanic majesty; for unsanctified hearts will be prepared to receive the chaff that he provides for them. We shall have to meet difficulties of this order even in the church. Men will make a world of an atom and an atom of a world.  {Testimonies to Ministers, p. 165.1}

 Often, as you seek to present the truth, opposition will be aroused; but if you seek to meet the opposition with argument, you will only multiply it, and this you cannot afford to do. Hold to the affirmative. Angels of God are watching you, and they understand how to impress those whose opposition you refuse to meet with arguments. Dwell not on the negative points of questions that arise, but gather to your minds affirmative truths, and fasten them there by much study, earnest prayer, and heart consecration. Keep your lamps trimmed and burning, and let bright rays shine forth, that men, beholding your good works, may be led to glorify your Father who is in heaven.  {Evangelism, p. 302.2}  

    It is not the best policy to be so very explicit and say all upon a point that can be said, when a few arguments will cover the ground and be sufficient for all practical purposes to convince or silence opponents. You may remove every prop today and close the mouths of objectors so that they can say nothing, and tomorrow they will go over the same ground again. Thus it will be, over and over, because they do not love the light and will not come to the light, lest their darkness and error should be removed from them. It is a better plan to keep a reserve of arguments than to pour out a depth of knowledge upon a subject which would be taken for granted without labored argument. Christ’s ministry lasted only three years, and a great work was done in that short period. In these last days there is a great work to be done in a short time. While many are getting ready to do something, souls will perish for the light and knowledge. 

     If men who are engaged in presenting and defending the truth of the Bible undertake to investigate and show the fallacy and inconsistency of men who dishonestly turn the truth of God into a lie, Satan will stir up opponents enough to keep their pens constantly employed, while other branches of the work will be left to suffer. 

     We must have more of the spirit of those men who were engaged in building the walls of Jerusalem. We are doing a great work, and we cannot come down. If Satan sees that he can keep men answering the objections of opponents, and thus keep their voices silent, and hinder them from doing the most important work for the present time, his object is accomplished.  {Testimonies to the Church Vol. 3, p. 38.2}  

It is not only by preaching the truth, not only by distributing literature, that we are to witness for God. Let us remember that a Christlike life is the most powerful argument that can be advanced in favor of Christianity, and that a cheap Christian character works more harm in the world than the character of a worldling. Not all the books written can serve the purpose of a holy life. Men will believe, not what the minister preaches, but what the church lives. {Testimonies to the Church Vol. 9, p. 21} 

If the Christian life and character were always a faithful representation of Jesus, the world’s Redeemer, the good work of grace wrought in the heart would flow out in the life, and would reflect a clear, steady, precious light upon the pathway of others. Such a confession of faith to the world would be a most powerful sermon in favor of Christianity.  {Review and Hearld, October 28, 1884 par. 21} 

The strongest argument in favor of the Gospel is a loving and lovable Christian.  {Signs of the Times, August 12, 1908 par. 10}


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