Humility of John The Revelator

I am Jounralling Through Revelation here in the Tampa Bay area.

I am Journalling Through Revelation here in the Tampa Bay area.

I, John, am your brother and your partner in suffering and in God’s Kingdom and in the patient endurance to which Jesus calls us. Revelation 1:9 NLT

John walked with Jesus, and was called the disciple who Jesus loved. John was one of three disciples privileged to be on the mount of transfiguration. He also was one of two disciples who asked to be seated next to Jesus in His kingdom. Now, here in this text, John does not set himself apart from us as though he was in some special class. He writes to you and me calling himself our brother and partner.

You may study Revelation here.

2 John; The Commandments Define Love

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 And now I beseech thee, lady, not as though I wrote a new commandment unto thee, but that which we had from the beginning, that we love one another. 2 John 1:5

Here is a trick question you can try on your friends.  What was the highest vmountain in the world before Mt. Everest was discovered? The answer is Mt. Everest! Even though it was new to the people who discovered it, it was there all the time. Same with the commandment to love one another. It has always been there. It did not replace the ten commandments. It actually outdates the ten commandments. The ten commandments help us define love. The first four tell us how to love God and the last six tell us how to love one another. When people say we don’t need the Ten Commandments anymore, that we just need to love one another they are not being logical. The Ten Commandments help us define love so we can know how to love God and one another.

John 18-19; The Closing Scenes

I am writing from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

   It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.  {Desire of Ages  83.4} 

John 19:25 Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. 

 19:26    When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! 

 19:27    Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own [home]. 

  As the eyes of Jesus wandered over the multitude about Him, one figure arrested His attention. At the foot of the cross stood His mother, supported by the disciple John. She could not endure to remain away from her Son; and John, knowing that the end was near, had brought her again to the cross. In His dying hour, Christ remembered His mother. Looking into her grief-stricken face and then upon John, He said to her, “Woman, behold thy son!” then to John, “Behold thy mother!” John understood Christ’s words, and accepted the trust. He at once took Mary to his home, and from that hour cared for her tenderly. O pitiful, loving Saviour; amid all His physical pain and mental anguish, He had a thoughtful care for His mother! He had no money with which to provide for her comfort; but He was enshrined in the heart of John, and He gave His mother to him as a precious legacy. Thus He provided for her that which she most needed,–the tender sympathy of one who loved her because she loved Jesus. And in receiving her as a sacred trust, John was receiving a great blessing. She was a constant reminder of his beloved Master. 

     The perfect example of Christ’s filial love shines forth with undimmed luster from the mist of ages. For nearly thirty years Jesus by His daily toil had helped bear the burdens of the home. And now, even in His last agony, He remembers to provide for His sorrowing, widowed mother. The same spirit will be seen in every disciple of our Lord. Those who follow Christ will feel that it is a part of their religion to respect and provide for their parents. From the heart where His love is cherished, father and mother will never fail of receiving thoughtful care and tender sympathy.  {Desire of Ages, p. 752}

John 13; John, The Knowing Disciple

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

At the last super, when Jesus tells His disciples that one of them is going to betray Him, they all asked, “Lord is it I? Matthew 26 However, John, instead asks, “Lord who is it?” John 13 John knew it was not Him. He knew that He loved Jesus and had not betrayed Him. John was a confident disciple because he was confident in the love Jesus had for Him and that He had for Jesus. Look at John’s frequent use of the word “know.”

He grasps Jesus’ words,   John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. 

John himself writes, 1 John  2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments. 

 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him. 

So John tells us that knowing Jesus equals eternal life, and knowing Jesus equals commandment keeping. If A=C and A=B than C must =B.

1John 2:29 If ye know that he is righteous, ye know that every one that doeth righteousness is born of him. 

1John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. 

1John 4:16 And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. 

 4:17       Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 

John knew the power of a relationship with Jesus, giving him confidence in the judgment, knowing in this world we can experience Jesus’ power over sin.

1John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God. 

John wants us to have the same confidence that he had. He does not want us wondering, or hoping and wishing that we have eternal life. He wants us to know we have eternal life. If we know Jesus, we know we have eternal life. No Jesus, no life.

John 7; It’s a Conspiracy!

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 7:19 Did not Moses give you the law, and [yet] none of you keepeth the law? Why go ye about to kill me? 

 7:20       The people answered and said, Thou hast a devil: who goeth about to kill thee? 

Either the group talking to Jesus here, were ignorant of the conspiracy to kill Him or they were two-faced. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 5 that we are not to be paranoid about conspiracies, but to cast all of our care upon Jesus. At the same time, Peter acknowledges that the devil is out to get us.

1 Peter 5:7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you. 

 5:8         Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 

 5:9         Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. 

In John 7 the multitude had mixed opinions about Jesus. However His conduct is what validated His words and works.

While people are telling Jesus that He is crazy for thinking someone wants to kill Him, the Pharisees send out a group of conspirators to get Him.

7:45        Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said unto them, Why have ye not brought him? 

 7:46       The officers answered, Never man spake like this man. 

The officers who were sent to take Jesus reported that never man spake like this man. But the reason of this was that never man lived like this man; for if he had not so lived, he could not so have spoken. His words bore with them a convincing power, because they came from a heart pure and holy, full of love and sympathy, beneficence and truth. There is eloquence beyond that of words, in the quiet, consistent life of a pure, true Christian. We shall have temptations as long as we are in this world, but instead of injuring us, they will only turn to our advantage, if resisted. The bounds are placed where Satan cannot pass. He may prepare the furnace, but instead of working injury, it will only consume the dross, and bring forth the gold of the character, purer than before the trial.  {Gospel Workers 1892 P, 244}

No reason to be paranoid about Satan’s conspiracies. Just keep living for Jesus!

John 1; John Sees What is Right With The Church

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

John 1:26 John answered them, saying, I baptize with water: but there standeth one among you, whom ye know not; 

 1:27       He it is, who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose. 

I have already noticed something different about the book of John. The other gospels record the strife between the disciples as to who is the greatest. John does not record this strife. John speaks about John the Baptist leading people to Jesus and not to himself. In John 3:30 John records John the Baptist saying, “He must increase, I must decrease.”  I think John is focusing on what is right with the church instead of what is wrong.  He is giving us some good role models. Former U.S. President, Bill Clinton, once said, “Nothing is wrong with America that cannot be cured by what is right with America.” I choose to believe that there is nothing wrong with the church that cannot be cured by what is right with the church. Of course, Jesus is what is right with the church, but let’s look at what else is right with the church.

1:40 One of the two which heard John [speak], and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 

 1:41       He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ. 

 1:42       And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone. 

 1:43       The day following Jesus would go forth into Galilee, and findeth Philip, and saith unto him, Follow me. 

 1:44       Now Philip was of Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 

 1:45       Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph. 

 1:46       And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and see. 

 1:47       Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom is no guile! 

 1:48       Nathanael saith unto him, Whence knowest thou me? Jesus answered and said unto him, Before that Philip called thee, when thou wast under the fig tree, I saw thee. 

 1:49       Nathanael answered and saith unto him, Rabbi, thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel.  

 1:50       Jesus answered and said unto him, Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater things than these. 

We have Andrew who is working hard and quietly behind the scenes to bring people to Jesus. In the other Gospels we never heard him mentioned by name, like we did James and John in the fracas as to who was the greatest. We never heard him making outrageous boasts like Peter made. About the only other time we hear of him, is when he found a boy with a sack lunch that saved the multitude from hunger. Andrew seems to work best one on one and without much fanfare. I would say he is what is right with the church.

Next we have Nathanael. Nathaniel seems to be a man of prayer. Jesus says Nathanael is an Israelite who has no guile! Wow! I pray Jesus can say that about me! That would be awesome. I do not know of a higher compliment that Jesus ever gave to anyone, and he gave it to a man the other three gospel do not even mention, and is only mentioned six times in the book of John, five of those times are in this brief story above. This tells me there are people in our church today who have no guile. We may not notice them because they are not drawing attention to themselves. They are quietly praying and bringing people to Jesus instead of arguing over who is the greatest.

Mark 9; Recognizing Our Loved Ones in Heaven

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Mark  9:1 And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. 

 9:2         And after six days Jesus taketh [with him] Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. 

 9:3         And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. 

 9:4         And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. 

 9:5         And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. 

 9:6         For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. 

 9:7         And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. 

Jesus promises that some would see the kingdom before they died. At the transfiguration, they saw the kingdom of God and the Son of man as also the Son of God. But in this story I see something else too. While studying with people, many ask me if we will recognize our loved ones in heaven. I assure them they will. The disciples recognized Jesus after the resurrection and we will recognize each other after the resurrection. However, I believe we will also recognize people we have not even met yet! Why do I say that? Well, I may be reading too much into it I don’t know, but I notice in this story that right away Peter recognizes Moses and Elijah. Moses was resurrected after his death according to Jude. Elijah was taken up in a fiery chariot without ever seeing death, according to 2nd Kings 2. Peter never knew Moses and Elijah by sight as they lived hundreds of years before him, but now in the transfiguration, in Jesus’ Kingdom, Peter recognizes two people he had never even met. So I say, yes we will recognize our loved ones and those we have never met before.

Matthew 17; Faith in God’s Love

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

In a few of my previous posts I have pointed out that sin is in effect, saying, we don’t believe God really loves us.  We sin, not when we lose faith in God’s power as much as when we lose faith in God’s love. This is clearly seen in Matthew 17. Jesus takes Peter, James and John to the mountain top to see the transfiguration. Meanwhile the other disciples are left behind. They felt left out because Jesus did not take them too. What they did not realize was, that Jesus had left them behind so that they cold minister to a boy harassed by an evil spirit. However, they were unable to deliver the boy of the evil spirit, and Jesus had to do it Himself when he got back. When asked why they could not do it, Jesus responded, “Because you have so little faith.” But their lack of faith was not in God’s power but in His love. They doubted God’s love for them when they were not privileged to go to the transfiguration. They did not realize that God did love them and left them behind so they could do something special for Him.

 

God has you right where you are today because He loves you and wants to do something special through you.

Other posts on this topic:

 

https://christianservant.wordpress.com/2010/08/08/victory-of-sin-what-is-sin-redemption-in-romans-lesson-7/

 

https://christianservant.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/matthew-4-faith-in-gods-love/

In Preperation For Communion

Lord's Super 011 - CopyA picture of the Lord’s Super, represenitng Jesus’ disciples all over the world. This picture is placed on the lobby wall of the Tampa First Seventh-day Adventist Church where I share the gospel in the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

In preparation for this coming Sabbath’s communion service, in our Tampa First group Bible study tonight we covered the chapter “In Remembrance of Me” in the classic biography on the life of Christ, The Desire of Ages. Those who are new to the faith as well as those who are seasoned members found this very inspiring and eye opening as we read and discussed this tonight. Everyone agreed it would be a blessing to share with the entire church in preparation for communion, so I have shared it below for your benefit. Please enjoy!

“In Remembrance of Me”

 

     “The Lord Jesus the same night in which He was betrayed took bread: and when He had given thanks, He brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is My body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of Me. After the same manner also He took the cup, when He had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in My blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of Me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.” 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.  {DA 652.1} 

     Christ was standing at the point of transition between two economies and their two great festivals. He, the spotless Lamb of God, was about to present Himself as a sin offering, that He would thus bring to an end the system of types and ceremonies that for four thousand years had pointed to His death. As He ate the Passover with His disciples, He instituted in its place the service that was to be the memorial of His great sacrifice. The national festival of the Jews was to pass away forever. The service which Christ established was to be observed by His followers in all lands and through all ages.  {DA 652.2} 

     The Passover was ordained as a commemoration of the deliverance of Israel from Egyptian bondage. God had directed that, year by year, as the children should ask the meaning of this ordinance, the history should be repeated. Thus the wonderful deliverance was to be kept fresh in the minds of all. The ordinance of the Lord’s Supper was given to commemorate the great deliverance wrought out as the result of the death of Christ. Till He shall come the second time in power and glory, this ordinance is to be celebrated. It is the means by which His great work for us is to be kept fresh in our minds.  {DA 652.3} 

     At the time of their deliverance from Egypt, the children of Israel ate the Passover supper standing, with their loins girded, and with their staves in their hands, ready for their journey. The manner in which they celebrated this ordinance harmonized with their condition; for they were about to be thrust out of the land of Egypt, and were to begin a painful and difficult journey through the wilderness. But in Christ’s time the condition of things had changed. They were not now about to be thrust out of a strange country, but were dwellers in their own land. In harmony with the rest that had been given them, the people then partook of the Passover supper in a reclining position. Couches were placed about the table, and the guests lay upon them, resting upon the left arm, and having the right hand free for use in eating. In this position a guest could lay his head upon the breast of the one who sat next above him. And the feet, being at the outer edge of the couch, could be washed by one passing around the outside of the circle.  {DA 653.1} 

     Christ is still at the table on which the paschal supper has been spread. The unleavened cakes used at the Passover season are before Him. The Passover wine, untouched by fermentation, is on the table. These emblems Christ employs to represent His own unblemished sacrifice. Nothing corrupted by fermentation, the symbol of sin and death, could represent the “Lamb without blemish and without spot.” 1 Peter 1:19.  {DA 653.2} 

     “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is My body. And He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.”  {DA 653.3} 

     Judas the betrayer was present at the sacramental service. He received from Jesus the emblems of His broken body and His spilled blood. He heard the words, “This do in remembrance of Me.” And sitting there in the very presence of the Lamb of God, the betrayer brooded upon his own dark purposes, and cherished his sullen, revengeful thoughts.  {DA 653.4} 

     At the feet washing, Christ had given convincing proof that He understood the character of Judas. “Ye are not all clean” (John 13:11), He said. These words convinced the false disciple that Christ read his secret purpose. Now Christ spoke out more plainly. As they were seated at the table He said, looking upon His disciples, “I speak not of you all: I know whom I have chosen: but that the scripture may be fulfilled, He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me.”  {DA 653.5} 

     Even now the disciples did not suspect Judas. But they saw that Christ appeared greatly troubled. A cloud settled over them all, a premonition of some dreadful calamity, the nature of which they did not understand. As they ate in silence, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, that one of you shall betray Me.” At these words amazement and consternation seized them. They could not comprehend how any one of them could deal treacherously with their divine Teacher. For what cause could they betray Him? and to whom? Whose heart could give birth to such a design? Surely not one of the favored twelve, who had been privileged above all others to hear His teachings, who had shared His wonderful love, and for whom He had shown such great regard by bringing them into close communion with Himself!  {DA 654.1} 

     As they realized the import of His words, and remembered how true His sayings were, fear and self-distrust seized them. They began to search their own hearts to see if one thought against their Master were harbored there. With the most painful emotion, one after another inquired, “Lord, is it I?” But Judas sat silent. John in deep distress at last inquired, “Lord, who is it?” And Jesus answered, “He that dippeth his hand with Me in the dish, the same shall betray Me. The Son of man goeth as it is written of Him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.” The disciples had searched one another’s faces closely as they asked, “Lord, is it I?” And now the silence of Judas drew all eyes to him. Amid the confusion of questions and expressions of astonishment, Judas had not heard the words of Jesus in answer to John’s question. But now, to escape the scrutiny of the disciples, he asked as they had done, “Master, is it I?” Jesus solemnly replied, “Thou hast said.”  {DA 654.2} 

     In surprise and confusion at the exposure of his purpose, Judas rose hastily to leave the room. “Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly. . . . He then having received the sop went immediately out: and it was night.” Night it was to the traitor as he turned away from Christ into the outer darkness.  {DA 654.3} 

     Until this step was taken, Judas had not passed beyond the possibility of repentance. But when he left the presence of his Lord and his fellow disciples, the final decision had been made. He had passed the boundary line.  {DA 654.4} 

     Wonderful had been the long-suffering of Jesus in His dealing with this tempted soul. Nothing that could be done to save Judas had been left undone. After he had twice covenanted to betray his Lord, Jesus still gave him opportunity for repentance. By reading the secret purpose of the traitor’s heart, Christ gave to Judas the final, convincing evidence of His divinity. This was to the false disciple the last call to repentance. No appeal that the divine-human heart of Christ could make had been spared. The waves of mercy, beaten back by stubborn pride, returned in a stronger tide of subduing love. But although surprised and alarmed at the discovery of his guilt, Judas became only the more determined. From the sacramental supper he went out to complete the work of betrayal.  {DA 655.1} 

     In pronouncing the woe upon Judas, Christ also had a purpose of mercy toward His disciples. He thus gave them the crowning evidence of His Messiahship. “I tell you before it come,” He said, “that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I AM.” Had Jesus remained silent, in apparent ignorance of what was to come upon Him, the disciples might have thought that their Master had not divine foresight, and had been surprised and betrayed into the hands of the murderous mob. A year before, Jesus had told the disciples that He had chosen twelve, and that one was a devil. Now His words to Judas, showing that his treachery was fully known to his Master, would strengthen the faith of Christ’s true followers during His humiliation. And when Judas should have come to his dreadful end, they would remember the woe that Jesus had pronounced upon the betrayer.  {DA 655.2} 

     And the Saviour had still another purpose. He had not withheld His ministry from him whom He knew to be a traitor. The disciples did not understand His words when He said at the feet washing, “Ye are not all clean,” nor yet when at the table He declared, “He that eateth bread with Me hath lifted up his heel against Me.” John 13:11, 18. But afterward, when His meaning was made plain, they had something to consider as to the patience and mercy of God toward the most grievously erring.  {DA 655.3} 

     Though Jesus knew Judas from the beginning, He washed his feet. And the betrayer was privileged to unite with Christ in partaking of the sacrament. A long-suffering Saviour held out every inducement for the sinner to receive Him, to repent, and to be cleansed from the defilement of sin. This example is for us. When we suppose one to be in error and sin, we are not to divorce ourselves from him. By no careless separation are we to leave him a prey to temptation, or drive him upon Satan’s battleground. This is not Christ’s method. It was because the disciples were erring and faulty that He washed their feet, and all but one of the twelve were thus brought to repentance.  {DA 655.4} 

     Christ’s example forbids exclusiveness at the Lord’s Supper. It is true that open sin excludes the guilty. This the Holy Spirit plainly teaches. 1 Corinthians 5:11. But beyond this none are to pass judgment. God has not left it with men to say who shall present themselves on these occasions. For who can read the heart? Who can distinguish the tares from the wheat? “Let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.” For “whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.” “He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body.” 1 Corinthians 11:28, 27, 29.  {DA 656.1} 

     When believers assemble to celebrate the ordinances, there are present messengers unseen by human eyes. There may be a Judas in the company, and if so, messengers from the prince of darkness are there, for they attend all who refuse to be controlled by the Holy Spirit. Heavenly angels also are present. These unseen visitants are present on every such occasion. There may come into the company persons who are not in heart servants of truth and holiness, but who may wish to take part in the service. They should not be forbidden. There are witnesses present who were present when Jesus washed the feet of the disciples and of Judas. More than human eyes beheld the scene.  {DA 656.2} 

     Christ by the Holy Spirit is there to set the seal to His own ordinance. He is there to convict and soften the heart. Not a look, not a thought of contrition, escapes His notice. For the repentant, brokenhearted one He is waiting. All things are ready for that soul’s reception. He who washed the feet of Judas longs to wash every heart from the stain of sin.  {DA 656.3} 

     None should exclude themselves from the Communion because some who are unworthy may be present. Every disciple is called upon to participate publicly, and thus bear witness that he accepts Christ as a personal Saviour. It is at these, His own appointments, that Christ meets His people, and energizes them by His presence. Hearts and hands that are unworthy may even administer the ordinance, yet Christ is there to minister to His children. All who come with their faith fixed upon Him will be greatly blessed. All who neglect these seasons of divine privilege will suffer loss. Of them it may appropriately be said, “Ye are not all clean.”  {DA 656.4} 

     In partaking with His disciples of the bread and wine, Christ pledged Himself to them as their Redeemer. He committed to them the new covenant, by which all who receive Him become children of God, and joint heirs with Christ. By this covenant every blessing that heaven could bestow for this life and the life to come was theirs. This covenant deed was to be ratified with the blood of Christ. And the administration of the Sacrament was to keep before the disciples the infinite sacrifice made for each of them individually as a part of the great whole of fallen humanity.  {DA 656.5} 

     But the Communion service was not to be a season of sorrowing. This was not its purpose. As the Lord’s disciples gather about His table, they are not to remember and lament their shortcomings. They are not to dwell upon their past religious experience, whether that experience has been elevating or depressing. They are not to recall the differences between them and their brethren. The preparatory service has embraced all this. The self-examination, the confession of sin, the reconciling of differences, has all been done. Now they come to meet with Christ. They are not to stand in the shadow of the cross, but in its saving light. They are to open the soul to the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness. With hearts cleansed by Christ’s most precious blood, in full consciousness of His presence, although unseen, they are to hear His words, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you.” John 14:27.  {DA 659.1} 

     Our Lord says, Under conviction of sin, remember that I died for you. When oppressed and persecuted and afflicted for My sake and the gospel’s, remember My love, so great that for you I gave My life. When your duties appear stern and severe, and your burdens too heavy to bear, remember that for your sake I endured the cross, despising the shame. When your heart shrinks from the trying ordeal, remember that your Redeemer liveth to make intercession for you.  {DA 659.2} 

     The Communion service points to Christ’s second coming. It was designed to keep this hope vivid in the minds of the disciples. Whenever they met together to commemorate His death, they recounted how “He took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; for this is My blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.” In their tribulation they found comfort in the hope of their Lord’s return. Unspeakably precious to them was the thought, “As often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord’s death till He come.” 1 Corinthians 11:26.  {DA 659.3} 

     These are the things we are never to forget. The love of Jesus, with its constraining power, is to be kept fresh in our memory. Christ has instituted this service that it may speak to our senses of the love of God that has been expressed in our behalf. There can be no union between our souls and God except through Christ. The union and love between brother and brother must be cemented and rendered eternal by the love of Jesus. And nothing less than the death of Christ could make His love efficacious for us. It is only because of His death that we can look with joy to His second coming. His sacrifice is the center of our hope. Upon this we must fix our faith.  {DA 660.1}

     The ordinances that point to our Lord’s humiliation and suffering are regarded too much as a form. They were instituted for a purpose. Our senses need to be quickened to lay hold of the mystery of godliness. It is the privilege of all to comprehend, far more than we do, the expiatory sufferings of Christ. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness,” even so has the Son of man been lifted up, “that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:14, 15. To the cross of Calvary, bearing a dying Saviour, we must look. Our eternal interests demand that we show faith in Christ.  {DA 660.2} 

     Our Lord has said, “Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. . . . For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed.” John 6:53-55. This is true of our physical nature. To the death of Christ we owe even this earthly life. The bread we eat is the purchase of His broken body. The water we drink is bought by His spilled blood. Never one, saint or sinner, eats his daily food, but he is nourished by the body and the blood of Christ. The cross of Calvary is stamped on every loaf. It is reflected in every water spring. All this Christ has taught in appointing the emblems of His great sacrifice. The light shining from that Communion service in the upper chamber makes sacred the provisions for our daily life. The family board becomes as the table of the Lord, and every meal a sacrament.  {DA 660.3} 

     And how much more are Christ’s words true of our spiritual nature. He declares, “Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood, hath eternal life.” It is by receiving the life for us poured out on Calvary’s cross, that we can live the life of holiness. And this life we receive by receiving His word, by doing those things which He has commanded. Thus we become one with Him. “He that eateth My flesh,” He says, “and drinketh My blood, dwelleth in Me, and I in him. As the living

Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.” John 6:54, 56, 57. To the holy Communion this scripture in a special sense applies. As faith contemplates our Lord’s great sacrifice, the soul assimilates the spiritual life of Christ. That soul will receive spiritual strength from every Communion. The service forms a living connection by which the believer is bound up with Christ, and thus bound up with the Father. In a special sense it forms a connection between dependent human beings and God.  {DA 660.4} 

     As we receive the bread and wine symbolizing Christ’s broken body and spilled blood, we in imagination join in the scene of Communion in the upper chamber. We seem to be passing through the garden consecrated by the agony of Him who bore the sins of the world. We witness the struggle by which our reconciliation with God was obtained. Christ is set forth crucified among us.  {DA 661.1} 

     Looking upon the crucified Redeemer, we more fully comprehend the magnitude and meaning of the sacrifice made by the Majesty of heaven. The plan of salvation is glorified before us, and the thought of Calvary awakens living and sacred emotions in our hearts. Praise to God and the Lamb will be in our hearts and on our lips; for pride and self-worship cannot flourish in the soul that keeps fresh in memory the scenes of Calvary.  {DA 661.2} 

     He who beholds the Saviour’s matchless love will be elevated in thought, purified in heart, transformed in character. He will go forth to be a light to the world, to reflect in some degree this mysterious love. The more we contemplate the cross of Christ, the more fully shall we adopt the language of the apostle when he said, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galatians 6:14.  {DA 661.3} 

Thoughts on Loved and Loving: John’s Epistles Lessons 11 and 12

Tampa 001

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Friday’s section of this week’s SS Lesson asks the question, “What do you do with the question of “calling sin by its right name”? How can we deal with wayward members without being judgmental or condemnatory? At the same time, are we not shirking our Christian duty if we don’t confront brothers or sisters in the church who are doing wrong? How do we deal with this difficult subject?”

 The word of God says, “Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and show my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.” Isaiah 58:1 However please notice He says show my people their transgression and the house of Jacob their sins. God is not telling us to rebuke those who don’t know better, but those who are in the church, who have a knowledge of the truth. For example, in Exodus 25 and 1 Chronicles 15 we see that only the priests were to carry the ark and that it was to be carried on the poles. When the philistines raided the temple they took the ark back to their own temple. One of the funniest things I have read in the Bible is when their god Dagon kept falling over in front of the ark. Well the philistines decide they don’t want the ark and that they should send it back. How did they do it? Not at all like God had instructed. They handled it and put it on a cart drawn by oxen and sent it back. None of the philistines received any harm even though they did not follow God’s plan in moving the ark. They did not know any better. Years later though David is moving the ark and instead of moving it the way God had said he put in on a cart of oxen like the philistines had done. Uzza touches the ark and is struck dead. Why? Uzza knew better! David gets mad at God when he really should have been mad at himself, because if David had moved the ark the way God had said no harm would have come to Uzza, but no, David did not want to pattern himself after God on this but after the world instead. So God does not reprove those who don’t know better but he does require obedience from those who do. See 1 Chronicles 13

 It is not our mission to tell the world all that they are doing wrong. It is our mission to tell them about a God who loves them. As they form a relationship with Jesus we can teach them here and there as it becomes appropriate more and more about God’s love and His truth. (Isaiah 28:10, Matthew 28:19-20)

 A wise pastor told me a long time ago we are to be conservative towards ourselves and liberal towards others. We can show our wayward brother his error by just living a Christian life! Also I have found that when you pray God will open doors and actually have these “wayward” people ask you what is right and wrong. Wait for God to create opportunities instead of making them ourselves. Jesus says in John 5:17, “My Father worketh hitherto, and I work.” Jesus is saying He works where He sees His Father working and where His Father is creating opportunities to share the truth. Jesus shared the truth only when He knew it could be understood and appreciated. Often times He rebuked people not with His words but with His life which is a much more gentle and valid rebuke than words.

Sure He often rebuked with His words, but please read this from The Desire of Ages, P. 353    “Behold,” said Jesus, “I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.” Christ Himself did not suppress one word of truth, but He spoke it always in love. He exercised the greatest tact, and thoughtful, kind attention in His intercourse with the people. He was never rude, never needlessly spoke a severe word, never gave needless pain to a sensitive soul. He did not censure human weakness. He fearlessly denounced hypocrisy, unbelief, and iniquity, but tears were in His voice as He uttered His scathing rebukes. He wept over Jerusalem, the city He loved, that refused to receive Him, the Way, the Truth, and the Life. They rejected Him, the Saviour, but He regarded them with pitying tenderness, and sorrow so deep that it broke His heart. Every soul was precious in His eyes. While He always bore Himself with divine dignity, He bowed with tenderest regard to every member of the family of God. In all men He saw fallen souls whom it was His mission to save.  

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