1. HELPING THOSE AROUND US
a. For which groups of people are we to have a special care? Galatians 6:10. Why? Matthew 12:50.
“I saw that it is in the providence of God that widows and orphans, the blind, the deaf, the lame, and persons afflicted in a variety of ways have been placed in close Christian relationship to His church; it is to prove His people and develop their true character. Angels of God are watching to see how we treat these persons who need our sympathy, love, and disinterested benevolence. This is God’s test of our character. If we have the true religion of the Bible, we shall feel that a debt of love, kindness, and interest is due to Christ in behalf of His brethren; and we can do no less than to show our gratitude for His immeasurable love to us while we were sinners unworthy of His grace, by having a deep interest and unselfish love for those who are our brethren and who are less fortunate than ourselves.”—Testimonies, vol. 3, p. 511.
b. If we have pure religion, what duty will we fulfill? James 1:27; Mark 14:7.
“Wherever there is human need and suffering, there is a field for missionary work.”—Welfare Ministry, p. 35.
2. CULTIVATING BROTHERLY LOVE
a. How was the love of God shown toward us? Under what obligation does this love place us? 1 John 4:9, 11; John 3:16.
“When the sinner sees his Saviour dying upon the cross under the curse of sin in his stead, beholding His pardoning love, love awakes in his heart. The sinner loves Christ, because Christ has first loved him.”—Selected Messages, bk1, p. 374.
“Christ abiding in the soul will not quarrel with Christ in another soul. We must learn to bear with the peculiarities of those around us. If our will is under the control of Christ’s will, how can we be at variance with our brethren? If we are at variance, we may know that it is because self needs to be crucified. He whom Christ makes free is free indeed. We are not complete in Christ unless we love one another as Christ has loved us. When we do this, as Christ has given us commandment, we shall give evidence that we are complete in Him.”—This Day With God, p. 262.
b. What relationship must we have with God before we can love our brethren and sisters? 1 John 4:7, 12.
“All who have been born into the heavenly family are in a special sense the brethren of our Lord. The love of Christ binds together the members of His family, and wherever that love is made manifest there the divine relationship is revealed.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 638.
“Our duty is to live in the atmosphere of Christ’s love, to breathe His love deeply, and to reflect its warmth around us.”—Our High Calling, p. 175.
c. How are we to love one another? 1 Peter 1:22, 23.
“God alone can lead you to so recognize His mercy, love, and forbearance that you will have the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. This is the gift of God.”—Lift Him Up, p. 252.
“We need to cherish love in our hearts. We should not be ready to think evil of our brethren. We must put the least construction on what they do or what they say. We must be Bible Christians.”—This Day With God, p. 83.
3. GROWING IN OUR OWN EXPERIENCE
a. What choice can you and I make in order to grow in our Christian experience? Ephesians 4:21–24.
“Conversion is a work that most do not appreciate. It is not a small matter to transform an earthly, sin-loving mind and bring it to understand the unspeakable love of Christ, the charms of His grace, and the excellency of God, so that the soul shall be imbued with divine love and captivated with the heavenly mysteries. When he understands these things, his former life appears disgusting and hateful. He hates sin, and, breaking his heart before God, he embraces Christ as the life and joy of the soul. He renounces his former pleasures. He has a new mind, new affections, new interest, new will; his sorrows, and desires, and love are all new. . . . The Word of God, which was dull and uninteresting, is now chosen as his study, the man of his counsel. It is as a letter written to him from God, bearing the inscription of the Eternal. His thoughts, his words, and his deeds are brought to this rule and tested. He trembles at the commands and threatenings which it contains, while he firmly grasps its promises and strengthens his soul by appropriating them to himself.”—The Faith I Live By, p. 139.
b. In which ways are we to grow spiritually? 2 Peter 3:18.
“The Christian is to gain strength by strengthening others. ‘He that watereth shall be watered also himself.’ This is not merely a promise; it is a divine law, a law by which God designs that the streams of benevolence, like the waters of the great deep, shall be kept in constant circulation, continually flowing back to their source. In the fulfilling of this law is the secret of spiritual growth. . . .
“How is it possible that we may grow in grace? It is possible to us only as we empty our hearts of self, and present them to Heaven, to be molded after the divine Pattern. . . . As we appropriate the blessing of God, we shall be able to receive greater measures of His grace.”—The SDA Bible Commentary [E. G. White Comments], vol. 7, p. 947.
“We may know more and more of Jesus through an interested searching of the Scriptures, and then following the ways of truth and righteousness therein revealed. Those who are ever growing in grace will be steadfast in the faith, and moving forward.”—Messages to Young People, p. 121.
4. DEALING WITH THE ERRING
a. In our interactions with our brothers and sisters, what should we remember? Luke 21:19; John 15:12.
“Give love to them that need it most. The most unfortunate, those who have the most disagreeable temperaments need our love, our tenderness, our compassion. Those who try our patience need most love.”—Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 281.
“We need not begin by trying to love one another. The love of Christ in the heart is what is needed. When self is submerged in Christ, true love springs forth spontaneously.”—Gospel Workers, p. 497.
“There is need of showing Christlike patience and love for the erring one, but there is also danger of showing so great toleration for his error that he will look upon himself as undeserving of reproof, and will reject it as uncalled for and unjust.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 504.
“You should help those who stand most in need of help, those who are less favorably situated, who are erring and faulty, and who may have injured you and tried your patience to the utmost. It is just such ones that Jesus pities, because Satan has more power over them and is constantly taking advantage of their weak points and driving his arrows to wound them where they are least protected.”—Testimonies, vol. 2, p. 75.
b. If a brother offends someone and we hear about it, what is the first step we should take? Matthew 18:15; Leviticus 19:16.
“Do not listen to reports against a brother or a sister. . . . Ask the one who brings the accusation if he has obeyed the word of God in regard to this matter. Christ has left explicit directions as to what should be done. Go to your brother and tell him his fault between him and you alone. . . .
“Whether or not the grievance is between you and the one accused, the injunction of Christ is the same. Your brother needs help. Tell him, not someone else, that reports are being circulated about him. Give him opportunity to explain. It is possible that the reports are false and that the difficulties may be adjusted by some simple explanation. This treatment is due everyone supposed to be in error.”—In Heavenly Places, p. 292.
5. PROMOTING RESTORATION
a. What attitude should we have toward those in error? What should be our aim? Galatians 6:1, 2; 1 Peter 4:8; Titus 3:2.
“Bear in mind that the work of restoring is to be our burden. This work is not to be done in a proud, officious, masterly way. . . .
“He who ignores the grave necessities of his brother will in the providence of God be brought over the same ground that his brother has traveled in trial and sorrow, and by a bitter experience it will be proved to him that he is as helpless and needy as was the suffering one whom he repulsed.”—Testimonies, vol. 6, pp. 398, 399.
b. What often hinders the restoration of the erring? Proverbs 11:13; 18:8.
“Gossip, and tale-bearing, and revealing of secrets, and dissecting of character, separate the soul from God. It is death to spirituality and a calm religious influence. . . .
“Christians should be careful in regard to their words. They should never carry unfavorable reports from one of their friends to another, especially if they are aware that there is a lack of union between them. It is cruel to hint and insinuate, as though you knew a great deal in regard to this friend or that acquaintance of which others are ignorant. Such hints go further, and create more unfavorable impressions, than to frankly relate the facts in an unexaggerated manner. What harm has not the church of Christ suffered from these things!”—Ibid., vol. 2, pp. 185, 186.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How will we show that we practice true Bible religion?
2. How do Bible Christians treat their brothers and sisters in the faith?
3. How can we become stronger Christians?
4. How can we love one another? To whom especially should we show love?
5. If we refuse to help in the restoration of our erring brother or sister, what will happen to us?