Christian Fellowship – Hymns of Dawn No. 23

Christian Fellowship – Hymns of Dawn No. 23

“(1) Come, let us shout joyfully to Jehovah! Let us shout in triumph to our Rock of salvation. (2) Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; Let us sing and shout in triumph to him” (Psalm 95:1,2).

“My mouth shall praise Thee with joyful lips” (Psalm 63:5).

Here is a recording of Hymn No. 23 from the “Hymns of Dawn” to aid God’s people in singing and making melody in their hearts unto God.

Lyrics

1.
Blest be the tie that binds
Our hearts in Christian love;
The fellowship of kindred minds
Is like to that above.

2.
Blest are the sons of peace,
Whose hearts and hopes are one,
Whose kind designs to serve and please
Thro’ all their actions run.

3.
Before our Father’s throne,
We pour our ardent prayers;
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one,
Our comforts and our cares.

4.
We share our mutual woes;
Our mutual burdens bear;
And often for each other flows
The sympathizing tear.

5.
When we asunder part,
O may this mutual love
Encourage ev’ry fainting heart,
His zeal and faith to prove.

6.
Our glorious hope revives
Our courage ev’ry day,
While each in expectation strives
To run the heav’nly way.

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Bible Scriptures Associated With This Hymn

Acts 2:42 (NASB) — “They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”

Romans 14:19 — “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.”

1 Corinthians 12:20-27 (NRSV) — “(20) As it is, there are many members, yet one body. (21) The eye cannot say to the hand, ‘I have no need of you,’ nor again the head to the feet, ‘I have no need of you.’ (22) On the contrary, the members of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, (23) and those members of the body that we think less honorable we clothe with greater honor, and our less respectable members are treated with greater respect; (24) whereas our more respectable members do not need this. But God has so arranged the body, giving the greater honor to the inferior member, (25) that there may be no dissension within the body, but the members may have the same care for one another. (26) If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it. (27) Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-8, 13 (NRSV) (4) Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant (5) or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; (6) it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. (7) It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (8) Love never ends. (13) And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.

Galatians 3:28 — “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 1:27 (NASB) — “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”

Philippians 2:1-8 (NASB) —(1) Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion,(2) make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. (3) Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (4) do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. (5) Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, (6) who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, (7) but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. (8) Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”

Ephesians 4:3 (Amplified) — “Be eager and strive earnestly to guard and keep the harmony and oneness of [and produced by] the Spirit in the binding power of peace.”

Hebrews 10:24-25 (NASB) — (24) and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, (25) not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.

1 John 1:3, 7 (KJV) — “(3) That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

1 Peter 3:8 (Amplified) — “Finally, all [of you] should be of one and the same mind (united in spirit), sympathizing [with one another], loving [each other] as brethren [of one household], compassionate and courteous (tenderhearted and humble).”

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The History Of This Hymn

Author John Fawcett (1740-1817) is attributed for writing the original lyrics for “Blest Be The Tie That Binds” which in the “Hymns of Dawn” constitute Verses 1, 3 and 4 of hymn no. 23, “Christian Fellowship.”

John Fawcett was a British-born Baptist theologian, pastor and hymn writer (Wikipedia). “In 1772 he was invited to London, to succeed the celebrated Dr. J. Gill, as pastor of Carter’s Lane; the invitation had been formally accepted, the farewell sermon at Wainsgate had been preached and the wagons loaded with his goods for removal, when the love and tears of his attached people prevailed and he decided to remain” (https://hymnary.org/person/Fawcett_John1740).

Composer — Lowell Mason (1792-1872, who is considered “the father of American church music”) arranged this hymn’s tune titled “DENNIS” which he first publishing in The Psaltery in 1845 (a hymnal he compiled with George Webb). Mason attributed the tune to Johann G. Nageli (Switzerland, 1773-1836) but included no source reference (https://hymnary.org/tune/dennis_nageli).

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The words below are based on content of Reprint No. 647 as documented on the Harvest Truth Data Base: http://www.htdb.one

CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP

“If we walk in the light as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son, cleanseth us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

True fellowship implies love, sympathy, a mutual sharing of good or ill, common principles, common interests, and a common aim. It may exist between parties on equal footing, or between those whose conditions are widely different. Where the latter is the case, benevolence [kindness, goodness, compassion, thoughtfulness, decency, charity] on the part of the superior is shown in acts of favor and blessing, and on the part of the inferior, in gratitude and such returns in action as are possible.

Than such fellowship there is nothing more desirable and more helpful to the saints in the narrow and difficult way they are called to tread. But while we should ever seek and cultivate such fellowship, we need to be very careful to see that our fellowship one with another, is based upon correct principles, else that which was designed as a blessing, will be found to our great disadvantage.

Realizing this, the Apostle Paul admonishes us, saying: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers, for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness…or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?” (2 Cor. 6:14,15.) “How can two walk together except they be agreed?” It is impossible. Let us see to it, then, that our fellowship is based upon the sure foundation referred to in this text—the blood of Jesus Christ that cleanseth us from all sin—and that our rejoicing and communion be of the increasing light as we walk together.

And this great blessing, the Apostle John tells us, it is our privilege to have. He says we may have fellowship with our Father, and with his Son, and also with other saints who are walking in the light—the truth.

“This then,” says John, “is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all.” The truth is all clear and plain in God’s sight, and he, by his Spirit, through his Word, will lead all of his children into light (truth) in its due season, if they are in actual fellowship with him. John states this very emphatically, saying, “If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not [practice] the truth” (Ver. 6.) …

God speaks to his children through his Word, and he is acquainted with all our circumstances and hears our prayers, but it is a great mistake to imagine that we have communion and fellowship with God, when we only speak to him in prayer, and never examine the Word to hear him speak to us. We may speak and then listen, but we need to hear much more than we say. Thus we have communion, interchange of thought, fellowship. None can thus commune with God without becoming acquainted in some measure with his truth, and if they are in harmony and fellowship with him, his plans and purposes will become theirs. If they do not desire to obey the truth, they will deceive themselves in an endeavor to disbelieve it, and to substitute something else in its place. And while doing this many hold to the form of sound words while denying their import.

But if as children of the light we walk in the light, not only shall we have fellowship with our Father and our Lord, but we shall also have fellowship with other saints who are walking in the same narrow way.

R. W.

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The words below are based on content of Reprint No. 1278 as documented on the Harvest Truth Data Base: www.htdb.one

This one page article from the Reprints of the original “Zion’s Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Presence” is something that “appeared on the inside front cover of each issue during 1891.”

WE CONTEND EARNESTLY FOR THE FAITH

—ONCE DELIVERED TO THE SAINTS.—

“We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men—specially [or most fully and everlastingly] of those that believe.”1 Tim. 4:10.

“To us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”1 Cor. 8:6.

All we are brethren, and one is our Master, even Christ. (Matt. 23:8.) Our Master declares: “If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love, even as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.” “And this is his commandment, that we love one another.”

WE SEEK TO WALK

Worthy of the vocation wherewith we are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to preserve the unity of the spirit [oneness of mind] in the bond of peace. There is ONE BODY [Church], with ONE SPIRIT [one sentiment or disposition], even as we are called in ONE HOPE of our calling; ONE LORD, ONE FAITH, ONE BAPTISM, ONE GOD AND FATHER OF ALL, who is above all and through all and in us all.—Eph. 4:1-6.

THE ONE BODY—is “the Church of the living God, the pillar and support of the truth;” “the Church of the first-born” “whose names are written in heaven;” the “little flock,” to whom it is the Father’s good pleasure to give the Kingdom; the members in particular of the body of Christ; prospectively, Christ’s Bride and joint-heir; the “Seed of Abraham,” of which our Lord Jesus is Head. Since Pentecost this Church of Christ has been in process of selection from among justified believers, or the general “household of faith;” and its members, when complete and glorified, unitedly shall inherit the Abrahamic promise and bless all the families of the earth.—Gal. 3:16,29.

THE ONE SPIRIT—is the spirit of the Truth, the spirit of God, the spirit of adoption as sons of God, which actuates and governs all who are of the ONE BODY, in vital union with the one Head, Christ Jesus. It is the spirit of holiness, and chief among its fruits is Love.

THE ONE HOPE—which inspires all the members of the one body of Christ, who have the one spirit of the Truth, is the hope set before us in the gospel,” and not hopes suggested from our own or other men’s imaginations or conjectures. The one hope is a “good hope” (2 Thes. 2:16), a hope of eternal life by a resurrection. (Titus 3:7.) The ground of this hope is found in Jehovah’s promises, confirmed unto us by the death of our Lord Jesus as the ransom price for our sins, and by his resurrection from the dead for our justification.—1 Pet. 1:3; Acts 17:31.

THE ONE LORD—is the Head or Chief of the one body—his Church possessing the spirit of the Truth and actuated by the one hope of becoming his Bride and joint-heir. He and his Father are one, even as he and his church are one. (John 17:11.) He is the Redeemer of his church as well as her Lord, Exemplar and Master. And he is the Redeemer also of the whole world, and by virtue of that office he is to be the world’s Deliverer from Adamic sin and death. He it is who in all things has the pre-eminence in Jehovah’s plan and work. He was not only “the beginning of the creation of God,” “the first-born of every creature,” but more: he was the “beginning and the ending,” he was the “Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last,” of Jehovah’s direct creation; for all other “things were made by him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.” (Col. 1:15,18; Rev. 3:14; 1:8; 21:6; 22:13; John 1:3.) He it is who, to carry out the Father’s gracious plan, willingly left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was created, and became a man—a little lower than the angels—that he might, as a man, present himself in sacrifice for the sins of man. Thus we behold him as the “Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom FOR ALL.” (1 Tim. 2:5,6.) By his willing sacrifice of himself for men he bought Adam and the entire race condemned through his fall, and became Lord of all—not only of the living, but also of the dead, with full power and authority to awaken and restore to all that was lost whosoever accepts of the New Covenant of divine favor which, by his death, he sealed and made effective to all. But our Lord is no longer in the flesh, no longer a human being. He has finished the work of ransoming us, for which the taking of the flesh was needful. He was indeed put to death in the flesh, but was quickened [made alive] in the spirit. “Though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth we know him [so] no more.” As he was begotten of the spirit at his baptism, so he was born of the spirit at his resurrection; and “that which is born of the spirit is spirit.” “Now the Lord is that spirit.” (1 Pet. 3:18; 2 Cor. 5:16; John 3:6; 2 Cor. 3:17.) Because he showed his obedience to the Father, and his confidence, in that he humbled himself to become a man and tasted death for every man, therefore God highly exalted him—far above manhood, far above the angelic nature; even far above his own glorious previous station, and gave him a name [title] above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess, to the glory of God the Father. He made him partaker of the divine nature and honor, “that all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father.” “He is Lord of all.”Phil. 2:8-11; John 5:22,23,26; Acts 10:36.

THE ONE FAITH—is that we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, who died for our sins, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God; by whom we have accepted the at-one-ment with God, offered unto us. Wherefore, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; being cleansed by his blood [sacrifice], we are brought nigh to God and are no longer strangers and foreigners, but children and heirs of his favors, prepared for those who love him when brought nigh through the precious blood. Through this faith we grasp the exceeding great and precious promises of God as rapidly as we see them, and gladly appropriate them to ourselves. Faith anchors our hearts securely to the precious things of the future, though unseen as yet except to the eye of faith. Faith is the power of God to every one that believeth.

THE ONE BAPTISM—Those of the one BODY and one HOPE, joined to the one LORD, possessing the one FAITH, are all baptized or immersed into Jesus Christ. (Rom. 6:3.) As individuals they have reckonedly ceased to exist: henceforth, for them to live is for Christ to live. With their wills buried or immersed into the will of Christ, they thenceforth live, not unto themselves, but unto him that bought them with his own precious blood. Their own wills are dead, and henceforth they recognize only the will of the one Lord, the Head of the body, which is his church, whose names are written in heaven. Justified believers attain membership in this Church of Christ through this burial or immersion of their hearts, their wills, into the will of Christ. And as the Apostle further declares, this immersion of our wills (ourselves) into Christ is acceptable only when it is an immersion even unto death—an entire, a complete immersion forever. “Know ye not that so many of us as were immersed into Jesus Christ were immersed into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by immersion into death; that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we also [from the time of our consecration, the immersion of our wills into that of the one Lord,] should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be [sharers] also in the likeness of his resurrectionthe first resurrection, to be with him and like him, partakers of the divine nature. (Rom. 6:3-5; Phil. 3:10,11.) This is the only real baptism, of which immersion in water is only the beautiful and appropriate symbol.

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Acknowledgment & References

Br. Charles Russell—the founder of the Bible Students movement, who is the compiler of “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” which was published in Allegheny, Pa., in 1890. This Bible Students’ devotional originally contained a total of 151 poems and 333 hymns.

POEMS-AND-HYMNS-OF-MILLENNIAL-DAWN

The following prefatory to the 1905 publication of Hymns of Millennial Dawn may be of historical interest to many of our readers.

We published in 1890, with several more recent editions, a volume entitled “Poems and Hymns of Millennial Dawn” without music. The same collection of hymns with the music is now urgently needed, and therefore appears in this volume. The poems, although highly prized, are omitted for greater convenience in size. We have preserved the same alphabetical order, because so many of our readers have the older book; and where a different tune is given from that originally suggested the latter is indicated by Alt. for alternative tune, with the number where that tune can be found.

Both words and music are credited to the same class to whom the work is dedicated-to the Lord and His faithful people, “the Saints.” The authors of many of the best of them are unknown to us, and, besides, slight changes have been made in the phraseology and sentiment of quite a number, which we could not be sure their original authors would approve, and to give personal credit to less than one half would seem invidious. To all of these dear “Saints” of all ages we therefore give united and hearty thanks for the blessings which they, as the Lord’s servants and handmaidens, have bestowed upon their fellow-members of “the Church of the Firstborn, whose names are written in Heaven.” Most of them died long ago: their abundant reward will be of the Lord in the resurrection.

That the collection is thoroughly undenominational, unsectarian, will be manifest to those recognizing the fact that it includes the choicest old hymns and tunes used by all denominations.

Although we have gathered far and near and winnowed carefully we cannot hope to have gotten all the golden grains, though we do hope that no chaff can be found. The collection is for the Church, for “believers” “reconciled,” and hence contains none of the “sinners” hymns, such as “Come, ye sinners poor and needy,” because willful sinners are in no sense members of the “Body” of Christ, nor are those who have not yet accepted the Lord as their Savior.

Those who will feel the deepest interest in this collection, and whose sentiments will be most fully voiced in its verses, will undoubtedly be those in fullest degree of sympathy with the divine plan of the ages, as set forth in the several volumes of Millennial Dawn – the eyes of whose understanding have been opened to the clearer, purer light now shining from our great Redeemer’s cross, showing the fulness and the completeness of his salvation.

In fact, this volume, while not numbered as one of the volumes of the Millennial Dawn series, is designed to be a companion volume, a melodious accompaniment to the “new song,” “the song of Moses and the Lamb” (the grand harmony of the Law and the Gospel), as presented in the regular Dawn series.

Let the music of God’s good and great plan ring through your hearts and lives, dear fellow-pilgrims and fellow members of the “royal priesthood,” so that every day and every hour shall be filled with joy and praise and thankfulness! And that this little volume may assist in deepening the work of grace in your hearts is our hope and prayer.

– Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, July, 1905, Allegheny, PA, USA


Later on, the hymns from this book formed a basis for the hymnal titled “Hymns of Dawn” which was published by the Dawn Bible Students Association in East Rutherford, New Jersey (USA) and the 1999 edition contains a total of 361 hymns.

Hymns of Dawn.jpg

 

Suggested Further Reading

Making Peace by Br. Rick Suraci.
http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2018C.pdf

Doing and Saying the Kindest Thing in the Kindest Way
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/18/doing-and-saying-the-kindest-thing-in-the-kindest-way/

Hebrews 10:25 — Not Forsaking The Assembling Of Ourselves Together
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/06/26/hebrews-1025/

John 13:14-15 — “Washing One Another’s Feet — A Privilege.”
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/03/27/washing-one-anothers-feet-a-privilege/

What Does It Mean To Be Baptized Into Christ?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/07/09/what-does-it-mean-to-be-baptized-into-christ/

Are You In the Little Flock?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/03/are-you-in-the-little-flock/

How Is Your Zeal?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/10/06/how-is-your-zeal/

Who We Are. BIBLE Students DAILY
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/who-we-are/

OUR BELIEFS — What Does The Bible Teach Us?
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/category/beliefs/

 

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1 THESSALONIANS 5:18 – Give Thanks In All Circumstances

love.jpg

Thankfulness for the Heavenly Father’s limitless love and mercy aids in the growth in grace and develop “the fruits” of God’s character — “(22) love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, (23) gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Some one has suggested that these fruits of the spirit of God might be defined as the following:

  1. Joy — is Love exultant;
  2. Peace — is Love in repose;
  3. Longsuffering — is Love enduring;
  4. Gentleness — is Love in society;
  5. Goodness — is Love in action;
  6. Faithfulness — is Love on the battlefield of life.
  7. Meekness — is Love in resignation.
  8. Temperance — is Love in training.

[See “Studies in the Scriptures” Volume 6, page 186.]

Praising God for Your Current Situation

“Since as Christians we have learned that it is our privilege to be always rejoicing — to rejoice evermore and in everything give thanks — we need not, like the world, wait for special manifestations of Divine favor to call forth our praise, our homage of heart and our grateful obedience to the Lord. Rather, learning that Divine providence is in all of our affairs, ready to shape them for our good, we may rejoice ‘whatever lot we see, since ’tis God’s hand that leadeth us.’ Someone has well said: ‘If we are not ready to praise God where we are, and with our conditions and circumstances as they are, we should not be likely to praise Him if we were differently circumstanced and our conditions just that which now seems to us most desirable. Daniel could sleep better in the den of lions than Darius in the royal palace; he who could not find rest in a lion’s den, when that was the place for him, could not gain rest by a mere removal to a palace’ ” (“From Philippi To Athens,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Aug. 1921).

It is our own self which must be changed, not our circumstances or our possessions, in order to for us to have a heart that overflows with joy and praise.

How do you change self? 

(1) ASK God for help —

James 1:5 says: “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Before reading any further, please take a moment now, to pray to the Heavenly Father through Christ, asking for God’s Divine help in your matter … concerning your current situation — asking for God’s help to be pleasing to Him, thankful for your current circumstances as ALL THINGS are WORKING OUT FOR YOUR GOOD according to Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

(2) APPLY EFFORT

Attaining a crown of glory is dependent upon our progress in Christ. Effort is required, as indicated in the following Scriptures:

  • “(13) Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13,14).
  • “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Corinthians 9:27).
  • “Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;” (Colossians 1:11).

What Should We Be Thankful For?

For a start, we have an eternal gratefulness for being blessed with the richest favors of divine grace in that knowledge of Divine Truth which reveals to us the high privilege of becoming sons and heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ to an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and that does not fade away, and which is reserved in heaven for the called and chosen and faithful according to God’s purpose.

God’s favour toward us revealed to us the hope of everlasting life, as justified, human sons of God and, we understand we have access to full restitution to the divine favor and likeness, as was at first possessed by our father Adam.

And how great was our joy when first, by faith, we claimed this precious promise for ourselves and realized that legally, through merit of the precious blood of Christ shed for our redemption, we had passed from death unto life, and that in God’s appointed time the everlasting treasure with all its attendant glory and blessing would actually be ours! But! Beyond even this, are the “exceeding great and precious promises” to those of this justified class who have been called, according to God’s purpose, to become the bride and joint-heir of his dear Son!

What a grand aspiration to attain to, that is still available to all who seek to know and please our Divine Father in every single aspect of their existence — who are seeking to fill up their void of loneliness and pain and despair with that peace of God which surpasses all understanding found from finding the best vocation in the world — offering their lives as living sacrifice unto God, and walking as Christ did, being trained to become empathetic priests of God to uplift mankind during the Millennium! To be the “spot lights” which magnify and illuminate God’s love, justice, wisdom and power is truly even now, the most joyful moments of this carnality!

What a perfect goal to aim for!

Then, in addition to all these blessings of hope and promise, we had the blessed realization during all the year, and with some of us for many years past, that though we walk through the valley of the shadow of death, as the Psalmist aptly represents the present life, our blessed Shepherd’s rod and staff have been our comfort and our safeguard.

How often has the friendly crook of the Shepherd’s staff protected us from wandering off into by paths and kept us in the narrow way; how his chastening rod has from time to time aroused us from dreamy lethargy and urged us on our way. And at such times we have recalled the comforting words:

“My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons.” (Hebrews 12:5-8)

“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies” (Psalm 23:5). Spiritually, we have feasted on the bounties of divine favor; while in things temporal, under whatsoever circumstances we have been placed, having the assurance that all things work together for good to them that love God, we have realized that Godliness with contentment is great gain, having promise of the life that now is (so long as God wills us to remain here), and also of that which is to come.

Let us give Jehovah not only the praise of our lips, but also the incense of truly consecrated lives, throughout the year upon which we are just entering.

Dearly beloved!

With the start of this New Year, let us consecrate ourselves anew to the Lord in the sense of re-affirming and emphasizing that covenant. Tell our dear Lord that it is still our purpose to keep our ALL upon the Altar of Sacrifice during 2018 and until it is wholly consumed in His service. Then, let us proceed with studious care from day to day to pay these, our vows of Full Consecration, unto the Most High.

As we look back and with sorrow view the imperfections of even our best efforts, and then forward and see the lion-like difficulties that seem to obstruct our onward course, we will need greatly to reinforce our waning Courage with the special promises of Divine Grace to help in every time of need. We have the blessed assurance that the Lord will give strength unto his people(Psalm 29:11). “And call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (Psalm 50:15).

As soldiers under our great Captain, we have enlisted in no uncertain struggle, except our own faint-heartedness or unfaithfulness should make it so. We are fully supplied with the whole armor of God, and will be amply protected against all the fiery darts of the adversary if we accept it and carefully buckle it on; we are forewarned of all the snares and dangers that beset our onward way, so that we may avoid and overcome them; we are fully informed as to the policy and course of the Captain under whose banner we have enlisted, and of the part we are to take under his leading.

We have our Beloved Jesus’ constant presence with us, even to the end of our course. His inspiring voice may always be heard above the clash and din of battle—

  • Fear not, little flock, it is your Father’s good pleasure to GIVE YOU the kingdom!” (Luke 12:32)
  • Be of good cheer; I have overcome!” (John 16:33)
  • Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid!” (John 14:1)
  • Greater is he that is IN you, than he that is in the world.” (1 John 4:4)

If we are weak and incline to faint-heartedness we have only to remember the blessed promise, “The Lord will give strength unto his people;” and by our faithfulness in the service we shall glorify God and he will deliver us gloriously from all our foes, both seen and unseen.

How To Pay Our Vows?

When we consecrated ourselves fully to the Lord, we made a promise to God that we would hold nothing back for self.

Our consecration to God, includes:

ALL our possessions, our time, our physical energies and our mental attainments; the sacrifice of ALL our former earthly ambitions, hopes and aims, so that we should no longer pursue them to any extent. This, and nothing less, is what our vow of Full Consecration signifies.

It also signifies, further, that these possessions or personal qualifications, which the Lord terms talents, are not only to be released from the service of the worldly ambitions, etc., but that they are to be so released, not for aimless inactivity, but for the purpose of being utilized in an opposite direction—in the service of God, of his plan and of his children.

In the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), the Lord illustrated very clearly how we are expected to pay our vows of consecration to the Most High. He says, “It is like a man who, intending to travel, called his own servants and delivered unto them his goods. And to one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to each according to his respective capacity; and straightway took his journey.”

Here are some Bible verses that teach us something important about thankfulness.

Psalm 100 (ESV)

His Steadfast Love Endures Forever. A Psalm for giving thanks.

(1) Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth!
(2) Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into his presence with singing!
(3) Know that the Lord, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
(4) Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise! Give thanks to him; bless his name!
(5) For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)  — “In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.”

Ephesians 5:18-20 (ASV) —”Be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father.”

Psalm 136:26 (KJV) — “O give thanks unto the God of heaven: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 106:1 (KJV) — “Praise ye the Lord. O give thanks unto the Lord; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Psalm 107:1 (KJV) — “O give thanks unto the Lord, for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.”

Philippians 4:6-7 (KJV) — “(6) Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. (7) And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

John 6:11 (KJV) — “And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.”

Colossians 4:2 (KJV) — “Continue in prayer, and watch in the same with thanksgiving;”

Psalm 28:7 (KJV) — “The Lord is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in him, and I am helped: therefore my heart greatly rejoiceth; and with my song will I praise him.”

Psalm 116:17 (KJV) — “I will offer to thee the sacrifice of thanksgiving, and will call upon the name of the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 (KJV) — “And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”

2 Corinthians 9:15 (KJV) — “Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.”

1 Corinthians 15:57 (KJV) — “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Psalm 95:2 (KJV) — “Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms.”

Psalm 92:1 (KJV) — “It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord, and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:”

Revelation 11:17 (KJV) — “Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned.”

Colossians 3:15 (KJV) — “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

1 Chronicles 29:13 (KJV) — “Now therefore, our God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.”

2 Corinthians 2:14 (KJV) — “Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.”

Psalm 105:1-2 (KJV)“(1) O give thanks unto the Lord; call upon his name: make known his deeds among the people. (2) Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him: talk ye of all his wondrous works.”

Psalm 30:4 (KJV) — “Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of his, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness.”

Psalm 69:30 (KJV) — “I will praise the name of God with a song, and will magnify him with thanksgiving.”

Acknowledgment/References:

The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s PresenceReprint 3695
http://www.htdbv8.com/1906/r3695.htm

The Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s PresenceReprint 3135-3138
http://www.htdbv8.com/1903/r3135.htm

“From Philippi To Athens,” The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom, Aug. 1921
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1921_8.htm#_Toc517709610

The Harvest Truth Data Base: http://www.htdb.one/

Suggested Further Reading

“1 THESSALONIANS 5:16-18 – Prayer – The ‘Oxygen’ for the New Creature in Christ.” BIBLE Students DAILY post: https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2017/11/04/1-thessalonians-516-18-prayer-the-oxygen-for-the-new-creature-in-christ/

“The Joy of the Lord Is Your Strength.” BIBLE Students DAILY post. https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2016/12/20/nehemiah-810-the-joy-of-the-lord-is-your-strength/

“Thanksgiving in our Hearts” — Adapted, David Steindl-Rast, “Before Turning out the Lights.” The Beauties of the Truth Periodical, Nov. 2003. http://www.beautiesofthetruth.org/Archive/Library/Doctrine/Mags/Bot/90s/2003nov.pdf

“Thanksgiving For Spiritual Blessings” by Br. Jerry Moore in The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.heraldmag.org/2009/09nd_3.htm

This post’s URL:
https://biblestudentsdaily.com/2018/01/03/1-thessalonians-518-thankfulness/

 

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Hebrews 10:25 – Not Forsaking the Assembling of Ourselves Together

 

Heb 10, 25 with address

Dear friends,

“Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, but exhorting one another, and so much more as ye see the day approaching. For if ye sin willfully after ye have received a knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sin” (Hebrews 10:25-26).

It seems to me that there is a most astounding connection between those two verses, as though the Apostle were explaining that a time would come when communion and fellowship with the people of GOD would be more essential than it had been before, and if we would ignore and neglect that PRIVILEGE there would be great danger that the final results might be the loss of everything.

You will notice, too, the Apostle uses the word “forsake” here. He did not say, “Do not ignore the assembling of yourselves together.” If you and I have never met with the people of GOD, and knew nothing of the blessing and benefits of that fellowship, the Lord would never have made the statement quite so strong; and you and I would not be quite so well able to discern the necessity or value of meeting with the people of GOD. And, the thought is, if you have once tasted of this blessing, if you have once enjoyed this fellowship, if you have once participated in this communion, now do not forsake it; NEVER GIVE IT UP; forsake not the assembling of yourselves together as the manner of some is.

Why is this made such an important matter to not forsake the assembling together ?

Why does the Apostle lay such stress on it?

Why should you and I be so careful about meeting with the children of God?

Here are some reasons:

1.

You and I should do this thing on the basis of FAITH, because the Lord says so, even if we could not see one single benefit to be derived, even if we could not see one single advantage to be gained; the very fact the Lord said so ought to settle the whole matter, and we should say, “Lord, I respect your Word; you have said it, and I am going to abide by that.”

I think there is not the confident faith in many of the statements of the Word of GOD, even among some of his children, that there ought to be.

Do you remember the faith that Abraham had? Do you remember the time when GOD came to Abraham and said to him, “Abraham, leave thine own house, and thy father’s house and come out into this land that I will show you?” Do you remember how Abraham never stopped to question the wisdom of GOD’s advice? He did not say, “Well, LORD, your desire is clear to me, but I cannot see why you want me to go out there? Don’t you think, LORD, this is a pretty good place where I am living? Why cannot I stay here and serve you? How is that land that you want me to go out into? Is it a pretty good land for farming purposes? Do you think I would be able to raise a crop to support myself and my family?  Abraham did not say one word. GOD told Abraham to go, and he was ready to go. Even when he got there he found nothing but a barren wilderness. Dear friends, that was faith, and that is the faith that you and I want to have.

When we find the advice in the Word of GOD that we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, then when we find the people that have GOD’s spirit, when we find the people who give evidence of living close to the LORD, then, whether you find the measure of profit in associating with them you expect or not, you should meet with them, because GOD has said so.

Some might say, “Well, but do not situations alter the matter?” I am sure if there is no one in your neighborhood who does give evidence of having love for GOD and his Truth, then of course matters would be altered, but even in that case you would have to hold fellowship in your mind and heart with the people of GOD, even though visible fellowship was impossible. But if you are located where there is a company of GOD’s children, then your course is clear from that statement.

I am afraid that there are some of the Lord’s people who say, “Well, I know the Scriptures say we should not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, but I have some trials and some obstacles in the way, now don’t you think I am justified in not attending ecclesia meetings?

“Sister, the LORD said forsake not the assembling of yourselves together.”

“But now wait, I want to show you from this standpoint: I live quite a ways from the meeting, and I have not the very best of health. Now don’t you think I would be justified in staying home and not assembling with the LORD’s people?”

“The LORD has said, Sister, forsake not the assembling of yourselves together. It does not matter how you view it, the matter is settled. ”

Let us not be of that class that are seeking some excuse that they may not have to act on what GOD has advised, but let us be of the class that are determined to overcome every obstacle in order to adhere to the advice and abide by the suggestions GOD has made. I think it is a dangerous thing when we get into the position where we want some excuse for ignoring the Word of GOD. I believe that Satan realizes our weaknesses along that line and he knows how to take advantage of them. It seems as if the devil has a big excuse department, and if anybody wants any excuse for anything-anything that would be contrary to the Word of GOD, he will get the excuse up for them. All you have to do is to have a half a wish in your heart that you do not have to go to the bible study meeting tomorrow, and he will send you a box of excuses right away. If he finds in your heart or in my heart the least inclination to ignore the admonition of the LORD, he will find some way of taking advantage of that inclination, and you and I are going to be trapped.

2.

Where GOD’s people are gathered, there GOD is, and where the church is, there the head (Jesus) of the church is. The Savior himself says, “Where two or three are met together in my name there will I be” (Matthew 18:20).

It would be absurd for any of GOD’s children to gather together without the Lord being present if they really are his children. How absurd to think of someone coming to these meetings and leaving their head at home? Indeed if they come they have to bring their head with them. If you are one of the children of GOD, and if Jesus is your head, if you have given up your own head, your own will, to do the will of your Master, then wherever you go your Master goes; and you will say, “Where there is a company under the control of the Spirit of the Master there I want to be; I want to be where he is, and I know he is there in a special and peculiar sense over and above what he is with me when I am alone in connection with my daily employment.”

3.

When we meet with the LORD’s people, we realize that these are the people who love to talk about the things that we love to talk about; they love to dwell on the topics that are dearest to our hearts. If we are amongst the people of the world, and if all our interests and all our desires are along worldly lines, then we would rather go where our neighbors go-we would rather go to places of amusement, we would rather go to places that would to some degree benefit us along worldly lines; and if your heart has been given to the LORD you want to go to the place where these things are talked about that you are most deeply interested in, the things of the LORD, where his will is in control.

And yet this does not mean that when the people of GOD meet together they always do confine their discussions and conversations to the subject that means the most to them. Let us be careful all along that line.

When we meet with the LORD’s people let us keep our minds focused on the things of the Lord; let us keep our hearts centered upon spiritual matters. And you might misuse the LORD’s time in talking about the things that do not profit you as respects the edification of the new creature.

I think it is very much like the Jewish Tabernacle. You know how when you went into the Holy if you would look up there on that curtain overhead you could see all of those figures of cherubim wrought in needle work. To me that illustrates the way you and I, when we are in that condition, begotten of GOD’s holy Spirit, as we look up we see GOD’s providences, we see his wisdom, his love, his power and his justice, and by the eye of faith we behold the very angels as ministering spirits sent forth to minister to the people of GOD.

Do you remember when the high priest, or the under priests either, were in the Holy, if they looked up they could see these angels, these cherubim, everywhere on that curtain wrought with needle work? But suppose instead of looking up, the priest just looked down, and kept his eyes on the earth, what would he see? Nothing but dirt, just ground. You remember there was no special floor made in that Tabernacle, it just stood on the earth. This gives us the thought that even though you and I have been begotten of GOD’s Holy Spirit, even though we have been brought to the place where we are new creatures in Christ Jesus, yet we have to keep our eyes up, as it were-lift up our heads. On the contrary, if we are looking down in the worldly direction we will see earthly things; we will just see dirt, nothing but dirt.

4.

When we meet together with the LORD’s people, we talk about the things that will help them toward the kingdom, help them to make their calling and election sure, things that will give them an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of GOD.

In the 3rd chapter of the Book of Philippians, we read “Forgetting the things that are behind.” We want to learn to set our affections on the things above and forget those things that are behind. We want to seek the things that will edify, and especially let us beware of boastfulness along these lines. I find so often we are inclined to cultivate a little boastful spirit, we like to talk about the different people we have engaged in conversation, and how we have downed them in our argument, and how they could not answer us, how we were able to cover them with confusion, etc. Dear friends, I think it would be well for us if we would not talk quite so much along those lines. We do not want to have that boastful spirit that will go around boasting of the victories gained, or anything of that kind. We do not want to merely pull the faith of others down. Rather we want to build their faith up in the right direction. So I would suggest that we talk more along the line that would draw us towards the Lord, and less along the lines that would draw us away from the Lord.

5.

In meeting with the people of God we will find grace and strength to prepare us for the hard experiences that are coming.

In 2 Corinthians 12:9, the LORD, through the Apostle Paul, uttered these words:

“My GRACE is sufficient for you.”

By these words, our LORD did not mean that we would always have grace sufficient for every trial. It may be possible some of the LORD’s people have found themselves in trials sometimes, and they have had to confess that they did not have grace enough. They said, “Oh, I know if I had sufficiency of grace I could bear this trial better than I do. There is something wrong; the LORD said his grace would be sufficient, but it is not.” Has the LORD broken the promise? Not at all. Here is the thought:

The LORD promised he will supply sufficient grace, but you and I, in order to make use of that supply, we will have to go to the source of supply in the right way, as it were. Perhaps in going to a particular Bible Student Convention or an ecclesia meeting, GOD has arranged that you will obtain grace to prepare you for trials you are going to have, in the nearest future.

Now suppose you say to yourself, “Well, I know the LORD has told me I should not forsake the assembling of myself with you people, but it is a long distance to the meeting place, and I do not like the brethren altogether there. I think some of them have very peculiar and eccentric ways about them, and I just think I will stay at home instead”…

What about going to BE A BLESSING? Or going for the sake of even that ONE who may benefit? Ill health or lack of money may be the case but if one prays in faith about it, then GOD does indicate His will and often what seems impossible GOD makes possible if the desire is to DO HIS WILL (Luke 18:27).

What is the result of not going to that convention or that ecclesia meeting?

You are not obtaining the grace that you needed for the trial when it comes and the consequence is when the trial arises, you will be lacking, but not because GOD failed in the keeping of his word; GOD has done his part, he is supplying the grace, but you just as much as told him, “LORD, I know there is grace at that meeting, but I do not want it that way; you have just got to inject the grace into me; that is the way I want it.”

Dear friends, we cannot afford to miss one single opportunity for service, or one single opportunity that is reasonable and proper for us to make use of in connection with associating with those who love the Lord, without it being to our detriment spiritually, so that some trial will come and we will be unprepared for that trial.

So I say, we want to be ready for those trials coming; we want to have that preparation of heart and mind that will enable us to pass through trials victoriously, and that is the reason why we do not wish to forsake the assembling of ourselves together.

6.

We also want to meet with the people of GOD because we recognize these are the people we are going to spend eternity with; we want to get acquainted beforehand. If you are one of the faithful followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, and if I am one of those who may prove true to him, then we will be among those who will have to be associated through all the boundless ages of the future. I feel, therefore, that if I am at all unwilling to associate with you today, if I feel that I would rather live without physically meeting with the people of GOD, that I would rather spend my time dealing with business associations or ways of worldly pleasure, the consequence of that would be that I would be unfit to spend those ages of eternity in your company, and in the company of others that are making their calling and election sure.

7.

In assembling with the people of GOD, they help us, and we are able to help them. Do they help us? They certainly do if our heart is in the right attitude.

In going to a convention or ecclesia meeting, is your attitude such that you think you will get no benefit from going because you feel there will not be anything said which you did not know and you think you are pretty well informed and well up on the Scripture?

If that was the spirit in which you go to meeting or to a convention, then to the extent you entertained that inclination, that spirit, to that extent you have lost a blessing; but if on the other hand you go in a teachable attitude, with a desire to learn-not merely to learn something new, but to learn something that will draw you closer to the Lord, then I know you will go away spiritually enriched, you will go away feeling as though you were nearer to our Lord than you ever have been before.

If we are in the attitude where we simply want to hear only something new, where we come to the conventions not to hear about brotherly love, and not to hear about patience, and not to have our spirit of zeal encouraged, and not to be impressed with the glories of the kingdom so much, but we come to hear only something new, something that has never been said before, something that will just make our blood tingle to hear, because of its novelty, then we realize that we will also go away to some extent disappointed, because that is not the LORD’s purpose. It is not GOD’s intention that His people should be built up and strengthened by the amount of new things that should be said, but on the other hand it is the frequent reiteration of the old things that is likely to strengthen us and to enable us to make our calling and election sure.

So now when you go to your little home bible study meetings and you find that the brother who took the leading part in that meeting never has anything very original to say, and you find that the other friends in the class seem to have very little novelty in their statements, then, dear friends, the fault is not with the class, the fault is with you; you are not in the proper attitude. Just think, if we are one of those faithful ones who will be united with our Lord in the ages to come, what is going to be your work and my work? Will we have all of that thousand years for something new to say to the world every day? I think not. It seems to me that when the world comes up from the tomb in the near future, if we are one of that honored company associated with our Lord Jesus, we will have to repeat the plan just so many times that if you do not love it very dearly you will get tired of it then; and that is why the Lord is not going to have one in that class who does not love the “old, old story” so dearly that he can sing it from the heart; and “those who know it best seem hungering and thirsting to hear it like the rest.”

I have come across brethren and sisters who sometimes go to a Berean study and they only half listen. Brother so and so says something, and they think of something else because they know that brother never says anything new… then another brother speaks up, and they pay a little attention to what he is saying, because they know already what he is going to say. And consequently when the meeting is over they think it is strange they do not get much benefit from the meeting. But the fact is, that if we had paid attention to what that brother said, instead of allowing the spirit of pride to make us feel we knew it already and did not have anything to learn from him, it would have done us good and been refreshing. Then we listened to the next brother, and he made a statement and we would probably see a connection between what he said and what that other brother said that was especially helpful; and the third brother would follow with a little statement, and there would be some helpful point in what he said that would fit in with the statement made by the other, and when the meeting was all over we would say, “Gee… that was such a profitable meeting we had today! Oh, how much benefit I received; how much help I derived from this little Berean study!” Let us remember that frequently it is pride that causes us to be inattentive when another is speaking.

What did Apostle Paul mean from the following words:

“For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel” (1 Corinthians 4:15).

Well, possibly at that time, there may have been about ten thousand consecrated believers, as far as the Apostle Paul would judge, and he wanted this number to realize that every consecrated child of GOD was in a position to some extent to be an instructor. I will have to say that I have gotten an indescribable measure of benefit from just observing the conduct, the speech and the deportment of those I come in contact with in my travels.

May I also suggest that we cannot only learn from others, and instruct others by the words that are spoken, but by our example, by the deeds we perform. I think a great many must fail to appreciate what examples we ought to be.

We often say, “Well, you must not take me for an example.” But, dear friends, if you claim to be a consecrated Christian you ought to be an example-you must be an example.

To be a Christian means to be an example; not an example of perfection, but an example of what the grace of GOD can do.

Do you mean to say you have been under the influence of GOD’s grace for five years or ten years or fifteen years, and yet the LORD has done nothing in your life that ought to be an example, a benefit, a blessing to those who come in contact with you?

It would be something to be very much ashamed of, if we would have to say that we have resisted the influences of GOD’s spirit to such a degree that we are not an example of what our Heavenly Father can do at all-even though the LORD has thus been dealing with us so long.

If we are living epistles, as we ought to be in our homes, we will be careful there just as truly as anywhere else. But sometimes even friends who are very careful how they act amongst others when they are in a public place, when it comes to their own home it is rather a matter of indifference to them. You cannot help but sometimes observe it.

I remember I was in one home where there was a little sister there who was in many respects a grand consecrated character. Her husband did not make very much religious profession at all, but I will never forget the impression made upon me. At the table, for instance, if I would ask for a thing that sister would go to any amount of trouble to have it at my plate right on the instant; if her husband asked for anything she did not seem to care whether she heard him or not; he would have to wait until the thing got around to him. If I asked a question, she would take ten minutes to explain and tell me all about how to get to the post office, or whatever it was; if her husband asked her a question she would cut him off in such a snappy sort of way that it made me wonder why he ever wanted to ask her anything much.

I could not help but realize that sister was not showing the spirit the Lord desired in his people, and I could not help but think if possibly I stayed at that home for six months she would not be quite so beautiful in her treatment of me as she had been in the few days I was there.

Now, dear friends, let us be careful along those lines. Let us remember that we can just put it on when we have company for a day or two, but what we really are, and what is actually in our hearts, manifests itself by the daily lives we live in our home, and amongst those with whom we are accustomed to associate day after day.

Also, we can set an example to others on very simple lines, in ordinary things, that will have an influence over them in very important matters.

E.g. Suppose in your ecclesia you find there is a lack of thoughtfulness; for instance when the song service is going on there is some brother or sister that has no song book; nobody ever seems to think of looking around to see whether others have hymn books or not; the rest of you sing and this one is allowed to sit there without an opportunity to look on a book at all. Now that would be an indication that there was a lack of consideration, and a measure of selfishness probably, amongst the friends. But if that is the case you ought to keep the thought in your mind that you are partly to blame for it, because if you set the proper example, it does not matter who you are, you might be a very unimportant personage apparently, and yet at the same time your influence in helping to overcome that condition would be valuable. So if you see a brother without a book, you would immediately hand your book to that one, and then let’s say… the next time you were at a meeting you did the same thing… well, the result would be that by and by the members of the class would notice those things, and they would begin to see the spirit of consideration in you, and you would begin to find them doing likewise; and soon, there would be such a spirit of considerate unselfishness in that class that it would do anybody’s heart good to meet with them. So then, if the little company with whom you meet is not in the condition you think it ought to be, do not blame them but begin to blame yourself, and think,

“Should not I set a different example?

Should not I have been showing a different spirit, and in doing so would it not be found a benefit to the other members of this class?”

Our influence will count most in proportion to the thorough spirit of humility we possess.

Whoever tries to be conspicuous, will injure their influence to that extent, I would say that especially with regard to the elders of the various classes. If a brother is permitted to occupy the position of an elder, it seems to me he ought to perform the duties that devolve on an elder in a spirit that is so permeated with humility that others would get a blessing from his service, and yet at the same time would hardly be aware of the fact that he was the elder of the class.

I remember one class where I went where they all seemed to be fairly humble, but there was one brother that I am afraid-well, wanted to be a little prominent, to be rather conspicuous, and I remember at first this brother went ahead and opened the meeting, and at the second meeting the same brother took charge of the meeting, and just before the third meeting began I said, “Brother, who will open the meeting this morning?”-Sunday morning it was.

He said, “I think I will, Brother Barton.”

“Well, are there any other elders in the class, brother?”

“Oh, yes, we have four elders.”

“Well,” I said, “suppose brother, you take your turns; I think it looks much nicer if all the elders take their turns in matters of this kind. Suppose you have one of the other brethren open the meeting this morning.”

“Well, Brother Barton, I know they will not want to do it; they put it off on me, and tell me I ought to do it; I know they will refuse.”

“Well,” I said, “you go and ask them anyhow.”

He went to one of the brothers and asked him if he would open the meeting. The brother apparently refused, and this brother came back to me and said, “He tells me he would rather I would open the meeting, he does not want to do it.”

I said, “Wait, I will go and speak to him.”

I said, “Brother, you are one of the elders of this class?”

“Yes.”

“Well now, could not you open the meeting this morning?”

“Well, but I think Brother So and So could probably do it much better.”

“Well, but brother, I think if the class elected you as one of the elders it would be proper for you to take your turn.”

“Well, if you think so, it will be all right.”

That brother opened the meeting, and I got another brother to open another meeting, and a third brother the next meeting, and I think if I am not mistaken possibly all the elders of the class had a turn in opening those meetings before the conclusion of our visit.

Now the thought is this: These brethren apparently had the spirit of humility, but there was one brother that was too willing that he should be prominent. He ought to have impressed on the minds of the others the fact that they had a work to do, too; they had an opportunity, according to the Lord’s voice as expressed through the class; and I would suggest that brethren who are elders of the classes be especially careful that they do not assume too much of the responsibilities and ignore the other elders in the class. And where there is only one elder, how careful that brother ought to be!

Another thing: the elder that exerts the greatest influence over the class is the elder who performs the duties developing upon him in such a way the others would hardly know he was an elder. He does not feel boastful about the matter, he does not have much inclination to put himself forward.

So, by not forsake the assembling of ourselves together, we get HUGE opportunities to assist in the building up of the Body of Christ.

8.

We find especially helpful opportunities for spiritual development which we do not find out in the world amongst those who do not profess Jesus Christ as the son of GOD Yahweh, Jehovah. Hence, when we come to the people of GOD, we do expect something better, and the consequence is, when we find that GOD’s people are imperfect, when we find that they sometimes do things we would rather they should not do or sometimes say things we would rather they should not say, it helps to develop in us a larger measure of spirituality, a larger measure of the graces of the Holy Spirit than would possibly have been developed in us if it had been a worldly person that had treated us that way.

I think we are all inclined to expect too much of the people of God. We realize we are in the flesh, and we know that as long as we are in the flesh we are imperfect, we all have our failings; but we are thankful that the failings and imperfections and blemishes are not of the new nature, but the old nature-not in the hearts but rather in the flesh. And I think if we would keep that in mind we would be ready to make greater allowances for those who we come in contact with; we would have great allowances for our dear brethren and sisters when they do something that is not altogether to our liking.

In the Book of Romans 15:24, the Apostle Paul writes:

“Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.” 

Here the Apostle Paul told us about the journey he hoped to make to Spain, and he said he expected he would go by way of Rome, and he would stop and visit the Roman brethren for awhile, and he said he hoped that when he met those brethren in Rome he would be somewhat filled with them. Another translation  reads: he hoped he would be ‘partly satisfied’ with them. What? Why only ‘partly satisfied’ with the brethren at Rome? Did he not expect to be entirely satisfied? No. You see, if he was not entirely satisfied with himself, how could he be entirely satisfied with them?

I know I have been acquainted with myself a great deal longer than I have been acquainted with you, and I know I have had opportunities to understand my motives better than I could possibly understand your motives, because I can not read your hearts, and I know furthermore I have had plenty of time to get accustomed to my own peculiarities and idiosyncrasies, and so on, while I have not had much opportunity to get acquainted with yours. It must be so then, that if after all of these years I am not satisfied with myself, how can I possibly be satisfied with you? I know that in you there are things I do not like; if I do not know what they are it is simply because I have not been with you long enough. If you and I could live under the same roof for about six months probably I would know something about your weaknesses, and probably you would know something about mine; and therefore the thing for us to do is to not cultivate the spirit that would readily find fault because a brother is weak, but rather the spirit which seeks to be strengthened and benefited and helped by the weaknesses of the brethren.

How can these weaknesses help us?

By developing in us more of the spirit of patience, of compassion, etc.—the spirit that would make allowances for that brother.

Here is one illustration of this:

A certain brother in Christ who was on his way to one of the conventions; he got on the train; there was quite a company going to the convention, and he went through one of the coaches talking to a number of friends there, and he sat down beside another brother to talk to him, and he said he was one of the most disagreeable brethren he had ever met; he did not like his ways; he did not like his way of talking, he did not like some of his manners, etc., and the consequence was the brother terminated that conversation in a very short time and got up and said to himself, “Well, I feel so sorry for this poor brother, but I would not want to be with him during the convention.” And he said he had taken a few steps when the thought came to him, “Look here; that is the very brother that will give you an opportunity to humble yourself. Do you think the Lord has accepted him, and now you can turn your back on him? It is your duty to show a better spirit than that toward that brother.” He said he went back and sat down beside that brother and talked to him for quite a while.

In fact, when they got to the convention, they got a room together, and the greatest part of the convention to him was the communion with that disagreeable brother who was his greatest blessing during the time spent together.

Now, that is the way with us.

If we meet with those who seem to show some disagreeable traits, the thing is not to run away from them, but to look at the new nature; do not look at the old nature; we cannot see much of the new nature, but it is there. We have got to think of that one as walking after the Spirit rather than what we see of the flesh.

“Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more” (2 Corinthians 5:16).

Dear Friends, let us not then forsake the assembling of ourselves together. Let us be among those who appreciate fully this opportunity for communion.

May are ecclesias be strengthened and helped, not merely by what we are able to say, but by the spirit we show, the life we live; and if a Bible Study meeting or a Bible Student Convention has lifted us to a little higher plane than we had been on before, our suggestion is, stay on that plane; do not go back to the old plane-indeed, do not stay on that higher plane, but try to go to a still higher one, until by and by in GOD’s providence, having enjoyed the blessings of our meetings with the brethren, we may all be prepared and fitted for a place we hope to share with our Lord and master, Jesus Christ.

“Speaking the truth in (agape)love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work” (Ephesians 4:15-16).

Acknowledgement:
Content from a discourse by Br. Benjamin Barton (in his book, “Pilgrim Echoes,”) has been used to create this post.

A Testimony
The reason behind the creation of this post was such, that it was a Sunday morning here in Australia, and the night before, an email had been sent to one of the Elder’s of the Ecclesia expressing a request to kindly have several answers emailed back after they were discussed at the Revelation Study on the Sunday and explaining that one’s presence will not be there due to some major “road blocks” … and the next morning a chapter from a book was opened up and begun to be read during the breakfast meal for the spiritual benefit of the listeners intended … but it actually turned out to be a personally “hand-delivered” GOD sent letter to the reader only thanks to divine providence—our Heavenly Father’s inspiration—which immediately changed the day’s decision, from one not going to ecclesia meeting, to one going. The words that were read that Sunday morning, were like blinding white lights from heaven with, as if a voice saying, “GO TO THE ECCLESIA MEETING… YOU ARE NOT TO STAY HOME WHATEVER THE EXCUSE!”… and the following thought immediately illuminated the mind like a most joyous revelation never thought of before…. that is, that let us just say one were faced with a life threatening situation (we are not saying this is the case here), then one should not think they are a burden to others and hence not want to go to meet with their Brothers and Sisters in Christ, but rather think:

Would it not be a grand privilege to be finally taken home by our Heavenly Father while in active service being BOTH PHYSICALLY and MENTALLY PRESENT amongst one’s brethren in Christ Jesus ?

YES—Of course it would!

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What is Love?

1 JOHN 4, 8.jpg

Love is …

perfection of character.

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him” (1 John 4:16).

The love that our heavenly Father seeks to have us develop is a love which is in full harmony and in total surrender to God’s will. When we please our Divine Father of Life, He will bless with eternal life.

“To those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor an immortality, he will give eternal life” (Romans 2:7).

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).

One element of Love is MEEKNESS.

Meekness does not mean weakness.

Consider Moses. He was a meek man and did he have a weak character? Not at all. He was humble-minded, not boastful, not proud or haughty.

“Now the man Moses was very meek, above all the men who were upon the face of the earth” (Numbers 12:3).

So the New Creatures in Christ, must develop and maintain this quality of meekness, from the divine standpoint.

Another element of love is GENTLENESS.

Does this signify weakness or fear? No.

Gentleness is part of a character of love.

Jesus said, “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:29).

In Galatians 5:22, 23, the Apostle Paul writes, that the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.”

To the Ephesians, the Apostle Paul writes, ” (1) I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. (2) Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (3) Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. (4) There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; (5) one Lord, one faith, one baptism; (6) one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all” (Ephesians 4:1-6).

“Let your moderation be known unto all men” (Philippians 4:5).

“Moderation”reasonableness, gentleness—the spirit of a sound mind, of gentleness, meekness.

This attitude of mind comes in large measure as a result of knowledge of God and his plans (R5840). Surely there never was a time when this counsel was so much needed as now!

Let the fact that we know only in part and understand only in part keep us humble and moderate in word and deed and thought (R5249).

Temperance, self-control—let men see by our thoughtful (not rash and hasty), careful and considerate demeanor in every affair of life, that we honor our profession (R4809, R2460).

Here is a practical example:

If we feel the leader of a meeting is not following the best Scriptural course, we must show moderation in our approach—approving what we can, objecting in kindness, meekness, and brotherly love (R3866). The Greek seems to carry the thought of reasonableness, of not exacting our rights too rigorouslymercy and leniency (R3128:2). Keep yourselves well in hand, subject and obedient to the will of God.

In 2 Timothy 3:2-5, the Apostle Paul warns against those “in the last days” (today) who he describes as “(2) lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, (3) without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, (4) treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— (5) having a form of godliness but denying its power.” The Apostle Paul then states, “have nothing to do with such people.”

Even in discussing the time of trouble, emphasis should be laid upon the glorious Kingdom which will be inaugurated (R5716:4). We should be using the knowledge we possess, doing with our might what our hands find to do (R5249). Let us be specially on guard that the influence of every word and act should be in accord with law, order and peace—“live peaceably with all men.” (Romans 12:18).

Our gentleness toward all men would begin at home—more particularly in the Church—but should be manifested toward all with whom we have dealings (R5840).
Messiah’s Kingdom is shortly to be established—this should help the Lord’s people in living an exemplary life (R5840). This clause implies the exhortation belongs specially to the closing of this Gospel age—thus, to this time period we are currently living in.

We are expecting great changes soon and can well afford to be generous and liberal in our sentiments toward others (R3128:3).

PATIENCE is another element of love and a part of the true Christian character.

“With all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love” (Ephesians 4:2).

Patience is an element of character. We read in Revelation 3:10,

Because thou hast kept the word of my patience I will also keep thee from the hour of temptation which shall come upon all the world to try them that dwell upon the earth.”

When examining the word “patience” we find that two quite distinct words in the Greek are translated by our English word patience in the New Testament:

  • hupomoneethis is used in the Revelation text quoted above which has a much deeper and fuller significance than attaches to our English word patience. It signifies rather constancy,—the thought being an endurance of evil in a cheerful, willing, patient manner. It represents, therefore, an element of character, and not merely a temporary condition or restraint of feeling or action.

For instance, a worldly man might have a great deal of patience in connection with the running of his business;—he might be very attentive to his customers, very obliging, very painstaking, and show no dissatisfaction in connection with the inconsiderateness of his customers; and “patience,” in its ordinary sense, might be ascribed to his conduct.

But the word in the Revelation text rendered patience” signifies such a development of heart and character as manifests itself in an endurance of wrong or affliction with contentment, without rebellion of will, with full acquiescence in the divine wisdom and love.

In Luke 8:15, in the parable of the sower, we read:

“That [sown] on the good ground are they which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience [with cheerful endurance, constancy].”

The thought here is that in order to be of the fruit-bearing class which the Lord will approve and accept to his Kingdom, it is necessary to do more than to receive the word of his testimony, even thou we receive it with joy—for that class in the parable is represented by the stony ground, which at first gave evidence of great fruitfulness and vigor, but which, when the sun of persecution arose, withered, because of lack of depth of soil. That stony, shallow soil represents, the Lord explains, a class of hearers who rejoice greatly in the truth, but do not endure, such as cannot withstand persecution or opposition, but wither under it, become discouraged. Such cannot be of the Kingdom class, all of whom must be overcomers.

In this parable our Lord shows us that patient endurance, constancy, is the final test, following after the readiness of preparation to receive the seed; following after the seed has been received and has sprouted; following after love and hope and joy and faith have caused it to spring forth and to give fruitage (R2791).

Patient endurance, then, is necessary, in order that the grain may be developed and thoroughly ripened, and made fit for the garner.

Ah! how important patient endurance seems to be, in the light of this our Lord’s word—cheerful endurance; for we cannot suppose that he who judges the thoughts and intents of the heart would be pleased with his children, even if he saw them enduring much for his sake, if they endured in an impatient or dissatisfied or unhappy frame of mind. They would not, in that event, be copies of God’s dear Son, our Lord, whose sentiment is expressed in the words,

“I delight to do thy will, O God!” (Psalm 40:8)

All of the Royal Priesthood are sacrificers, as was the Chief Priest, our Redeemer and example, who offered up himself: we, as the under priests, have also presented our bodies living sacrifices, and are to lay down our lives for the brethren—in the service of the truth. And God, who accepts these sacrifices through the merit of Christ, informs us that he appreciates or loves the cheerful giver, those who perform their sacrifices of a willing heart, cheerfully.

The other instance in which our Lord used the word “patience” during his ministry is recorded in Luke 21:19. He had just been telling his followers what they must expect as the result of being his disciples during the present time, when sin abounds, and when Satan is the prince of this world—they must expect tribulation, opposition from various quarters; but he assures them that they would nevertheless be fully and completely under divine care and protection, even tho the persecutions would be permitted to reach and to affect them. Then follow the words,

“In your patience [patient endurance, cheerful constancy] possess ye your souls” (Luke 21:19).

BROTHERLY KINDNESS is another element of love.

“(5) And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; (6) And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; (7) And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. (8) For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:5-8).

The Greek word “Philadelpia” signifies brotherly love. “Phileo”—is duty love, a love which has a cause or demand upon it (R2807).

Phileo love is evidenced in the natural family relationship, and also in the spiritual family, the Church. We may not love our brethren’s peculiarities, their features, but we love them as brethren, whether black or white, bond or free, because they are brethren, comrades in the same race (Q449).

Phileo love means to make due allowance for inherited weaknesses and circumstantial misfortunes of others—to deal patiently and helpfully so far as wisdom may dictate, with a view to the correction of those faults, even at the expense of self-interest, if necessary and prudent (R4809, R1114).

Phileo love means to meekly bear reproof, determining to overcome deformities of character, and prove a help rather than a hindrance to others; no longer fostering old dispositions (R4809).

Phileo love allows one to exercise and manifest the principles of the divine character toward our fellow-men (R3090, R1628:2).

Phileo is a love for all who are brethren and yoke fellows in the cause of righteousness and truth, the cause of God (R2037).

Instead of disdaining those who are ignoble, instead of putting them away, treat them kindly (R448). This of necessity grows out of godliness. As god-likeness presupposes the other graces mentioned, so its development implies an enlargement of our hearts to all who are of the household of faith (R2155).

There is also “AGAPE” LOVE…

This is known as charity (R5693, R5208).

Greek, agape, is the higher grade of disinterested love; the broader, more comprehensive, or divine love (R3949; Q449).

Love as a general expression covers all the elements of character which are really parts of love (F186).

We might divide the race-course into four quarters:

(1) duty-love;

(2) love for the Lord because we see something of the glorious majesty of his character;

(3) love for the brethren;

(4) perfect love—for all, even our enemies (F187-189).

As we get agape love it means that we love all (Q449) We must reach this climax of love before we can be counted worthy of a place in the new creation (F190).

Agape Love:

  • Is deep, pure and true.
  • Thinketh no evil.
  • Does not puff itself up.
  • Is not easily offended;
  • Rejoiceth always in the truth and never in iniquity;
  • Is the climax of Christian attainment in the present life, the grace of all graces, which never fades, and which will be perfected when we receive the new resurrection body (R2037, R2155).
  • Is sincere love for the unrighteous and unlovely, as well as for the good and beautiful (R4809, R1114).
  • Is a love which is ever ready to manifest itself in wise and helpful activity for saint and sinner; and which pities, helps, comforts, cheers and blesses all within its reach—manifesting and cultivating the disposition which must be found in every member of the Christ company (R4809, R1114).
  • Is a broad, generous love, taking in the whole world, even our enemies (R5678, R5757, R5460).

We do not attain to the perfection of love at the beginning of our course, but it is the mark or standard which indicates the end of the course

(F186).

Love is the chief of all graces.

Acts of kindness will gradually lead to an attitude of love, even where the subject does not seem to deserve it (R1628).

Love is an experience, and includes in it an earnest desire for the well-being of the object loved (R78:5).

Love excels all the other virtues, because it is the most enduring (R4732).

True love on our part will manifest itself in obediencedisobedience is an evidence of the loss of love as viewed from the Lord’s standpoint

(R2466).

“WITHOUT LOVE I AM NOTHING”

If we could speak all the languages known amongst men and even the angelic tongue as well, and if we were to use these talents in preaching, if we were to preach without being inspired by love, it would be completely unprofitable.

God would esteem it no more than the sound proceeding from cymbals or any brass instrument. Does God want to give cymbals and brass horns glory, honor and immortality? Of course not!

If man were to preach the whole Truth in all its grandeur, and have the ability to comprehend it even through the holy Spirit yet if there be a weakness in character development of love towards the brethren, then we could not be fit enough for divine favor and a share in the Kingdom, just like that brass horn would not be.

What a glorious lesson as we attempt to sound forth the praises of Him who has called us from darkness to light! How necessary it is that we speak the Truth in the love of it, with hearts full of devotion and appreciation!

By quieting the mind… and heading to the voice of our Heavenly Father through the inspired words of God in Bible and through prayer, we may learn to absorb and appreciate each lesson step by step as God unfolds it to us. God is the ultimate example of patience, waiting perhaps billions of years before finally confronting the pain of watching His own firstborn Son being sacrificed on Calvary and be the ransom for all mankind.

And Jesus… has been waiting for the completion of His BrideHis Body members of 144,000 since AD 33!

JAMES 5, 7-8.jpg

There is a saying “take time to smell the roses.”

And in the same way let’s remember to take time to hear God-Jehovah speak…
digest it…
absorb it…
and grow from it…

The Apostle suggests that if he had mountain-moving faith, if his knowledge of Divine mysteries were very great, superior to those of all other men, and even if in his zeal for man or for God he should become a martyr and permit his body to be burned, yet, notwithstanding all this, if the primary influence in these matters were not love, all the sacrifice, all the self-denials, all the labors, even the burning, would profit nothing.

Dear friends,

When we come to get the Divine standpoint of things we find indeed that we have a very high standard to achieve; and yet our judgment assures us that it is right, that it is just, that it is proper, that God should thus set the standard of love as the only standard by which we shall ultimately be measured. But whoever thinks to have this perfect love for God and for man and make no manifestations of it is equally mistaken.

Wherever love is in the heart … words, works, thoughts and looks will testify to it, so that he who loves much will serve much.

If we love the Lord we shall delight in His service regardless of failures, regardless of fame, regardless of any earthly consideration; yea, even though the service of the Lord should cause us the loss of human approbation, fellowship, etc…

Hence every true Christian may link the two words love and service, and be sure that his love will manifest itself in zeal. Similarly, love of the brethren will mean a desire to serve the brethren; love of the home and family will mean a desire to do good to them; love of our neighbor will signify a desire to do for his interests according to our knowledge and limitations.

THE RESTRAINTS OF LOVE

The Apostle points out some of the restraints of love.

It cannot be quick, irascible; for “love suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4).

  • He who is loving cannot be envious of others, nor covetous of the blessings and favors they are enjoying; for “love envieth not.”
  • He who is loving cannot be boastful and proud; for “love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.”
  • He who is controlled by the spirit of love will not be ungracious, unkind, rude; for “love doth not behave itself unseemly.”
  • He who is full of the spirit of love will not be selfish, grasping, neglectful of the interests of others; for “love does not seeks its own” (1 Corinthians 13:5).
  • The truly loving one will not be quickly angered, will not be easily offended; for “love is not easily provoked.”

“The one controlled by the spirit of love will not be imagining unkindness and rudeness nor seeking to interpret the words or conduct of others unkindly; for ‘love thinketh no evil’ “

(Pastor Russell’s Sermons, pages SM272-SM285).

What a beautiful example we see in our Master’s words to Simon:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan has demanded permission to sift you like wheat; but I have prayed for you, that your faith may not fail; and you, when once you have turned again, strengthen your brothers” (Luke 22:32).

Let us not neglect to pray for our fellow brethren in Christ, always while we are in this carnal abode.

“LOVE NEVER FAILS.”

(1 Corinthians 13:8)


The following is from “What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book”

QUESTION (1910) 1 At what point of character development can we say, the crown is ours, and that we are overcomers?

“ANSWER. — I think, dear friends, that the proper point at which we could say that, would be when we reach the mark of perfect love. For instance, you came to the Lord and made your consecration, you entered the School of Christ and began to learn of him. That was about the time you found out how short you were of the proper measure. Will the Lord ever be able to make anything out of me? Now the Lord is going to measure you according to your mind and is waiting for you to get to the mark of perfect love, which is the standard of a perfect character, for none will be worthy of a place in the kingdom or eternal life except those that reach this mark, either now or in the Millennial Age. God has nothing for anyone except those that reach that standard in his mind and heart. He may have weaknesses, etc., and you may speak things that you are sorry for, and must apologize for, but your heart is at the mark–perfect love—and that is the reason you want to apologize, because you have reached the mark of perfect love. You love God, and all mankind, and wish to do good to all, as you have an opportunity. After a person gets where he can love his enemies, he is at the mark of perfect love. He will not be perfect in flesh, for that will not be possible in this age. Many still have to put a bridle upon their tongues, etc., you must hold in the old nature. This I have often illustrated by a bad dog which would represent our old nature, and for which the new creature is responsible. We must hold him in. Our intentions are good, as is shown by the fact that when the heat or excitement of the moment is passed, then the heart goes back to the principles of righteousness, and asks for forgiveness from the Father. He will ask for forgiveness for anything he has done. You might say, it will be harder to rectify this, than not to have done it in the first place. Surely. But that is what you must do, if you want [Q51] to prove to the Lord that your heart is for righteousness, and whenever you find you have made a mistake, you must rectify it. Now, then, if you get to that place, you have gotten to the place where, to my understanding, you are at the mark of perfect love, toward God, men, etc. You desire good for all and injury toward none. From that moment, I understand, the Lord counts you as one having a crown apportioned to you. That is one thing, but seeing that no man take your crown is another thing. After granted to you it still remains that if you are moved from the mark, pressed aside by difficulties, you are not standing this test, and you will not be worthy of being an overcomer. So you see there is a mark of character, without which none will be acceptable in the kingdom, spiritual or earthly. Now we must demonstrate our love and devotion, that is what we live for today and tomorrow, and in all your Christian experience, from the time you enter the school of Christ, for you are to learn of him as quickly as possible and get to the mark of perfect love toward all.


The words below are from Reprint No. 4470 from “ZWT” (www.htdb.one).

STANDING AT THE MARK

WE HAVE heretofore suggested what we now wish to further, if possible, emphasize; namely, the fact that there is a Divine standard of holiness, of righteousness, which, if it be not attained, will mean our non-acceptance by the Lord as members of his Elect Church; and, more than this, our unfitness for eternal life upon any plane. This standard of character, or mark of perfection, as we have pointed out, is not a standard or mark of fleshly perfection, because the Lord accepts amongst his consecrated disciples those of various degrees of mental, moral and physical degeneracy. The justification which he provides makes up for the blemishes of each, for the more blemished as well as for the less blemished. The robe of his righteousness imputed is as necessary to the noblest as to the most degraded, and renders the latter as acceptable as the former.

From this standpoint it is recognized that the heart, the renewed mind, the renewed will, is the spirit-begotten New Creature which is on trial before God. It has professed a thorough consecration to righteousness and opposition to sin, a complete deadness to it, and a determination to mortify, to deaden, the will of the flesh to the extent of its ability. From the very start this condition is pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. Nevertheless, it is Scripturally represented at first as being merely a “babe” condition, according to one illustration, and according to another merely a “begotten” condition. Progress must be made, character must be developed, and then, further, it must be tested. “Not every one who saith, Lord, Lord, shall enter the Kingdom.” Not every one who professes consecration, and newness of life, and self-sacrifice in the interests of truth and righteousness, can be accepted as a joint-heir with Christ. Time must be given for development and for proving.

Love for God they have, from the very outset. But it is not love of the highest type. As already shown, it is largely, if not entirely, duty love. The “babe” in Christ must feed upon the sincere milk of the Word, that he may grow strong. As the spiritual food is appropriated, and spiritual exercise is taken, strength of character comes in, the eyes of our understanding open more widely, and lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the Divine character are discerned which were not visible at the first. This brings us to a higher type of love for God—a love for his glorious character.

Meantime, also, a sympathetic love for the world is gradually developing in the spiritual “babe.” As the principles of the Divine character are seen and appreciated, the New Creature begins to apply these to everything in life, and hence increases in sympathetic love toward man and beast, friend and foe. Another element of love is gradually attained also: At first the “babe” in Christ loves some of the brethren—the nobler, the gentler, the better educated ones, etc.; but gradually, as the Divine character is discerned, and the Divine love becomes shed abroad in the heart, this love broadens out so that it includes every member of the family of God and every member of the fallen race—yea, even enemies. With this development comes spiritual activity, called in the Scriptures quickening—”You hath he quickened.” This quickening implies activity in the service of God, and the service of the brethren, and if outside opportunity beyond this permit, it would mean an activity in the service of all needing assistance such as we could give.

The Christian life here illustrated, which began as a “babe in Christ,” has by this time reached the standard of manhood in Christ, and is at the Mark of Perfect Love—for God, for the brethren, for the neighbor and for the enemies. Not until this point shall have been reached could such a person be considered fit for heaven, or for eternal life on any plane.

We are to bear in mind that there is no development in heaven, and hence perfection of character must be attained by the saints before they die. And, similarly, the world during the Millennium must attain this perfect development before the close of the age in order to be fit for eternal life according to the Divine promise and standards.

Is it asked to what extent will this standard of perfect love in the heart manifest itself in the flesh? We answer, that during the Millennial Age it will manifest itself perfectly in the flesh, for the world then will be judged according to the actual attainments in their flesh, and perfection by restitution will be not only possible, but required. But as for us of the Gospel Age, we who are being judged not according to the flesh but according to the spirit, to what extent will the new mind, the new nature, when at the Mark of Perfect Love, be able to govern and control the flesh? Our answer is, that the degrees of control will vary much, according to the degrees of imperfection with which the mortal body is afflicted.

The only standard which we can set forth is that the new nature, new mind, new will, would be very regretful, very sorrowful, in respect to any laches, or errors, of its mortal body. The Lord would know (and perhaps the brethren also to some extent) of the New Creature’s endeavor to control the mortal body by the degree of its grief in connection with every error, and its continually renewed effort to bring every power of the body, and even every thought, into complete subjection to the will of God in Christ. Any sympathy with sin is an evidence that the New Creature is not at the Mark. And no sympathy with sin, but constant endeavor for righteousness, is evidence that it is at the Mark.

Some may be at this Mark for a longer and some for a shorter period. Our Lord was surely at it from the beginning of his ministry. He was tested there, while at the Mark of perfect love. All the besetments of the Adversary and of the world failed to move him from that position of perfect love. He laid down his life at this Mark. St. Paul was surely at this Mark for many years before his actual death. He was continually laying down his life for the brethren, continually serving his enemies and praying for them; and surely he was continually loving and serving the Lord with his every power and talent.

No Christian should be satisfied with a long delay in reaching the Mark. The milk of the Word should be received, its strength should be appropriated, spiritual sight and spiritual energy should quickly follow, and strong meat of Divine Truth should speedily bring to full maturity the Christian character. And once attained, it should be held at any cost through all the trials and difficulties which the Adversary, and the world, and the flesh, might be permitted to bring against us. The severest temptations come after we have reached the Mark—temptations to slackness in service of God; temptations to withhold parts of our sacrifice; temptations to deal unkindly, uncharitably, unlovingly with the brethren, or unjustly with our neighbor, or ungenerously with our enemies. All of these must be resisted as we prize our eternal life, as we prize the promise of joint-heirship and fellowship with our Redeemer in His Kingdom.

Whoever sees this subject clearly must realize that as a Christian he has to do with a great proposition which will thoroughly test his loyalty, his courage, his zeal, [R4470, page 271] his love. He will need to remember the Lord’s comforting assurances of grace to help in every time of need if he would come off a victor and not be dismayed, nor have his courage beaten down by the Adversary’s attacks.

 

References:

Br. Charles Russell. “Pastor Russell’s Sermons,” and “What Pastor Russell Said – Question Book.”

The Reprints of the Original Watchtower and Herald of Christ’s Presence. These Reprints can be accessed here: http://www.htdbv8.com

Suggested Further Reading

“Lovest Thou Me More Than These?”JOHN 21:15-22. Reprint 2806. The Reprints of the Original Watch Tower and Herald of Christ’s Kingdom.
http://www.htdbv8.com/1901/r2806.htm

A Practical Self-Examination On Love

A Practical Self-Examination on Love

Agape by Br. Mark Grillo
http://www.heraldmag.org/2012/12nd_11.htm

Brotherly Kindness by Br. Ed Byrd
http://www.heraldmag.org/2012/12nd_10.htm

Words for Love in the Bible, In the Hebrew, by Br. W.A. Eliason, The Herald of Christ’s Kingdom Magazine, Set/Oct. 1986.
http://www.heraldmag.org/archives/1986_5.htm#_Toc36907449

 

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