The Review and Herald

1310/1902

February 25, 1904

Brotherly Love

EGW

Just prior to the crucifixion, Christ, in his last lessons to the disciples, dwelt upon the love that they should cherish for one another. “By this,” he said, “shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” RH February 25, 1904, par. 1

After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples went forth to proclaim a risen Saviour, their one desire the salvation of souls. They rejoiced in the sweetness of communion with saints. They were tender, thoughtful, self-denying, willing to make any sacrifice for the truth's sake. In their daily association with one another they revealed the love that Christ had commanded them to reveal. By unselfish words and deeds they strove to kindle this love in other hearts. RH February 25, 1904, par. 2

The believers were ever to cherish the love that filled the hearts of the apostles after the descent of the Holy Spirit. They were to go forward in willing obedience to the new commandment, “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” So closely were they to be united to Christ, that they would be enabled to fulfil his requirements. The power of a Saviour who could justify them by his righteousness was to be magnified. RH February 25, 1904, par. 3

A Spiritual Loss

But the early Christians began to look for defects in one another. Dwelling upon mistakes, encouraging suspicion and doubt, giving way to unkind criticism, they lost sight of the Saviour, and of the great love he had revealed for sinners. They became more strict in regard to outward ceremonies, more particular about the theory of the faith, more severe in their criticisms. In their zeal to condemn others, they themselves erred. They forgot the lessons of brotherly love that Christ had taught. And, saddest of all, they were unconscious of their loss. They did not realize that happiness and joy were going out of their lives, and that soon they would walk in darkness, having shut the love of God out of their hearts. RH February 25, 1904, par. 4

A Message of Reproof

Because the early church lost their first love, there came to them a message of reproof. “I have somewhat against thee,” the Lord declared, “because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” RH February 25, 1904, par. 5

Those mentioned in this scripture as losing their first love were not ranked with open sinners. They had the truth; they were established in the doctrine; they were firm to condemn and resist evil. Yet God declared, “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee.” They were losing their realization of the greatness of the love that God has shown for fallen humanity by making an infinite sacrifice to redeem them. RH February 25, 1904, par. 6

The apostle John realized that brotherly love was waning in the church, and he dwelt particularly upon this point. Up to the day of his death he urged upon believers the constant exercise of love for one another. His letters to the churches are interwoven with this thought. In one of his epistles we read: “Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God.... God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.... Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.” RH February 25, 1904, par. 7

In the church of God today brotherly love is greatly lacking. Many of those who profess to love the Saviour neglect to love those who are united with them in Christian fellowship. We are of the same faith, members of one family, all children of the same Heavenly Father, with the same blessed hope of immortality. How close and tender should be the tie that binds us together! How careful we should be to have our words and actions in harmony with the sacred truths that God has committed to us. The people of the world are looking to us, to see if our faith is exerting a sanctifying influence on our hearts, making us Christlike. They are ready to discover every defect in our lives, every inconsistency in our actions. Let us give them no occasion to reproach our faith. RH February 25, 1904, par. 8

Our Greatest Danger

It is not the opposition of the world that will endanger us the most; the evil cherished in the hearts of professed Christians works out most grievous disaster, and retards most the progress of God's cause. There is no surer way of weakening ourselves in spiritual things than by being envious, suspicious of one another, full of faultfinding and evil surmising. “This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” RH February 25, 1904, par. 9

How We May Reveal Christ

When you are associated with one another, be guarded in your words. Let your conversation be of such a nature that you will have no need to repent of it. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” “A good man out of the good treasure of the heart bringeth forth good things: and an evil man out of the evil treasure bringeth forth evil things.” If the love of the truth is in your hearts, you will talk of the truth,—of the blessed hope that you have in Jesus. If your hearts are filled with brotherly love, you will seek to establish and build up your brother in the most holy faith. RH February 25, 1904, par. 10

If a word is dropped that is detrimental to the character of a friend or brother, never encourage this evil-speaking; for it is the work of the enemy. Remind the speaker that God's Word forbids this kind of conversation. We are to empty the heart of everything that defiles the soul-temple, that Christ may dwell within. The Redeemer has told us how we may reveal him to the world. If we cherish his Spirit, if we manifest his love toward others, if we guard one another's interests, if we are kind, patient, forbearing, the fruits we bear will give evidence to the world that we are God's children. It is unity in the church that enables Christians to exert a strong influence upon unbelievers. RH February 25, 1904, par. 11

To build up one another in the most holy faith is a blessed work; to tear down is a work full of bitterness and sorrow. Christ identifies himself with his suffering children; for he says, “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” If all would carry out the instruction given by Christ, love and unity would prevail in the church. RH February 25, 1904, par. 12

Every heart has its own sorrows and disappointments, and we should seek to lighten one another's burdens by manifesting the love of Jesus to those around us. If our conversation were upon heaven and heavenly things, evil-speaking would soon cease to have any attraction for us. We would not then be placing our feet upon dangerous ground; nor would we enter into temptation, falling under the power of the evil one. RH February 25, 1904, par. 13

Instead of finding fault with others, let us be critical with ourselves. Every one should inquire, Is my heart right before God? Am I glorifying my Heavenly Father? If you have cherished a wrong spirit, banish it from the soul. Eradicate from your heart everything that is of a defiling nature. Pluck up every root of bitterness, lest others be contaminated by the baleful influence. Do not allow one poisonous plant to remain in the soil of your heart. Root it out this very hour and cultivate in its stead the plant of love. Let Jesus be enshrined in the soul-temple. RH February 25, 1904, par. 14

My brethren and sisters, prayerfully consider the exhortation given to those who have left their first love. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works.” God is now calling for heartfelt repentance, and for a return to the love that we once manifested toward one another. “Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil; rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth; beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things.” RH February 25, 1904, par. 15

“If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us.” RH February 25, 1904, par. 16