A New Commandment


That dying love Thou gavest me, nor should I ought withhold, dear Lord from Thee. In love my soul would bow, my heart fulfil its vow, some offering bring Thee now.

By John Thiel, Audio: mp3

We are to respond to such a love, to sacrifice all for Him. That which we want to meditate about now is to sacrifice something for Him in regards to our relationship. We know well how the Ten Commandments are the laws of relationships, the relationship between God and us and us with one another. These commandments of God have been chronicled for the revelation to all humanity and they are indeed summarised here. Let us appreciate what God has said in reference to these Ten Commandments in their summary.

Deuteronomy 6:4 Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

6:5 And thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.

Leviticus 19:18 Thou shalt not avenge, nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself: I am the LORD.

When the lawyer came to Jesus in Matthew chapter 22, Jesus referred to these two scriptures as the summary of God’s Ten Commandments.

Matthew 22:36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law?

22:37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

22:38 This is the first and great commandment.

22:39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

22:40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

As historic Seventh-day Adventists we all agree with those Ten Commandments. We believe and defend those commandments, yet during this study we want to let Jesus give us a new commandment. This is the theme of our study is a new commandment. The beloved apostle alluded to this new commandment:

1 John 4:9 In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.

4:10 Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

4:11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.

The suggestion coming from this scripture points to something bigger than simply loving our neighbour as ourselves. God so loved us suggests that the love that He has to us, we ought also to have one to another. Those two verses ten and eleven, address what God would do that we have been contemplating here in our past studies. The love that God demonstrated was that He would sacrifice His own comfort zone and come and tabernacle with sinners; go through a holocaust of misery touching us in our condition and sacrificing His comfort for us. That is the love that God has which we are to have.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. {CTr 224.4

When somebody commends something to you, he wants you to actually consider it. What calibre of love is this? A love that we are to emulate, a love that we need to understand correctly so that we might correctly reproduce it in our life. A new commandment, a love that is the love that God has demonstrated. As we venture forward let us meditate upon this new commandment to love the way that God loves.

Harmless and undefiled He walked amid the careless, the thoughtless, the rude and unholy. He mingled with the unjust publicans, the reckless prodigals, the unrighteous Samaritans, the heathen soldiers, the rough peasants, and the mixed multitudes. He treated every human being as having great value. {CTr 224.4

Ponder this love. While we were yet sinners He came close to us. What were the sinners? Rude, thoughtless, careless, unholy, reckless and rough. He treated everyone as having great value.

He taught people to look upon themselves as persons to whom had been given precious talents that, if rightly used, would elevate and ennoble them, and secure for them eternal riches. By His example and character He taught that every moment of life was precious, as a time in which to sow seed for eternity.—The Youth’s Instructor, December 12, 1895. {CTr 224.4}

I am praying that God will really indelibly imprint upon our minds this love that He demonstrated. Do you love being in the presence of rude people? Do you regard them as special people? The careless, the people who are just occupied in their own careless way and you are trying to impress them and they just rudely treat you, do you love them? Jesus did. He saw value in them. This isn’t complete yet. As you see this love in reference to yourself, you fall in love with such a person. He loves me with all my mistakes, with all my grotty nastiness He loves me.

Harmless and undefiled, He walked among the thoughtless, {DA 90.3}

Do you like thoughtless people? So thoughtless of being courteous to you.

the rude, the uncourteous; amid the unjust publicans, the reckless prodigals, the unrighteous Samaritans, the heathen soldiers, the rough peasants, and the mixed multitude. . {DA 90.3}

What did He do as He walked among them? Did He go along with a look upon His face that gave them the feeling that He was ridiculing them?

He spoke a word of sympathy here and a word there, as He saw men weary, . {DA 90.3}

Why were they weary? They made themselves weary, why should He care? Isn’t that the language we express when people are weary and feeling miserable because of their own faults?

yet compelled to bear heavy burdens. He shared their burdens, and repeated to them the lessons He had learned from nature, of the love, the kindness, the goodness of God. {DA 90.3}

This is the calibre of God’s love.

He passed by no human being as worthless, but sought to apply the saving remedy to every soul. In whatever company He found Himself, {DA 92.1}

What sort of company was He in? Reckless, rude, uncourteous.

He presented a lesson that was appropriate to the time and the circumstances. He sought to inspire with hope. {DA 92.1}

When somebody is totally hopeless can you see the love that He exercised here? He inspired a hopeless person with some kind of hope; that was His love.

the most rough and unpromising, setting before them the assurance that they might become blameless and harmless, attaining such a character as would make them manifest as the children of God. {DA 92.1}

Doesn’t your heart melt with that kind of love. Have you ever seen how reckless, stupid and unworthy you are? You feel that you have really messed up and He gives you comfort to think that I can still make it to be a child of God.

Often He met those who had drifted under Satan’s control, {DA 92.1}

That looks pretty hopeless.

and who had no power to break from his snare. To such a one, discouraged, sick, tempted, and fallen, Jesus would speak words of tenderest pity, words that were needed and could be understood. Others He met who were fighting a hand-to-hand battle with the adversary of souls. These He encouraged to persevere, assuring them that they would win; for angels of God were on their side, and would give them the victory. Those whom He thus helped were convinced that here was One in whom they could trust with perfect confidence. He would not betray the secrets they poured into His sympathizing ear. {DA 91.1}

Jesus was the healer of the body as well as of the soul. He was interested in every phase of suffering that came under His notice, and to every sufferer He brought relief, His kind words having a soothing balm. None could say that He had worked a miracle; but virtue—the healing power of love—went out from Him to the sick and distressed. {DA 92.1}

She is writing here of the time when He was a youth. He hadn’t done any miracles but the healing power of love went out from Him to the sick and distressed.

Thus in an unobtrusive way He worked for the people from His very childhood. And this was why, after His public ministry began, so many heard Him gladly. {DA 92.1}

This is the calibre of the love.

2 Corinthians 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,

Can you see the word reconciling applicable in everything I have just been reading? It is this kind of love that draws people who are in a hopeless, grotty, evil state to give them hope; reconciling them to Himself. God was in Christ doing that? This is the love of God.

not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. {Ed 294.1}

How meaningful that is now. This reconciling love, He says now you take hold of that. He has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. We are here to worship, we are here to admire. This is the Sabbath day, we are here to admire Him, to see this love and by beholding that love we become compelled, we become changed. We need to spend not only the Sabbath day, we need to do this all through the week.

The divine Teacher bears with the erring through all their perversity. His love does not grow cold; {Ed 294.1}

Because iniquity abounds the love of many grows cold. His love doesn’t. His love does not grow cold.

His efforts to win them do not cease. With outstretched arms He waits to welcome again and again the erring, {Ed 294.1}

Someone who errs we can maybe put outstretched arms to an erring person, but who is next?

the rebellious, and even the apostate. {Ed 294.1}

This is the calibre of love, of God’s love.

His heart is touched with the helplessness of the little child subject to rough usage. The cry of human suffering never reaches His ear in vain. Though all are precious in His sight, the rough, sullen, stubborn dispositions draw most heavily upon His sympathy and love; {Ed 294.1}

This is God’s love.

for He traces from cause to effect. The one who is most easily tempted, and is most inclined to err, is the special object of His solicitude. {Ed 294.1}

This is God’s love. Love is easily expressed as a word but love is what I am here asking you to focus on for one purpose. As I am reading all these things, this is the love of God that Jesus says, I give you a new commandment to love like that.

The Lord loves us, and bears with us, even when we are ungrateful to him, forgetful of his mercies, wickedly unbelieving; {RH April 22, 1884, Art. A, par. 9}

God’s love doesn’t stop there. He loves us and bears with us through all that. What did He express to sinful Israel? It is well worthwhile studying through the Old Testament and seeing what He does with sinful Israel and how He expresses Himself to them. He was writing to the Israel who were about to be lead into captivity because of their ungodliness.

Isaiah 49:13 Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

49:14 But Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

Why did they say that? The very same reason that Jesus said, my God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken me? Because all the sins of the people were upon Him and He felt forsaken. Israel was sinful and they expressed, the Lord hath forgotten me.

Isaiah 49:15 Can a woman forget her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the son of her womb? yea, they may forget, yet will I not forget thee.

49:16 Behold, I have graven thee upon the palms of my hands; thy walls are continually before me.

Brethren and sisters, worship God with me. This is His love. Embrace it in your own heart for yourself and then understand why He did it.

He has united His interests with those of humanity, that men and women may receive from Him power to do His will. {UL 271.5}

This is the power. To gaze upon this love and become so overwhelmed by this power of love that I want to do exactly what He says. That is why He has demonstrated this kind of love, to turn us away from the things that are causing us these rough characters, these apostate mentalities, these grotty characteristics that are so unlovely, that impatience and fretfulness with my fellow man; that He would show such love and longsuffering for my sinfulness that I am overwhelmed by that love and that would cause me, give me power to do what He now commands me, so that He can give me a new commandment and enable, empower me to keep that new commandment.

John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. {5BC 1140.1}

Everything we have just been contemplating, He says, that is the love you are to have one toward another. And by this shall all men know that you are my disciple. Why is this commandment new?

Why was this called “a new commandment”? The disciples had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. They had not yet seen the fullness of the love that He was to reveal in man’s behalf. They were yet to see Him dying on the cross for their sins. Through His life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to “love one another” was to gain a new meaning in the light of His self-sacrifice. In the light shining from the cross of Calvary they were to read the meaning of the words, “As I have loved you, that ye also love one another” (The Review and Herald, June 30, 1910). {5BC 1140.1}

Is it a new commandment to you, to me? Have we understood the Ten Commandments and thought we were keeping them nicely, when in reality we have never really carried out that commandment? This is a new one to many of us, I know. You will see it as we keep on carefully exploring the consequences of this love that is a commandment to you and me if we are God’s church.

Why should this commandment be new to the disciples? The words, “As I have loved you” were yet to be fulfilled by the offering He was about to make for the sins of the world. As Christ had loved them, the disciples were to love one another. They were to show forth the love abiding in their hearts for men, women, and children, by doing all in their power for their salvation. But they were to reveal a specially tender love for all of the same faith (Manuscript 160, 1898). {5BC 1140.2}

Have a look at each other. Are we all of the same faith? Have a look at each other in your daily life, husbands, wives, brothers and sisters. In our daily life through the week, look at each other. Are we of the same faith? This kind of love that Jesus had was to be for everyone but they were to reveal a specially tender love for all of the same faith. What did that mean? The kind of love that God has to the grotty details of human frailty for those who are of the same faith. We do not judge one another at all, but we simply try to help one another, that is all. It is so different to what we have been practising in the past. Let us be very honest. How has your love been practised? So similar to every normal human being, so do the Pharisees do, they love those that are easy to love but those with rude characteristics in them, how can I do what Jesus did for them? This is a new love; this is a new commandment.

More than ever before, if we are going to be members of God’s final remnant church, this subject needs to be our focus. We might have the pure truth but a new commandment is here for us. Why should we focus on this?

From the beginning it has been God’s plan that through His church shall be reflected to the world His fullness and His sufficiency. The members of the church, those whom He has called out of darkness into His marvelous light, are to show forth His glory. The church is the repository of the riches of the grace of Christ; and through the church will eventually be made manifest, even to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places,” the final and full display of the love of God. Ephesians 3:10. {AA 9.1}

The remnant of her seed are to stand before the world and each other with a full and final display of the love of God, the new commandment to love as God loves. What is the call of Revelation 14:6-7.

Revelation 14:7…Fear God, and give glory to him;

What is the glory? His love. That love that God had in Jesus Christ to the rough and sullen and apostate and all those things I have read to you, that is the love that we are to have so that it is the glory of God that is demonstrated to the world. The love of God, by this shall all men know that you are the remnant of her seed. Stop to let that sink in. Have we not learned that, that glory is His character. Can we open our hearts to this character?

Husband has wronged his wife. Tell me ladies, how easy is it for you if your husband has badly wronged you and committed adultery. I know of a soul in the reform movement who did that and then he was desperately sorry and his wife found it impossible to forgive him. Go the other way around. How does a husband feel if his wife has become unfaithful? They are both members in the church, they have fallen desperately. What is God’s love? To love one another as He loved. What did I describe in the reading of God’s word? Even the apostate He was ready to receive. What is an apostate? If they repent and are in the same faith, what can be done? You can receive them back, exactly as you had them before. That’s God. In the world people cannot forgive and therefore they have separation and divorce.

Separation

There is only one reason for separation in God’s church and that is that those with whom we are at one with turn away from God’s truth and deliberately become apostate and will not repent, then there is separation. We have read much about that, that because of the course of those that were against the Lord it causes us to separate, but while we are not yet in that position and we are faulty and sinful, we are still of the same faith. What is the love of God? We forgive. In God’s membership of His church there is no separation, do you believe that? That’s the truth. We do not separate from one another because we have sinned against each other. We have the love of God. If we are separating one from another and we do not repent and come back to this new commandment, we disqualify ourselves from God’s church. Is that right? Take this very carefully brethren and sisters. God has given us a new commandment to love as He loved in the church, with our brothers and sisters fellowshipping together, associating together. A new commandment have I given you that you love as I have loved because in this church that is standing on original Adventism we are to demonstrate that love of God where there will be a full and final display in the church of a love that bears all things and forgives all things, whatever they are.

If we are separating, what sort of a testimony are we giving? Are we the children of God when we do that? The reality is that God is waiting for us to repent from that, and we want to stay together, we want to be the church that God can recognise as giving Him the glory.

By our unity we are to bear strong, indisputable evidence that Christ came to this world to save sinners. {UL 271.2}

Can we understand here? If there is sin in the camp, what is to happen? Are we to separate from one another? No. We are to restore one another. As we restore one another there is indisputable evidence that Christ came to this world to save sinners.

Satan works with all his ingenuity to prevent human beings from bearing this evidence. {UL 271.2}

Satan doesn’t want a church to exist on this earth. He wants to crush the last life out of the church of the last days. He is making war against them. By his ingenuity to prevent human beings from bearing the evidence that Jesus came to save sinners, He came close to them. When we see error and problems in the church, instead of saying, these people are terrible I have to separate, we come closer. That was the love of God, wasn’t it? He came closer to the sinner.

He wants them to develop an unsanctified individuality so that they shall not love one another. {UL 271.2}

Isn’t that exactly what he works on us? I will just have to keep to myself here. This person is so uncouth, so uncourteous, I cannot associate with him. That is called unsanctified individuality. That is Satan’s work.

Too often professing Christians yield to him, and then the merest trifle causes a difference to spring up among them. {UL 271.2}

Something hasn’t been done quite right. We think about it, the merest trifle and it becomes a mountain.

Men and women professing godliness build walls of separation between them and their fellow workers, because not all think in exactly the same way, or follow exactly the same methods. Those who stand apart, refusing to harmonize, dishonor God before the world. Christ prayed for unity. It is His will that His followers shall labor together in Christian fellowship…. {UL 271.2}

Give God the glory.

Let us respond to Christ’s invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. {UL 271.3}

We are heavily laden with the burden of carrying each other’s mistakes. We are heavily burdened with all these character defects that are affecting us.

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. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30). To respond to this invitation, we must let go all self-importance, all feeling of superiority, and bow in submission to the will of God. {UL 271.3}

All feelings of superiority, not actions of superiority. You have to throw the feelings out the door. A lot of people don’t realise that when we say, he is so uncourteous, he is so rude, that means I am so courteous and I am so kind. Full of self. So different to Jesus. Learn of me, said Jesus.

To ensure our membership with the church triumphant, the remnant of her seed, let us follow along in this new commandment. That is what I need to do.

Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;

3:13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Mercy toward somebody who has sinned against me so badly, the poor fellow. Jesus reasoned from cause to effect and we, we hear the cry and we hear each other’s background and are prone to say, it doesn’t matter, but let us reason from cause to effect. Understand how easy it is for you and me to fall, then if I see a brother falling I say, I want to stand by him, I want to recover him as Jesus did in mingling with those negative things.

Put on, do you like that word? I remember that I was told many times as I was driving to church and I had to deal with different situations in the home, when I came to church I would put a smile on my face, you’re putting it on. Yes, put it on. See what happens when you put it on. Bowels of mercies, see what happens. As you are putting it on because Jesus is your admiration, you will find it easy to put it on because there is something inside of me in my natural nature that doesn’t want to put it on, but there is the divine nature, that beautiful atonement. Love and forgive as Jesus did.

Here is the instruction, here is the commandment. I can only do it if I gaze upon that wonderful love. We described it so carefully and I want you to go over it many times. I have given you the scriptures and Spirit of Prophecy meditations; gaze upon it and realise that this is what God wants you to be and wants me to be.

Jesus, who died for us, loves us with a love that is infinite; and we must love one another. We must put away all selfishness, {RH April 22, 1884, Art. A, par. 9}

What’s that? It has to go exactly the way I want to see it done; that is selfishness. We must put that away. Everybody does things in a way different to the other. If it doesn’t go exactly according to the way I want it, I get miffed. That is not God’s love.

and work together in love and unity. We have loved and petted ourselves, and excused ourselves in our waywardness; but we have been unmerciful toward our brethren, who are not as faulty as ourselves. {RH April 22, 1884, Art. A, par. 9}

We want to think of ourselves in an acceptable light don’t we? So we are very kind to myself and we pet ourselves, but the faulty characteristics so obvious to me in my brethren I am unmerciful toward when really they are not as faulty as myself.

The Lord loves us, and bears with us, even when we are ungrateful to him, forgetful of his mercies, wickedly unbelieving; but consider, brethren, how relentless we are to one another, {RH April 22, 1884, Art. A, par. 9}

That word relentless is like a bulldog that hangs on tight and won’t let go. We are so relentless to one another.

how pitiless; how we hurt and wound one another when we should love as Christ has loved us. Let us make a complete change. Let us cultivate the precious plant of love, and delight to help one another. We must be kind, forbearing, patient with one another’s errors; we must keep our sharp criticisms for ourselves, but hope all things, believe all things, of our brethren. {RH April 22, 1884, Art. A, par. 9}

In other words, if you are sharp and critical on someone else, think no, that’s for me and for them I will bear them faithfully. I am the bad one not them. I am more rude than they. This is what we are commanded. God’s command is so beautiful, I have given you an example, follow me.

To judge our brethren, to allow feelings to be cherished against them, even if we feel they have not done exactly right toward us, will bring no blessing to our hearts and will not help the case at all. OHC 239.5

I feel justified. It’s legitimate, they have mistreated me. Didn’t they mistreat Jesus? And He loved them; Father, forgive them for they know not what they do. That was severe what they did to Him. We have little petty things that annoy us. As I cling to these I allow feelings to be cherished against them because I insist they have not done exactly right toward me, this will bring no blessing to our hearts and will not help the case at all.

I dare not allow my feelings to run in the channel of hunting up all my grievances and telling them over and over, and dwelling in the atmosphere of distrust, enmity, and dissension…. {OHC 239.5}

There is light in following Jesus, talking of Jesus, loving Jesus, and I will not allow my mind to think or speak ill of my brethren. {OHC 239.6}

Do you have trouble going to sleep at night with the thoughts going round and round, this and that and the other and that wasn’t right and this wasn’t right, next minute I wake up in the morning and I am completely drained because it hasn’t helped me at all to think about those things. It hasn’t made things better either. We are to think and talk of Jesus’ love and follow that. There is light in following Jesus, talking of Jesus, loving Jesus, and I will not allow my mind to think or speak ill of my brethren.

“Inasmuch,” said Christ, “as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25:40. I would not feel unkindness or hatred to anyone. I would not be an accuser of my brethren. Satan will try to stir up my mind to do this, but I cannot do it. I will cherish the forgiving Spirit of Jesus. {OHC 239.6}

It said there, dwelling in the atmosphere of distrust, I will not do this. What is the atmosphere that we want to dwell in if we are going to be the church triumphant? It is the atmosphere of that which we have fallen in love with. I want you to fall in love with the Man of Calvary, I want you to fall in love with the author of the Bible. The wonderful product of the atonement that we have fallen in love with is a product that will produce a precious experience. We all want it, but we keep on losing it. Why?

Jesus says, “Love one another, as I have loved you.” Love is not simply an impulse, a transitory emotion, dependent upon circumstances; it is a living principle, a permanent power. The soul is fed by the streams of pure love that flow from the heart of Christ, as a well-spring that never fails. … (Letter 63, 1896). {5BC 1140.3}

To love as Christ loved means to manifest unselfishness at all times and in all places, by kind words and pleasant looks. These cost those who give them nothing, but they leave behind a fragrance that surrounds the soul. Their effect can never be estimated. Not only are they a blessing to the receiver, but to the giver; for they react upon him. Genuine love is a precious attribute of heavenly origin, which increases in fragrance in proportion as it is dispensed to others…. {5BC 1140.4}

You know the alabaster box that was opened. The more that was poured out the stronger the fragrance. So it is, we can bottle up our love in our own hearts but that doesn’t make sense. As you dispense it with kind words, with pleasant looks, the atmosphere changes. You know what it is like when somebody is morose and dark there is an atmosphere. When there is a smile and kind words and courteous actions there is an atmosphere, a fragrance.

Christ’s love is deep and earnest, flowing like an irrepressible stream to all who will accept it. There is no selfishness in His love. If this heaven-born love is an abiding principle in the heart, it will make itself known, not only to those we hold most dear in sacred relationship, but to all with whom we come in contact. It will lead us to bestow little acts of attention, to make concessions, to perform deeds of kindness, to speak tender, true, encouraging words. It will lead us to sympathize with those whose hearts hunger for sympathy (Manuscript 17, 1899). {5BC 1140.5}

It is so different to the talk in the world isn’t it? We will be glad to give sympathy. This is the love of Jesus. The words to us this morning are

Isaiah 60:1 Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.

Let us arise. Let the glory and the love of Jesus occupy our hearts and while gross darkness surrounds us we will stand out to be totally different. May the love of God, the love of Jesus, be indeed the commandment that we will submit to is my prayer.

Amen.

Posted on September 17, 2012, in Divine Service Sermons, Sermons by John Thiel, The Love of God and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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