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Friday: Further Thought – The Least of These — 11 Comments

  1. I think it is appropriate to extend the theme of this week’s lesson by including the story of the woman taken in adultery as recorded in John 8;3-11.

    And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him.

    But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not. So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

    And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.
    When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?
    She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

    The woman taken in adultery was vulnerable and her accusers were using her to bait Jesus. Little thought was given to her value as a person. Jesus went against the social norm of the day by exposing the hypocrisy of her accusers and giving her value as a human being. The words, “Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more!” perhaps sum up the really big idea of this week’s lesson. Jesus gave value back to “the least of these”, setting an example of compassion and understanding for us to follow. He replaced condemnation with compassion.

    Where does the horizon of my compassion end?

  2. "He replaced condemnation with compassion."

    This is a VERY important point that Maurice has made.

    How then do we become genuinely and deeply changed so that we treat others with compassion rather than condemnation?

    I also know of many people who, through unfortunate circumstances in their life, have developed a habit of self-condemnation (many of whom were children growing up under critical adults). How do they also become genuinely and deeply changed so that they replace self-condemnation with compassion?

    What are people's thoughts in regard to these issues/questions?

    • Nicodemus asked the same question didn't he? How can a man be born again? "When we know God as it our privilege to know Him", then we we do not have to ask, "how do we know"? We will know, even as we are fully known.

  3. Brothers - John 20 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Jesus for the first time addresses the disciples my brothers.
    Practical - We have excellent inspired writings for our references on how to live healthy; however, because of our indifference to the world we are dying of the same diseases of the world. what evidence can we provide to those who are seeking a difference in Christianity? Unfortunately, the world has caught on to healthy living. Most of us have given into the appetite of the world.
    Circumstances - How we choose to react to our circumstances defines us
    self-center and self-reliance - Richness of humanity leads people to believe they can depend on themselves and also makes them believe the world revolves around them. Luke 12 20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ You think you have prepared all these for yourself, but death is a equalizer there is no rich or poor in death.
    come and depart - There will be a judgement when Christ himself will say to some come and inherit and to some depart from me I never knew you. All injustice will be atoned when this world will come to an end.
    Judgment - It is a reality everyone on this earth will face one day. Some will face the judgment knowing the judge and others will face the judgement knowing their works. Those who have done their work without the relationship will stand outside of the kingdom. Those who produced the fruit of righteousness enter into the kingdom. What is the motivation that prompts your good work?
    Abolishes - if the law of God given to Moses had been followed there would have been no poor, no slaves, and the land would have had it's rest.

    We for the most part don't understand the consequences of our actions example environmental consequences of pollution to this earth.
    When we do realize, we don't want to let go of the comfort thus we pay for our exploitation with such severity.

  4. We might be involved in such a lifestyle that it seems we have no time at all to help others. That's not true. There is always someone we know in need of a talent we have. Great changes can start with small actions. Everyone can make a difference!

  5. Today's lesson makes the point that "It is because men take upon themselves the name of Christ, while in life they deny His character, that Christianity has so little power in the world.”

    The question was asked, "how then do we become genuinely and deeply changed so that we treat others with compassion rather than condemnation?

    2 Cor. 3:18 (NKJV) points out that by beholding we become changed "(But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.)"
    A quick look at the synonyms of the word "BEHOLD" we discover: to look at, observe, gaze upon, contemplate, inspect, regard, survey, gaze upon, witness.

    I have observed many times that couples after years of marriage tend to display the characteristics of each other, and I read recently (livescience dot com) that "University of Michigan psychologist Robert Zajonc conducted an experiment to test this phenomenon. He analyzed photographs of couples taken when they were newlyweds and photographs of the same couples taken 25 years later."

    "The results showed that the couples had grown to look more like each other over time. And, the happier that the couple said they were, the more likely they were to have increased in their physical similarity."

    Its only when we spend time with the word beholding Christ character will we be changed under the influence of the Holy Spirit and be able to treat others with compassion rather than condemnation.

  6. Maurice, the story you quote is a favorite of mine. It clearly describes the character og the God we love. I like to think of "go and sin no more as more of a promise than a command".
    As an aside, I am having problems with the structure of the Study Guide assignments. On Friday, the assignments suggest copious reading from Ellen white, way more than the assigned Bible reading.This week, it was 36 pages by my count. Why so much more commentary than Bible. We are people of what book? Just saying.

    • Ha ha Richard. It was a means of getting us back to the Bible. Many Christians don’t read the Bible any more. Many don’t study the quarterly. Even the author said if we take 1 text per day and study it mean-fully, we can obtain so much spiritual.

  7. What a week!! Pray that the people of God will allow the Holy Spirit to guide them as his little flock as we show love one for another.
    My writing yesterday was so on target, it can even be use for today Friday. Excerpt from one of my favorite author books are relevant for the church in these times.
    Jesus tears away the wall of partition.......the dividing prejudice of nationality.
    In Jesus day the Jews had set up walls, in our days are Christians setting up walls ???
    1Cor 13:1-3 tells us about what love is not. Why would the Lord wanted to tell us what love is not before he tells us what love is?? Must be a reason!!!
    The golden rule- written in the Bible, “anything short of such is deception”. Am I living a deceptive life? Am I being deceived daily?
    How can I place a low esteem on humans whom Christ had shed his precious blood for on Calvary.
    Let us pray that the Holy Spirit will unite us as a church no matter where we live, whether on any continent or any island.
    Faith, hope and charity but the greatest of these three is love.

  8. The Holy Spirit transforms the heart of each of us who accepts this gift of salvation from Jesus to live and love like Jesus. I resist the Holy Spirit when I see myself as not in need of transformation. Accepting I am one of the "least of these," undeserving of love by Jesus and yet, loved by Jesus, transforms me to love others like Jesus. The Holy Spirit is freely given to all of us to enable us to show the world who Jesus is by loving like Him.

    Our earlier reading of the Beatitudes from Matthew 5 actually parallels the fruit of the Spirit in Galatians 5.

    Poor in Spirit (I acknowledge my wretchedness)-->Jesus offers me His Love
    Those who mourn (I sorrow over the cost of my sins and sin around me)-->Jesus offers me His Joy
    Meek (I am humbled by Jesus’ love for me in the face of my sins)-->Jesus offers me His Peace
    Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness (I continually seek/return to Jesus to satisfy me)-->Jesus offers me His patience (perseverance; steadfast)
    Merciful (Jesus’ mercy for me gives me a merciful heart for others)-->Jesus offers me His Kindness
    Pure in heart (obeying Jesus’ promises requires a heart of love, clean of sin)-->Jesus offers me His Goodness
    Peacemakers (keeping my eyes on Jesus allows me to persist in overcoming any relationship obstacles through Him)-->Jesus offers me His Faithfulness
    Persecuted (I’m not retaliating in the face of attack just as Jesus did not retaliate)-->Jesus offers me His Gentleness
    Maligned (I give Jesus control of my anger when I am being attacked upfront or behind my back)-->Jesus offers me His self-control

    The Holy Spirit transforms us (the least) into testimonies of Jesus (the One who is great). We need Him every day, all day, day by day to love out this testimony to every person around us.
    John 13:35 By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

    • Thank you Ruth Koilpillai, these verses remind me of a repentant heart in Psalm 51 especially verse 17- The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise. New King James Version (NKJV).


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