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Thursday: Motivated by Love — 28 Comments

  1. We enjoy singing and talking about the love of Jesus. The young folk who lead out in the singing in our church, sing rather long Gospel songs about the love of Jesus. They often sing with their eyes shut and hands uplifted, really enjoying the combination of music, and words. There is something that touches the heart when we sing about the love of Jesus.

    All of this is good but if all we ever did was sing about the love of Jesus we would miss the point. After we have sung our songs we have to go back into the real world and share the love of Jesus in tangible down-to-earth ways.

    I fell in love with Carmel when we were in our late teens. it was a great time of life. We held hands, kissed, and did all the other things that most people who fall in love do. Our hearts beat in time together. We married and then the reality of real-life began. Our first challenge was to drive an old Holden FX car from Sydney to Perth - about 4000km - where we would start our lives together. Suddenly we were on our own and faced the real world. Then we had to find a house to live in, start new jobs, make new friends and so on. The real world tested our love. (we must have done something right because our marriage has survived for over 50 years.

    Likewise, our spiritual journey has to take place in a challenging real world. Love has to be more than singing. Love has to be able to get its hands dirty with real life.

    Here is a song we used to sing when I was a kid:

    Could we with ink the ocean fill
    And were the skies of parchment made
    Were every stalk on earth a quill
    And every man a scribe by trade
    To write the love of God above
    Would drain the ocean dry
    Nor could the scroll contain the whole
    Though stretched from sky to sky
    Songwriters: Robby Shaffer / Jim Bryson /
    Mike Scheuchzer / Nathan Cochran /
    Bart Millard / Pete Kipley

    The ink we use to write that love should be the effort we put into helping those in need around us. Love is more than nice-sounding words and memorable melody.

    Amen!(38)
  2. Following on from what Maurice has written above - a theme that is dear to his heart - I would like to start a conversation about the core thread of today's lesson: being motivated by love to have "unselfish interest" that "constrains" us to "share the love of Jesus in tangible down-to-earth ways" with all whom we encounter in the course of our day-to-day lives?

    1) What do you think gets in the way of our doing this more? What is missing?

    2) What do you think would help remedy this situation?

    Amen!(16)
    • Phil, for me personally, 1 John 2:16 answers your questions:"For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world." 1 John 2:16 I so easily get carried away by the news of the day and my own personal anxieties and fears.

      It is so easy to get caught up in the social, economic, and political turmoil around us. Too much [media]. The antidote is, in the words of the old gospel song, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in His wonderful face, and the things of Earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." What I feed my mind will largely determine my capacity to witness. This is why Paul says, "For the love of Christ compels us,... 2 Corinthians 5:14.

      Amen!(14)
    • Living in the most western time zone of the US gives me the benefit of reading everyone's post that got up before me. As a senior citizen, I can leisurely enjoy starting my day with our Bible Study and a virtual visit with all of you. 🙂

      Phil, you always get me thinking - "unselfish interest" that "constrains' us to share the love of Jesus is what caught my eye as well!
      My answer to your first question is: the lack of deep, personal understanding/appreciation of one's lostness regarding life outside of God's saving Grace.
      My answer to the second questions is: to understand and truly repent, first.

      The lesson writer says that witnessing places us in touch with the heart of God and: "is a response of obedience to His command". As a Christian, should we not make sure that we first fully understand the motive causing our 'obedience' that follows a 'command'? Motive defines the act!!!

      Love is not a magic mantel that we can drape over our self-interests or change our motivation by. Deep down in our hearts, self is always struggling with selflessness. Rom.7:14-24. This is the dilemma Paul and we all find ourselves in daily.

      I think before we can more effectively love unselfishly, we need to be introspective and discover our sins/proclivities related to self-righteousness. Once we have scrupulously/sincerely done this, we can more fully grasp the depth and power of God's saving Grace. With the resulting depth of gratitude we understand and love the lost with true empathy. If not, all we have is self-righteous sympathy.

      I agree with JC, it would be good to meditate on the cross more! Jesus Christ suffered immeasurable agony and counted it an acceptable cost to Himself when comparing it with what this would gift to us; too easily we gloss over the absolute selflessness of Jesus' act of Love.

      If we have not personally experienced the state of 'living in darkness', we cannot fully understand the ignorant, 'non-spiritual-responses' to 'loving kindness' by the unsaved. Everyone needs to be brought out of the darkness first to see and understand the Light of God - God's Spirit does that.

      Occasions for good works are abundant in our world full of lost souls. To engage in 'good' works and not also include information about the source of this 'love-reaching-out', is falling short of truly acting out of selfless love. It is, spiritually seen, imperative that we point to God, no matter how awkward it might 'feel' at that moment.
      The spoken and heartfelt "God bless you", is a powerful prayer accompanying the gift at the moment it is received.

      2Cor.5:18-21 - v.20: 'Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God'. When we witness with our words as well as with our deeds, we engage in the 'ministry of reconciliation' - pointing to God as the source of all Love.

      It is easy to see that the receiver of one's love thinks of the giver as the one who's love he receives. Unless we make it known that it is God's love reaching out, it will not have moved the needle of understanding the spiritual side of giving, sufficiently.
      'Giving' would remain bound to the material life and not communicate it's spiritually based motivation. The giver and the receiver would have missed an oportunity to praise God!

      Amen!(3)
  3. The world is searching for love in all the wrong places. The most amazing news we need to share is that the LORD, the richest, most powerful, all knowing, amazingly kind and gentle, incredibly intelligent, astoundingly interesting Being in the universe already loves you and is just waiting for you to open your heart to Him, He promises you will have love, joy and peace with Him for evermore, no matter what happens in your life.

    1Jn 4:19 MKJV  We love Him because He first loved us.

    1Jn 4:10-13 ISV  This is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.  (11)  Dear friends, if this is the way God loved us, we must also love one another.  (12)  No one has ever seen God. If we love one another, God lives in us, and his love is perfected in us.  (13)  This is how we know that we abide in him and he in us: he has given us his Spirit.
    1Jn 4:16 ISV  We have come to know and rely on the love that God has for us. God is love, and the person who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.

    Amen!(16)
    • One of the issues is that society renames a lot of things "love" that are not really love. Most of the popular songs that become popular are just marketing hype and play on emotion rather than real love. Not everyone is ambushed by such marketing though, and even among my atheist friends there are those who really understand what self-sacrificing love is. If they do not know Jesus by name, they certainly live by his example.

      Amen!(16)
      • Once concern that I have is if they reject God and don't believe he exists would they want to be in heaven.
        Heb 11:6 MKJV  But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

        I have a relative who is a Buddhist who is kind and loving but rejects Christians and their religion.

        Do these fall under Rom 2:13-16?

        Rom 2:13-16 MKJV  For it is not the hearers of the Law who are just before God, but the doers of the Law will be justified.  (14)  For when the nations, who do not have the Law, do by nature the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law unto themselves;  (15)  who show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and the thoughts between one another accusing or even excusing one another,  (16)  in a day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.

        Amen!(4)
  4. Ding dong. They are at your door. Or maybe they are walking through the train. They are selling something you don’t need or want. It’s a candy bars or xmas wrapping paper, some kind of kitchen gadget, or cheaply made toys. How do you feel? The primary thought in my mind is always’s “How do I get rid of these people as fast as possible? I want to stay polite and kind, but not have to listen to them! Many people feel that way toward us when we share the gospel. Are we just salespeople, pushing our goods? No. absolutely not. But our evangelism is no more than a slick sales tactic, if it doesn’t flow from genuine love for the unreached.

    Love is Not Performance

    Evangelism or reaching out to people starts with love. Allowing God to continually fill you with His heart for lost people. If we are doing evangelism or reaching out to people out of a sense of duty, obligation, or an “I should” we will not be effective. Nor will our efforts bring pleasure to Go. He wants us to have His heart. Is this still your primary motivation for sharing His story? God’s aching heart for the lost?

    Our tendency toward performance orientation can affect us. We may develop an underlying sense that we must do evangelism, we must reach out to the unreached to win (or keep) God’s love. It is a lie. But it still can impact us. Instead of sharing good news from a heart of love, we start to share it out of duty. We begin to do it because we should. We need to return again and again to our loving Father. Let Him fill us once more with His heart, with His love for us and for others.

    Love is Always More Important than Methods

    It helpful as we train people to have them learn a method of outreach. We teach them how to share their testimony and the Jesus story. It builds confidence and competency. This is important. But in training, it always…it must start with the trainee’s heart. Evangelism, outreach, making friends, going into the community…it starts there. People sense whether you love them. They know if you are sharing the gospel to convert them or because you genuinely care about them.

    Ask God for Luke 15 Heart

    As we have been discussing in this week’s lesson is the love for the lost in Luke 15 about God’s heart for the lost; the lost sheep, the lost coin, and the lost son.

    Signs You’re Loving the Lost:

    1) If you love the lost, you sincerely and specifically pray for lost people; 2)If you love the lost, you prioritize giving time to them; 3) If you love the lost, you see the as people, not as an object of your ministry goal; and 4)If you love the lost, you open your mouth to share the good new with them.

    What do we sound like with reaching out to the unreached? 1 Corinthian 13:1 – "If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal".

    Amen!(10)
    • I wish some of the respondents here had written the SS Lesson. The stories and examples and thoughts on this site are far more interesting and thoughtful than the SS lesson itself. Please keep it up!

      Amen!(1)
  5. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony, and they love not their lives unto the death
    Rev 12:11

    What propelled many people of the Bible from Genesis-Revelation to choose death instead of life? One encountered Moses had with God in Ex 32:32 Moses asked to be blotted out of the book which God had. Was this not driven by love for a rebellous people?
    Joshua 2:9-16 what motivated Rahab to do such a deed? What caused her to go and get all her family into her house, the house of safety? After the diciples were beaten they went back to preaching, what motivated them?

    The love of God must be an experience. When we behold the cross and see the love of God for us, the sun is never too hot, the rain is never falling too much, the place is never too cold, our time is never too limited, we are never too tired, our finance is never too small, our talents are never too unimportant, we dont allow no opportunity to pass us by, etc. We use all our God given abilities for the saving of the souls of men. This dark world of sin does not entice us any more. We look for a better city. Heb 11:1-40. We weep for those who are lost in sin.
    Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.

    Amen!(3)
  6. The question “why witness?” seems to imply a misunderstanding of what a witness is. Witnessing is what one does if they are a witness, not something just anyone can do if they simply follow some witnessing formula. Jesus said: “...ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me...”. If we have the experience Jesus teaches us to have, we will be His witnesses, and “why?” doesn't even enter into the question, only “where Lord?”. So what experience did Jesus teach us to have? “Come unto me...take my yoke...learn of me”, “except a man be born again”, “repent ye and believe the gospel”, ask of Me, I will give you Living Water”, “if any man hear these teachings of mine and does them...”, etc. If we experience these things, we will be a witness of the experience. Notice the experience as illustrated in Ps 40:1-3. Being a witness is the outcome of faith, and the sure result which exercising faith brings without fail.

    Perhaps the finest description by Jesus of this experience is illustrated beautifully in the Beatitudes of Matt 5:3-12.

    We are taught: “be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds”. Once we realize the love of God toward us as sinners, and we respond in faith, that love of God for us is reflected in our life towards others whom the Lord died to save. How can a sinner be motivated by love if sin is the transgression of the law, and the law is fulfilled by love(1 John 3:4, Rom 13:10)? Love is the expression of any who overcome by faith.

    Just knowing the facts listed in the final question for today's lesson will not implant the love of God in our hearts toward others. This love comes from the experience of “contemplating Christ...exercising faith in Him...experiencing for ourselves His saving grace”(overcoming), which will result in being qualified to “present Him to the world” as His witness. (see 5T, 158) Notice where love(agape) is on Peter's “ladder” found in 2 Pe 1:5-7(notice also verses 8 and 9!), and realize each step that leads to experiencing this love in our hearts. There is no skipping of steps to achieve this, but each step in its order will bring the sure result, and the Love of God will rule our heart.

    Amen!(4)
    • Well said, Robert. We are not witnessing in order to be a witness. We witness because we are a witness, a person who is a witness has no other course of action. God is not asking for our actions, He is asking for our heart, because from it are the issues of life.

      Sometimes knowledge can become an end of itself and we become merely "puffed up" with information. I have found that Understanding is incomplete with practice. Often I can find that my knowledge is way ahead of my experience which, if left unexamined can lead to deception as it says in James 2:22.

      It is my prayer that we all are motivated by one thing and one thing only and that is Love for God.

      Amen!(4)
    • Robert, I would like to add my thoughts to yours, that bubbled up for me, as I read the final question for today.

      That right there is the bottom line for me. The creator of all things, was willing to give up his life, was willing to come here to this sinful world, to show the universe, how far He would go, to show how much God loves us. If we look at His death as a legal transaction, it does not truly show Gods love. As I see it, it makes Him no different than the pagan gods of this earth, requiring some price to be paid. But if I look at it in a different way, it changes everything. The way I have come to understand Christ’s death is this; Satan lied about God’s character, so much so that even the Jewish leaders believed that lie. The temple services and all the laws, had become the means of salvation, instead of pointing to the means of salvation. Jesus was willing to come down and live as a man, so that ALL could learn the truth about God. John 17:3 is Jesus own words, explaining what eternal life is. “This is life eternal, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent”. It’s as simple as that. He knew that the Jewish leaders would hate him so much that they would kill him. But he was still willing to do it, so that we could be saved from believing that lie about God. That is what we need to share with others. Jesus life is our example of how to live a victorious life, and his death shows us what true selflessness looks like. When our lives show that to the world, witnessing is just what happens. We are a witness for good or for evil, and we get to choose which it will be.

      Amen!(6)
      • "The temple services and all the laws, had become the means of salvation, instead of pointing to the means of salvation." -Karen Bunch

        That is powerful, Karen. Praise God!

        Amen!(5)
      • Yes Karen, there is a war which began in heaven, and now extends to this world according to Revelation 12:7-12, and every living soul on earth is an angel/messenger/witness for either Michael or the dragon. No motivation required, the only requirement is life/breath. One willful choice against the will of the Lord places us with the adversary, as it did with Eve, then Adam. But when we receive Jesus(John 1:12), we may pass from death to life(John 5:24) through constant exercise of faith in Him while resisting the devil(James 4:7).

        Amen!(3)
    • Extending what is being said even further, every single person on the planet is a witnessing witness. By everything we do or say, by the way we help or mistreat others via self-giving or self-seeking, we either witness for or against The Way of the Kingdom of God and consequently for or against the ways of the Kingdom of Darkness.

      Because of the Cosmic Conflict/Great Controversy context we exist within, is not possible to not witness. Thus, it is more a question of which Kingdom does our witness/witnessing reflect and promote?

      Amen!(2)
      • Exactly Phil, and every individual capable of choice is choosing daily, hourly, often while not even aware a choice was made.

        This controversy is between Michael and His angels/messengers/witnesses and the dragon and his angels/messengers/witnesses(Rev 12:7) which began in heaven, and now extends to our world.

        We are all the messenger/witness of either Michael or the dragon. No fence exists in this arena of warfare, and there is no "non-combatant" status while we draw breath.

        Amen!(3)
        • When I posted the comment above, both of our comments vanished. They didn't exist.(???) I then replied to Karen and when posting that reply, our non-existent comments returned. That's why it appears redundant.

          Amen!(0)
          • Possibly happened because I was moderating at the same time as you were posting.

            Amen!(0)
  7. The anecdote of this young lover has been told a hundred times. He expressed his emotion to his girl friend as follows: "I an ready to scale the highest mountain to be with you." And on parting he said: "I'll see you tomorrow if it doesn't rain."

    Amen!(2)
  8. We should really meditate on the cross much more! Our mind should dwell on it much more. Christ is a father who loves His creatures so deeply that He died for them even when they were the ones to kill Him.

    Amen!(3)
  9. Well said, Robert. We are not witnessing in order to be a witness. We witness because we are a witness, a person who is a witness has no other course of action. God is not asking for our actions, He is asking for our heart, because from it are the issues of life.

    Sometimes knowledge can become an end of itself and we become merely "puffed up" with information. I have found that Understanding is incomplete with practice. Often I can find that my knowledge is way ahead of my experience which, if left unexamined can lead to deception as it says in James 2:22.

    It is my prayer that we all are motivated by one thing and one thing only and that is Love for God.

    Amen!(2)
  10. When we have His love, we feel compelled to share the salvation we’ve been so freely given simply because we want to be like our loving Savior.We will always want to share our experience with others, because we love and appreciate how He has saved us.

    Corinthians 5:14, 15;when God's love is in us, that love will compel us to share what He has done to us with others.Paul and his companions did everything to honor God, and this was so because Christ's love controlled their lives. so like Paul , we should no longer live to please ourselves but only Christ who died for us.

    Amen!(1)
  11. When we have His love, we feel compelled to share the salvation we’ve been so freely given simply because we want to be like our loving Savior.We will always want to share our experience with others, because we love and appreciate how He has saved us.

    Corinthians 5:14, 15;when God's love is in us, that love will compel us to share what He has done to us with others.Paul and his companions did everything to honor God, and this was so because Christ's love controlled their lives. so like Paul , we should no longer live to please ourselves but only Christ who died for us.

    Amen!(2)
  12. Today’s lesson reminded me of this passage where Paul is so in love with sharing the Gospel that it becomes his only motivation for living and surviving. I pray we feel the same as Paul.
    ““And now I am bound by the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. I don’t know what awaits me, except that the Holy Spirit tells me in city after city that jail and suffering lie ahead. But my life is worth nothing to me unless I use it for finishing the work assigned me by the Lord Jesus—the work of telling others the Good News about the wonderful grace of God.”
    ‭‭Acts of the Apostles‬ ‭20:22-24‬ ‭NLT‬‬
    https://www.bible.com/116/act.20.22-24.nlt

    Amen!(4)
    • Yes William, it could only be because he was compelled by the love of the lost like Jesus that Paul was willing and expected to face troubles and trials.
      Many can not understand the dichotomy between Jesus' words:

      John 10:10 I have come that you may have life more abundantly

      and

      John 16:33 in me you will have peace but in the world you will have tribulation

      The question could be posed why not live quietly at home praising the LORD, rather than publicly sharing the truth when it could mean being burned at the stake or be ridiculed in this ambition driven society?

      Why is it that those who have freedom of religion where they live use it less than those who witness under pressure like Paul.

      Amen!(2)
  13. Regarding God's love/goodness, it may lead us to repentance(Romans 2:4), which, if we remain faithful to that repentance, will lead to "Christ dwelling in your heart by faith"(Eph 3:17), resulting in a life that witnesses to others as a natural result, needing no motivation to "witness".

    A kind person will be a witness for kindness without even thinking of it or planning for it or requiring motivation. If filled with the Holy Spirit(Eph 3:16), our life will be a constant witness for truth, righteousness, and Godliness. Without the Holy Spirit, we can only witness for ungodliness.

    Amen!(2)
  14. I am faced with two questions:
    Am I a witness?
    Do I witness?
    As many have said if I claim the name of Christian my character will show whether that is true or not as Jesus said let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven Matt 5:16
    But that is not all that He said, He also said: Go therefore and make disciples teaching them to observe all my principles of life. Matt 28:19, 20

    So yes, my character and actions are a witness, in addition I need to actively share the truth of the LORD's character and His plan of salvation that have been misunderstood. Rev 14:6-7

    Amen!(2)

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