Eric Mattila | The Voice of Zion March 2023 - Home and Family Article --
Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love; the fellowship of kindred minds is like to that above. – SHZ 219
Apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians tells us that love is a fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). It joins believers’ hearts and minds together. This is a different love than we are accustomed to thinking about. It’s more than a love of attraction or admiration; rather, it is a holy love of the Spirit.
We could say in this way, that it is an effect or result of true living faith. It is not forced. It does not come from the mind, but it flows naturally out of a Christian heart, a heart that has accepted the good seed, God’s Word. The Spirit joins hearts in the bond of unity with God’s congregation here on earth. This heavenly love flows from one believing heart to another. As Jesus has taught, “A new commandment I give unto you that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another” (John 13:34,35). This love is only possible when we are God’s children and own the gift of faith. It does not come from within us ourselves. Jesus emphasized this when He said, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me” (John 15:4).
This is how the Holy Spirit exposes false prophets to believers. We will be able to see that they are false by their fruits. This has again and again proven true even when the other gifts have sometimes been great. Apostle Paul understood the same matter when he wrote, “Though I speak with the tongues of men and angels, and have not charity (love), I am become as a sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal” (1 Cor. 13:1).
Dear brothers and sisters, the words of John tell us: “Herein is Love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another” (1 John 4:10,11).
Let us remain in this love. And let us put offenses between us away so this love does not diminish.
God Is Love
Randy Haapala | The Voice of Zion March 2023 - Home and Family Article --
The Triune God – God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit, three in one – is love. “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love” (1 John 4:8).
What comes to mind when we think of love? We know there are different types of love, a temporal love that includes deep affection for someone. There is also a type of love where we don’t want to hurt nor offend another with our actions or words. This love serves our lives well. But God’s love is a different type of love, a love for the undying soul. God’s love is truth in all things. “God is a Spirit: and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24).
Often situations arise where we ask what it means to show love. When people misunderstand God’s love, they may feel that showing His love means that we overlook wrong speech or action. Simply put, this wrong love would mean not saying anything when another is headed down a dangerous pathway, for fear of causing hurt feelings. This kind of love is not according to God’s Word. True love is correcting one another even when it is most difficult to do.
We remember Jesus’ story of that man that went down from Jerusalem to Jericho and fell among thieves. There that good Samaritan came and helped the hurting man. He was heading down a path to destruction. This good Samaritan, Jesus Himself, gave the type of love we want and need. This is God’s love for you and me when care for the undying soul is needed. This is the love of God through the third person of the Godhead, the Holy Spirit, which is a gift from God when one believes sins forgiven.
Through the love of God, we are cared for by believers at the inn, in God’s kingdom. When cared for at this inn, we say we are in the love of the congregation, endeavoring to keep the mystery of faith in a pure conscience.
This is how we wish to remain in the love of the congregation. It isn’t by our own power or strength. The Bible tells us that through the power of the gospel we will remain in the love of God and His kingdom. Through this precious gospel our desire is to remain obedient to God and His Word. Obedience to His Word reveals the love of God. As the Apostle Paul wrote, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Rom. 1:16).
Remain believing in that core message of the gospel. In this way the love of God will remain till we attain our goal in heaven. Nowhere else do we find this kind of love. It pays to believe, dear brother and sister!
Serving One Another in Love
Diane Barber | The Voice of Zion March 2023 - Home and Family Article --
As a child in kindergarten, my desire always was to be a school nurse. During high school I went to a vocational school for nursing. After graduating, even though I still had the desire to be a school nurse, I got married and started a family. I put my plans on hold. Yet I never lost my desire to be a nurse because I have a deep love for children. Many years later, I was able to go back to school to get my nursing degree. I was 50 years old.
My first job was school nursing, and I enjoyed serving the school children. However, my greatest joy has been to serve as a nurse at church camps. At camps, I receive so much. I hear the gospel in the morning and at evening, and during the day, I visit with believers and can discuss the way and the journey.
Others have served me abundantly, in so many ways. Because of vision problems, I cannot drive. I need help with rides to visit believers and to get to services as well as shopping. I get help in doing projects around my home.
Sometimes when I am feeling lonely and tempted, when it seems like nobody remembers me, someone may call or stop by to visit me. At those times, it seems like an angel has come to share the gospel and to bring me comfort.
God sees the needs of His children and calls people to serve Him with the gifts that He has given. We may feel shy, unworthy, timid and maybe even overwhelmed, yet we receive joy, comfort and care in serving. It seems that we receive more than we can give. The most important matter is that we care for one another spiritually.
Questions for Discussion:
1. Love is the first fruit of the Spirit. Discuss what love is, and what it isn’t.
2. God is love. List ways God shows His love to us.
3. Jesus says we are to love our neighbor. How can we show this? What obstacles might we feel to showing love to a neighbor?
4. Enemies are also neighbors, and we are to love them. Discuss.