Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Sabbath School Insights No. 7, Qrtr. 3-05

Sabbath School Insights No. 7

Quarter 3, 2005, Adult Sabbath School Lessons

“The Spiritual Life”

(Produced by the Editorial Board of the 1888 Message Study Committee)

“Lord of Our Relationships”



“Relationships” is a big word difficult to define. Just try to do it: “Relationships means having...... a...... hmm, well...... relation...... ” There you are—trying to define a word by using the word itself. That’s a no-no, circular reasoning. The dictionary says it means “the quality of being related.” Same thing. Then adds, “being connected by blood or marriage.”


Probably the best word is “fellowship.” We are either (a) united in a cold “live and let live” spirit, or (b) fighting in wars, (c) united in fellowship in the love of Christ (agape), or (d) we are alienated from each other in various ways. All four are “relationships,” good or bad.


If Christ is “the Lord of our relationships” it has to be in the Spirit of His love (agape). Imagine what the world would be like if Christ with His love had never entered among us humans. Of course, we know that the Holy Spirit has always been working since Eden, putting “enmity” between Satan and the human race (Gen. 3:15). But aside from His ministry, this world is a dark place to live in, with “relationships” cold or hostile.


The Bible explains how we humans who are all naturally devoid of this love can receive it, unworthy as we may be: (a) We come to the Lord confessing our nakedness of soul, the emptiness of our hearts; and (b) then “the love [agape] of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us” (Rom. 5:5, NKJV).


To borrow a crude illustration, the inflow of this “love” given through “the Holy Spirit” is like pouring oil into a car’s transmission which has been driven dry; the gears that mesh grate noisily and overheat because of the friction. But the oil erases the friction because it does not permit two metal parts to rub against each other—the oil separates them by its presence between them.


Voila! Now the transmission is peaceful and quiet, functioning properly.


Whatever may be the cause of the alienation that has isolated us humans from each other, the inflow of the love (agape) of Christ comes between us and friction is eliminated.


Now we “mesh” one with another like well-oiled gears in a transmission, with this “oil” of the love of Christ making it possible for us now to “transmit” the blessings of heaven to the needy people of the world (your transmission is what transmits the power of your engine to the wheels!). Think of our vehicle as the world’s only “ambulance.” That’s what Christ has called His church to be; Paul says that “the gospel of Christ” is the powerful “engine” of the vehicle (the church), “the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom. 1:16).


Now the “transmission transmits” this pure, true, holy gospel to the world! All noisy, overheated controversy within the church is finished. [1] Thank God! (There was a time when that precious “oil” was lacking, and a voice of inspiration has declared that “opposition” to that pure, true gospel “succeeded in shutting away from our people, in a great measure, the special power of the Holy Spirit that God longed to impart to them,” and “in a great degree kept [it] away from the world”! The author of those words was our own beloved Ellen G. White (Selected Messages, book 1, pp. 234, 235). Surely now, in this year of our Lord 2005 those “relationships” should be healed, so the unity Christ died to achieve may happen.


The Happiest (or Most Bitter) of All Our Human Relationships.


Our Lesson Book says it’s marriage. Probably Ellen White never wrote anything quite so profoundly beautiful as those words about married love, “the loom of heaven weaves with warp and woof finer, yet more firm, than can be woven in the looms of earth” (The Ministry of Healing, p. 362; the same author also said that “love is a precious gift which we receive from Jesus,” p. 358).


We may be surprised to learn that married love, yes, sexual love in marriage, is also agape where husbands are commanded to “love your wives” (cf. Eph. 5:25). [2] Such love is not the passing whims of lust. Even if a man says he has “fallen in love” because the object of his love is so attractive, the genuine article is “a gift from Jesus.” Such “love is strong as death,” “many waters cannot quench” it (S. S. 8:6, 7). If we “receive [it] from Jesus,” it must be one of the fruits that grow on the Tree of Life watered by the river of life that flows out “of the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Rev. 22:1), the crucified Christ. If in all honesty you know your heart is empty, don’t become bitter in despair. If we “receive [that love] from Jesus,” then He is in the business of giving it. That’s Good News!

Robert J. Wieland




[1] At last, the truth of the cleansing of the sanctuary comes into its own.

[2] We may wonder why wives are not commanded to “love” their husbands! This conjugal love is symbolic of the love of Christ for His church. It is He who woos her; she does not woo Him! The wife’s part is to respond to her husband wooing her. We are not commanded to “love” Christ; we are to believe, appreciate, His love for us—that is called faith (the kind that works by love, Gal. 5:6).


Please forward these messages to your friends and encourage them to subscribe. "Insights" on the Internet:

To subscribe send an e-mail message with subscribe in the body of the message to: <>

To un-subscribe send an e-mail message with un-subscribe in the body of the message to: <>