Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.
The Lord gave the first command to “love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength” (Mark 12:30). It doesn’t leave anything if you love God with all of yourself. Jesus was specific.
John 13:34-35 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 all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.
We are to love just like Jesus loved. We can’t do that humanly. We have the love of God in us by giving God 100% of us.
John 15:12-14 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.
We won’t be filled with his love if we aren’t fully sanctified (filled with the Holy Spirit). God’s love is different than man’s love and is the greatest. We have to give up our way, thoughts, and opinions to love one another like Jesus loved us.
Romans 5:5 And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.
There are different types of love. One type is the love of self. The Greek word for this type is Philautia. It means lover of (one’s) own self. Ones who love their own self are boasters, proud, disobedient, unthankful and unholy. They won’t want to give up control but want to control things in their life. Someone who won’t give up control will make wrong decisions and then look for someone to blame. They become the victim and the one they blame is all the fault. God wants us to love like he loves. Jesus never had a victim mentality no matter what happened. He didn’t find fault and criticize or defend himself. Those with self love that make wrong decisions, aren’t willing to take the fault. If God shows us a fault, we’ve got to be willing to own it. We’re all growing spiritually and we don’t know everything. We have faults and idiosyncrasies that we need to deal with and then let God’s love shine through us. Something is wrong if we aren’t willing to own failures.
II Timothy 3:1-2 This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy,
Choosing to show the love of God, no matter how we feel, is part of the love of God. The other types of love are Philos (friendship love), Eros (romantic love), and Agape (love of God). You can’t have friendship love or romantic love for your enemy. To love your enemy as he loved us, we must have the love of God. It is a self sacrificing love, not self protective. It’s a conscious decision to love others, no matter what. It isn’t something we feel, but something we do – an action word.
I John 3:13-16 Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you. We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him. Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.
We have to be sure we’re choosing to be filled with the love of God every day. We have to die daily and crucify the flesh.
I Corinthians 13:4-5 Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, Doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil;
If we don’t crucify the flesh when we see someone’s faults or failure, other things besides kindness and patience will come out our mouth or be shown. We have to be sure to show the grace and love of God. We’re all growing in the love of God. God’s love isn’t shown by being selfish, blowing off steam, being conceited, arrogant, or inflated with pride.
I Corinthians 13:4-5 (Amplified Classic) Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong].
In the “state of somewhere” Edith visited a member of that congregation who had been sick. The woman was eating some soup that another lady from the congregation brought. She was saying how good it was. Another woman from the congregation came and brought soup. She heard the sick woman was eating the other lady’s soup and said that one doesn’t cook but just throws canned soups together. She said, my soup doesn’t have preservatives and I cooked it from scratch. You need to throw that out and eat my soup. She noticed the sick lady had company and said goodbye. The woman was arrogant, inflated with pride, rude, unmannerly, and acted unbecomingly. There was no love in the woman’s behavior and she was just lifting herself up. God wants us to be kind and longsuffering. In choosing to love another person, it is regardless of how your feelings are, of how they treat you, and how many hurts or heartaches they’ve given you. God loved us when we were unlovely and Jesus said on the cross, “Father, forgive them.”
Charity is patient – slow to anger, endure personal wrong with gentleness and without retaliation or blaming, controlling yourself and your emotions, bearing with others imperfections, faults, and differences. Patience gives people time to change, room to make mistakes without coming down hard on them. Love’s patience is the ability to be inconvenienced or taken advantage of by a person over and over again, and yet not get angry or upset. God was very longsuffering, kind, and patient with us to draw us to him. God wants us to reflect that kind of patience.
How do we act when we don’t get what we want? Edith had her grandchildren over several years ago. For their meal, she gave them something like macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, and green beans. One of them complained because they didn’t like green beans. Another one said, Take what you get and don’t throw a fit. We need to learn to take what we get and not throw a fit. In life we all get things we don’t really like. If we don’t give these things to God, we’re going to throw a fit. In jail Paul said he had learned to be content in whatever state he was. He didn’t have a victim mentality, wasn’t trying to make people feel sorry for him, he was trying to encourage the saints, and his prison guard got saved. We need to be willing to take whatever happens to us, count it all joy, and take it as God leading us. A lack of patience can turn into a war room. Patience never retaliates but submits to whatever God wants. Jesus was able to suffer as he did because he submitted himself completely to God and knew God was in control. To have the love of God shown through us, we need to be completely submitted to whatever God wants. If things come against us and we call on God for grace, his grace is sufficient for whatever trials we face. If the flesh tries to rise up, we need to pray until we have victory over the situation.
I Peter 2:20-23 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
John said to not love the world or the things of the world or the love of the Father is not in you. We’re living in a day when the love of the world is rampant. The enemy wants us to just let down a little bit. Lust of the world means a longing, craving, eagerness to enjoy, delight, pleasure, or desire. Any pleasure, delight, desire, or interest that draws us away from God, makes us forget God, or places God in second place is worldliness. Business, pleasure, conduct, activities, education, culture, dress, possessions, or anything that comes before God which diminishes spiritual fervency, lessens the soul burden, or lessens the burden for God’s work those things are of the world. After Jesus arose and the disciples had gone fishing, Jesus asked Peter “lovest thou me more than these?” Peter said, “Yea, Lord” and Jesus said “Feed my lambs.” The second time he said, “Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith…Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” The third time Jesus said, “lovest thou me? Peter was grieved” and Jesus said, “Feed my sheep” (John 21:15-17). If we love God, there’s going to be an outreach or testimony to share the word with others. If we love God with all our heart there will be a desire in us to be witnesses for God. Charity or agape love will cover a multitude of sins so we don’t keep a record of the sins others committed against us. If we dwell on hurts people commit against us, we haven’t forgiven them. Jesus forgave the hurts people did. Love covered those sins. If someone hurts us, we don’t want them to go to hell.
I Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
Jacob worked 14 years so he could marry Rachel. Her father tricked Jacob and he married Rachel’s sister Leah. Jacob had to work another 14 years so he could marry Rachel. Jacob was 91 when Joseph was born. Benjamin was born when he was 96 but his wife Rachel died. Jacob was more protective of Joseph and Benjamin because he lost Rachel, the wife he loved. Joseph had a desire to serve God and told his father when the other son’s acted bad. Jacob’s other children hated Joseph and were jealous of him so they sold him. He became a slave in Egypt but God made all he did to prosper. Joseph didn’t have a victim attitude but knew God had a purpose for him wherever he was.
Genesis 39:2-4 And the Lord was with Joseph, and he was a prosperous man…in the house of his master the Egyptian. And his master saw that the Lord was with him, and…made all that he did to prosper in his hand. And Joseph found grace in his sight, and he served him: and he made him overseer over his house, and all that he had he put into his hand.
He was falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife and put in prison for a few years. Joseph was brought out of prison by Pharaoh and put in charge of the country. When Joseph’s brothers came to buy corn, he didn’t have a grudge against them or try to retaliate for the way they hurt him. He had completely forgiven them. He knew God ordered his life and caused the things that happened in his life. We need to be satisfied with what God allows and his purpose in our life.
Genesis 45:5-8 Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life. For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest. And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance. So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.
Joseph had total forgiveness and the love of God. God wants us to show his love to others no matter how they treat us.
Genesis 50:15-21 And when Joseph’s brethren saw that their father was dead, they said, Joseph will peradventure hate us, and will certainly requite us all the evil which we did unto him. And they sent a messenger unto Joseph, saying, Thy father did command before he died, saying, So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him. And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants. And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God? But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive. Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.
Kindness will come out of our mouth because of the love of God that’s in us.
Proverbs 31:26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and in her tongue is the law of kindness.