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1 John 3:18

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

My little children - Τεκνια μου, My beloved children, let us not love in word - in merely allowing the general doctrine of love to God and man to be just and right;

Neither in tongue - In making professions of love, and of a charitable and humane disposition, and resting there; but in deed - by humane and merciful acts;

And in truth - Feeling the disposition of which we speak. There is a good saying in Yalcut Rubeni, fol. 145, 4, on this point: "If love consisted in word only, then love ceaseth as soon as the word is pronounced. Such was the love between Balak and Balaam. But if love consisteth not in word, it cannot be dissolved; such was the love of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the rest of the patriarchs which were before them."

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue - By mere profession; by merely sayinG that we love each other. See 1 Peter 1:22.

But in deed and in truth - In such acts as shall show that our professed love is sincere and real. Let us do the deed of love, whether anything is said about it or not. See the notes at Matthew 6:3.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Here is the condescension, the miracle, the mystery of Divine love, that God would redeem the church with his own blood. Surely we should love those whom God has loved, and so loved. The Holy Spirit, grieved at selfishness, will leave the selfish heart without comfort, and full of darkness and terror. By what can it be known that a man has a true sense of the love of Christ for perishing sinners, or that the love of God has been planted in his heart by the Holy Spirit, if the love of the world and its good overcomes the feelings of compassion to a perishing brother? Every instance of this selfishness must weaken the evidences of a man's conversion; when habitual and allowed, it must decide against him. If conscience condemn us in known sin, or the neglect of known duty, God does so too. Let conscience therefore be well-informed, be heard, and diligently attended to.
Ellen G. White
The Acts of the Apostles, 551

“Let us not love in word,” the apostle writes, “but in deed and in truth.” The completeness of Christian character is attained when the impulse to help and bless others springs constantly from within. It is the atmosphere of this love surrounding the soul of the believer that makes him a savor of life unto life and enables God to bless his work. AA 551.1

Supreme love for God and unselfish love for one another—this is the best gift that our heavenly Father can bestow. This love is not an impulse, but a divine principle, a permanent power. The unconsecrated heart cannot originate or produce it. Only in the heart where Jesus reigns is it found. “We love Him, because He first loved us.” In the heart renewed by divine grace, love is the ruling principle of action. It modifies the character, governs the impulses, controls the passions, and ennobles the affections. This love, cherished in the soul, sweetens the life and sheds a refining influence on all around. AA 551.2

John strove to lead the believers to understand the exalted privileges that would come to them through the exercise of the spirit of love. This redeeming power, filling the heart, would control every other motive and raise its possessors above the corrupting influences of the world. And as this love was allowed full sway and became the motive power in the life, their trust and confidence in God and His dealing with them would be complete. They could then come to Him in full confidence of faith, knowing that they would receive from Him everything needful for their present and eternal good. “Herein is our love made perfect,” he wrote, “that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as He is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: and if we know that He hear us, ... we know that we have the petitions that we desired of Him.” AA 551.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 441

Christ's followers are required to come out from the world, and be separate, and touch not the unclean, and they have the promise of being the sons and daughters of the Most High, members of the royal family. But if the conditions are not complied with on their part, they will not, cannot, realize the fulfillment of the promise. A profession of Christianity is nothing in the sight of God; but true, humble, willing obedience to His requirements designates the children of His adoption, the recipients of His grace, the partakers of His great salvation. Such will be peculiar, a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men. Their peculiar, holy character will be discernible, and will distinctly separate them from the world, from its affections and lust. 2T 441.1

I saw that but few among us answer to this description. Their love to God is in word, not in deed and in truth. Their course of action, their works, testify of them that they are not children of the light but of darkness. Their works have not been wrought in God, but in selfishness, in unrighteousness. Their hearts are strangers to His renewing grace. They have not experienced the transforming power which leads them to walk even as Christ walked. Those who are living branches of the heavenly Vine will partake of the sap and nourishment of the Vine. They will not be withered and fruitless branches, but will show life and vigor, and will flourish and bear fruit to the glory of God. They will be careful to depart from all iniquity and to perfect holiness in the fear of God. 2T 441.2

Like ancient Israel the church has dishonored her God by departing from the light, neglecting her duties, and abusing her high and exalted privilege of being peculiar and holy in character. Her members have violated their covenant to live for God and Him only. They have joined with the selfish and world-loving. Pride, the love of pleasure, and sin have been cherished, and Christ has departed. His Spirit has been quenched in the church. Satan works side by side with professed Christians; yet they are so destitute of spiritual discernment that they do not detect him. They have not the burden of the work. The solemn truths they profess to believe are not a reality to them. They have not genuine faith. Men and women will act out all the faith which they in reality possess. By their fruits ye shall know them. Not their profession, but the fruit they bear, shows the character of the tree. Many have a form of godliness, their names are upon the church records; but they have a spotted record in heaven. The recording angel has faithfully written their deeds. Every selfish act, every wrong word, every unfulfilled duty, and every secret sin, with every artful dissembling, is faithfully chronicled in the book of records kept by the recording angel. 2T 441.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 654

Some, fearing they will suffer loss of earthly treasure, neglect prayer and the assembling of themselves together for the worship of God, that they may have more time to devote to their farms or their business. They show by their works which world they place the highest estimate upon. They sacrifice religious privileges, which are essential to their spiritual advancement, for the things of this life and fail to obtain a knowledge of the divine will. They come short of perfecting Christian character and do not meet the measurement of God. They make their temporal, worldly interests first, and rob God of the time which they should devote to His service. Such persons God marks, and they will receive a curse rather than a blessing. Some place their means beyond their control by putting it into the hands of their children. Their secret motive is to place themselves in a position where they will not feel responsible to give of their property to spread the truth. These love in word, but not in deed and in truth. They do not realize that it is the Lord's money they are handling, not their own. 2T 654.1

Many would love to see souls converted if it could be done without any sacrifice on their part; but if their property is touched, they draw back, for it is of more value to them than the souls of men and women for whom Christ died. If those to whom God has entrusted means understood their responsibilities as His stewards, they would retain in their own hands that which God has lent them, that they might faithfully perform the duty devolving upon them to do their part in helping carry forward the work of God. If all could comprehend the plan of salvation, and the worth of even one soul purchased by the blood of Christ, they would make every other interest of minor consequence. 2T 654.2

Parents should have great fear in entrusting children with the talents of means that God has placed in their hands, unless they have the surest evidence that their children have greater interest in, love for, and devotion to, the cause of God than they themselves possess, and that these children will be more earnest and zealous in forwarding the work of God, and more benevolent in carrying forward the various enterprises connected with it which call for means. But many place their means in the hands of their children, thus throwing upon them the responsibility of their own stewardship, because Satan prompts them to do it. In so doing they effectually place that means in the enemy's ranks. Satan works the matter to suit his own purpose and keeps from the cause of God the means which it needs, that it may be abundantly sustained. The efforts made to get the truth before the people are not half as thorough and extensive as they should be. Not a fiftieth part is now being done to extend the truth that might be done by scattering publications and bringing within the sound of the truth all that can be induced to come. 2T 655.1

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 686

You have a very good estimate of yourself, but you have a work to do that no other man can do for you. Your nature must be changed, and there must be a transformation of the entire being. You love the truth in word, but not in deed. You love the Lord a little, but your riches more. Would the Master say to you, if He should find you as you are at the present time: “Well done, good and faithful servant; ... enter thou into the joy of thy Lord”? What joy is here referred to? “Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The joy that was set before Jesus was that of seeing souls redeemed by the sacrifice of His glory, His honor, His riches, and His own life. The salvation of man was His joy. When all the redeemed shall be gathered into the kingdom of God, He will see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. 2T 686.1

Those who are co-workers with Christ, partakers with Him of His self-denial and His sacrifice, may be instrumental in bringing souls to Christ, and may see them saved, eternally saved, to praise God, and the Lamb who hath redeemed them. 2T 686.2

Pleasanton, Kansas,

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