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1 John 3:18

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.
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."

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. 1, 316

If you had been a prompt, thorough laborer, keeping pace with God's opening providence, the fruit now manifested would be of an altogether different character. Souls would be decided somewhere, either wholly for or against the commandments of God and other truths connected with the third angel's message. They would not be hanging on the skirts of Zion to weigh down those who would be right. But there has not been faithfulness manifested by you. Straight and thorough work has not been made. You have not encouraged in the church, by a pointed application of truth, the necessity of everyone practically, harmoniously carrying out his profession; and many are not as willing to exert themselves to do something to advance the truth, as they are to be gratified with listening to the truth. They love the cause in word and profession, but not in deed and in truth. 1T 316.1

Your position has led many in and about —— to think less highly of the Review than they otherwise would have done, and they have held very lightly the truths found in it. Thus the Review failed to have the influence upon them that God designed it should have. And everyone has followed his own course, and done that which seemed right in his own eyes; hence all are far upon the background, and unless there is a thorough work accomplished for them, they will be weighed in the balance and found wanting. 1T 316.2

I was shown that you seek to throw the result of your wrongs upon others, but as a watchman God holds you responsible. You have most humble confessions to make in ——, ——, ——, and other places where your influence has been exerted in opposition to God's servants. Brother and Sister B have been greatly injured by this fanaticism. They have been embarrassed temporally as well as spiritually, and nearly ruined by this deception of Satan. Brother G, you have run to great lengths in this sad fanaticism; your body has been affected as well as your mind, and you now seek to charge it all upon others. You have not a true sense of your position and course in the past. You are free to confess that which others have done, and that which you did not do; but you have failed to confess that which you did do. 1T 317.1

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 304.8

Our characters are to be conformed to the image of Christ. In deed and in truth we are to be amenable to the law of God. Then He can demonstrate through us the blessings that come through obedience to the principles of His word. The King of heaven stands ready to acknowledge the humblest soul that serves Him.—Letter 299, October 22, 1905, to the helpers at the Paradise Valley Sanitarium. TDG 304.8

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 145.5

Holiness is constant agreement with God. Shall we not strive to be that which Christ so greatly desires us to be—Christians in deed and in truth—that the world may see in our lives a revelation of the saving power of truth? This world is our preparatory school. While here we shall meet with trials and difficulties. Continually the enemy of God will seek to draw us away from our allegiance. But while we cleave to Him who gave Himself for us, we are safe. TDG 145.5

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