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IN TOUCH WITH GOD    by Edward Heppenstall

 
Love in Our Hearts MAY 4

THE TEST OF LOVE

By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another. John 13:35.

The disciples had just celebrated the Lord's Supper. At its conclusion Christ gave His disciples the true test of being His followers, His disciples. If you were looking for the right church to join, what test would you apply so as to make sure it was the right one? To become a Christian is so vitally important that the non-Christian should have a simple test by which he can tell who are real Christians. If a man had just a short time to live and came to you to find God, you might find it no simple matter to give him the whole of what you believe. In this case, make it simple.

Christ Himself gave us no complicated examination, but a very simple test. Ellen White said about the same thing but in different words: "The last rays of merciful light, the last message of mercy to be given to the world, is a revelation of His character of love."Christ's Object Lessons, p. 415.

This does not mean that we are to neglect all other aspects of the truth. But the first thing that people need to know is that God loves them. God must represent Himself as love before people can comprehend Him. He has done so supremely in His beloved Son, Jesus Christ. Jesus was the most loving Person in all the world. No one ever had any hesitation in seeking His help. Love opens the door of people's hearts. We must begin here, also. This is the first thing people should experience at their first contact with us.

Our church as an institution must not stand as an end in itself. It must lead to God. Organization, machinery, ritual, order, can represent that which is external and material, but not the personal God. If the love of Christ is not present in us as church members, then all we have for people is an organization to join. We can almost sense the anxiety that Christ's test brings to us. But the unbeliever will apply the test even though he has not heard about it. He will measure the character of God by those who claim to be His disciples. Said one interested man, "There is something about this remnant church. Her members have in their lives something akin to Jesus Christ. I want it."

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