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#49739 - Mon May 20, 2013 5:11 AM We should seek the good of other believers.  
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Annie Oakley
chestnutmare  Online Content
Annie Oakley

Joined: Sep 2003
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Calvin: Gold Booklet of the True Christian Life

V. We should seek the good of other believers.

1. How extremely difficult it is for you dutifully to seek the advantage of your neighbor, unless you quit all selfish considerations and almost forget yourself.

How can you perform the duties which Paul teaches to be works of love, unless you renounce yourself and devote your-self wholly to others? "Love suffers long and is kind; love envies not; Love vaunts not itself; Love is not puffed up; love does not behave itself unseemly; love seeks not her own; love is not easily provoked"; and so on.

2. If this be all that is demanded, that we do not seek our own, yet we must not exert little pressure in our own nature, which is so strongly inclined to love self exclusively and does not easily permit us to neglect self and our own affairs.

Let us rather seek the profit of others, and even voluntarily give up our rights for the sake of others.

Scripture urges and warns us that whatever favors we may have obtained from the Lord, we have received them as a trust on condition that they should be applied to the common benefit of the church.

The legitimate use of all the Lordís favors is liberally and kindly to share them with others.

You cannot imagine a more certain rule or a more powerful suggestion than this, that all the blessings we enjoy are divine deposits which we have received on this condition that we distribute them to others.

3. According to Scripture our personal talents may be even compared to the powers of the members of the human body.
No member of the body has its power for itself, nor applies it to its own private use, but only for the profit of the others; and equally, no member of the church receives any advantage from his own activity, but through his cooperation with the whole body of believers.

Whatever ability a faithful Christian may possess, he ought to possess it for his fellow believers, and he ought to make his own interest subservient to the well-being of the church in all sincerity.

Let this be our rule for goodwill and helpfulness, that whenever we are able to assist others we should behave as stewards who must someday give an account of ourselves, and let us remember that the distribution of profits must be determined by the law of love.

For we must not first of all try to promote the good of others by seeking our own, but we must prefer the profit of others.

4. The law of love does not only pertain to the sizable profits, but from ancient days God has commanded us to remember it in the small kindnesses of life.

God commanded his people Israel to offer him the first-fruits of the corn, as a solemn token that it was unlawful for them to enjoy any blessings not previously dedicated to him.

If the gifts of God are not part of our sanctified life unless we dedicate them with our own hands to their Author, we must be guilty of sinful abuse if we leave such a dedication out.

5. But in vain we would attempt to enrich the Lord by a distribution of our talents and gifts.
Since our goodness cannot reach the Lord, as the Psalmist says, we must exercise it toward "the saints who are on the earth."
Alms are compared in the Scriptures to sacred offerings to show us that the exercises of charity under the gospel have taken the place of the sacrifices under the law of the Old Testament (1 Cor. 13:4-8; Ps. 16:2-3).

#54141 - Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:12 AM Re: We should seek the good of other believers. [Re: chestnutmare]  
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Annie Oakley
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Annie Oakley

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VI. We should seek the good of everyone, friend and foe.

1. That we may not become weary of doing well, for which the danger is near, the apostle has added that "love suffers long, and is not easily provoked."

The Lord commands us to do good unto all men without exception, though the majority are very undeserving when judged according to their own merits.

But Scripture here helps us out with an excellent argument when it teaches us that we must not think of man's real value, but only of his creation in the image of God to which we owe all possible honor and love.

The image of God, moreover, is most carefully to be regarded in those who are of the household of faith, because it has been renewed and restored in them by the Spirit of Christ.

2. If anyone, therefore, appears before you who is in need of your kind services, you have no reason to refuse him your help.
Suppose he is a stranger; yet the Lord has pressed his own stamp on him and made him as one of your family, and he forbids you to despise your own flesh and blood.

Suppose he is despicable and worthless; yet the Lord has deigned him worthy to be adorned with his own image.

Suppose that you have no obligation toward him for services; yet the Lord has made him as it were his substitute so that you have obligation for numerous and unforgettable benefits.

Suppose that he is unworthy of your least exertion; but the image of God which recommends him to you deserves that you surrender yourself and all your possessions to him.

If he has deserved no kindness, but just the opposite, because he has maddened you with his injuries and insults, even this is no reason why you should not surround him with your affection and show him all sorts of favors.

You may say that he has deserved a very different treatment, but what does the Lord command but to forgive all men their offenses and to charge them against himself?

3. This is the only way to attain that which is not only difficult, but utterly repugnant to man's nature: to love those who hate us, to requite injuries with kindness, and to return blessings for curses.

We should forever keep in mind that we must not brood on the wickedness of man, but realize that he is God s image bearer.

If we cover and obliterate manís faults and consider the beauty and dignity of God's image in him, then we shall be induced to love and embrace him (Heb. 12:16; Gal. 6T0-Isa. 58:7; Matt. 5:44; Luke 17:3-4).

#54142 - Wed Jul 26, 2017 5:12 AM Re: We should seek the good of other believers. [Re: chestnutmare]  
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chestnutmare Online content
Annie Oakley
chestnutmare  Online Content
Annie Oakley

Joined: Sep 2003
Posts: 2,895
VII Civil goodness is not enough.

1 . We will not practice real self-denial unless we fulfill all the duties of love.

These are not fulfilled by him who merely in an external way performs his services without omitting even one, but by him who acts from a sincere principle of love.

For it may happen that a man discharges his duties to the rest of his abilities, but if his heart is not in them, he falls far from the mark.

There are people who are known to be very liberal, yet they never give without scolding or pride or even insolence.

We are sunk to such a depth of calamity in this awful age that scarcely any alms are given, at least by the majority of men, without haughtiness and contempt.

The corruption of our times is so enormous that it would not have been tolerated by the pagans.

2. Christians certainly ought to display more than a smiling face, a cheerful mood, and polite language when they practice charity.

First of all, Christians ought to imagine themselves in the place of the person who needs their help, and they ought to sympathize with him as though they themselves were suffering; they ought to show real mercy and humaneness and offer their assistance as readily as if it were for themselves.

Heartfelt pity will banish arrogance and reproach, and will prevent contempt and domineering over the poor and the needy.

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