Greetings MOL Family!
In last week’s lesson, we looked at 3 essential components of living the Eden life. They were love, labor and law. In part 2 of this study, we will look at two more verses that support these heavenly principles.
The Joy of Love & Labor, Under Law
Turn to Romans 13:10 (our 2nd text, continuing on in this lesson). Let’s see if those 3 components are here:
Love works no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. – Romans 13:10
Is the motive here? What is it? Love. Is the labor here? What is it? Fulfilling. Is the law here? Oh, yes, it says it in plain language. So, watch this point friends, and never forget it: Love is expressed not in just doing something, it’s in doing what the law says.
I was reading about an experience that happened a long time ago. A soldier was on guard, standing guard in front of a castle or a headquarters of some kind. As he was walking back and forth there, in front of the castle or headquarters, he got the word that his commander was coming sometime that day. So this particular soldier thought quite a bit about the commander. As he paced back and forth there, he got to thinking of something nice he could do. He thought, You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to get the commander a bouquet and have it for him here when he comes.
He was on duty, this soldier was; but, filled with this idea that he wanted to go get that bouquet, he left his guard duty and went down to where the flowers were, and got this bouquet and came back. And in the meantime, the commander had come and found the guard off duty.
My dear friend, we can never please our Commander by substituting some bright idea of ours for our duty. Do you know, one trouble with our poor hearts are our natural hearts (and it takes a deep conversion to eradicate this): We find more pleasure out of doing something for somebody, something that we originate than doing what they tell us to do. Now, just reckon with that and look deep within your heart. And if that isn’t true in your life, you’re ready for Heaven. I’d like to have you think about it a little.
Let me give you another example. We go out in the Christian world and we find millions of people keeping the first day of the week instead of the seventh day. Which day did God say to keep? But suppose we say, “And why do you keep Sunday?” “Oh, because Jesus rose on that day, and we want to honor Him.” Like the soldier that left his duty to go and buy a bouquet, they have substituted something He didn’t require, and in doing it have lost what He did require. Do you see, my friend?
And may I say to you, dear reader, the greatest evidence of love that you and I can give to Jesus is to do just what He said. May I suggest that that’ll keep us pretty busy, like that guard on duty. It takes real religion to put the joy of love into practical work, day by day. That’s why we’re told that it takes more religion to bring religion into the workshop, and into the home in the daily toil, than it does just to preach sermons.
This is one of the great reasons that when Jesus came down from Heaven to earth, He spent more time healing the sick than He did preaching. He spent more time in the carpenter shop and in the home, doing ordinary and common work, than He did in preaching and healing put together. Am I right?
How long did Jesus stay at Nazareth? Until He was 30 years of age. Let’s turn and read about it in Luke 2. This is very interesting.
When Jesus was 12 years old, He went with Joseph and Mary down to the temple. There He saw the ministering priests and the lamb sacrificed. The Spirit of God brought to His mind the meaning of that. He talked with the teachers and led their minds to study Isaiah 53 and other prophecies of the Messiah. Finally, Joseph and Mary found him there, and you remember the conversation that took place:
And He went down with them, and came to Nazareth, and was subject unto them… – Luke 2:51
He was what? He was subject unto them. That went on until He was how old? 30 years of age. Let’s read an inspired commentary on this. This, I think, is wonderful. You’ll find it in Volume 5 of the Testimonies for the Church, page 42:
Jesus, the Majesty of heaven, has left an example for the youth. He toiled in the workshop at Nazareth for His daily bread. He was subject to His parents, and sought not to control His own time or to follow His own will. – Testimonies for the Church, Volume 5, pg. 42
Oh, what a sentence! I hope somebody commits this to memory.
He was subject to His parents, and sought not to control His own time or to follow His own will. – Ibid
Well, who did control His time? Joseph and Mary. Some people would say He was between the upper and lower millstone. When He was in the shop His father was telling Him what to do all day long, and when He got home there was all kinds of work to be done around the home to help His mother. But because He understood this triangle, He had the love which furnished what? The motive. Therefore, He was able to enjoy the labor in carrying out what? The law. To be busy (watch the point) doing what they wished Him to do instead of what He might choose to do. And He kept that up until He was how old? Thirty-years old.
But many a young man and a young woman too long before they’re 30 years of age, think that the evidence of being an adult is to get out from under direction, and guidance, and requests, and orders, and control. They do not understand the Eden life. They may get a temporary thrill out of taking things in their own hands, controlling their time, making their own decisions. But Lucifer did that 6,000 years ago, and he became intoxicated with that idea. And one third of the angels in Heaven joined him in that. Am I correct? And he has sold that idea to nearly everybody in this world.
I want to say to you, dear friends: It isn’t just children in the nursery or students in the school that are to learn this lesson of the triangle. This is the Eden life for people of all ages, for angels and men, in time and in eternity. So Jesus (the Majesty of Heaven), in order that we all might have no reason to misunderstand this, left the highest place in Heaven and came down and grew up as a child, as we grow up; and all along the way, not merely as a child, but as a teenager, and not merely as a teenager, but all through the twenties: 22, 25, 28, 29, on up there until He was 30 years of age. Does that mean that if we finally arrive at 30 then we can do as we please? Oh, no. Jesus went through that earthly ministry always choosing what His Heavenly Father decided instead of what He might want Himself. Is that right?
Oh, my dear young friend, you of the teens and twenties, will you not join with Jesus in demonstrating the joy of labor under law? Will you not join with Jesus in demonstrating that the way to be happy is to do what you’re asked to do instead of what you think up to do? This is the test. Jesus met the test. Lucifer failed.
Now turn please to our third little text that I gave you in the beginning that we haven’t read yet. See what Jesus guarantees to those who will follow this recipe. John 13:17. Oh, there’s a wonderful promise to those who stay within the triangle:
If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them. – John 13:17
How many “ifs” in this verse? There are 2. The first is what? How do we know what to do? By listening to what? The law. But Jesus says that we’re happy if we know them, provided we what? Do them; that’s the labor. But I want to tell you something, friend: We’ll never be happy listening to law unless we love the Lawgiver. That’s true in Heaven and on earth.
If every member of the church loved the Great Head of the church, and loved the officers that God has placed in the General Conference and the Union Conference, and the local conference and the local church, we wouldn’t have any trouble with schisms and offshoots, would we?
“If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.” It’s a joy to listen to our Lord, if we love Him. It’s a joy to listen to our church leaders, if we love them. And so in the home: if children love their parents, they love to hear what father and mother have for them to do, don’t they? And the first thing they want to know in the morning is not how can I get daddy or mother to do what I want them to do. No, the first thought is, I wonder how I can please father and mother today. I wonder what they have planned for me. I wonder what job they want me to help with today? Do you see? And that, I repeat, is not just for the babies. We ought to learn it in babyhood and then practice it all our lives. We never graduate from this. So in an institution: This is Heaven’s way for getting things done.
Isn’t there any other way for getting things done? Oh, yes. There are two other ways, in the world: One is a way that was found very successful, in some parts of the world – it’s a bayonet at the back. Do they have law over there? Don’t you worry, they have law, and plenty of it. Do they have labor over there? Yes, and they probably haven’t heard of the eight-hour day either. Well now, if they have law that tells them what to do, and if they have labor in doing it, what is it that’s behind all that that makes it move? Force. So, if a man in isn’t moving quite fast enough, what does he need? He needs a little deeper jab of the bayonet, doesn’t he? Well, I’m sure nobody likes that; so, you want to hear the second plan, don’t you?
There is another way. It isn’t the bayonet at the back; it’s the paycheck in front. Have you heard of labor strikes? Well, some decide that in order to move, it took more to move them. Do they get it? Yes, they often get some more.
And so now they’re going to move again. But listen, when they come into the factory, somebody’s going to tell them where to work and where to put this nut and that screw. Is that right? Isn’t that the way you have to, to make automobiles (or to provide any other service)? Could you just have 10,000 men come in and each one say: “Well, I guess I’ll put the fenders on.” And other one says, “Well, I guess I’ll put the engines in.” Could you have it that way? No, they have to be under law; in order to turn out work that amounts to anything. Am I right? But the reason they do it is because they get what? Money. Money. That’s the motive.
So there are the two great motives that get things done in this world, friend. But notice that both of them call for law and labor, don’t forget that. Some countries have law and labor, with force as the motive. America has law and labor, with money as the motive. But, friend, in Heaven there are no bayonets and no money. Am I right? Well, how do they ever get anything done? That’s the Eden life. “If ye love Me, keep My commandments.”
In closing, here is little summary. See if you agree with me. Labor without law is wasted. Labor without love is drudgery. Law without labor is just theory. Law without love is tyranny. Love without labor is mere talk. Love without law is sentimentalism. But when you get love and law and labor together, you have heaven on earth, my friend.
Blessed are they that know the joyful sound: “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.”
Until next week – Invite a friend, and we’ll see you then…
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* This study has been adapted from classes taken by Elder W.D. Frazee.