April 23, 2008

The Body of Christ--Everyone Has Place in It

2008 1512 page12 caps all the different members of the human system unite to form the entire body, and each performs its office in obedience to the intelligence that governs the whole, so the members of the church of Christ should be united in one symmetrical body, subject to the sanctified intelligence of the whole.
The advancement of the church is retarded by the wrong course of its members. Uniting with the church, although an important and necessary act, does not make one a Christian or insure salvation. We cannot secure a title to heaven by having our names enrolled upon the church books, while our hearts are alienated from Christ. We should be his faithful representatives on earth, working in unison with him. “Beloved, now are we the sons of God.” We should . . . do nothing to bring dishonor upon our Father’s cause.
Our profession is an exalted one. . . . Our light should shine so clearly that others can see that we glorify the Father in our daily lives; that we are connected with Heaven and are joint heirs with Jesus Christ. . . .
Moving Out in Faith
We should every one feel our individual responsibility as members of the visible church and workers in the vineyard of the Lord. . . . Our precious Saviour has invited us to join ourselves to him, and unite our weakness to his strength, our ignorance to his wisdom, our unworthiness to his merits.
None of us can occupy a neutral position; our influence will tell for or against. . . . We either gather with Jesus or scatter abroad. True conversion is a radical change. The very drift of the mind and bent of the heart should be turned, and [the] life become new again in Christ.
Building the Body of Christ Together
God is leading out a people to stand in perfect unity upon the platform of eternal truth. Christ gave himself to the world “that he might purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” This refining process is designed to purge the church from all unrighteousness and the spirit of discord and contention, that they may build up instead of tearing down. . . . God designs that his people should all come into the unity of faith. The prayer of Christ to his Father . . . was that his disciples might be one, even as he was one with the Father, that the world might believe that he had sent him. . . . “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.”
2008 1512 page12How earnestly should the professed followers of Christ seek to answer this prayer in their lives. Many do not realize the sacredness of church relationship. . . . Their course of action shows that they exalt their own judgment above that of the united church; and they are not careful to guard themselves, lest they encourage a spirit of opposition to its voice. . . .
Church relationship is not to be lightly cancelled; yet some professed followers of Christ will threaten to leave the church when their path is crossed, or their voice has not the controlling influence which they think it deserves. . . . They themselves would be the greatest sufferers; for in withdrawing beyond the pale of its influence, they subject themselves to the full temptations of the world.
Living for Christ Alone
Every believer should be wholehearted in his attachment to the church. . . . Unless he feels under sacred obligation to make his connection with the church a benefit to it, in preference to himself, it can do far better without him. [All can] do something for the cause of God. There are some who spend a large amount for needless luxuries and to gratify appetite, but feel it a great tax to contribute means to sustain the church. They are willing to receive the benefit of its privileges, but prefer to leave others to pay the bills. Those who really feel a deep interest in the advancement of the cause, will not hesitate to invest money in the enterprise whenever and wherever it is needed.
They should also feel it a solemn duty to illustrate in their characters the teachings of Christ, being at peace one with another, and moving in perfect harmony as an undivided whole. They should defer their individual judgment to the judgment of the body of the church. Many are living for themselves alone. They look upon their lives with great complacency, flattering themselves that they are blameless, when in fact they are doing nothing for God, and are living in direct opposition to his expressed word. The observance of external forms will never meet the great want of the human soul. A profession of Christ is not enough to stand the test of the day of Judgment. There should be a perfect trust in God, a child-like dependence upon his promises, and an utter consecration of self to his will.
Seventh-day Adventists believe Ellen G. White exercised the biblical gift of prophecy during more than 70 years of public ministry. This article is excerpted from one that first appeared in The Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, now the Adventist Review, June 16, 1885.