Sabbath, July 9, 2005
“Who is she that looketh forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners?” Song of Solomon 6:10.
• To understand that the church established on earth doesn’t mean the people scattered here and there, but has an international organization and order.
• To understand the beautiful truth that the church has so that everyone who understands the truth can do his service in the church with love and understanding.
THE CHURCH, BUILT BY THE FAITHFUL
1. By whom, was the church built? Consider that the church on earth is united with the heavenly one.
Genesis 6:9 These are the generations of Noah: Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations, and Noah walked with God.
Hebrews 11:8, 10 By faith Abraham, when he was called to go out into a place which he should after receive for an inheritance, obeyed; and he went out, not knowing whither he went. By faith he sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise: For he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.
“From the beginning, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth. In every age the Lord has had His watchmen, who have borne a faithful testimony to the generation in which they lived. These sentinels gave the message of warning; and when they were called to lay off their armor, others took up the work. God brought these witnesses into covenant relation with Himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth His angels to minister to His church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against His people.” – The Acts of the Apostles, p. 11.
2. How does God take care of and consider the church built by the faithful people? What feeling does this promise give to the members?
Deuteronomy 32:9, 10 For the Lord’s portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.
Zechariah 2:8 For thus saith the Lord of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
“Jesus sees His true church on the earth, whose greatest ambition is to cooperate with Him in the grand work of saving souls. He hears their prayers, presented in contrition and power, and Omnipotence cannot resist their plea for the salvation of any tried, tempted member of Christ’s body…Jesus ever liveth to make intercession for us. Through our Redeemer what blessings may not the true believer receive? The church, soon to enter upon her most severe conflict, will be the object most dear to God upon earth.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, pp. 19, 20.
“Although there are evils existing in the church, and will be until the end of the world, the church in these last days is to be the light of the world that is polluted and demoralized by sin. The church, enfeebled and defective, needing to be reproved, warned, and counseled, is the only object upon earth upon which Christ bestows His supreme regard.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 49.
ORGANIZATION AND ORDER
3. In developing his mission on the earth, how does the church that God has established have to act?
1 Corinthians 14:40 Let all things be done decently and in order.
“God is a God of order. Everything connected with heaven is in perfect order; subjection and thorough discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. Success can only attend order and harmonious action. God requires order and system in His work now no less than in the days of Israel. All who are working for Him are to labor intelligently, not in a careless, haphazard manner. He would have his work done with faith and exactness, that He may place the seal of His approval upon it.” –Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 376.
“God has a church upon the earth who are His chosen people, who keep His commandments. He is leading, not stray offshoots, not one here and one there, but a people. The truth is a sanctifying power; but the church militant is not the church triumphant.” –Testimony Treasures, vol. 2, p. 362.
“The church is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. It was organized for service, and its mission is to carry the gospel to the world.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 9.
4. May you explain some reasons why organization is needed for the church?
1 Corinthians 14:33 For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.
“As our numbers increased, it was evident that without some form of organization there would be great confusion, and the work would not be carried forward successfully. To provide for the support of the ministry, for carrying the work in new fields, for protecting both the churches and the ministry from unworthy members, for holding church property, for the publication of the truth through the press, and for many other objects, organization was indispensable”. –Testimonies for Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 26.
“God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.” 1 Corinthians 14:33. He requires that order and system be observed in the conduct of church affairs today no less than in the days of old. He desires His work to be carried forward with thoroughness and exactness so that He may place upon it the seal of His approval. Christian is to be united with Christian, church with church, the human instrumentality co-operating with the divine, every agency subordinate to the Holy Spirit, and all combined in giving to the world the good tidings of the grace of God. –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 96.
“A most solemn message has been entrusted to those who have received the light of present truth. Our light should shine forth to brighten the pathway of those who are in darkness. As members of the visible church, and workers in the vineyard of the Lord, all professed Christians should do their utmost to preserve peace, harmony, and love in the church.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 619, 620.
CHURCH AUTHORITY AND RESPECT
5. Although it is made up with people of infirmities, has God given authority to the church on earth?
Matthew 18:18 Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
Colossians 1:18 (first part) And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.
“Christ gives power to the voice of the church. ‘Verily I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.’ No such thing is countenanced as one man’s starting out upon his own individual responsibility and advocating what views he chooses, irrespective of the judgment of the church.
God has bestowed the highest power under heaven upon His church. It is the voice of God in His united people in church capacity which is to be respected.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 450, 451.
6. Which other spiritual and moral authority will be good to recognize in the church, developing a relationship of full respect and love?
Titus 2:15 These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
1 Peter 5:5 Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
“The Hebrews were not willing to submit to the directions and restrictions of the Lord. They simply wanted their own way, to follow the leadings of their own mind, and be controlled by their own judgment. Could they have been left free to do this, no complaints would have been made of Moses; but they were restless under restraint.
“God would have His people disciplined and brought into harmony of action, that they may see eye to eye and be of the same mind and of the same judgment. In order to bring about this state of things, there is much to be done. The carnal heart must be subdued and transformed. God designs that there shall ever be a living testimony in the church. It will be necessary to reprove and exhort, and some will need to be rebuked sharply, as the case demands…The Lord would not have us yield up our individuality. But what man is a proper judge of how far this matter of individual independence should be carried?” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, p. 360.
ADMINISTRATION AND ORDER
7. What attitude should the members take toward those serving, in responsible positions, for the administration and order?
2 Timothy 2:24, 25 And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth.
Hebrews 13:7, 17 Remember them which have the rule over you, who have spoken unto you the word of God: whose faith follow, considering the end of their conversation… Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
“Many do not realize the sacredness of church relationship and are loath to submit to restraint and discipline. 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. Those who hold responsible positions in the church may have faults in common with other people and may err in their decisions; but notwithstanding this, the church of Christ on earth has given to them an authority that cannot be lightly esteemed. Christ, after His resurrection, delegated power unto His church, saying: ‘Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.’ (John 20:23).
“Church relationship is not to be lightly cancelled … true, in leaving the church they would themselves be the greatest sufferers; for in withdrawing beyond the pale of its influence, they subject themselves to the full temptations of the world.” –Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, p. 444, 445.
8. Although people with responsibilities also have weaknesses, like all other members, how should the members treat the decision of church?
Matthew 18:17 And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.
1 Corinthians 5:2-4 And ye are puffed up, and have not rather mourned, that he that hath done this deed might be taken away from among you. For I verily, as absent in body, but present in spirit, have judged already, as though I were present, concerning him that hath so done this deed, In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, when ye are gathered together, and my spirit, with the power of our Lord Jesus Christ,
“On the church has been conferred the power to act in Christ’s stead. It is God’s instrumentality for the preservation of order and discipline among His people. To it the Lord has delegated the power to settle all questions respecting its prosperity, purity, and order.” –Testimony Treasures, vol. 3, p. 203.
“The world’s Redeemer has invested great power with His church… “The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body. There have ever been individuals of independent minds who have claimed that they were right, that God had especially taught, impressed, and led them. Each has a theory of his own, views peculiar to himself, and each claims that his views are in accordance with the word of God. Each one has a different theory and faith, yet each claims special light from God. These draw away from the body, and each one is a separate church of himself.” –Testimony Treasures, vol. 1, p. 390.
FOR OUR THOUGHTS
• Explain God’s purposes in establishing a visible church with organization and not people scattered here and there.
• Discuss the extent of His interest for the church of the last days.
• Explain the need of administration and order in the life and operation of the church.
• Although leaders in the church may have their weaknesses, do we still have a reason to respect their correct decisions?