Friday: Further Study: The Church
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Further Study: Ellen G. White, Christian Unity, p. 236-248, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5; One With Christ in God, p. 239-243, in Testimonies for the Church, vol. 8. Union is strength; division is weakness. When those who believe present truth are united, they exert a telling influence. Satan well understands this. Never was he more determined than now to make of none effect the truth of God by causing bitterness and dissension among the Lord’s people. — Ellen G. White, Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 236. We should endeavor to think well of all men, especially our brethren, until compelled to think otherwise. We should not hastily credit evil reports. These are often the result of envy or misunderstanding, or they may proceed from exaggeration or a partial disclosure of facts. -Page 58.

studymoreDiscussion Questions:

  1. How do you deal with people who-though their doctrine (you are sure) is wrong-are kind, accepting, and loving, despite your differences? How should you relate to them? On the other hand, how do you deal with people who, though you agree with them theologically, are harsh, judgmental, and unloving toward anyone who doesn’t see things exactly as they do?
  2. However important unity is to the Christian church, how well has that unity been maintained? How do you think a non-Christian, looking at Christianity, would view the idea of Christian unity?
  3. Jesus instructs us to forgive those who hurt us. But what if they have not repented and do not ask us to forgive them? How are we to relate to them?
  4. What is the relationship between love and discipline?
  5. The ecumenical movement claims to be an attempt to create the unity that Christ prayed for. However well intentioned the motives that some might have, what problems can we see with the ecumenical movement, apart from the obvious issues regarding last day events?
  6. We should endeavor to think well of all men, especially our brethren, until compelled to think otherwise. How should we understand that sentence, especially in light of the fallen nature of humanity?

 

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Friday: Further Study: The Church — 13 Comments

  1. I think Us the Adventist church we should do a much better job in uniting the Adventist church,we claim that we are united and have the truth but yet in some states we are still divided as black and white churches ,black and white colleges.We need to practice what we preach and be unified completely from the bottom to the top.Yes we are united at the top but at the bottom we still hang in the past.It is easy to be in the remant church and not being part of the remnant church.The church was founded by Jesus the rock of all ages and she is and will be victorius and her members are those who have the faith of Jesus and Keep his laws and comandments.Black churches and white churches that's not a good picture for the church."Unity among believers is more of a heart matter – a matter of loving each other as Jesus loved us, in spite of differences" Can we demonstrate the unity of Christian love even while we may disagree on some practices and be unified at the bottom as we are at the top

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    • I came out of a Baptist church and blacks and whites sitting in the same pew worshiping together is almost unheard of. The unity that I experienced between the blacks and the whites in the Adventist church was one of the confirming factors for me that I was in the right church. At the time, I was unsure I was in the church God wanted me, because I hadn't fully heard the Adventist message yet, and this unity was a tremendous blessing; other than truth, this unity was one of the major determining factors for me. At the time though, I did not yet know of the disunity in the other Adventist churches and colleges, and I was greatly disappointed when I found this out. Thank God I found this out after the fact, or I may not have made the transition into the Adventist church. There is no room for a prejudice heart in Christ's church.

      Like(4)
    • I agree with you that in some regions the racial discrimination toward the Afro-American people is more prevalent. I hope and pray that there is a place somewhere on this planet where the is no discrimination of any kind. I moved from a 100% withe church to one where 3/4 are Afro-Americans brothers and sisters. While in the previous church the racism was not prevalent because there were no other groups to discriminate against against, I could feel that it was a feeling of superiority toward other races. Now in this new church I didn't think that I would find the issue of discrimination but I was wrong. I found that the brothers and sisters of the predominant race discriminate against those that are in the minority. The fact is that we find this issue throughout the Bible and is the result of the sin. Unless we are transformed by the Holy Spirit we don't know what lies inside of us. The truth is that it is said that churches with their pastors will be lost if they don't follow Jesus in loving their neighbors as themselves. Thank God that He gave us the example and the power to do it!

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  2. The lesson author duly pointed out unity is not an end in itself. Important and desirable though it be unity is a means to something greater. It is to advance God’s cause. This is why the faithful are called to separate from Babylon. It is why we cannot unite around everything in compromise even in the true fold, but need to study the Word of God and submit to the leading of the Spirit that we may know when to go along with the agenda.

    We cannot expect 100% unity this side of probation and need not be discouraged by it. For the church militant will become the church triumphant; and then all will be one.

    As in Noah’s day it is today some who once claimed to accept the message are numbered among the fiercest opponents of the remnant group. The internet testifies to this. It tells us not everyone working on the boat is onboard with the cause (Matthew 7:22).

    Unfortunate it is, but there will yet be a shaking in which many will depart. We cannot tell on what issues or exactly when. It is not our duty to identify tares, for the harvest will take care of that. We are to look earnestly to Jesus lest we end up in the wrong group.

    Unity itself does not bring us close to Jesus or get any into the kingdom. Rather those who are drawing close to Jesus draw closer together. Our first and highest duty is to please God, and as this yields unity it will testify of Christ and advance the kingdom of Heaven.

    So while we seek unity let us seek the Holy Spirit more.

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    • There is a text that says, something to the effect of, "The work is great and we are separated, far from one another, on the wall." If someone has a good concordance, please post text.

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      • The text you are looking for is Neh 4:19 and refers to the rebuilding of the wall of Jerusalem. Able bodied men were engaged in the work of rebuilding the wall and were under the constant threat of attack from Sanballat and his army. The Israelites realized they were thinly spread on the wall and needed to support one another so they devised an alarm system (trumpet call) to rally the workers to the point where they were being attacked.

        "And I said unto the nobles, and to the rulers, and to the rest of the people, The work is great and large, and we are separated upon the wall, one far from another."

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        • This text support the idea that though, in some respects there may be separation between church members, in other respects there may be unity. We may not see all things from the same point of view, but there is a common work to do and an enemy to defeat, and so we must be united as much as possible. Let us all seek to follow the orders of our Commander, the Lord of hosts.

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  3. Lets pray for our brothers here in South Africa that blacks and whites may unite in the church this is a serious issue. Whites and blacks pray alone yet they claim to worship the same God. we need the spirit of love and for people to leave on the thus saith the Lord and not on their culture or history. Lets pray that Galatians 3vs 28-29 will be fulfilled here.

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  4. Unity is a must have to enter the kingdom of heaven, "The entire church, acting as one, blending in perfect union, is to be a living, active missionary agency, moved and controlled by the Holy Spirit." "All that the apostles did, every church-member today is to do." "His workers will then see eye to eye, and the arm of the Lord, the power of which was seen in the life of Christ, will be revealed." -- Testimonies, Vol. 8, p. 47; Vol. 7, p. 33; Vol. 9, p. 33.
    "How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion. Jesus prayed to the father that we be one,
    "Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: loose thyself from the bands of thy neck, O captive daughter of Zion. Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion." Isa. 52:1, 2, 8. God will remove the discordant elements,
    Christians are working at cross-purposes among themselves. One Christian brother is betraying another. Christian ministers, rather than preaching the Truth, are preaching against one another. One goes ahead to build up, and another trails behind to tear down. They do not see eye to eye; nor do they understand one another even as much as did the confused tower-builders.
    Just so long as such selfishness and dishonesty, confusion and animosity, exist among Christians, preaching, so to speak, will come to naught as certainly as did tower builder,s. There is no way of stopping ism trouble without removing the cause, no splinter wound can heal before the splinter has been removed.
    There was no trouble in Moses' day as long as Moses alone interpreted the Word of God to the people. But just as soon as Korah, Dathan, Abiram and others aspired to Moses' office ism trouble started. And the only remedy that even God Himself could find was to cause the earth to open her mouth and to swallow the ism-breathing multitude, the self-appointed representatives of God.
    In our day there is an even greater flood of private interpreters of the Scriptures (the cause of today's isms) than there was in Moses' day. And according to Revelation 12:15, 16, the Lord warns that He will again use a remedy similar to the ancient remedy against today's ism-breeding flood. Then some may learn to respect the office of the Spirit of Prophecy.

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  5. The ecumenical movement claims to be an attempt to create the unity that Christ prayed for. However well intentioned the motives that some might have, what problems can we see with the ecumenical?
    They want to unite over the experience of love; just love everybody. They can agree to love each other. In doing so, doctrine is put aside. They are not interested in the details and they want to save that discussion till heaven. So now there is an imbalance; it is the opposite of legalism. However God is truth and God is love. We to experience both truth and love in our Christian walk.

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  6. The amazing thing to me concerning the comments from Buzundi and BurddyK is that most of these dominations thinks they are on their way to heaven. The fact that the Lord promised that we would be changed in the twinkling of an eye, does not and should not promote discrimination or in this situation separate churches for blacks and whites. If we cannot understand, live and find ways to get along here on earth, then there will be no place in heaven for us. My suggestion is that we start practicing now and do not let someone's vision of a church be the determining factor which keeps you from heaven. I think it is about time we start praying for God to cause a rift in the general conferences across the world, to show that we are all brothers and sisters and He is our Father and everyone of us is the same in His eyes.

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  7. Unity in Christ is automatic when whoever is involved has given consent for the Holy Spirit to motivate every thought and feeling. It is not hard to have unity when we love others the way Jesus loved us. We can do this only by the work of the Holy Spirit in us.

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