Tuesday: Individuals but Together
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The local church is not simply a number of disconnected people who sit in the same building for a couple of hours once a week. According to Scripture, the church is a group of people who are as closely joined as are the parts of a human body. The possibility does exist, however, that people can meet together regularly without being a part of the body in a biblical sense. Although this unfortunate fact can be true in many areas of church life, we are focusing on the need to be united in the areas of evangelism and witnessing.1

Consider Ephesians 4:16. What would happen to the growth and effectiveness of a body if it lost its elbow, wrist, or knee joints? And what does Paul’s analogy say about the church as a body of believers who has been given an evangelistic mission?

The apostle Paul says that a church body grows when all of the members do their share. What does this say about churches that are not growing? Our first reaction might be to blame those who we consider to not be doing their share. That might be true, but think about this: how often do churches deprive members of an opportunity to contribute to the body? If church leaders don’t understand the ministry of all believers principle, they will not intentionally work for maximum involvement of the membership in church life and ministries.

Read 1 Thessalonians 1:5–8. What did the Thessalonian church do with the gospel that they had received from Paul?  

The church at Thessalonica is an example of a church that received the gospel and passed it on. It is still God’s will that His church function in this manner.

The blessings that are received when each individual member works within a planned church evangelistic strategy are many. We will focus here on the important areas of encouragement and accountability. Working as a team enables us to consider these areas seriously. The lack of team encouragement has been the death of many a worthwhile lay ministry. While individuals may possess special talents and gifts, working toward common goals through corporate strategies is still the ideal. Likewise, the group dynamic encourages accountability, not in the sense of judgment but in the sense of review and evaluation.

In what ways could you work more closely with church members in the effort of reaching out to others? Why is it so easy to get complacent, sleepy, and inward focused?

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Tuesday: Individuals but Together — 9 Comments

  1. We as chritians need to recognize that we have a mandate , first to live a Christ like life whereever we go, so that our witnessing can be powerful when we are sharing the love of Christ to others. God bless.

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  2. This quote from Desire of Ages hits some convicting points of which us Laodiceans are guilty from the pulpit to the pew,learned and unlearned-Isaiah 29:11-14 [KJV]. My prayer is that we will gather together and unite upon the truth for this time, before the decree brings forth, i.e. the mark of the beast/Sunday law, before the anger of the Lord comes upon us.-Zephaniah 2:2 [KJV]

    "Christ intends that His ministers shall be educators of the church in gospel work. They are to teach the people how to seek and save the lost. But is this the work they are doing? Alas, how many are toiling to fan the spark of life in a church that is ready to die! How many churches are tended like sick lambs by those who ought to be seeking for the lost sheep! And all the time millions upon millions without Christ are perishing.

    Divine love has been stirred to its unfathomable depths for the sake of men, and angels marvel to behold in the recipients of so great love a mere surface gratitude. Angels marvel at man's shallow appreciation of the love of God. Heaven stands indignant at the neglect shown to the souls of men. Would we know how Christ regards it? How would a father and mother feel, did they know that their child, lost in the cold and the snow, had been passed by, and left to perish, by those who might have saved it? Would they not be terribly grieved, wildly indignant? Would they not denounce those murderers with wrath hot as their tears, intense as their love? The sufferings of every man are the sufferings of God's child, and those who reach out no helping hand to their perishing fellow beings provoke His righteous anger. This is the wrath of the Lamb. To those who claim fellowship with Christ, yet have been indifferent to the needs of their fellow men, He will declare in the great Judgment day, "I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity." Luke 13:27."-Desire of Ages, 825

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    • I am not clear about the point you are trying to make from the Ellen White quote. Are you saying that we should give up on the churches that are struggling and ready to die? Why is the church struggling and ready to die? If the church is struggling and ready to die, what do we baptize the new converts into? Is it fair to bring them into a dying church?

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      • Brother Terry,

        Those are some tough questions you pose man. First, my point goes along with Tuesdays lesson, but bringing it to a more personal level of conviction, we need the straight testimony myself included, while Christ is finishing up the investigative judgment the purchase of his blood are the multitudes still in darkness while we who have had great light are indifferent to those who are perishing. Please don't misunderstand, I know SDAs are doing a lot of good things around the world, but unless we return to our foundations and unite in the understanding of the truth for this time we will remain divided and at the Sunday law the majority will receive the mark of the beast.

        Why is the church struggling and ready to die?

        If we trace from cause to effect how we got where we are I think we will be able to answer that question, why do you think it is? I think you hit it on the head saying "New truth can be hard to receive into old understandings." We are in the fourth generation since our pioneers and the majority think our church is functioning just as it should. Ignorance is bliss until reality hits us in the face. We need to encourage one another to love and good works , and study a pray with and for one another like the church of Philadelphia did [see 1T, 55], please pray for me. Ezekiel 37 depicts Israel as a valley of dead dry bones which is a type of the SDA church, sister White makes this interesting statement,

        "Angels are holding the four winds, represented as an angry horse seeking to break loose and rush over the face of the whole earth, bearing destruction and death in its path.
        Shall we sleep on the very verge of the eternal world? Shall we be dull and cold and dead? Oh, that we might have in our churches the Spirit and breath of God breathed into His people, that they might stand upon their feet and live."{20MR 216}

        If the church is struggling and ready to die, what do we baptize the new converts into? Is it fair to bring them into a dying church?

        Where did the Bible say that we need a corporate structure to baptize a new convert? I am an SDA with or without the structure, my allegiance is to the King of kings. John the Baptist didn't seek the sanction of the system of his day, his message was given in the wilderness by a THUS SAITH THE LORD, not the synagogue. If we don't wake up and understand that history is repeating we will end up murdering the truth as the Jews did!

        We need more ministers today not hirelings. May God wake us up to understand his truth is my prayer Daniel 9:13.

        "As I traveled through the South on my way to the conference, I saw city after city that was unworked. What is the matter? The ministers are hovering over churches which know the truth while thousands (today millions) are perishing out of Christ. {Ev 381.2}
        If the proper instruction were given, if the proper methods were followed, every church member would do his work as a member of the body. He would do Christian missionary work. But the churches are dying, and they want a minister to preach to them." {Ev 381.3}

        May your name remain bro.

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      • Stephen, as I understand Matthew's point on Ellen White's quote was that, the church which should be doing the work of spreading the good news is sleeping, sick, and attended to. But this should not be the case, it has to be active and equipped by the Word of God through the help of the minister/Preacher to evangelize and witness about God's love to the perishing.

        God bless you!

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        • Actually, Julianne, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing wrong with the quote itself and is, in fact, something we should be aware of. Furthermore it would be a great benefit for us to read the entire chapter in "Desire of Ages" that the quote was taken from.

          The point that I would like to make here is that from what I can see the real point Matthew is making has very little to do with the quote he uses. The point he is really making is, "My prayer is that we will gather together and unite upon the truth for this time." In order to understand what truth he is talking about we have to go back and read his previous comments.

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  3. When we dwell on God's amazing, unsurpassed love for us, people will be drawn to Him, and we will shout His love and redemption from the rooftops. Divine love must be the motivator, for if we take on the duty without the love of God, our witness is hypocritical, and we have lost our own soul. I have talked to many young people, and I am sad to say, most of them quote that they see hypocrisy in their church, and that is why they leave (not just the SDA church). Isn't that so sad, my sisters and brothers? Evangelism is not a "duty", it is a lifestyle. I am not trying to put our family in God down, just please, remember, to put Christ as the foundation of our witness, and not ourselves. I am speaking of myself also. Love to you.

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  4. Thank you for such a powerful message, it leaves a lot to be done on our side, in fact, on my side as a member of the body or the church of Christ. It is high time we wake up and start doing our tasks. The gospel cannot spread far and wide if we as a body cannot unite and love one another despite our differences.

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  5. My dear dear brothers and sister thank you for your comments. I firmly believe when Jesus lives in the heart of the believer he or she cannot remain quite. When we fully understand what our Savior and our Lord Jesus Christ has accomplished for us on the cross, we will be compelled to invite others to come to our Lord.

    Love all!

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