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The Doctrine of Christ

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    LESSON EIGHTY The Work of the Church

    1. The followers of Christ are sent into the world to continue the work which he was sent to do. John 17:18.TDOC 252.3

    2. The disciples of Christ have received a commission to preach the gospel to all the world. Matthew 28:19, 20; Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8TDOC 252.4

    3. As Christ in his individual body was the light of the, world, so he is to fulfill the same mission in his mystical body, the church. John 8:12; Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:14-16.TDOC 252.5

    4. It is the purpose of God that through the body of Christ upon the earth, the church, the wisdom of God revealed in the plan of salvation should be made known e even to heavenly beings. Ephesians 3:10, 11.TDOC 252.6

    5. The churches at Rome and Thessalonica were examples of the influence which a consecrated church can exert. Romans 1:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:3, 4.TDOC 252.7

    6. Each member of the church is to be a neighbor to those who need help. Luke 10:29-37.TDOC 252.8

    7. In the midst of the, moral darkness of this world the glory of the Lord is to be revealed through his church. Isaiah 60:1, 2; Philippians 1:9-11; John 17:5.TDOC 253.1

    The Spirit given for service

    “We conceive that the great end for which the endowment of the Spirit is bestowed is our qualification for the highest and most effective service in the church of Christ. Other effects will certainly attend the blessing, a fixed assurance of our acceptance in Christ, and a holy separateness from the world; but these results will be conducive to the greatest and supreme end, our consecrated usefulness.”TDOC 253.2

    Each member a worker

    “The ‘work of ministering’ and the building up of the body of Christ are not assigned to special orders of ministry as their exclusive calling. Such honor have all his saints. It is the office of the clergy to see that the laity do their duty, of ‘the ministry’ to make each saint a minister of Christ, to guide, instruct, and animate the entire membership of Christ’s body in the work he has laid upon it. Upon this plan the Christian fellowship was organized and officered in the apostolic times.”TDOC 253.3

    The aim of Christ’s servants

    “The gifts pertaining to special office in the church were bestowed to promote its corporate efficiency and to further its general growth. Ephesians 4:11, 12. Now, the purpose of these endowments sets a limit to their use. ‘Christ gave apostles, prophets,’ and the rest ‘till we all arrive at our perfect manhood and reach the stature of his fullness.’ Such is the connection of verse 13 with the foregoing context. The aim of the Christian ministry is to make itself superfluous, to raise men beyond its need. Knowledge and prophesyings, apostles and pastorates, the missions of the evangelist and the schools of the teacher, will one day cease; their work will be done, their end gained, when all believers are brought ‘to the unity of faith, to the full knowledge of the Son of God.’ The work of Christ’s servants can have no grander aim, no further goal lying beyond this.”TDOC 253.4

    Power for work

    “It is in doing Christ’s work that the church has the promise of his presence. Go teach ‘all nations, he said; and, lo, I am with you always, oven unto the end of the world.’ To take his yoke is one of the first conditions of receiving his power. The very life of the church depends upon her faithfulness in fulfilling the Lord’s commission. To neglect this work is surely to invite spiritual feebleness and decay. Where there is no active labor for others, love wanes, and faith grows dim. 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.”-The Desire of Ages, 989, 990.TDOC 253.5

    “The church of Christ is God’s agency for the proclamation of truth; she is empowered by him to do a special work; and if she is loyal to God, obedient to his commandments, there will dwell within her the excellence of divine power. If she will honor the Lord God of Israel, there is no power that can stand against her. If she will be true to her allegiance, the forces of the enemy will be no more able to overpower her than is the chaff to resist the whirlwind.”-Id., Volume 8, p. 11.TDOC 254.1

    An eternal law

    It is an eternal law of Jehovah that he who accepts the truth that the world needs is to make it his first work to proclaim this truth.”-Testimonies for the Church 7:13.TDOC 254.2

    The church a light

    “God has called his church in this day, as he called ancient Israel, to stand as a light in the earth. By the mighty cleaver of truth, the messages of the first, second, and third angels, lie has separated them from the churches and from the world to bring them into a sacred nearness to himself. He has made them the depositaries of his law, and has committed to them the great truths of prophecy for this time. Like the holy oracles committed to ancient Israel, these are a sacred trust to be communicated to the world. The three angels of Revelation 14 represent the people who accept the light of God’s messages, and go forth as his agents to sound the warning throughout the length and breadth of ‘the earth. Christ declares to his followers, ‘Ye are the light of the world.’ To every soul that accepts Jesus, the cross of Calvary speaks, ‘Behold the worth of the soul. Go you into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.’ Nothing is to be permitted to hinder this work. It is the all-important work for time; it is to be far-reaching as eternity. The love that Jesus manifested for the souls of men in the sacrifice which he made for their redemption, will actuate all his followers,”-Testimonies for the Church 5:455 456.TDOC 254.3

    The watchword

    “Every one who connects himself with the church makes in that act a solemn vow work for the interest of the church, and to hold that interest above every worldly consideration. It is his work to preserve a living connection with God, to engage with heart and soul in the great scheme of redemption, and to show, in his life and character, the excellence of God’s commandments in contrast with the customs and precepts of the world. Every soul that has made a profession of Christ has pledged himself to be all that it is possible for him to be as a spiritual worker, to be active, zealous, and efficient in his Master’s service. Christ expects every man to do his duty; let this be the watchword throughout the ranks of his followers.”-Id., 460.TDOC 254.4

    For service

    “All prayer for the guiding and gladdening influence of the Holy Spirit in the children of God ought to have this as its aim: fitness to witness for Christ and do effective service in conquering the world f or him.”TDOC 255.1


    “It is treason to humanity to propose working out your own salvation in a way that should secure your salvation and nothing else.”TDOC 255.2


    “The church of Christ is God’s appointed agency for the salvation of men. Its mission is to carry the gospel to the world. And the obligation rests upon all Christians. Every one, to the extent of his talent and opportunity, is to fulfill the Savior’s commission. The love of Christ, revealed to us, makes ns debtors to all who know him not. God has given us light, not for ourselves alone, but to shed upon them.”-Steps to Christ, 85.TDOC 255.3

    The permanent revelation

    “As Christ in his own person and life had brought clearly before their minds the presence of the Father, so must they by their person and life manifest in the world the existence and the grace of Christ. They must make permanent and universal the revelation he had brought, that all the world might believe that he was the true representative of God. Christ had lighted them, and with their light they were to kindle all men, till the world was full of light. A share in this work is given to each of us.”TDOC 255.4

    A special favor

    “Our function, the kind of service we are able to render to the church, varies ‘according to the measure’ of the wisdom and the strength of the divine life and divine inspiration given us by Christ.TDOC 255.5

    “There is something infinitely beautiful in this use which Paul made of the word ‘grace.’ To be appointed to render a special service to men was to receive a special favor from God. ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive; the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister.”TDOC 255.6

    Coworkers with Christ

    “The Savior’s commission to the disciples included all the believers. It includes all believers in Christ to the end of time. It is a fatal mistake to suppose that the work of saying souls depends alone on the ordained minister. All to whom the heavenly inspiration has come, are put in trust with the gospel. All who receive the life of Christ are ordained to work for the salvation of their fellow men. For this work the church was established, and all who take upon themselves its sacred vows are thereby pledged to be coworkers with Christ.TDOC 255.7

    “The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that hears say, Come.’ Every one who hears, is to repeat the invitation. Whatever one’s calling in life, his first interest should be to win souls for Christ. He may not be able to speak to congregations, but he can work for individuals. To them he can communicate the instruction received from his Lord. Ministry does not consist alone in preaching. Those minister who relieve the sick and suffering, helping the needy, speaking words of comfort to the desponding and those of little faith. Nigh and afar off are souls weighed down by a sense of guilt. It is not hardship, toil, or poverty that degrades humanity. It is guilt, wrongdoing. This brings unrest and dissatisfaction. Christ would have his servants minister to sin-sick souls.”-The Desire of Ages, 985.TDOC 256.1

    Work for all

    “Men who axe not called to the ministry are to be encouraged to labor for the Master according to their several ability. Hundreds of men and women now idle could do acceptable service. By carrying the truth into the homes of their friends and neighbors, they could do a great work f or the Master. God is no respecter of persons. He will use humble, devoted Christians, even if they have not received so thorough an education as some others. Let such ones engage in service for him by doing house-to-house work.”-Testimonies for the Church 7:21.TDOC 256.2

    The importance of the time

    “Unless we understand the importance of the moments that are swiftly passing into eternity, and make ready to stand in the great day of God, we shall be unfaithful stewards. The watchman is to know the time of night. Everything is now clothed with a solemnity that all who believe the truth f or this, time should realize. They should act in reference to the day of God. The judgments of God axe about to fall upon the world, and we need to be preparing for that great day.TDOC 256.3

    “Our time is precious. We have but few, very few days of probation in which to make ready for the future, immortal life. We have no time to spend in haphazard movements. We should fear to skim the surface of the word of God.”-Testimonies for the Church 6:407.TDOC 256.4

    A possible program

    “Had the apostolic missions been sustained more adequately throughout Christian history, and had the apostolic gospel been better maintained in the church in all the energy of its divine simplicity and fullness, the globe would have been covered-not indeed in a hurry, yet ages ago now-with the knowledge of Jesus Christ as fact, as truth, as life. We are told even now by some of the best informed advocates of missionary enterprises that if Protestant Christendom (to speak of it alone) were really to respond to the missionary call, and ‘send’ its messengers out not by tens but by thousands (no chimerical number), it would be soberly possible within thirty years so to distribute the message that no given inhabited spot should be, at furthest, one day’s walk from a center of evangelization. This program is not fanaticism, surely. It is a proposal for possible action, too long deferred, in the line of St. Paul’s precept and example. It is not meant to discredit any present form of well-considered operation. And it does not for a moment ignore the futility of all enterprise where the sovereign power of the Eternal Spirit is not present. Nor does it forget the permanent call to the church to sustain amply the pastoral work at home, in ‘the flock of God which is among you.’ 1 Peter 5:2. But it sees and emphasizes the fact that the Lord has laid it upon his church to be his messenger to the whole world, and to be in holy earnest about it, and that the work, as to its human side, is quite feasible to a church awake.”TDOC 256.5

    Learning to live

    “Largely thou givest, gracious Lord,
    Largely thy gifts should be restored;
    Freely thou givest, and thy word
    Is, ‘Freely give.’
    He only, who forgets to hoard,
    Has learned to live.”
    TDOC 257.1

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