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ESTABLISHING GOSPEL ORDER
IN OUR HOME CHURCHES
"Christ would have His followers brought together in church capacity, observing order, having rules and discipline, and all subject one to another, esteeming others better than themselves. Union and confidence are essential to the prosperity of the church." Testimonies, vol 3, p 445.
"The Lord desires...us to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of His will, that there may be unity with His people. And what an influence there is for good when brethren are in harmony; and what an influence it has for evil when there are strife and dissension among those who profess to believe the truth of God!" Review and Herald, July 2, 1889.
"Unless there was church discipline and church governments, the church would go to fragments. They could not hold together as a body." Manuscript Releases, vol 15, p 130.
"I saw [that] if Israel [God's people] moved steadily along, going according to Bible order, they would be as terrible as an army with banners." Manuscript Releases, vol 13, p 301.
"...it is necessary to have order and discipline..." Review and Herald, September 4, 1888.
"The Lord has shown me that gospel order has been too much neglected and feared. That formality should be shunned; but in doing so, order should not be neglected. There is order in heaven. There was order in the church when Christ was upon the earth; and after His departure, order was strictly observed among His apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing His children into the unity of faith, there is more real need of order than ever before; for, as God unites His children, Satan and his evil angels are very busy to prevent this unity and to destroy it." Early Writings, p 97.
"...the members of the church of Christ should be united in one symmetrical body, subject to the sanctified intelligence of the whole....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...Every believer should be wholehearted in his attachment to the church." Testimonies, vol 4, p 16-18.
"I hope the church will soon get right--when they can move in gospel order." EGW Biography, vol 1, p 174.
"The order that was maintained in the early Christian church made it possible for them to move forward solidly as a well-disciplined army clad with the armor of God. The companies of believers, though scattered over a large territory, were all members of one body; all moved in concert and in harmony with one another." Acts of Apostles, p 95-96.
"I saw that this door at which the enemy comes in to perplex and trouble the flock can be shut. I inquired of the angel how it could be closed. He said, 'The church must flee to God's Word and become established upon gospel order, which has been overlooked and neglected.' This is indispensably necessary in order to bring the church into the unity of the faith." Early Writings, p 100.
"Every heart renewed by the Spirit of God would not only love God but love his brother, and if that brother made mistakes, if he erred, he must be dealt with after the gospel plan. Every step must be followed according to the directions given in the word of God." EGW in Europe, p 276.
"...satanic policy cannot succeed if the people of God will bar the doors against the enemy, and work harmoniously to carry out the divine will. The foe cannot enter unless the gates are thrown open by traitors within. If we are but loyal and true, every attack of the enemy will lead us to a firmer reliance upon God, and to more determined effort to carry forward His work, against all opposing influences." Signs of Times, December 13, 1883.
WHAT IS TO BE OUR INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE TO GOD'S
SEPARATED HOME CHURCHES AND MOVEMENT?
--The human instrumentality is to co-operate with the divine. AA 96.
--Mutual confidence in each other is essential. 3T 445.
--All must be subject one to another. 1 Peter 5:5, 3T 445.
--All must esteem others better than themselves. Phil 2:3, 3T 445.
--All should exercise Christian refinement and courtesy towards one another. 8T 139, ST 5-7-94, 7T 186.
--All should work for purity and perfection of character. RH 9-12-07.
--Each should feel a responsibility to see that each other prospers in their religious life. 15MR 129.
--All must have their feelings, thoughts, imaginations, and impressions under the control of reason and religion.
Hebrews 12:9-10, MYP 92.
--All must not allow their imaginations to run riot and have its own way. 2 Cor 10:4-5, MYP 92.
--All should be so near Jesus that they will protest against iniquity and disobedience of God's requirements.
--All are to keep diligent guard over their own disposition. Loma Linda Messages, p 147.
--All should patiently listen to advice and counsel of others and carefully weigh the matter and incorporate it
into our experience if valid. 15MR 126.
--All must be willing to be counseled, reproved, and directed by the body. 15MR 124.
--None are to feel downcast by needed rebuke for their wrongs. RH 7-16-95.
--Our duty is to lay our case in the hands of the church; if they err, they are responsible, not us. 15MR 125.
HOW ARE GOD'S SEPARATED PEOPLE TO SET UP
CHURCH GOVERNMENT AND ORGANIZATION?
--Every agency is to be subordinate to the Holy Spirit. AA 96.
--None are to be left out of working in their proper position that all may be harmoniously adjusted. RH 10-11-
87, 6T 432.
--Every agency is to be combined in giving to the world the good tidings of the grace of God. AA 96.
--Christian is to be united with Christian. Ephesians 4, AA 96.
--Church is to be united with church. AA 96.
--Development and discipline are essential. RH 10-22-89.
--Order and system must be observed in the conduct of church affairs. 1 Cor 14:33, AA 96.
--Order must be preserved at any cost. 1 Cor 14:33, 1MR 324.
--Formality in setting up gospel order should be shunned. EW 97.
--Unity of the church does not consist in all viewing every text of Scripture in the same way. 15MR 150. (This is
not referring to those Scriptures defining the pillars of our faith.)
--Members must move together like well-trained soldiers. RH 10-22-89.
--God's work is to be carried forward with thoroughness and exactness. AA 96.
--Elders and deacons are to be chosen to care for the prosperity of the church, yet these alone have not
authority to disfellowship offending members. Acts 14:33, Titus 1:5, 12MR 113.
--The local home church should try and resolve disputes between its local members before referring it to the
general counsel. AA 95.
--There should be a general counsel of the entire body of believers, made up of appointed delegates from
local home churches, to hear and decide unresolvable disputes. AA 95.
--Those who are not with us should have no voice or influence among us. 17MR 98.
--No member is to move independently from the other members. 3T 445.
--One man may not be allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church body. 15MR 130, TM
--One man may not set up his judgment in opposition to the judgement of the church body. 15MR 130.
--God chooses His messengers to write and preach His Word, the church only recognizes the fact that God
has given them this gift and chosen them as His messengers. 1BIO 174, LLM 147-48, EW 98-100, 15MR
--Those in the field, who have proven that God has indeed chosen them, need to be acknowledged and
recognized as workers by the church. EW 97.
--Those who have given full proof of their commission and calling from God should receive the sanction and
recognization of the church by the laying on of hands. EW 101.
--Only those recognized by the church can administer the ordinances and perform baptisms. EW 99-101.
--There should be a counseling together of the messengers with other messengers and men of experience
before any new points of importance are advocated. EW 61.
--God's messengers must carefully watch and check all fanaticism wherever they see it rise. EW 63.
--Ministers are to exercise watchful diligence over the flock, not a dictatorial vigilance. RH 8-8-12.
--The minister who fails to direct wisely their own households is not qualified to guide the church. 1 Samuel
2:27-34, ST 11-10-81, 6MR 47.
--Do not hurry men into the work. EW 97-98.
--Those who have been deeply involved in fanaticism are not to be allowed to feed any flock. EW 62-63.
--Those who have been in the truth, but who have been deceived by the errors of perfectionism (can not sin)
and spiritualism--bringing the cause of truth into reproach, are never to be given positions of teaching God's
truths to others. EW 101-102.
WHAT CHURCH RULES ARE GOD'S SEPARATED PEOPLE
TO HAVE AND ABIDE BY?
--God means every word He says. ST 11-13-01.
--All must follow the directions given through the Spirit of Prophecy. Gospel Workers (1915), p 308.
--Church order, thorough discipline, and organization are essential and a law among God's people. RH 10-12-
--No one is to excuse disorder and confusion as trivial matters. ST 7-29-80.
--No one has a right to manage in any work of the church unless they manage in God's order. GCB 4-3-01.
--No unsanctified influence is to be tolerated. 17MR 105.
--Ministers should love order and discipline themselves. Ev 115.
--Ministers are not to flatter God's people or treat them harshly. RH 8-8-12.
--Our homes must have discipline and unity before we can have it in the church. RH 7-2-89.
--Duty of parents to educate, discipline, and restrain their children. ST 2-9-82.
--If the ministers take their wives and children with them, the children must be well disciplined, obedient, and
subject to them. 6MR 47-48, AH 356.
--We must follow Christ first before we can counsel or teach others. RH 4-16-89, Fundamentals of Christian
Education, p 497.
--Do not allow disunion to occur because someone makes a blunder in his interpretation of some portion of
Scripture. 15MR 150.
--All should be very modest in assuming church responsibilities. 12MR 113.
--Let all stand in their own lot and place, refusing to go out of their way to assume authority over others. LLM
--All must act their part with fidelity--doing it as unto the Lord. RH 10-11-87.
--All are required to do something for the advancement of God's cause. Pam #152, p 7-8.
--All members should attend church meetings, and if some neglect to attend, it should be inquired into, and if
valid reasons are not given, they should be urged and admonished to attend for their spiritual strength and
to stop their backsliding from God. Pam #152, p 8.
--At meetings where God is worshipped, let not one person do much of the takings to the exclusion of several
others. 15MR 153.
--Weigh your words carefully before you speak them. 11MR 208.
--Cease to look at the failings of others. RH 4-16-89.
--Cease evil thinking, evil speaking, and hasty words. AUCR 4-15-05.
--Cease speaking of the evil traits of the character of others. RH 4-16-89.
--No one is to listen to any complaint against another that is not in accordance with the rules listed in Matt 18.
--Do not allow disagreements to create a division. AA 95.
--No strength is to be invested in warring against each other. 15MR 152.
--Do not leave wrongs uncorrected because of the unpleasant results which attend reproof and earnest
appeal. 2T 698.
--No sympathy should be shown to those who are reproved and disciplined for their wrongs, but all must help
them to accept the discipline and repent. 1T 213, 5MR 337.
WHAT ACTIONS DOES GOD'S SEPARATED HOME CHURCHES
NEED TO TAKE?
--God expects His church to fit its members to work for the enlightening the world. Pam #7, p 13.
--Members must be educated, trained, and disciplined by precept and example to do their God-given work.
1888 Mat 249.
--The church must make liberal efforts to train the young to be skilful workers for God. Special Testimonies on
Education, p 198.
--Work must be done at all points with carefulness. RH 10-11-87.
--Prompt, united action of all is needed--especially in a critical time. 3T 445.
--Difficulties among members should be cleared away before the Sabbath. RH 7-21-04.
--Measures need to be taken to stop the spirit of criticism and the judging of another's motives. 15MR 194.
--The spreading of disaffection is to be shut out. LS 178.
--Dissatisfaction must be completely rooted out or will return. Pam #16, p 7-10.
--Disorder is to be shut out. LS 178.
--Confusion is to be shut out. LS 178.
--Rebellion is to be shut out. LS 178.
--Error is to be shut out. LS 178.
--Fanaticism is to be shut out. LS 178.
--The church must act against self-sent men professing to be ministers, and let it be known that these persons
are not acknowledged by the church as God's teachers; if this is not done, the church stands responsible.
HOW AND WHEN DOES GOD'S SEPARATED CHURCH
NEED TO ADMINISTER DISCIPLINE?
--In dealing with the erring, manifest hearts full of the milk of human kindness. RH 5-14-95.
--In dealing with the erring, harsh measures should not be resorted to--milder means will effect far more. RH 5-
--Great care must be exercised in dealing with one another so that we uplift, restore, and heal--without
neglecting proper discipline. 7T 264.
--Discipline is to be carried out in the way Christ would were He in our places. 4MR 134.
--Trifling misdemeanors of children are not to be treated as grave sins. RH 3-21-82.
--No exception is to be made on any policy principle when disobedience is discovered. 17MR 105.
--All exhibitions of pride in dress calls for church discipline. 4T 647.
--Parents who fail to train their children for usefulness should be under church discipline. 5T 327.
--Firm decided measures must be taken against fault-finders and false accusers. RH 10-19-86.
--Those who do not follow Matthew 18:15-19 with their brethren should be under church discipline and censure.
--If the erring one repents and submits to discipline, they are to be given another trial. 7T 263.
--If erring one does not repent, the church must work to bring him to repentance. 7T 263.
--Those who will not submit to church discipline must change their course or leave the fellowship of the church,
and the church must voice a warning concerning these to let the rest of the church know. 1MR 214.
--Never hurry the matter of disfellowshipment. RH 5-14-95.
--Members who persist to manifest a fierce spirit--being overbearing, critical, and denunciating, should be
disfellowshipped. EGWE 202.
Inspired Counsel to Ponder
"A great work will be accomplished by God's people if they will work in unity and unselfishness and with humility of heart. All self-exaltation must be seen and put away. Truth and righteousness alone will stand the test for this time. We need to have the Spirit of God daily with us, that we may be kept from all evil thoughts and unwise actions. We should fear lest our eyes become blinded to our individual spiritual needs in these perilous times." Review and Herald, August 5, 1909.
"We have great changes to make before we reach perfection. God calls for complete self-surrender. We must guard diligently our lips, lest they speak guile. We must be strict with ourselves, that we bring not false principles into our dealings with others, and lead souls from the safe path. We must work the works of God. Adhere to correct principles, whatever the cost to yourself....Let your holy example lead the sympathies of your friends heavenward." Bible Echo, January 14, 1901.
"God is deferring the bringing of His judgment upon the earth in order that those who are supposed to be His people, but who have been bringing in the very things He has condemned in ancient Israel, working according to methods He will not accept, may get ready to meet Him in peace....God says, 'I will thoroughly purge My floor of all chaff. I will sift My people as in a sieve. Those who name My name must be thoroughly cleansed from all false and corrupting principles. Those whom I claim as My heritage will even now be wondered at as a peculiar people, cleansed from all fraud, all injustice. Those who enter the city of God will here have worked righteousness revealing to the world the principles of heaven." Manuscript Releases, vol 12, p 150.