Saturday, September 08, 2012

Church Life

Due to extenuating circumstances there will be no commentary this week.  But, here are a few notes borrowed from other authors that I thought may be helpful..

About Leaders (From Tom Cusack)

Our attitude towards our leaders, as well as towards all, is based on the truth that
Jesus Christ died for all, and desires all to repent, to experience an abundant life, and
unity in the body of Christ. While w e hold leaders accountable, we ought more to
intercede in prayer for them, to assist them in their important work, to blend our
spiritual gifts with theirs, and to learn the important lesson of learning to live under
authority, as we are obviously all under the authority of God.
Leaders are to truly lead, to admonish, exhort, to discipline, to make spiritual
decisions, to listen carefully to God, and to maintain the standards and integrity, as
well as bear witness of the Christian Church.
Leaders are to work carefully with people, to study them, to find effective methods, to
“bathe” all that they do in the Gospel and the character of God’s “agape” love.
Leaders are to understand that their work is largely a personal work. Leaders are to
examine themselves, and to keep the goal before them of disciplining people into the
fullness of the Christian experience.
Leaders are to provide ministry to all types of people, because the Gospel is
applicable to all kinds of people. Discouraged people need mild treatment; the weak
and defenseless need support and encouragement. Leaders need to handle
disagreement and criticism in such a way that it reflects that they were rightly
motivated by unselfish love and a deep concern for others.

About Prayer:

Pray without Ceasing

     In the work of heart-keeping we must be instant in prayer, unwearied in petitioning the throne of grace for assistance. Those who take the name of Christian should come to God in earnestness and humility, pleading for help. The Saviour has told us to pray without ceasing. The Christian can not always be in the position of prayer, but his thoughts and desires can always be upward. Our self-confidence would vanish, did we talk less and pray more.  {YI, March 5, 1903 par. 3}
     We give evidence of the sincerity of our prayers by the earnestness of our endeavors to answer them, to overcome the sins which strive for a place in the life. Our prayers will be ineffectual unless we continually strive to correct that which is wrong and unlovely in our lives. If we ask God to work for us, and then make no effort to conquer self, our prayers will rise no higher than our heads. God helps those who co-operate with him. We can obtain forgiveness only through the blood of Christ. His atoning sacrifice is all-powerful. But in the struggle for immortality we have a part to act. Christ will help those who pray and then watch unto prayer. He calls upon us to use every power he has given us in the warfare against sin. We can never be saved in inactivity and idleness. We might as well look for a harvest from seed which we have not sown, and for knowledge where we have not studied, as to expect salvation without making an effort. It is our part to wrestle against the evil tendencies of the natural heart.  {YI, March 5, 1903 par. 4}

About Testing Prophecies:

Beware of False Prophets.-- In these days of peril we are not to accept everything that men bring to us as truth. As professed teachers from God come to us declaring that they have a message from God, it is proper to inquire carefully, How do we know that this is truth? Jesus has told us that "false prophets shall arise and shall deceive many." But we need not be deceived; for the Word of God gives us a test whereby we may know what is truth. The prophet says, "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them."  {7BC 951.7}
     From this statement it is evident that it becomes us to be diligent Bible students, that we may know what is according the law and the testimony. We are safe in no other course of action. Jesus says, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits" (RH Feb. 23, 1892).

  In these days of delusion, every one who is established in the truth will have to contend for the faith once delivered to the saints. Every variety of error will be brought out in the mysterious working of Satan, which would, if it were possible, deceive the very elect, and turn them from the truth. . . .  {7BC 952.1}
     There will be false dreams and false visions, which have some truth, but lead away from the original faith. The Lord has given men a rule by which to detect them: "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." If they belittle the law of God, if they pay no heed to His will as revealed in the testimonies of His Spirit, they are deceivers. They are controlled by impulse and impressions which they believe to be from the Holy Spirit and consider more reliable than the Inspired Word. They claim that every thought and feeling is an impression of the Spirit; and when they are reasoned with out of the Scriptures, they declare that they have something more reliable. But while they think that they are led by the Spirit of God, they are in reality following an imagination wrought upon by Satan (BE Sept., 1886).

About Sanctification (From Paul Penno):

What does Paul mean “sanctify you wholly”? (1 Thess. 5:23). Obviously, the initial
experience of conversion or of justification by faith, is good in itself; but it must deepen
and extend throughout the mind and heart until there is no hidden portion that is left
unaffected, uncleansed. This is why sanctification is a daily work of the Holy Spirit,
requiring a daily surrender to Him, until every nook or cranny of the heart is exposed to
the merciless light that shines from the cross of Christ, and every egocentric motivation
is made painfully distinct, so it can be repented of.

From Ellen White:

The Whole Man to Be Sanctified.--The truth must sanctify the whole man--his mind, his thoughts, his heart, his strength. His vital powers will not be consumed upon his own lustful practices. These must be overcome, or they will overcome him (Letter 108, 1898).  {7BC 909.6}
     Clearing Away the Miasma of Sin.--Sanctification--how many understand its full meaning? The mind is befogged by sensual malaria. The thoughts need purifying. What might not men and women have been had they realized that the treatment of the body has everything to do with the vigor and purity of mind and heart.  {7BC 909.7}
     The true Christian obtains an experience which brings holiness. He is without a spot of guilt upon the conscience, or a taint of corruption upon the soul. The spirituality of the law of God, with its limiting principles, is brought into his life. The light of truth irradiates his understanding. A glow of perfect love for the Redeemer clears away the miasma which has interposed between his soul and God. The will of God has become his will, pure, elevated, refined, and sanctified. His countenance reveals the light of heaven. His body is a fit temple for the Holy Spirit. Holiness adorns his character. God can commune with him; for soul and body are in harmony with God (Letter 139, 1898).  {7BC 909.8}

 Jesus asks us to consecrate ourselves to Him. He has placed signal honor upon the human race; for He says, "As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." Shall we not, then, give to Christ that which He has died to redeem? If you will do this, He will quicken your conscience, renew your heart, sanctify your affections, purify your thoughts, and set all your powers at work for Him. Every motive and every thought will be brought into captivity to Jesus Christ.  {7BC 909.10}
     Those who are sons of God will represent Christ in character. Their works will be perfumed by the infinite tenderness, compassion, love, and purity of the Son of God. And the more completely mind and body are yielded to the Holy Spirit, the greater will be the fragrance of our offering to Him (RH Nov. 24, 1896).  {7BC 909.11}