Selected Messages Book 3


Chapter 1—What Is the Church?

Christ's influence is to be felt in our world through his believing children. He who is converted is to exert the same kind of an influence which through God's instrumentality was made effectual in his conversion. All our work in this world is to be done in harmony and love and unity. We are to keep the example of Christ ever before us, walking in his footsteps. 3SM 15.1

Union is strength, and the Lord desires that this truth should be ever revealed in all the members of the body of Christ. All are to be united in love, in meekness, in lowliness of mind. Organized into a society of believers for the purpose of combining and diffusing their influence, they are to work as Christ worked. They are ever to show courtesy and respect for one another. Every talent has its place and is to be kept under the control of the Holy Spirit. 3SM 15.2

A Christian Society Formed for Its Members—The church is a Christian society formed for the members composing it, that each member may enjoy the assistance of all the graces and talents of the other members, and the working of God upon them, according to their several gifts and abilities. The church is united in the holy bonds of fellowship in order that each member may be benefited by the influence of the other. All are to bind themselves to the covenant of love and harmony. The Christian principles and graces of the whole society of believers are to gather strength and force in harmonious action. Each believer is to be benefited and improved by the refining and transforming influence of the varied capabilities of the other members, that the things lacking in one may be more abundantly displayed in another. All the members are to draw together, that the church may become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 3SM 15.3

The covenant of agreement in church membership is that each member would walk in the footsteps of Christ, that all will take his yoke upon them, and learn of Him who is meek and lowly in heart. Doing this, “Ye shall,” saith the dear Saviour, “find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:29, 30). 3SM 16.1

Those who wear Christ's yoke will draw together. They will cultivate sympathy and forbearance, and in holy emulation will strive to show to others the tender sympathy and love of which they feel such great need themselves. He who is weak and inexperienced, although he is weak, may be strengthened by the more hopeful and by those of mature experience. Although the least of all, he is a stone that must shine in the building. He is a vital member of the organized body, united to Christ, the living head, and through Christ identified with all the excellencies of Christ's character so that the Saviour is not ashamed to call him brother. 3SM 16.2

Usefulness Increased by Church Ties—Why are believers formed into a church? Because by this means Christ would increase their usefulness in the world and strengthen their personal influence for good. In the church there is to be maintained a discipline which guards the rights of all and increases the sense of mutual dependence. God never designed that one man's mind and judgment should be a controlling power. He never designed that one man should rule and plan and devise without the careful and prayerful consideration of the whole body, in order that all may move in a sound, thorough, harmonious manner. 3SM 16.3

Believers are to shine as lights in the world. A city set on an hill cannot be hid. A church, separate and distinct from the world, is in the estimation of heaven the greatest object in all the earth. The members are pledged to be separate from the world, consecrating their service to one Master, Jesus Christ. They are to reveal that they have chosen Christ as their leader.... The church is to be as God designed it should be, a representative of God's family in another world.—Letter 26, 1900. 3SM 17.1