Integrating New Believers into the Church

To Be Guided as Children—“At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child unto Him, and set him in the midst of them, and said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in My name receiveth Me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in Me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” Ev 340.2

By “little ones” Christ does not mean babies. Those to whom He refers are “little ones which believe in Me”—those who have not gained an experience in following Him, those who need to be led like children, as it were, in seeking the things of the kingdom of heaven.—Manuscript 60, 1904. Ev 341.1

Counsel to Those New in the Faith—I would address you who have come to a knowledge of the truth in _____. You are young in the faith, and there is great need of your walking humbly with God, and of learning daily in the school of Christ by dwelling particularly in meditation and conversation upon the lessons which He gave to His disciples. Walk in all humility of mind, distrustful of self, seeking wisdom from the God of wisdom, that all your ways and methods may be in firm and close connection with the ways and the will of God, that there may be no confusion.... Ev 341.2

We must never forget how hard it is to remove long-cherished errors from the minds of men, which have been taught from childhood. We must bear in mind that earth is not heaven, and that there will be discouragements to meet and to overcome, but forbearance and tenderness and pity should be exercised toward all who are in darkness. If we bring them to see the light, it will not be solely by arguments, it must be by the work of the grace of Christ on your own hearts, revealed in your own characters with firmness, yet with the meekness and simplicity of Christ. Through much prayer you must labor for souls, for this is the only method by which you can reach hearts. It is not your work, but the work of Christ who is by your side, that impresses hearts.... Ev 341.3

Be determined that you will not be at variance among yourselves, but will have the peace of Christ in your own hearts, and then it will be an easy work to have it brought into your own families. But when the garden of the heart is neglected, poisonous weeds of pride, self-esteem, self-sufficiency, obtain a rank growth. We individually must watch unto prayer. Ev 342.1

The characters we form will speak in the home life. If there is sweet accord in the home circle, the angels of God may minister in the home. If there is wise management at home, kindness, meekness, forbearance, combined with firm principles, then be assured that the husband is a house band; he binds the family together with holy cords and presents them to God, binding himself with them upon the altar of God. What a light shines forth from such a family! Ev 342.2

That family, properly conducted, is a favorable argument to the truth, and the head of such a family will carry out the very same kind of work in the church as is revealed in the family. Wherever severity, harshness, and want of affection and love are exhibited in the sacred circle of the home, there will most assuredly be a failure in the plans and management in the church. Unity in the home, unity in the church, reveals Christ's manner and grace more than sermons and arguments.... Is the truth, the advanced truth we have received, producing in our own hearts the fruits of patience, faith, hope, charity, and thus leaving its saving influence upon human minds, revealing that we are branches of the true Vine because we bear rich clusters of fruit?—Letter 6b, 1890. Ev 342.3

To Have Root in Themselves—It is not in God's purpose that the church shall be sustained by life drawn from the minister. They are to have root in themselves. The gospel news, the message of warnings, the third angel's message, is to be voiced by church members.—Manuscript 83, 1897. Ev 343.1

Everyone who claims to be a Christian is to bear the responsibility of keeping himself in harmony with the guidance of the Word of God. God holds each soul accountable for following, for himself, the pattern given in the life of Christ and for having a character that is cleansed and sanctified.—Manuscript 63, 1907. Ev 343.2

Not to Put Ministers in Place of God—While the new converts should be taught to ask counsel from those more experienced in the work, they should also be taught not to put the minister in the place of God. Ministers are but human beings, men compassed with infirmities. Christ is the One to whom we are to look for guidance.—Testimonies For The Church 7:20 (1904). Ev 343.3

Points on Which to Establish the New Believers—Ministers frequently neglect these important branches of the work—health reform, spiritual gifts, systematic benevolence, and the great branches of the missionary work. Under their labors large numbers may embrace the theory of the truth, but in time it is found that there are many who will not bear the proving of God.... Ev 343.4

How much better it would be for the cause, if the messenger of truth had faithfully and thoroughly educated these converts in regard to all these essential matters, even if there were less whom he could number as being added to the church under his labors. Ev 343.5

Ministers must impress upon those for whom they labor the importance of their bearing burdens in connection with the work of God. They should be instructed that every department of the work of God should enlist their support and engage their interest. The great missionary field is open to men, and the subject must be agitated, agitated, again and again. The people must understand that it is not the hearers of the Word but the doers of the Word that will have eternal life. Not one is exempted from this work of beneficence. God requires of all men to whom He imparts the gifts of His grace to communicate, not only of their substance to meet the demands for the time in successfully advancing His truth, but to give themselves to God without reserve.... Ev 344.1

It is not a trait of the natural heart to be beneficent; men must be taught, giving them line upon line and precept upon precept, how to work and how to give after God's order.—The Review and Herald, December 12, 1878. Ev 344.2

Developing New Attitudes for God's Work—How much means are spent for things that are mere idols, things that engross the thoughts and affections, little ornaments that require attention to be kept free from dust and placed in order. The moments spent in arranging these little idols might be spent in speaking a word in season to some soul, awakening an interest to inquire, “What shall I do to be saved?” These little things take the time that should be devoted to prayer, seeking the Lord, and grasping by faith the promises.... Ev 344.3

When I see how much might be done in such countries as I am now in, my heart burns within me to show to those who profess to be the children of God how much money they are wasting on dress, on expensive furniture, or selfish pleasures, in excursions merely for selfish gratifications. All this is embezzling the Lord's goods, using to please self that means that is wholly His and which should be devoted to His service.—Letter 42a, 1893. Ev 344.4

Serviceable Christians—The work of the ambassadors for Christ is far greater and more responsible than many dream of. They should not be at all satisfied with their success until they can, by their earnest labors and the blessing of God, present to Him serviceable Christians, who have a true sense of their responsibility, and will do their appointed work. The proper labor and instruction will result in bringing into working order those men and women whose characters are strong, and their convictions so firm that nothing of a selfish character is permitted to hinder them in their work, to lessen their faith, or to deter them from duty.—Testimonies For The Church 4:398, 399 (1880). Ev 345.1