The Review and Herald

1098/1902

December 4, 1900

The Church of God

EGW

The church on earth is God's temple, and it is to assume divine proportions before the world. This building is to be the light of the world. It is to be composed of living stones laid close together, stone fitting to stone, making a solid building. All these stones are not of the same shape or dimension. Some are large, and some are small, but each one has its own place to fill. In the whole building there is not to be one misshapen stone. Each one is perfect. And each stone is a living stone, a stone that emits light. The value of the stones is determined by the light they reflect to the world. RH December 4, 1900, par. 1

Now is the time for the stones to be taken from the quarry of the world and brought into God's workshop, to be hewed, squared, and polished, that they may shine. This is God's plan, and he desires all who profess to believe the truth to fill their respective places in the great, grand work for this time. He desires each worker to stand forth as did Daniel, every phase of the character under divine ministration, that day by day he may be prepared to fill his place in the temple of God. RH December 4, 1900, par. 2

It is God's design that his church shall ever advance in purity and knowledge, from light to light, from glory to glory. “Whereunto,” asks he who is the first and the last, “shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it?” He could not employ any of the kingdoms of the world as a similitude. In society he found nothing with which to compare it. Earthly kingdoms rule by the ascendency of physical power. But in Christ's kingdom every carnal weapon, every instrument of coercion, is to be abolished. This kingdom is to be established to uplift and ennoble fallen humanity. Christ makes his church a beautiful temple for God. “Where two or three are gathered together in my name,” he declared, “there am I in the midst of them.” His church is the court of holy life, filled with varied gifts and endowed with the Holy Spirit. Appropriate duties are assigned by Heaven to the church on earth, and the members are to find their happiness in the happiness of those whom they help and bless. RH December 4, 1900, par. 3

Through the ages of moral darkness, through centuries of strife and persecution, the church of Christ has been as a city set on a hill. From age to age, through successive generations, to the present time, the pure doctrines of the Bible have been unfolding within her borders. The church of Christ, enfeebled and defective as she may appear, is the one object on earth on which he bestows in a special sense his love and regard. The church is the theater of his grace, in which he delights to make experiments of mercy on human hearts. RH December 4, 1900, par. 4

The church is God's fortress, his city of refuge, which he holds in a revolted world. Any betrayal of her sacred trust is treachery to him who has bought her with the precious blood of his only begotten Son. In the past, faithful souls have constituted the church on earth, and God has taken them into covenant relation with himself, uniting the church on earth with the church in heaven. He has sent forth his holy angels to minister to his church, and the gates of hell have not been able to prevail against it. RH December 4, 1900, par. 5

Christ speaks of the church over which Satan presides as the synagogue of Satan. Its members are the children of disobedience. They are those who choose to sin, who labor to make void the holy law of God. It is Satan's work to mingle evil with good, and to remove the distinction between good and evil. Christ would have a church that labors to separate the evil from the good, whose members will not willingly tolerate wrong-doing, but will expel it from the heart and life. RH December 4, 1900, par. 6

Today, as in the past, all heaven is watching to see the church develop in the true science of salvation. Christ has bought the church with his blood, and he longs to clothe her with salvation. He has made her the depositary of sacred truth, and he wishes her to partake of his glory. But in order that the church may be an educating power in the world, she must co-operate with the church in heaven. Her members must represent Christ. Their hearts must be open to receive every ray of light that God may see fit to impart. As they receive this light, they will be enabled to receive and impart more and more of the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. RH December 4, 1900, par. 7

There is need of a higher grade of spirituality in the church. There is need of heart purification. God calls his people to their posts of duty. He calls upon them to purge themselves from that which has been revealed as the bane of the churches—an exalting of the men placed in positions of trust. There is earnest work to be done. Upon their knees men are to seek God in faith, and then go forth to speak the word with power sent down from on high. Such men come before the people direct from the audience-chamber of the Most High, and their words and works promote spirituality. When they come in contact with wrong principles, they plant their feet firmly upon the words, “It is written.” RH December 4, 1900, par. 8

This age is one of peculiar temptation, especially to the self-sufficient ones, who feel no special need of guarding the avenues of the soul. Unless they heed the warnings God has given, they will most surely be drawn away from the principles of the truth. They will stand among those who dishonor the faith by giving heed to seducing spirits. They plead for the indulgence of appetite. They take no delight in contemplating the character of the Saviour. The rebuke of Christ is upon them, because in thought and action they are corrupt. RH December 4, 1900, par. 9

There are those in the church who, unless thoroughly converted, will crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. I appeal to every church-member to inquire, Am I doing all I can to honor my Redeemer? Truth held in unrighteousness is the greatest curse that can come to our world. But the truth as it is in Jesus is a savor of life unto life. It is worth possessing, worth living, worth defending. Christ calls upon us to enter the narrow pathway, where every step means a denial of self. He calls upon us to stand upon the platform of eternal truth, and contend, yes, contend earnestly, for the faith once delivered to the saints. Paul wrote to Timothy: “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, whereunto thou art also called, and hast professed a good profession before many witnesses.” “Hold fast the form of sound words, ... in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” RH December 4, 1900, par. 10

As we near the time when principalities and powers and spiritual wickedness in high places will be fully brought into the warfare against the truth, when Satan's deceptive power will be so great that, if it were possible, he would deceive the very elect, our discernment must be sharpened by divine enlightenment, that we may not be ignorant of Satan's devices. The whole treasure of heaven is at our command in the work of preparing the way of the Lord. By giving us the co-operation of the holy angels, God has made it possible for our work to be a wonderful, yes, a glorious, success. But success will seldom result from scattered effort. The united influence of all the members of the church is required. RH December 4, 1900, par. 11

The church today needs men who, like Enoch, walk with God, revealing Christ to the world. Church-members need to reach a higher standard. Heavenly messengers are waiting to communicate with those who have sunk self out of sight, whose lives are a fulfilling of the words, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Of such men and women must the church be composed before her light can shine forth to the world in clear, distinct rays. Our views of the Sun of Righteousness are clouded by self-seeking. Christ is crucified afresh by many who through self-indulgence allow Satan to gain control over them. The church needs men of devotion to bear to the world the message of salvation, pointing sinners to the Lamb of God,—men who, by their works of righteousness and their pure, true words, can lift their fellow men out of the pit of degradation. RH December 4, 1900, par. 12

With pity and compassion, with tender yearning and love, the Lord is looking upon his tempted and tried people. For a time the oppressors will be permitted to triumph over those who keep God's holy commandments. All are given the same opportunity that was granted to the first great rebel to reveal the spirit that moves them to action. It is God's purpose that all shall be tested and tried, that he may see whether they are loyal or disloyal to the laws that govern the kingdom of heaven. To the last, God permits Satan to reveal himself as a liar, an accuser, and a murderer. Thus the final triumph of his people is made more marked, more glorious, more full and complete. The words of the prophet will then be fulfilled, “The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” The song of the Lord's people will then be: “The Lord reigneth; let the people tremble: he sitteth between the cherubims; let the earth be moved. The Lord is great in Zion; and he is high above the people.” RH December 4, 1900, par. 13