January 17, 2016 – January 23, 2016
“And [Christ appointed different responsibilities and offices] … for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith.” Ephesians 4:11–13.
Study Help: Early Writings, 100.
“ ‘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, 100.
1 A KEY TO PROGRESS
- Does Christ call us to labor independently from all others or does He want us to work in unity with those who submit to God? On what condition would the early church go forth from victory to victory? John 17:21–23.
Note: “As they [the disciples of the early church] should continue to labor unitedly, heavenly messengers would go before them, opening the way; hearts would be prepared for the reception of truth. … Nothing could withstand her onward progress.” The Acts of the Apostles, 91.
- If the disciples failed to labor unitedly as the body of Christ, what would they be able to do? John 15:4, 5.
Note: “The proclamation of the gospel was to be worldwide in its extent, and the messengers of the cross could not hope to fulfill their important mission unless they should remain united in the bonds of Christian unity.” The Acts of the Apostles, 90.
2 CHOOSING MEN AND WOMEN FOR GOD’S SERVICE
- As the membership of the early church grew, what step was taken in harmony with gospel order? Acts 6:2, 3. Who selected the men to be ordained as deacons? What moral and spiritual qualities were considered as a main requirement?
Note: “[Acts 6:2–4 quoted.]
“The church accordingly selected seven men full of faith and the wisdom of the Spirit of God, to attend to the business pertaining to the cause.” The Story of Redemption, 259, 260.
“[Acts 6:1–7 quoted.]
“The Lord here gives us an example of the care that should be exercised when choosing men for His service.” “Ellen G. White Comments,” The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, vol. 6, 1056.
- How was God consulted by the congregation concerning these candidates for ordination? Acts 6:6. How should we follow the example of the early Christians in this regard? Acts 13:1–3.
Note: “Brethren of experience and of sound minds should assemble, and following the word of God and the sanction of the Holy Spirit, should, with fervent prayer, lay hands upon those who have given full proof that they have received their commission of God, and set them apart to devote themselves entirely to His work. This act would show the sanction of the church to their going forth as messengers to carry the most solemn message ever given to men.” Early Writings, 101.
- How were they able to have a united influence upon the entire flock? I Corinthians 1:10; 2:16.
Note: “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.” The Acts of the Apostles, 95, 96.
3 QUALIFICATIONS FOR GOOD CHRISTIAN SERVICE
- What qualifications should prospective soul winners develop under the direction of the Holy Spirit? Matthew 9:38; I Timothy 3:2–7. Why is self-education necessary?
Note: “The work committed to the disciples would require great efficiency; for the tide of evil ran deep and strong against them.” The Acts of the Apostles, 31.
“Those in the service of God must show animation and determination in the work of winning souls.” Testimonies, vol. 6, 418.
“Those who make no decided effort, but simply wait for the Holy Spirit to compel them to action, will perish in darkness.” Christian Service, 228.
- Genuineness, integrity: 2 Corinthians 6:3; I Peter 3:16.
Note: “Paul carried with him the atmosphere of heaven. All who associated with him felt the influence of his union with Christ. The fact that his own life exemplified the truth he proclaimed, gave convincing power to his preaching. Here lies the power of the truth. The unstudied, unconscious influence of a holy life is the most convincing sermon that can be given in favor of Christianity. Argument, even when unanswerable, may provoke only opposition; but a godly example has a power that it is impossible wholly to resist.” Gospel Workers, 59.
- Decorum, courtesy, politeness (Christian dignity): Colossians 4:6. Humility: John 3:30.
Note: “The man of God, the minister of Christ, is required to be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. A pompous minister, all dignity, is not needed for this good work. But decorum is necessary in the desk. A minister of the gospel should not be regardless of his attitude.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 648.
“The minister of Christ should possess sobriety, meekness, love, long-suffering, forbearance, pity, and courtesy. He should be circumspect, elevated in thought and conversation, and of blameless deportment. This is gospel dignity.” Testimonies, vol. 2, 568, 569.
4 MORE QUALIFICATIONS FOR GOOD CHRISTIAN SERVICE
- Tact: 2 Timothy 2:22–26. Honesty, faithfulness: Acts 6:3; I Corinthians 4:2.
Note: “If a man has tact, industry, and enthusiasm, he will make a success in temporal business, and the same qualities, consecrated to the work of God, will prove even doubly efficient; for divine power will be combined with human effort.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 276.
“When responsibilities are to be entrusted to an individual, the question is not asked whether he is eloquent or wealthy, but whether he is honest, faithful, and industrious; for whatever may be his accomplishments, without these qualifications he is utterly unfit for any position of trust.” Ibid., vol. 4, 413.
- Sober-mindedness (having cautious, moderate ideas, and calm judgment): Titus 1:8; I Peter 1:13; 5:8. Cleanliness, tidiness, orderliness: I Corinthians 14:40.
Note: “Ministers should love order and should discipline themselves, and then they can successfully discipline the church of God and teach them to work harmoniously like a well-drilled company of soldiers. …
“Angels … turn away in grief, for they are not authorized to bless confusion, distraction, and disorganization.” Testimonies, vol. 1, 649.
- Mental culture, cultured speech, correct language: 2 Timothy 2:15.
Note: “Men have labored with a measure of success who have had little training in school or college; but these might have attained a greater measure of success, and might have been more efficient laborers, if at the very start they had acquired mental discipline.” Gospel Workers, 92.
“Unless we can clothe our ideas in appropriate language, of what avail is our education?” Testimonies, vol. 6, 380.
“The right culture and use of the power of speech has to do with every line of Christian work. … We should accustom ourselves to speak in pleasant tones, to use pure and correct language, and words that are kind and courteous.” Christian Service, 223.
- What lesson should we learn from farm work before we can expect the Lord to bless our evangelistic efforts? I Corinthians 3:6–9.
Note: “The Lord desires that the cities shall be worked by the united efforts of laborers of different capabilities. All are to look to Jesus for direction, not depending on man for wisdom, lest they be led astray. As laborers together with God they should seek to be in harmony with one another. There should be frequent councils and earnest, wholehearted cooperation. Yet all are to look to Jesus for wisdom, not depending upon men alone for direction.” Testimonies, vol. 9, 109.
- In the first place, on what does the progress of our evangelistic work depend? Psalm 127:1.
Note: “It is not the power that emanates from men that makes the work successful, it is the power of the heavenly intelligences working with the human agent that brings the work to perfection. A Paul may plant, and an Apollos may water, but it is God that giveth the increase. Man cannot do God’s part of the work. As a human agent he may cooperate with the divine intelligences, and in simplicity and meekness do his best, realizing that God is the great Master Workman. Although the workmen may be buried, the work will not cease, but it will go on to completion.” The Review and Herald, November 14, 1893.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1 Explain the practical benefits of working unitedly in evangelistic efforts.
2 Name some steps the church must take prior to performing ordinations.
3 What qualities are essential in soul winning?
4 How can we cultivate the essential qualifications for Christian service?
5 What agriculture illustration helps us to understand evangelism?
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