Now ye are the body of Christ - The apostle, having finished his apologue, comes to his application.
As the members in the human body, so the different members of the mystical body of Christ. All are intended by him to have the same relation to each other; to be mutually subservient to each other; to mourn for and rejoice with each other. He has also made each necessary to the beauty, proportion, strength, and perfection of the whole. Not one is useless; not one unnecessary. Paul, Apollos, Kephas, etc., with all their variety of gifts and graces, are for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, Ephesians 4:12. Hence no teacher should be exalted above or opposed to an other. As the eye cannot say to the hand, I have no need of thee, so luminous Apollos cannot say to laborious Paul, I can build up and preserve the Church without thee. The foot planted on the ground to support the whole fabric, and the hands that swing at liberty, and the eye that is continually taking in near and distant prospects, are all equally serviceable to the whole, and mutually helpful to and dependent on each other. So also are the different ministers and members of the Church of Christ.
From a general acquaintance with various ministers of Christ, and a knowledge of their different talents and endowments manifested either by their preaching or writings, and with the aid of a little fancy, we could here make out a sort of correspondency between their services and the uses of the different members of the human body. We could call one eye, because of his acute observation of men and things, and penetration into cases of conscience and Divine mysteries. Another hand, from his laborious exertions in the Church. Another foot, from his industrious travels to spread abroad the knowledge of Christ crucified: and so of others. But this does not appear to be any part of the apostle's plan.
Now ye - Ye Christians of Corinth, as a part of the whole church that has been redeemed.
Are the body of Christ - The allusion to the human body is here kept up. As all the members of the human body compose one body, having a common head, so it is with all the members and parts of the Christian church. The specific idea is, that Christ is the Head of the whole church; that he presides over all; and that all its members sustain to each other the relation of fellow-members in the same body, and are subject to the same head; compare the note at 1 Corinthians 11:3. The church is often called the body of Christ; Ephesians 1:23; Colossians 1:18, Colossians 1:24.
And members in particular - You are, as individuals, members of the body of Christ; or each individual is a member of that body.
The apostle's words of warning to the Corinthian church are applicable to all time and are especially adapted to our day. By idolatry he meant not only the worship of idols, but self-serving, love of ease, the gratification of appetite and passion. A mere profession of faith in Christ, a boastful knowledge of the truth, does not make a man a Christian. A religion that seeks only to gratify the eye, the ear, and the taste, or that sanctions self-indulgence, is not the religion of Christ. AA 317.1
By a comparison of the church with the human body, the apostle aptly illustrated the close and harmonious relationship that should exist among all members of the church of Christ. “By one Spirit,” he wrote, “are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. For the body is not one member, but many. If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased Him. And if they were all one member, where were the body? But now are they many members, yet but one body. And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.... God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honor to that part which lacked: that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honored, all the members rejoice with it. Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” AA 317.2
And then, in words which from that day to this have been to men and women a source of inspiration and encouragement, Paul set forth the importance of that love which should be cherished by the followers of Christ: “Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing.” AA 318.1Read in context »
It is a delusion of the enemy for anyone to feel that he can disconnect from agencies which God has appointed and work on an independent line of his own, in his own supposed wisdom, and yet be successful. Although he may flatter himself that he is doing God's work, he will not prosper in the end. We are one body, and every member is to be united to the body, each person working in his respective capacity.—Letter 104, 1894. 3SM 25.4Read in context »
We cannot all have the same minds nor cherish the same ideas; but one is to be a benefit and blessing to the other, that where one lacks, another may supply what is requisite. You have certain deficiencies of character and natural biases that render it profitable for you to be brought in contact with a mind differently organized, in order to properly balance your own. Instead of superintending so exclusively, you should consult with your wife and arrive at joint decisions. You do not encourage independent effort on the part of your family; but if your specific directions are not scrupulously carried out, you too frequently find fault with the delinquents. 4T 128.1
Were your wife and other members of your family without tact or skill, you would be more excusable in taking the reins so entirely into your own hands; but this not being the case, your course is altogether unwarrantable. After you have kindly informed them concerning your views of cooking and the management of household matters, and intimated what your desires are in this respect, go no further, but let them use your suggestions as they choose. They will be much more likely to be pleasantly influenced to please you than if you resorted to peremptory measures. And even if they do not adapt themselves to your opinions, do not persist in ruling, in having everything done in your own way. You must remember that the natural independence of others should be respected. If your wife does her work in a way convenient to herself, you have no right to interfere with her affairs and fret and burden her with your many suggestions and reflections upon her management. 4T 128.2
You have many good and generous traits of character. You are a courteous, affable man, in general, to those outside your own family. Perhaps this is attributable, in some measure, to the fact that you dare not exhibit your natural disposition to any except those whom you consider greatly your inferiors. If your superiority is not sufficiently recognized in society, you are determined that it shall be at home, where you think that none will presume to dispute its claims. 4T 129.1Read in context »
We individually have a case pending in the court of heaven. Character is being weighed in the balances of the sanctuary, and it should be the earnest desire of all to walk humbly and carefully, lest, neglecting to let their light shine forth to the world, they fail of the grace of God and lose everything that is valuable. All dissension, all differences and faultfinding, should be put away, with all evil speaking and bitterness; kindness, love, and compassion for one another should be cherished, that the prayer of Christ that His disciples might be one as He is one with the Father may be answered. The harmony and unity of the church are the credentials that they present to the world that Jesus is the Son of God. Genuine conversion will ever lead to genuine love for Jesus and for all those for whom He died. 5T 279.1
Everyone who does what he can for God, who is true and earnest to do good to those around him, will receive the blessing of God upon his efforts. A man may render effective service for God although he is not the head or the heart of the body of Christ. The service represented in the word of God by that of the hand or the foot, though lowly, is nevertheless important. It is not the greatness of the work, but the love with which it is done, the motive underlying the action, that determines its worth. There is work to be done for our neighbors and for those with whom we associate. We have no liberty to cease our patient, prayerful labors for souls as long as any are out of the ark of safety. There is no release in this war. We are soldiers of Christ, and are under obligation to watch lest the enemy gain the advantage and secure to his service souls that we might win to Christ. 5T 279.2
The day of trust and responsibility is ours; we have a work to do for God. The church in ----- has been gradually growing cold and irreligious. There is much to be done for its individual members. Great light has shone upon their pathway. For this they will be held accountable. Said Christ: “Ye are the light of the world;” “ye are the salt of the earth.” They need a deeper work of grace in their hearts. There must be a reformation before God can bless them. There are plenty of formal professors. A selfish grasping for gain eclipses the heavenly inheritance. If the kingdom of heaven is made first, noble integrity will shine forth in the life and character. This is what Brother A needs if he would exert an influence for good. He loves to handle money, and to see it accumulate by turning it one way and another. His mind and affections are absorbed in worldly enterprises. He is drunken with the cares of this life; that is, he is so swallowed up in his business that he cannot think rationally and intelligently of the things of God; his vision is obscured by love of money. The truth should reach down deep into his heart and develop fruit in his private and public life. 5T 280.1Read in context »
Again and again I have been instructed that the medical missionary work is to bear the same relation to the work of the third angel's message that the arm and hand bear to the body. Under the direction of the divine Head they are to work unitedly in preparing the way for the coming of Christ. The right arm of the body of truth is to be constantly active, constantly at work, and God will strengthen it. But it is not to be made the body. At the same time the body is not to say to the arm: “I have no need of thee.” The body has need of the arm in order to do active, aggressive work. Both have their appointed work, and each will suffer great loss if worked independently of the other. 6T 288.1
The work of preaching the third angel's message has not been regarded by some as God designs it should be. It has been treated as an inferior work, while it should occupy an important place among the human agencies in the salvation of man. The minds of men must be called to the Scriptures as the most effective agency in the salvation of souls, and the ministry of the word is the great educational force to produce this result. Those who disparage the ministry and try to conduct the medical missionary work independently are trying to separate the arm from the body. What would be the result should they succeed? We should see hands and arms flying about, dispensing means without the direction of the head. The work would become disproportionate and unbalanced. That which God designed should be the hand and arm would take the place of the whole body, and the ministry would be belittled or altogether ignored. This would unsettle minds and bring in confusion, and many portions of the Lord's vineyard would be left unworked. 6T 288.2Read in context »
Never should the managers of our institutions attempt, in the slightest degree, to take advantage of one another. Such efforts are most offensive to God. Sharp dealing, the effort to drive sharp bargains with one another, is a wrong that He will not tolerate. Every effort to exalt one institution at the expense of another is wrong. Every reflection or insinuation that tends to lessen the influence of an institution or its workers is contrary to the will of God. It is the spirit of Satan that prompts such effort. Once given place, it will work like leaven to corrupt the workers and to thwart God's purpose for His institution. 7T 174.1
Let every department of our work, every institution connected with our cause, be conducted on considerate, generous lines. Let every branch of the work, while maintaining its own distinctive character, seek to protect, strengthen, and build up every other branch. Men of varied abilities and characteristics are employed for carrying forward the various branches of the work. This has always been the Lord's plan. Each worker must give his own branch special effort; but it is the privilege of each to study and labor for the health and welfare of the whole body of which he is a member. 7T 174.2Read in context »
You have enjoyed the love of Jesus, the peace of Christ, in large measure. Most terrible doubts and waverings are torturing your soul. Why not submit to God? Why encase your soul in barriers that will not let the light in? Will my brother see and appreciate the value of his own soul and Christ's work that the gift of eternal life might be placed within his reach? There is great power in the atonement. Your mind is troubled, and the whole soul is in desperate need of a physician. TSB 151.1
I cannot give you up. I must see you what God would have you to be, filled with repentance and remorse, which will be followed by a sweet sense of pardon and pure, holy joy. Jesus is sorry for you; He pities you; He wants to save you. He is not willing that you should perish but that you should have eternal life. TSB 151.2
God's Law the Only Standard of Righteousness—God has not separated from you, but your sins and your iniquities have separated your soul from God. You are sin-sick, and you need a physician. Look into the mirror, God's holy law, which is the only standard of righteousness. It is the sin detector. Will you see your sins in the light of the law? Will you have faith in Jesus as the sin-pardoning Saviour? The royal law is before you, and you must meet its requirements. It is the only standard of righteousness; it measures your life and your character. I am sad to be compelled to tell you that you are a transgressor of the law. Practical faith in Jesus Christ is the only thing that will save you; the precious blood of Jesus alone will cleanse from every spot and stain of sin. TSB 151.3Read in context »
In our work we must consider the relation that each worker sustains to the other workers connected with the cause of God. We must remember that others as well as ourselves have a work to do in connection with this cause. We must not bar the mind against counsel. In our plans for the carrying forward of the work, our mind must blend with other minds. TM 500.1
Let us cherish a spirit of confidence in the wisdom of our brethren. We must be willing to take advice and caution from our fellow laborers. Connected with the service of God, we must individually realize that we are parts of a great whole. We must seek wisdom from God, learning what it means to have a waiting, watching spirit, and to go to our Saviour when tired and depressed. TM 500.2
It is a mistake to withdraw from those who do not agree with our ideas. This will not inspire our brethren with confidence in our judgment. It is our duty to counsel with our brethren, and to heed their advice. We are to seek their counsel, and when they give it, we are not to cast it away, as if they were our enemies. Unless we humble our hearts before God, we shall not know His will. TM 500.3Read in context »
If one member of Christ's household falls into temptation, the other members are to look after him with kindly interest, seeking to arrest the feet that are straying into false paths, and win him to a pure, holy life. This service God requires from every member of His church (see 1 Corinthians 12:12-27). TDG 147.3Read in context »
This is a work that the churches in every locality, north and south and east and west, should do. The churches have been given the opportunity of answering this work. Why have they not done it? Someone must fulfill the commission. WM 122.1
A work which should have been done has been left undone. Those who have been engaged in the medical missionary work have been doing the very class of work the Lord would have done.... WM 122.2
Oh, how much, how very much remains to be done, and yet how many that might use their God-given talents aright are doing almost nothing besides caring for and pleasing themselves. But the hand of the Lord is stretched out still, and if they will work today in His vineyard, He will accept their service.—Manuscript 18, 1897. WM 122.3Read in context »
It is by the Lord's orders that His servants have varied gifts. It is by His appointment that men of varied minds are brought into the church, to be laborers together with Him. We have many different minds to meet, and different gifts are needed. God's servants are to work in perfect harmony. I thank the Lord that we are not all exactly the same, while we are all to have the same spirit—the spirit that dwelt in Christ. The apostle John was not the same as the apostle Peter. Each was to subdue his peculiarities and soften his temperament, that they might help each other, through belief in and sanctification of the truth. TDG 262.3Read in context »
God has made His church on the earth a channel of light, and through it He communicates His purposes and His will. He does not give to one of His servants an experience independent of and contrary to the experience of the church itself. Neither does He give one man a knowledge of His will for the entire church while the church—Christ's body—is left in darkness. In His providence He places His servants in close connection with His church in order that they may have less confidence in themselves and greater confidence in others whom He is leading out to advance His work. AA 163.1
There have ever been in the church those who are constantly inclined toward individual independence. They seem unable to realize that independence of spirit is liable to lead the human agent to have too much confidence in himself and to trust in his own judgment rather than to respect the counsel and highly esteem the judgment of his brethren, especially of those in the offices that God has appointed for the leadership of His people. God has invested His church with special authority and power which no one can be justified in disregarding and despising, for he who does this despises the voice of God. AA 163.2
Those who are inclined to regard their individual judgment as supreme are in grave peril. It is Satan's studied effort to separate such ones from those who are channels of light, through whom God has wrought to build up and extend His work in the earth. To neglect or despise those whom God has appointed to bear the responsibilities of leadership in connection with the advancement of the truth, is to reject the means that He has ordained for the help, encouragement, and strength of His people. For any worker in the Lord's cause to pass these by, and to think that his light must come through no other channel than directly from God, is to place himself in a position where he is liable to be deceived by the enemy and overthrown. The Lord in His wisdom has arranged that by means of the close relationship that should be maintained by all believers, Christian shall be united to Christian and church to church. Thus the human instrumentality will be enabled to co-operate with the divine. Every agency will be subordinate to the Holy Spirit, and all the believers will be united in an organized and well-directed effort to give to the world the glad tidings of the grace of God. AA 164.1Read in context »
Such is the infinite goodness of God that through Jesus Christ's merits He not only spares but pardons and justifies us, and through the righteousness of Christ imputes righteousness to us, and exalts and ennobles us by making us children of His adoption. We become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King. He lifts men and women from their degradation and exalts them in righteousness.... He calls them His jewels, and a peculiar treasure unto Him. They are trophies of His grace and power, and of His greatness and riches in glory. They therefore are not their own, but are bought with a price, and through the extraordinary office of the atonement of Christ have been brought into nearness and the most sacred relationship to Jesus Christ. They are called His heritage, His children, the members of Christ's body, of His flesh and of His bones; yea, they are joined to the Lord by intimate relationship with Him. OHC 17.4Read in context »
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 15.1Read in context »
Christ is able to save to the uttermost all who come to Him in faith. He will cleanse them from all defilement if they will let Him. But if they cling to their sins, they cannot possibly be saved; for Christ's righteousness covers no sin unrepented of. God has declared that those who receive Christ as their Redeemer, accepting Him as the One who takes away all sin, will receive pardon for their transgressions. These are the terms of our election. Man's salvation depends upon his receiving Christ by faith. Those who will not receive Him lose eternal life because they refused to avail themselves of the only means provided by the Father and the Son for the salvation of a perishing world (Manuscript 142, 1899). 7BC 931.1
Personal Character of Christ's Intercession—Christ is watching. He knows all about our burdens, our dangers, and our difficulties; and He fills His mouth with arguments in our behalf. He fits His intercessions to the needs of each soul, as He did in the case of Peter.... Our Advocate fills His mouth with arguments to teach His tried, tempted ones to brace against Satan's temptations. He interprets every movement of the enemy. He orders events (Letter 90, 1906). 7BC 931.2Read in context »
At half past ten [December 25] I spoke to those assembled at the Tabernacle. The Lord gave me most earnest words to speak. I tried to present the matter in the light of God's Word, that the work of labor for the salvation of souls does not rest alone upon the delegated minister, but that to every man God had given his work. The Lord's work is to be carried forward by the living members of Christ's body, and in the great divine appointment of God each one is to be educated to act a part in the conversion of souls. He has enlisted in the army of the Lord, not for ease, not to study his own amusement, but to endure hardships as a faithful soldier of the cross of Christ. Every private must act his part, be vigilant, be courageous, be true. After I had occupied about fifty minutes, many excellent testimonies were borne. TDG 368.3Read in context »
It is time for all to take hold of the work, not stop to measure off just the share of wrong belonging to another, but each search his own heart, confess his own wrongs, and leave his brethren with the Lord. One has only to answer for his or her wrongs; and while so narrowly watching to pull the weeds from the garden of his brethren, the poisonous weeds are growing strong and rank in his own. Let each labor to keep his own soul and to possess a happy, cheerful, forbearing spirit at home, and all will be well.—Letter 12, 1863. 2MCP 633.1
Not All Think Alike—Wholehearted service is required in dealing with minds. Let us remember this. Often we are tempted to criticize a man standing in a high position of responsibility because he does not do as we think he ought to do. But the one who has so many responsibilities to carry needs not the criticism of his fellow workers; he needs their encouragement, their forbearance, their patience, and their prayers. He needs the abiding presence of Christ; for it is not always that he has wise, unprejudiced men to counsel with. 2MCP 633.2
In the confusion of many cares and many calls for help, he may make mistakes. Among the scores of appeals that come for help, your case may seem to be neglected. At such times remember the heavy burdens that are laid upon the one whom you think has failed to do his duty. Remember that it may be impossible for him to grant your request. Perhaps it would be a great mistake to grant it.—Letter 169, 1904. 2MCP 633.3Read in context »
Consecration Beautifies Individuality—A life consecrated to the service of God will be developed and beautified in its individuality. No person can sink his individuality in that of another, but we are all, as individuals, to be grafted into the one parent stock, and there is to be unity in diversity. The great Master Artist has not made two leaves of the same tree precisely alike; so His creative power does not give to all minds the same likeness. They are created to live through ceaseless ages, and there is to be complete unity, mind blending with mind; but no two are to be of the same mold.—Manuscript 116, 1898. 2MCP 426.2Read in context »