2017 1st Quarter
Lesson 9, February 25-March 3, The Holy Spirit and the Church
Sabbath, February 25
“Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.” KJV, Ephesians 4:3-6, emphasis added.
The fruit of the Spirit reveals our oneness with Christ in character. The gifts of the Spirit edify that oneness as a body. This week we study about the Spirit’s work in the body as a church in revealing the hope of God in making us one with Him in purpose.
“What we want is the spirit of Jesus. When we have this, we shall love one another. Here are the credentials that we are to bear: ‘By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.’ We need to pray more; and when we have Christ abiding in the soul, his spirit in me will harmonize with his spirit in you; and he who controls our minds, controls also the heavenly intelligences, and they co-operate with us. Then in every council you will have the presence of One mighty in counsel. Jesus will be there. There will be no contention, no strife, no stirring up of the worst passions of the heart. What we want is to find refuge in Jesus. What we want is to be converted; and O, how I have longed for the converting power of God to go through our assemblies!” (Ellen White, General Conference Daily Bulletin, April 13, 1891, emphasis added.)
“There are many who do not realize where they are standing; for they are spiritually blinded. ‘Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?’ I trust that none of us will be found to be reprobates. Is Christ abiding in your hearts by faith? Is his Spirit in you? If it is, there will be such a yearning in your soul for the salvation of those for whom Christ has died, that self will sink into insignificance, and Christ alone will be exalted. Brethren and sisters, there is great need at this time of humbling ourselves before God, that the Holy Spirit may come upon us.
“There are many who are content with a superficial knowledge of the truth. The precious truths for this time are brought out so clearly in our publications, that many are satisfied, and do not search the Scriptures for themselves. They do not meditate upon the statements made, and bring every proposition to the law and to the testimony, to see if their ideas correspond to the word of God. Many do not feel that it is essential for them to compare scripture with scripture, and spiritual things with spiritual; and therefore they do not grow in grace and in the knowledge of the truth, as it is their privilege to do. They accept the truth, without any deep conviction of sin, and present themselves as laborers in the cause of God when they are unconverted men. One says, ‘I want to do something in the cause of truth;’ another says, ‘I want to enter the ministry;’ and as our brethren are very anxious to get all the laborers they can, they accept these men without considering whether their lives give evidence that they have a saving knowledge of Christ. No one should be accepted as a laborer in the sacred cause of God, until he makes manifest that he has a real, living experience in the things of God. One reason why the church is in a backslidden state is, that so many have come into the truth in this way, and have never known what it is to have the converting power of God upon their souls.” (Ellen White, Review and Herald, October 8, 1889, emphasis added.)
“The church of Christ on earth will be imperfect, but God does not destroy His church because of its imperfection. There have been and will be those who are filled with zeal not according to knowledge, who would purify the church, and uproot the tares from the midst of the wheat. But Christ has given special light as to how to deal with those who are erring, and with those who are unconverted in the church. There is to be no spasmodic, zealous, hasty action taken by church members in cutting off those they may think defective in character. Tares will appear among the wheat; but it would do more harm to weed out the tares, unless in God’s appointed way, than to leave them alone. While the Lord brings into the church those who are truly converted, Satan at the same time brings persons who are not converted into its fellowship. While Christ is sowing the good seed, Satan is sowing the tares. There are two opposing influences continually exerted on the members of the church. One influence is working for the purification of the church, and the other for the corrupting of the people of God.” (Ellen White, Testimonies to Ministers, 46, emphasis added.)