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Purification of the Church (17)
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Quotations from the writings of Ellen G. White with the phrase . . .
 
purification  of  the  Church
Related phrase:  purifiying the church  ( see below )
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.  {TM 46.1}
 
 
In the parable of the wheat and the tares, we see the reason why the tares were not to be plucked up; it was lest the wheat be rooted up with the tares. Human opinion and judgment would make grave mistakes. But rather than have a mistake made, and one single blade of wheat rooted up, the Master says, "Let both grow together until the harvest;" then the angels will gather out the tares, which will be appointed to destruction. Although in our churches, that claim to believe advanced truth, there are those who are faulty and erring, as tares among the wheat, God is long-suffering and patient. He reproves and warns the erring, but he does not destroy those who are long in learning the lesson he would teach them; he does not uproot the tares from the wheat. Tares and wheat are to grow together till the harvest; when the wheat comes to its full growth and development, and because of its character when ripened, it will be fully distinguished from the tares. 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.  {RH, September 5, 1893 par. 1}
 
 
Has God no living church? He has a church, but it is the church militant, not the church triumphant. We are sorry that there are defective members. . . .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. . . .  {FLB 305.2}
 
Still there was a small minority of the Corinthians who stubbornly resisted all efforts of the apostle for the purification of the church; but their course was such that none could be deceived in them. They displayed a most bitter spirit, and were bold in denunciation of Paul, accusing him of mercenary motives, and craft in preaching the gospel and dealing with the churches. They charged him with receiving personal advantage from the means contributed by the brethren for various benevolent purposes. On the other hand, some challenged his claims to apostleship, because he did not demand support from the churches which he had raised up. Thus the accusations of his opposers were conflicting, and without a shadow of foundation.  {LP 177.1}
 
If all that appears to be divine life were such in reality; if all who profess to present the truth to the world were preaching for the truth and not against it, and if they were men of God guided by His Spirit, -- then might we see something cheering amid the prevailing moral darkness. But the spirit of antichrist is prevailing to such an extent as never before. Well may we exclaim: "Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth; for the faithful fail from among the children of men." I know that many think far too favorably of the present time. These ease-loving souls will be engulfed in the general ruin. Yet we do not despair. We have been inclined to think that where there are no faithful ministers there can be no true Christians, but this is not the case. God has promised that where the shepherds are not true He will take charge of the flock Himself. God has never made the flock wholly dependent upon human instrumentalities. But the days of purification of the church are hastening on apace. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that His fan is in His hand, and He will thoroughly purge His floor.  {5T 79.4}  {PH117 62.2}
 
When it is essential for the purification of the church, trials are permitted. Under these trials some regard themselves as abused, and instead of humbling their hearts, they rise up in indignation. Satan watches his opportunity to present some pleasing sophistry that will captivate the minds of the tempted ones and lead them to accept his fables. Those who are thus deceived become channels through which other minds are seduced by delusive sentiments. . . .  {UL 338.6}
 
Those who are standing in responsible positions should understand clearly that they are not rulers over their fellow-workers. Men in responsibility should be Christ-like in deportment. They need to be leaders in every reformatory movement for the purification of the church. They are to reveal that angels of God are constantly round about them, and that they are laboring under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Carefully are they to avoid everything that savors of a spirit of selfishness and self-esteem; for in meekness and humility of heart they are to be ensamples to the flock.  {NPU Gleaner, April 6, 1910 par. 9}
 
The days of purification of the church are hastening on space. God will have a people pure and true. In the mighty sifting soon to take place, we shall be better able to measure the strength of Israel. The signs reveal that the time is near when the Lord will manifest that his fan is in his hand, and that he soon will thoroughly purge his floor.  {RH, January 11, 1887 par. 3} 
 
What the church needs is to be cleansed of those who defile it. The spirit of reformation must be kindled among us, and this class must be converted or be separated from the church. We entreat those who have a connection with God to pray earnestly and in faith, and not to stop here, but to work as well as pray, for the purification of the church. The present time calls for men and women who have a moral fixedness of purpose, men and women who will not be molded or subdued by any unsanctified influences. Such persons will make a success in the work of perfecting Christian character through the grace of Christ so freely given. For those who are ready to be discouraged at every unfavorable circumstance, the great enemy of souls will so shape circumstances as to give them abundant reason to be always discouraged.  {RH, June 3, 1880 par. 5}
 
Those who are standing in responsible positions should understand clearly that they are not rulers over their fellow workers. Men in responsibility should be Christlike in deportment. They need to be leaders in every reformatory movement for the purification of the church. They are to reveal that angels of God are constantly round about them, and that they are  laboring under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Carefully are they to avoid everything that savors of a spirit of selfishness and self-esteem, for in meekness and humility of heart they are to be ensamples to the flock.--Ibid.  {6BIO 281.3}
 
Maranatha, Chapter 196 - The Purification of the Church
   The time is upon us when the miracle-working power of the archdeceiver will be more decidedly revealed. And his deceptions will increase in their delusive attraction, so that they will perplex, and if possible, deceive, the very elect. The prince of darkness with his evil angels is working upon the Christian world, inducing those who profess the name of Christ to stand under the banner of darkness, to make war with those who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus.  {Mar 204.1}
 
 
testing  and  purification  of  the  Church
 
Yet God accomplished His own beneficent purpose in permitting the warning of the judgment to be given just as it was. The great day was at hand, and in His providence the people were brought to the test of a definite time, in order to reveal to them what was in their hearts. The message was designed for the testing and purification of the church. They were to be led to see whether their affections were set upon this world or upon Christ and heaven. They professed to love the Saviour; now they were to prove their love. Were they ready to renounce their worldly hopes and ambitions, and welcome with joy the advent of their Lord? The message was designed to enable them to discern their true spiritual state; it was sent in mercy to arouse them to seek the Lord with repentance and humiliation.  Great Controversy, page 353.1
 
 
As of old, the plain testimony of God's Word was met with the inquiry, "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed?" And finding how difficult a task it was to refute the arguments drawn from the prophetic periods, many discouraged the study of the prophecies, teaching that the prophetic books were sealed, and were not to be understood. Multitudes, trusting implicitly to their pastors, refused to listen to the warning; and others, though convinced of the truth, dared not confess it, lest they should be "put out of the synagogue." The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church, revealed all too surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom, and turned away from the heartsearching message of truth.--The Great Controversy, p. 380. (1888)  {Ev 198.1}
 
 
But the churches generally did not accept the warning. Their ministers, who, as watchmen "unto the house of Israel," should have been the first to discern the tokens of Jesus' coming, had failed to learn the truth either from the testimony of the prophets or from the signs of the times. As worldly hopes and ambitions filled the heart, love for God and faith in His word had grown cold; and when the advent doctrine was presented, it only aroused their prejudice and unbelief. The fact that the message was, to a great extent, preached by laymen, was urged as an instrument against it. As of old, the plain testimony of God's word was met with the inquiry: "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed?" And finding how difficult a task it was to refute the arguments drawn from the prophetic periods, many discouraged the study of the prophecies, teaching that the prophetic books were sealed and were not to be understood. Multitudes, trusting implicitly to their pastors, refused to listen to the warning; and others, though convinced of the truth, dared not confess it, lest they should be "put out of the synagogue." The message which God had sent for the testing and purification of the church revealed all too surely how great was the number who had set their affections on this world rather than upon Christ. The ties which bound them to earth were stronger than the attractions heavenward. They chose to listen to the voice of worldly wisdom and turned away from the heart-searching message of truth.  Great Controversy, page 380.1
 
  
purifying  the  church
Related Phrase:   
I have been shown that God here illustrates how He regards sin among those who profess to be His commandment-keeping people. Those whom He has specially honored with witnessing the remarkable exhibitions of His power, as did ancient Israel, and who will even then venture to disregard His express directions, will be subjects of His wrath. He would teach His people that disobedience and sin are exceedingly offensive to Himand are not to be lightly regarded. He shows us that when His people are found in sin they should at once take decided measures to put that sin from them, that His frown may not rest upon them all. But if the sins of the people are passed over by those in responsible positions, His frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for those sins. In His dealings with His people in the past the Lord shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs. One sinner may diffuse darkness that will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation. When the people realize that darkness is settling upon them, and they do not know the cause, they should seek God earnestly, in great humility and self-abasement, until the wrongs which grieve His Spirit are searched out and put away.  {3T 265.1}
 
 
In the case of the sin of Achan, God has shown how he regards sin among those who profess to be his commandment-keeping people. Those whom he has especially honored with witnessing the remarkable exhibitions of his power, as did ancient Israel, and that will venture to disregard his express directions, will be subjects of his wrath. God would teach his people that disobedience and sin are exceedingly offensive to him, and not to be lightly regarded. He shows us that when his people are found in sin, they should at once take decided measures to put the sin from them, that his frown should not rest upon all his people. But if those in responsible positions pass over the sins of the people, his frown will be upon them, and the people of God, as a body, will be held responsible for the sins that exist in their midst. God, in his dealings with his people in the past, shows the necessity of purifying the church from wrongs that exist among them. One sinner may diffuse darkness which will exclude the light of God from the entire congregation. When the people realize that darkness is settling upon them, and they do not know the cause, then they should earnestly seek God in great humility and self-abasement, until the wrongs which grieve God’s Spirit are searched out and put away from among them. { RH September 23, 1873, par. 1 }
 
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