WE ARE ONE BODY
Jesus left His followers with an epic mission: to tell the world of His love and His promise to return. They should also love people the way He loved them. Entrusting humans with His message was a bold and risky move. But even though God knew people would often fail Him and even distort His truth, He wanted to work with us.
The risk was worth the reward. As followers of Jesus, the church is called and inspired to act like Him: selflessly serving others, relying on God for strength, absorbing God’s Word and telling the world about God’s love. Male and female, rich and poor, people from all backgrounds or ethnicities are all equal in Jesus.
The church supports and encourages one another through time together in worship and Bible study. Christians celebrate Jesus’ covenant with them through the ceremony of the Lord’s Supper, remembering Jesus’ example of service and sacrifice. The church celebrates each member’s salvation through the ritual of baptism by immersion. The church is the hands and feet of the “body of Christ.”
Jesus promised that everything He had done on Earth would be accomplished through His church as well. Yes, we are a pale reflection of our Savior’s perfection, but Jesus is still the head of His church. Despite our imperfections, in His grace and through the power of His redeeming sacrifice, we will be a dazzling new creation.
In the world’s last days, when much of God’s message has been neglected and discarded, God calls us to remember the hallmarks of His truth. The book of Revelation tells of three angels sent to Earth with a final message of hope and warning. Their story symbolizes God’s end-time mission for His people.
The Holy Spirit empowers each of us with our own spiritual gifts and skills to share God’s love and strengthen others. From teaching and preaching to encouraging and prophesying, the Spirit has provided the church with every gift it needs to accomplish its work.
The church is God’s family on Earth, serving, celebrating, studying and worshiping together. Looking to Jesus as its leader and Redeemer, the church is called to take the good news of salvation to all.
The church is the community of believers who confess Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. In continuity with the people of God in Old Testament times, we are called out from the world; and we join together for worship, for fellowship, for instruction in the Word, for the celebration of the Lord’s Supper, for service to humanity, and for the worldwide proclamation of the gospel. The church derives its authority from Christ, who is the incarnate Word revealed in the Scriptures. The church is God’s family; adopted by Him as children, its members live on the basis of the new covenant. The church is the body of Christ, a community of faith of which Christ Himself is the Head. The church is the bride for whom Christ died that He might sanctify and cleanse her. At His return in triumph, He will present her to Himself a glorious church, the faithful of all the ages, the purchase of His blood, not having spot or wrinkle, but holy and without blemish. (Gen. 12:1-3; Exod. 19:3-7; Matt. 16:13-20; 18:18; 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38-42; 7:38; 1 Cor. 1:2; Eph. 1:22, 23; 2:19-22; 3:8-11; 5:23-27; Col. 1:17, 18; 1 Peter 2:9.)
THE REMNANT AND ITS MISSION
At the end of time, God will call His people back to core truths. While declaring Jesus’ soon return, the remnant will highlight God as Creator, the heavenly judgment and the danger of spiritual compromise.
The universal church is composed of all who truly believe in Christ, but in the last days, a time of widespread apostasy, a remnant has been called out to keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus. This remnant announces the arrival of the judgment hour, proclaims salvation through Christ, and heralds the approach of His second advent. This proclamation is symbolized by the three angels of Revelation 14; it coincides with the work of judgment in heaven and results in a work of repentance and reform on earth. Every believer is called to have a personal part in this worldwide witness. (Dan. 7:9-14; Isa. 1:9; 11:11; Jer. 23:3; Mic. 2:12; 2 Cor. 5:10; 1 Peter 1:16-19; 4:17; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Jude 3, 14; Rev. 12:17; 14:6-12; 18:1-4.)
THE UNITY IN THE BODY OF CHRIST
The human body serves as the perfect metaphor for the people of God on Earth. Comprised of many parts that are as different from one another as imaginable, harmony of voices and unity of mission comes as a result of the Holy Spirit in us.
The church is one body with many members, called from every nation, kindred, tongue, and people. In Christ we are a new creation; distinctions of race, culture, learning, and nationality, and differences between high and low, rich and poor, male and female, must not be divisive among us. We are all equal in Christ, who by one Spirit has bonded us into one fellowship with Him and with one another; we are to serve and be served without partiality or reservation. Through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the Scriptures we share the same faith and hope, and reach out in one witness to all. This unity has its source in the oneness of the triune God, who has adopted us as His children. (Ps. 133:1; Matt. 28:19, 20; John 17:20-23; Acts 17:26, 27; Rom. 12:4, 5; 1 Cor. 12:12-14; 2 Cor. 5:16, 17; Gal. 3:27-29; Eph. 2:13-16; 4:3-6, 11-16; Col. 3:10-15.)
Baptism symbolizes and declares our new faith in Christ and our trust in His forgiveness. Buried in the water, we arise to a new life in Jesus, empowered by the Holy Spirit.
By baptism we confess our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and testify of our death to sin and of our purpose to walk in newness of life. Thus we acknowledge Christ as Lord and Saviour, become His people, and are received as members by His church. Baptism is a symbol of our union with Christ, the forgiveness of our sins, and our reception of the Holy Spirit. It is by immersion in water and is contingent on an affirmation of faith in Jesus and evidence of repentance of sin. It follows instruction in the Holy Scriptures and acceptance of their teachings. (Matt. 28:19, 20; Acts 2:38; 16:30-33; 22:16; Rom. 6:1-6; Gal. 3:27; Col. 2:12, 13.)
THE LORD’S SUPPER
The Lord’s Supper symbolizes our acceptance of the body and blood of Jesus, spilled and broken for us. By searching our hearts and washing one another’s feet, we remember Jesus’ humble example of service.
The Lord’s Supper is a participation in the emblems of the body and blood of Jesus as an expression of faith in Him, our Lord and Saviour. In this experience of communion Christ is present to meet and strengthen His people. As we partake, we joyfully proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes again. Preparation for the Supper includes self-examination, repentance, and confession. The Master ordained the service of foot-washing to signify renewed cleansing, to express a willingness to serve one another in Christlike humility, and to unite our hearts in love. The communion service is open to all believing Christians. (Matt. 26:17-30; John 6:48-63; 13:1-17; 1 Cor. 10:16, 17; 11:23-30; Rev. 3:20.)
SPIRITUAL GIFTS AND MINISTRIES
From art to teaching and listening to preaching, the Holy Spirit empowers each of us with skills and talents to use for God’s glory and the church’s mission.
God bestows upon all members of His church in every age spiritual gifts that each member is to employ in loving ministry for the common good of the church and of humanity. Given by the agency of the Holy Spirit, who apportions to each member as He wills, the gifts provide all abilities and ministries needed by the church to fulfill its divinely ordained functions. According to the Scriptures, these gifts include such ministries as faith, healing, prophecy, proclamation, teaching, administration, reconciliation, compassion, and self-sacrificing service and charity for the help and encouragement of people. Some members are called of God and endowed by the Spirit for functions recognized by the church in pastoral, evangelistic, and teaching ministries particularly needed to equip the members for service, to build up the church to spiritual maturity, and to foster unity of the faith and knowledge of God. When members employ these spiritual gifts as faithful stewards of God’s varied grace, the church is protected from the destructive influence of false doctrine, grows with a growth that is from God, and is built up in faith and love. (Acts 6:1-7; Rom. 12:4-8; 1 Cor. 12:7-11, 27, 28; Eph. 4:8, 11-16; 1 Tim. 3:1-13; 1 Peter 4:10, 11.)
THE GIFT OF PROPHECY
In the last days, as in biblical times, the Holy Spirit has blessed God’s people with the gift of prophecy. One who demonstrated this gift was Ellen G. White, a founder of the Seventh-day Adventist church.
The Scriptures testify that one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and we believe it was manifested in the ministry of Ellen G. White. Her writings speak with prophetic authority and provide comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction to the church. They also make clear that the Bible is the standard by which all teaching and experience must be tested. (Num. 12:6; 2 Chron. 20:20; Amos 3:7; Joel 2:28, 29; Acts 2:14-21; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17; Heb. 1:1-3; Rev. 12:17; 19:10; 22:8, 9.)