The things contained in the Advice to Members are put there to help us guard against the enemy of our souls and lead us into living a consecrated life. The overall message or spirit of the Advice to Members seems to point us back to Bible holiness. Hebrews 12:14 tells us, "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord." Holiness is necessary for anyone who expects to win a crown of life and the end of life's journey. Nor only are we called into a life of holiness, but we are also instructed to be blameless. The beloved apostle Paul taught us that we must be blameless at Christ's appearing. "Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ" (1 Corinthians 1:8). The apostle Peter confirmed the same thing when he said, "Wherefore, beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot, and blameless" (2 Peter 3:14). Jesus said, "Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it" (Matthew 7:13, 14).
If the Advice to Members are part of the hedgerow that hedges us in and keeps us from wandering from the narrow way that leads to the strait gate, so be it. Every child of God should purpose in their hearts to walk the narrow way of holiness, staying away from the thorns and thistles of the world that would injure us, making us weak and unable to continue on our journey to Heaven.
The Advice to Members
As a member, you count one and should attend every regular service as far as possible. Remember no one can fill your place and the service will be that much hindered without your presence.
Show love and fellowship to everyone without partiality. Don't wait for others to greet you but you greet them.
Show special courtesy to strangers who may attend one of your services.
As a rule, take part in the singing.
Be ready for vocal prayer when called on or prompted by the Spirit.
Be ready for testimony when such is in order.
Stand by your pastor or appointed leader and assist him in every way you can.
Always pray silently for the preacher while he delivers the message.
Always live a consecrated life at home and abroad so no one can justly think or speak of you as a hypocrite.
Guard your conversation. Be careful what you say about a brother, sister, or anyone else. Don't be a critic and try to find something in others to criticize.
Examine yourself occasionally and see if you are in the faith.
Don't yield to discouragement or despondency.
Be cheerful and happy and try to make others the same.
Spend as much time as you can in secret prayer. Give yourself all you can to intercessory prayer. Daily prayers and study of God's Word are necessary and very important for the spiritual welfare of each child of God; therefore, everyone is urged to faithfully maintain as far as is possible family worship at home at least once a day.
Your dress should be with moderation, neat and clean, but not for show. Moderation includes paying moderate prices for clothing, wearing dresses of high-enough necklines, low-enough hemlines, sleeves of reasonable length. The wearing of extremely sheer fabrics is unbecoming to a saint and the wearing of shorts in public should never be practiced. You should never wear gold for ornament or decoration. Finger rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, lockets, and large showy pins -- these are also unbecoming to a saint of God. Rouge, lipstick, nail polish and extremely costly perfumes are used to satisfy the pride of life and therefore they should have no place in the lives of those who love God. Please read and study these scriptures often: 1 Peter 3:3,4; 1 Timothy 2:9, 10 and 1 John 2:15-17.
You should not allow yourself to be trapped by worldly attractions. The Bible says, "Neither give place to the devil." Dabbling with worldly amusements like professional ballgames, horse races, stock car races, wrestling arenas, skating rinks, motion picture houses or drive-in theaters, bowling alleys and going swimming where men and women both use the same bathing area would give the devil a foothold or place in your life.
Always tithe your income and put it in the church treasury. Make freewill offerings other than your tithes.
Younger members should not keep company or associate too closely with worldly outsiders.
Because of the ever increasing number of broken homes, separations, divorces, and re-marriages, the greatest care should be taken with much prayer and consideration regarding proposed matrimony.
A member who may have a living companion should not marry another under any circumstances, even if divorced. Neither should a member marry anyone who has a living companion although such a person may be divorced.
Children are a heritage from the Lord. Those who have children are responsible to teach them at an early age to reverence the house of God. This should be done by setting a good example before them and by instructing them with such a good spirit that they will have a strong desire to serve the Lord. MINISTERS are to meet all of the requirements in being examples to the members by keeping their children under reasonable control at all times and by restraining them from running about over the house of God, especially while the services are in progress.
The Arise Shine is a very important part of The Church of God. It should be read regularly by every member and you interest in promoting it should be so great that when you have finished reading your copy, you would pass it along to someone else. Every member who possibly can should subscribe, and each minister is asked to be a "paid-up" subscriber and an earnest worker for our church paper -- The Evening Light.
These are the last days and perilous times have come and it will require much watchfulness and humble prayer for you to so live and act that you will never bring reproach on the worthy name of Christ and His Church that you love so much.
Never form too close an intimacy with the opposite sex even if they are brothers and sisters in the Lord. Give no place to the adversary. Abstain from the very appearance of evil.
These kindly instructions and advices are given by those who are watching for your soul as they must give an account (Hebrews 13:17), and it is hoped that they will be received with the same meek, gentle spirit in which they are given.
The following portion of the Advice was adopted at the 83rd General Assembly in 1988:
In the 74th Annual Assembly, the General Overseer addressed an on-going problem relative to "Advice to Members", and in a section devoted to that subject said, "For many years our Assembly Minutes have contained a section entitled Advice to Members. These instructions were prepared for the purpose of providing counsel to the members of the Church to aid them in fighting the good fight of faith. From time to time we hear of those who assume a legalistic attitude with regards to the Advice to Members, as though they would make commandments of the things mentioned in the advice. The display of such attitudes usually does more harm than good. A gentle spirit of teaching will be much more effective than attempts to enforce as laws those things which have been set forth as advice... Perhaps we should take a closer look at the section of our Assembly Minutes, and at the spirit in which it is given." (74th AM 1979, p. 41).
In spite of the General Overseer's admonition, many continue to take a harsh and judgmental approach in presenting the Advice to Members. Holiness cannot be characterized as living in conformity with a list of prohibitions. True holiness manifests a Christlike nature in word and deed, and controls every area of one's life, external and internal.
For those who follow a holy God, the New Testament principles of holiness clearly reject such conduct as viewing pornographic films, reading sexually explicit literature, gambling, slanderous gossip, child abuse, spouse battering, and every other wrong conduct. On the positive side, a holy people are also diligent in perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
In the Advice to Members it is almost impossible to list everything which should be approved and/or disapproved for all people, in all cultures, under all conditions, for all time. Clearly, the New Testament principles of holiness are in every way superior to and more demanding than any list the General Assembly could possibly devise.
The Advice to Members has its foundations in the New Testament. There the guidelines for proper Christian conduct in every situation are clearly given. All matters of personal Christian ethics are to be governed by the following principles: (1) In everything we are to "walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called" (Ephesians 4:1), not permitting any conduct in ourselves which would bring reproach on the name of Jesus. (2) We are to "abstain from all appearance of evil" (1 Thessalonians 5:22; Romans 12:9; 1 Timothy 5:14; 1 Peter 3:11). (3) In word or deed, "neither give place to the devil" (Ephesians 4:27). (4) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31). (5) In matters of conscience, we are to avoid offending others who might stumble over our conduct (Matthew 18:7; Mark 9:42; Romans 14:21; 1 Corinthians 8:13; 10:32; 2 Corinthians 6:3). (6) We must ourselves keep a clean conscience before God, and not violate our own convictions regarding any matter (Romans 13:5; 14:22, 23; 1 Corinthians 8:7). (7) We must not judge one another in nonessential matters of personal convictions (Romans 14:1-5, 19). (8) We must maintain a moderate lifestyle which will reflect the inner character of a meek and quiet spirit (Romans 12:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 9:25; Galatians 5:22-23; 1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:3-4; 1 John 2:15-16). (9) By our conduct we must adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things (Titus 2:1-10). (10) We must continue to perfect holiness in the fear of God by cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit (2 Corinthians 7:1).