"LET THERE BE LIGHT" Ministries
WILL YOU ANSWER CHRIST'S PRAYER ?
-- "THAT THEY MAY BE ONE"
First Printing, 1994
Second Edition, 2000
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KEY TO ABBREVIATIONS OF E.G. WHITE WRITINGS
AA.............................. Acts of the Apostles.
AH.............................. Adventist Home.
AUCR........................ Australasian Union Conference Record.
1-7BC........................ SDA Bible Commentary, vol 1-7.
1-6BIO....................... Ellen G. White Biography, vol 1-6.
CC............................. Conflict and Courage.
CD............................. Counsels on Diet and Foods.
DA.............................. Desire of Ages.
EGWE........................ Ellen G. White in Europe.
EW............................. Early Writings.
GCB........................... General Conference Bulletin.
HM............................. Home Missionary.
LHU........................... Lift Him Up.
LLM............................ Loma Linda Messages.
LS.............................. Life Sketches of Ellen G. White.
1888 Mat................... Ellen G. White 1888 Materials.
1-2MCP..................... Mind, Character, and Personality, vol 1-2.
1-21MR...................... Manuscript Releases, vol 1-21.
MYP........................... Messages to Young People.
OHC........................... Our High Calling.
Pam........................... Pamphlets, Numbers 1-167.
PC.............................. Paulson Collection.
PM............................. Publishing Ministry.
PP.............................. Patriarch and Prophets.
RH............................. Review and Herald Articles, vol 1-6.
SC.............................. Steps to Christ.
Series A#1-12............ Special Testimonies, Series A, #1-12.
Series B#1-19............ Special Testimonies, Series B, #1-19.
1-3SM........................ Selected Messages, book 1-3.
1-4SP......................... Spirit of Prophecy, vol 1-4.
SpM........................... Spalding and Magan Collection.
ST.............................. Signs of the Times Articles, vol 1-4.
1-9T........................... Testimonies for the Church, vol 1-9.
TDG........................... This Day With God.
TM............................. Testimonies to Ministers.
UL.............................. Upward Look.
YI............................... Youth Instructor Articles.
WILL YOU ANSWER CHRIST'S PRAYER?
-- "THAT THEY MAY BE ONE"
What is our most important need for study and practice today?
"What can I present before my brethren and sisters in Christ, that is more important for their study and practice than the Saviour's prayer for His disciples? The entire seventeenth chapter of John is full of marrow and fatness." Bible Echo, April 23, 1894.
The 17th chapter of John is indeed full of spiritual nourishment, but especially are these verses important.
"I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou has sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me." John 17:14-23.
Christ's last prayer was for His followers to be united together as one, just as He and the Father are united together as one. But was this prayer for oneness and unity among Christ's followers only for the disciples, or only for the churches of the past--including the Adventist church? Or is it especially for those who have separated from all churches in obedience to Christ and His loud cry message of Revelation 18?
"Oh read the prayer of Christ for unity, 'Keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are' (John 17:11). The prayer of Christ is not only for those who are now His disciples [back in Christ's day], but for all those who shall believe on Christ through the words of His disciples, even to the end of the world. Jesus...looks down the lines two thousand years to His church which would be in existence in the last days, before the close of this earth's history." 1MR 355.
God's last day church are those chosen Remnant who are not defiled with, or connected to, corrupt women or churches (see Revelation 14:4); those who have followed Christ out of all the churches in obedience to Revelation 18! We are to be in unity with Christ and with one another! But can this really be true that God's separated people are to be in complete unity with one another? What is the work that God's people are to cultivate today?
"Please read this chapter [John 17] with careful, prayerful attention, and practice the petition which Christ made to His Father. Mark the twentieth to the twenty-third verses. This unity it is our work to cultivate. Even our thoughts are to be brought into captivity to Christ, that we may bind them about, and think no evil of our brethren." 1888 Materials, p 1150.
What is to be our constant aim today?
"It is the will of God that union and brotherly love should exist among His people....While we are not to sacrifice one principle of truth, it should be our constant aim to reach this state of unity." PP 520.
What is to be of vital importance today?
"As we approach the last crisis, it is of vital moment [importance] that harmony and unity exist among the Lord's instrumentalities." PM 114.
What is our only safety today?
"Union with Christ and with one another is our only safety." 7T 239.
So it is of vital importance, as well as it being God's will, for all His true separated people to cultivate, aim for and achieve unity with each other, and this unity is our only safety!
In fact, there are several consequences to God's separated people if they do not achieve unity among themselves. These consequences are as follows:
1. We will not fulfill the work of proclaiming God's truths unless we seek for and obtain unity!
"The proclamation of the gospel was to be world-wide in its extent, and the messengers of the cross could not hope to fulfill their important mission unless they should remain united in the bonds of Christian unity..." AA 90.
"Entire consecration and unity are needed in this work." ST March 24, 1898.
2. We cannot be Christ's disciples unless we reach unity.
"This [unity] is the evidence of our discipleship." PP 520.
3. We cannot be true laborers for God, or even be His witnesses, unless we work for unity.
"John 17:21 quoted. All true laborers for God will work in harmony with this prayer. In their efforts to advance the work, all will manifest that oneness of sentiment and practice which reveals that they are God's witnesses, that they love one another." 7T 156-57.
4. We cannot successfully carry forward God's work in strength unless we are united together.
"In order successfully to carry forward the work to which they had been called, these disciples, differing so widely in natural characteristics, in training, and in habits of life, needed to come into unity of feeling, thought, and action. This unity it was Christ's object to secure....[John 17:21 quoted]." CC 288.
"Christ says that unity and Christian fellowship were necessary to the cause of God, therefore He enjoined it upon His disciples. And the history of Christianity from that time until now proves conclusively that in union only is there strength." 4T 19.
5. Our efforts to win souls to Jesus and His truth will not be very successful unless we come into unity.
"As in humility and faith they come to a unity of purpose and plan, God will work for them and with them, and success will attend their efforts." Series B#18, p 34.
6. We cannot be truly converted to God unless we seek to be and are in unity.
"I had a message to the believers...that all who are truly converted unto the proclamation of the third angel's message must not present to the world, to angels, and to men, division in the place of unity." 4MR 297.
7. We cannot reach perfection of character unless we gain unity.
"Perfection of character means perfection in unity. 'That they all may be one,' Christ said, 'as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee' (John 17:21). What possibilities are before us. Shall not our faith grasp them?" 11MR 179.
8. We cannot really be looking forward to our Lord's coming unless we dwell in unity.
"Unity and peace now dwelt among our people who were looking for the coming of the Lord." 1T 48.
9. The sick will not be healed among us very often unless we have unity and love.
"The question is asked, 'Why are not the sick among us healed?' It is because of the lack of unity, and love that exists in the church." 11MR 179.
10. We cannot receive the approval of God unless we are united together with love and tender kindness for each other.
"Yes, the religion of Christ is a system of the truest politeness, and its triumphs are complete when a world may look on a people professing godliness with a united front, believers showing habitual tenderness of feeling and kindness of deportment and sincere regard for the reputation of each other. We may not look for the approval of God unless we work to the point of habitual kindness, acting upon the principles of the gospel." 15MR 128.
11. We cannot be close to God unless we answer the prayer of Christ in John 17.
"We cannot draw nigh to God...without our hearts being blended together in perfect unity, answering the prayer of Christ..." 7BC 937.
12. We cannot honor and please God unless we come into unity.
"...the seventeenth chapter of John...shows us that our difference and disunion are dishonoring to God." 3SM 21.
"Dissensions, unhappy differences, and petty church trials dishonor our Redeemer." 4T 19.
13. We are not in harmony with God unless we seek to be united in one accord.
"We may safely seek to be of one accord in doctrine and spirit, and if this were done, we would be in harmony with God's will." RH April 22, 1890.
14. We cannot be connected with heaven unless we are in unity.
"To a world that is broken up by discord and strife, their love and unity will testify to their connection with heaven. It is the convincing evidence of the divine character of their mission." 7T 156-57.
15. We cannot be of the Philadelphian church unless we obtain and hold to unity and love among us.
"They [those in church of Sardis]...dwelt upon their differences of opinion till these differences became as mountains, separating them from Christ and from one another, destroying unity and love." 6MR 242.
16. We cannot be God's true separated Remnant people who have obeyed the midnight cry unless we seek perfect unity.
"'Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.' Matt 25:6. Lose no time now in rising and trimming your lamps. Lose no time in seeking perfect unity with one another. We must expect difficulties." 8T 212.
Therefore we cannot fulfill God's work, or be His disciples, or be true laborers or witnesses for God, or successfully carry forward God's work in winning souls to Jesus, or be truly converted to God, or reach perfection of character, or really be looking forward to our Lord's soon return, or have the sick healed often among us, or receive the approval of God, or be close to God, or to honor or please God, or be in harmony with God, or be connected to heaven, or be of the Philadelphian church, or even be one of God's true separated Remnant people today -- unless we are united with one another. And so you can easily see that we will never make it to heaven unless we are brought together into unity.
"Our only hope of reaching heaven is to be one with Christ, and then in and through Christ we shall be one with one another....He [Christ] calls for unity, and unity we must have." 17MR 291.
Thus you can clearly understand, that if we do not become united with each other in brotherly love, then we are lost! You can also clearly see that fulfilling Christ's prayer in John 17 should be the number one object of every separated brother and sister in our Home Churches. That is why John 17 "are the credentials" that we have the true Gospel of Christ (TDG 120). That is why John 17 "is the convincing evidence of the divine character of [our] mission" (Counsels to Writers and Editors, p 74). And that is why John 17 "is to be our church creed" (3SM 21).
But there are some who believe that there does not need to be a uniting together of God's separated people today; but is this a true position to hold?
"If we draw nigh to God, individually, then don't you see what the result will be? Can't you see that we will draw nigh to one another? We cannot draw nigh to God, and come to the same cross, without our hearts being blended together in perfect unity, answering the prayer of Christ 'that they may be one' as He is one with the Father. And therefore we should seek in spirit, in understanding, in faith, that we may be one, that God may be glorified in us as He is glorified in the Son; and that God shall love us as He loves the Son." 7BC 937.
Others believe and teach that the unity for which Christ prayed is only to be a spiritual unity, and thus it is not necessary to see a visible unity among God's people today. But what does God say? Is there to be a visible unity that is to be seen among God's separated people and Home Churches?
"God wants unity to be seen..." GCB April 10, 1901.
Therefore, God has declared that unity is to be seen among our separated people and Home Churches. Hence the unity which God desires to take place among us is to be a visible unity and not just a spiritual union with Christ! We are also told that "both separation and unity will be seen in our ranks" (6T 400-01). And other testimonies on unity being seen among us can be found in 6MR 235; RC 219; 5T 206; 2MR 19.
It is this very point--that this unity is to be seen and visible among our separated people and Home Churches--which clearly reveals to the world that we are the children of God!
"When Christ abides in the hearts of believers, unity will be seen. Love will flow from them to others in a strong current....Their unity will testify in a most powerful manner that they are children of God. It will have an irresistible influence upon the world, showing that man in his humanity may be a partaker of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust." ST May 2, 1900.
"Unity will bring into the work a power that we have not yet seen. This will be the evidence to the world that the work is of God." RH Nov 12, 1901.
God tells us very plainly:
"At present there is not that unity that should exist among our brethren, and the Lord says, "Come together." This should be done as soon as possible, for we have no time to lose." 20MR 223.
Brethren, in these last days in which we live, we will either promote a visible unity in our Home Churches that will be seen, or we will promote a visible division, difference, and dissension among us that will be seen. Which will you work for and achieve? Those who work to hinder a visible unity from being achieved among God's separated Home Churches and people will continue in division and dissension. And by so doing they will plainly show that they are not chosen by the Lord!
"Difference and dissension will be seen among those who are not chosen by the Lord, but let it not spring up and bear fruit among those who profess to be representing Christ. There is no work more sacred for Christians than to maintain peace among themselves. Then they present to the world the unity that Christ prayed might exist, and bear witness that God sent Christ into the world to redeem the world." 6MR 24.
Brethren, the greatest enemy we face toward achieving this visible unity and fulfilling God's will among our separated people in their Home Churches, is SELF!
"When the Testimonies came, 'they made of no account the words of reproof given to them. By precept and example they were filled with their own doings, and counteracted the work to be done. They would not concede to right,: they would not consent to correct wrongs, and to walk in the light. Self, self, self, was their center. No unity was seen, but disorder and dissension was manifested.'" Pam #146, p 18.
Others believe and teach that all we have to do is to individually work for Christ, and then unity will come without any direct effort put forth by us to achieve it. But what does God say about this? Are we to actively strive for this visible unity among us today, or not?
"...all who profess the truth will strive for the unity of the faith, and that oneness which Christ prayed might exist among his disciples, and with all those who should believe on their word." ST Sept 12, 1878.
"Workers for Christ are to strive for unity." TM 502.
"The essential unity of believers, as set forth in the Word of God, is to be a standard to which we must all earnestly strive to attain." 7MR 193.
Some will admit that this visible unity is God's highest ideal for His people, but will just as quickly admit that it will never be attainable. So is this visible unity really something that the people of God can have today if they strive for it? Yes!
"Jesus did not pray for that which was not attainable by us, and if this unity is possible, why do not those who are professed followers of Christ strive more earnestly for this condition of grace?...Through the Holy Spirit this unity may be attained, and love for the brethren will abound, and men will take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus and learned of Him. Our life will be a reflection of His holy character." 15MR 88.
"When we strive for this unity as God desires us to strive for it, it will come to us." 8T 243.
In fact, those who follow their own selfish desires, and who do not put forth any energies to strive for this visible unity among our people and Home Churches, clearly show by their lack of action in this area that they are not united with or bound up with Christ!
"When church members are imbued with Christ's Spirit, they will be able to fulfill His commission. But unless they strive with all their capabilities to answer the prayer, 'Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word, that they all may be one, as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee,' they are not bound up with Him. The spirit developed by the natural character will not lead us to work as Christ worked. There can be no unity while this spirit is cherished." 5MR 370.
If we are not striving for true unity among our separated people and Home Churches, then we are building our characters with wood, hay, and stubble (see RH Feb 14, 1899). If we do not individually add our voices to try and achieve this unity among us, then we will work to make ourselves, or our own particular work or Ministry, the great center of influence and ignore others who are involved in the work of God!
"...I am praying for you, that the enemy will be defeated. The Lord would have his people labor for unity, and to answer the prayer of Christ. Here is our greatest hindrance....Until the Holy Spirit is accepted and allowed to do its office work upon the heart, each individual will strive to become a center of influence for himself. But we know in our experience, that harmonious subordination to the Spirit of God is rest, and peace, and joy. Then think of the positive necessity of coming under this molding, transforming power, in order to enjoy heaven in this life, and eternal blessing in the future life." General Conference Daily Bulletin, Feb 22, 1897.
What will visible unity do for us once we achieve it?
"When professing Christians are united as one,--one with Christ in God,--they are representatives of the church of the Firstborn." RH Jan 6, 1903.
"John 17:21 quoted. All true laborers for God will work in harmony with this prayer. In their efforts to advance the work, all will manifest that oneness of sentiment and practice which reveals that they are God's witnesses, that they love one another." 7T 156-57.
"In every word and act, kindness and love will be revealed; and as each worker fills his appointed place faithfully, the prayer of Christ for the unity of His followers will be answered, and the world will know that these are His disciples." RH Feb 21, 1907.
"Jesus would impress upon the church the fact that they are his brethren, that they are to unite with him as laborers together with God. They are to be a brotherhood for the saving of humanity. Christ expects a very different work from the churches than that which has been given to him. The people of God will not answer the expectation of Christ until they are converted and prepared to obey the commandment of Christ. He says, 'A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.' Again he says, 'By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.' When this commandment is obeyed, envy, evil surmising, vile thinking, and evil speaking will be banished. In the character of those who love God, these evils will have no part. Love means spiritual growth after the divine model. Christ has given us a pattern in his own example. He would bind his followers to one another and to himself. Their oneness with Christ makes them love one another; for love is the sure fruit of unity with Christ. Christ declared that their love one for another was a sure badge of their discipleship. He is the root, his disciples are the branches." The Home Missionary, Aug 1, 1896.
"...let us labor in unity. The Lord will work with power, as we strive to do our part faithfully." Series B#13, p 16.
"When those who believe present truth are united, they exert a telling influence." 5T 236.
"'That they all may be one,' Christ continued; 'as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.' These words hold out before us wonderful possibilities. Shall we not individually seek to answer the prayer of Christ? Shall we not strive for the unity which he prayed might exist among his followers? What is this unity to do?--It is to show the world that God sent his Son to save sinners. Since it is to have so blessed a result, should not the followers of Christ do all in their power to obtain it?" Southern Watchman, March 1, 1904.
"That we may unite with Christ in this work we should place ourselves under the molding influence of His Spirit. Through the power thus imparted we may co-operate with the Lord in the bonds of unity as laborers together with Him in the salvation of souls. To everyone who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results." 7T 30.
My separated brothers and sisters, what great and limitless possibilities are before us! Shall we not grasp these precious promises through faith and then go to work to fulfill Christ's prayer for unity among us? In being united with Christ and with one another, we become God's representatives; we become His witnesses and disciples, and God will work with power which enables us to exert a telling influence in the world showing them that God indeed sent His Son to save sinners--thus we will attain measureless results! But without unity among our separated people and Home Churches, not one of these promises will be fulfilled among us! Then let us all work, through pen, voice, and life to obey a "Thus saith the Lord" and not allow self, or our own feelings and desires, to work to destroy this visible unity from being seen and achieved.
"We are not to strengthen any evil work. Let those who have used their talents of influence in doing this, do so no longer. Let them not by pen or voice act on Satan's side of the question. In obedience to a 'Thus saith the Lord,' let unity of action be seen." RH Aug 6, 1901.
But one of the greatest enemies towards obtaining this visible unity among our separated people and Home Churches is one in which each must battle individually--it is the battle against unsanctified independence! Many believe that we are all to be independent of one another, united only to God, responsible only to God, and to only follow the Spirit's guidance. But is this a true position to hold to?
"For many years I have been instructed that you are in danger of looking at things in a wrong light....You have traits of character which need to be entirely changed, else you will be a hinderance to the work, leading some to entertain suspicions, and to strike out in independent lines of action. Such a course of action is surely a mistake, and if followed will bring difficulties not easily managed....your temperament is such that it is hard for you to work in Christian union with your brethren....There are some who unless things appear right to their human judgment, draw apart from their ministering brethren. Thus God is dishonored....Give your mind up to unifying rather than to drawing apart." 1888 Mat 1757-60.
There is an ever widening confusion and growing misunderstanding among our separated people over this issue of "INDEPENDENCE." There is, of course, a true sanctified independence which is approved of heaven, as well as there being an unsanctified independence which is condemned of God. And the lack of a clear distinction between these two forms of independence has allowed Satan to create all kinds of trouble among our people and Home Churches worldwide!
True sanctified independence which heaven approves is briefly stated in the following principles: That we are an independent agent who is responsible to God for our own actions and spiritual life--no one else can be blamed if we lose heaven. We are responsible to God to do our own personal study--no one else is to study for us. We are responsible to think for ourselves--we are not to be the shadow or rubber stamp of any person. We are responsible to help ourselves--no one else is required to help when we are able. We are responsible for the performance of the work given us to do--no one else can be blamed if it does not get done. We are responsible for our own daily maintenance and living--no one owes us anything. We are responsible to maintain our integrity, moral righteousness, and obligations in the various affairs of life. And we are responsible to stand for God, His honor, and His truth regardless of the consequences. It can be clearly seen that this sanctified independence especially centers around us as individuals, not in a selfish self-centered way, but in an unselfish manner which does not adversely affect others.
This kind of noble heavenly independence can be traced back to the two great and foundational principles of God's 10 commandments--an independence which places God first and foremost in our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and our neighbors as ourselves. This independence, founded upon love to God and love of one another ahead of self, heaven highly approves of and which we are right to manifest and adhere to at all times as it will lead to complete sanctification and eternal life. The fruits borne by this kind of unselfish independence are love, trust, confidence, fellowship, harmony, unity, order, and peace. And it is clearly seen in the unity, oneness, and functioning of the Godhead. Yet, there is another kind of independence which is unsanctified and extreme.
This unsanctified independence which heaven condemns is briefly stated in the following principles: That we are responsible to God alone--no responsibility needs to be shown toward our fellow brethren. We are responsible to God alone for our actions--no one can hold us responsible, or correct, or censure, or discipline us for what we do--even if our actions adversely affect our fellow brethren. We are responsible to spiritually unite with God alone--no one is to visibly unite with one another in church or in working capacity. We are responsible to believe and teach what we want to--regardless of what our fellow brethren agree is truth. We are responsible to follow our own way--regardless of the counsel of our brethren. And we are responsible to God alone and must center our interests in our own work--regardless of the work and interests of our brethren. It can be clearly seen that this unsanctified independence especially involves our relationship to others, not in an unselfish way, but in a selfish self-centered manner which adversely affects others.
Such unsanctified independence may be thought of as loving God supreme, but in reality it breaks God's law because it esteems self and places it first and foremost in our thoughts, feelings, and actions, and our neighbors last or unthought of. This kind of independence heaven highly condemns, and which we are not to manifest or adhere to as it will lead to complete corruption and eternal destruction. The fruits borne by this selfish independence are hate, distrust, envy, jealousy, dissension, division, disorder, strife, and rebellion.
This unsanctified independence originated with Lucifer and traces directly back to his rebellion in heaven!
"...Satan chose to follow his own selfish, independent will." DA 762.
The devil was not content to keep this unsanctified independence to himself, but spread these same corrupt principles throughout the heavenly hosts, and it deceived and leavened 1/3 of all the heavenly angels. These then started a warfare in union with Satan against God's will and were cast out of heaven (see Revelation 12:4, 7-9)! Satan was still not content, and brought this same rebellious independent spirit down to earth.
Satan's original lie to Eve was based upon these same principles of unsanctified independence (see YI July 1, 1897). But it did not stop there either. Not only was this rebellious independence manifested by Lucifer, 1/3 of the angels, and Adam and Eve, but was also manifested by Cain (ST Dec 16, 1886), Pharaoh (YI Nov 30, 1893), king Saul (ST June 1, 1888), the king of Babylon (YI March 28, 1905), the prodigal son (see ST Jan 29, 1894), Judas Iscariot (ST June 5, 1884), and by Laodiceans (RH April 1, 1890). And it will continue to be manifested by, and cause the fall of, many of our separated people until they wake up and clearly distinguish between the true and this false independence!
Those who follow this unsanctified independence are especially against any call for, or movement towards, a full and complete visible unity of each separated believer with each other. But can we be connected with Christ and really be working towards furthering His kingdom of righteousness if we exhibit this unsanctified independence? NO!
"'He that is not with Me is against Me,' Christ declares, 'and he that gathereth not with Me scattereth abroad.' God has given to every man his work. He expects every follower of His to exert an influence that will tell for the upbuilding of His kingdom. He who is not actively engaged in promoting love and unity and equity is exerting an influence that is opposed to Christ." Series B#2, p 44.
It is our visible unity with each other that shows to the world that we are indeed the children of God! Thus our visible unity is the indicator and proof that we are indeed united with God! We can loudly claim that we are united with God all we want to, but until we prove it by achieving this visible unity with one another, we are but showing that we are just hypocrites!
Whether we be laymen or ministers, whether we work at a job or have Ministries to attend to, may we all give up self and our unsanctified independence and seek for true unity with one another so that it may be seen, and no longer continue to dishonor our Redeemer!
"Many who profess to love God and keep His commandments are making void His law. God is greatly dishonored by the failure of professed Christians to reveal the unity that should be seen among His children." RH Feb 11, 1902.
If these unsanctified independent individuals, be they lay-people or ministers, do not repent and obey God's will in seeking for true visible unity with their true separated brethren, they will receive the curse of Meroz, their candlestick will be removed, and another will take their crown!
"Some have advanced the thought that as we near the close of time, every child of God will act independently of any religious organization. But I have been instructed by the Lord that in this work there is no such thing as every man's being independent....In order that the Lord's work may advance healthfully and solidly, His people must draw together." Gospel Workers, p 487.
"There will be, among the remnant of these last days, as there were with ancient Israel, those who wish to move independently, who are not willing to submit to the teachings of the Holy Spirit of God, and who will not listen to advise and counsel. Let such ever bear in mind that God has a church upon the earth, to which He has delegated power. Men will want to follow their own independent judgment, despising counsel and reproof; but just as surely as they do this they will depart from the faith, and disaster and ruin of souls will follow. Those who rally now to support and build up the truth of God are ranging themselves on one side, standing united in heart, mind, and voice in defense of the truth." 3SM 23.
"God does not design that His workmen shall stand apart as independent atoms....I pray that you may now, as never before, both ministers and church members, come up to the help of the Lord, to the help of the Lord against the mighty powers of darkness. Study prayerfully the 17th chapter of John. This chapter is not only to be read again and again, but its truths are to be eaten and digested.
"Are these words, of such import to us, to be always neglected? God calls upon those who claim to be His children to study these words, to eat them, to live them. Seek for unity and love, else the candlestick will be removed out of its place." Pam #156, p 12-14.
"I had a message to the believers...that all who are truly converted unto the proclamation of the third angel's message must not present to the world, to angels, and to men, division in the place of unity." 4MR 297.
Why is it that we have so many problems in our ranks? Is it because God is trying to keep our people in their Home Churches from being united together? Or is it because many of our separated brethren do not want to be united together in obedience to God's will? What is the real cause of the troubles in our separated ranks?
"The cause of the trouble it is not difficult to determine. The workers have been independent threads, when they should have regarded themselves as threads that must be woven together to help form the pattern. These things grieve the Holy Spirit....Unsanctified independence places us where He (God) cannot work with us." 7T 197.
So the great majority of all the problems among our separated people and Home Churches is because we have not followed God's will and are not yet united together as one under one faith in Christ. And to make it even worse, when those who desire to do God's will try to awaken our people to the necessity of coming together in a visible unity under one faith in Christ so that Satan, along with these problems and false teachers, may be eliminated from our ranks, many rise up and declare: "This is popery! This is hierarchy! Do not unite together as one or stand together under one faith because God wants us to be solely united with Him in a spiritual union, but not united together with each other in a visible union!" But God has already warned His people that just such a cry as this would be leveled against this true call for unity!
"Satan well knows that success can only attend order and harmonious action. He well knows that everything connected with heaven is in perfect order, that subjection and perfect discipline mark the movements of the angelic host. It is his studied effort to lead professed Christians just as far from heaven's arrangement as he can; therefore he deceives even the professed people of God and makes them believe that order and discipline are enemies to spirituality, that the only safety for them is to let each pursue his own course, and to remain especially distinct from bodies of Christians who are united and are laboring to establish discipline and harmony of action. All the efforts made to establish order are considered dangerous, a restriction of rightful liberty, and hence are feared as popery. These devoted souls consider it a virtue to boast of their freedom to think and act independently. They will not take any man's say-so. They are amenable to no man. I was shown that it is Satan's special work to lead men to feel that it is God's order for them to strike out for themselves and choose their own course independent of their brethren.
"God is leading a people out from the world upon the exalted platform of eternal truth...They will not be at variance, one believing one thing and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body." 1T 650.
Do not let any separated Ministry, minister, or lay-member try to lead you to believe that God desires His people to remain divided, disorganized, and independent from one another in faith and work and fellowship, even if they do quote a testimony from Sister White which seems to substantiate their position, because they are only twisting the quote to say something which Sister White never intended! So says Sister White herself:
"...please do not use my name as sustaining you in taking an independent course." 17MR 257.
God does not want His separated people to be enlisted in the ranks of Satan's army, to advocate his erroneous doctrines, manifest his unsanctified independence, and mislead souls to division and destruction. But Christ wants all of His true separated people to enlist in the ranks of His army, to advocate His pure doctrines, to manifest His sanctified character, and to lead souls to Jesus and unity and eternal life.
"An army would be demoralized if they did not learn to obey orders of the captain. Each soldier must act in concert. Union is strength; without union efforts are meaningless. Whatever excellent qualities a soldier may possess, he cannot be a safe trustworthy soldier if he claims a right to act independent of his fellow comrades. This independent action cannot be maintained in the service of Christ.
"Self-restraint is essential to be exercised by every Christian if they answer the prayer of Christ. He is not a good soldier who will not submit his own judgement and his own ideas to preserve unity of action....The meekness and lowliness of Christ always leads to unity and hence to strength in united action." 5MR 373-74.
"Those who belong to Christ's army must work with concerted action. They cannot be faithful soldiers unless they obey orders. United action is essential. An army in which every part acts without reference to the other parts, has no real strength. In order to add new territory to Christ's kingdom, his soldiers must act in concert....He calls for a united army, which moves steadily forward, not for a company composed of independent atoms." 4BC 1146.
"In spite of all the good qualities a man may have, he cannot be a good soldier if he acts independent of those connected with him....Take a strong team of horses. If, instead of both pulling together, one should suddenly jerk forward and the other pull back, they would not move the load, notwithstanding their great strength. So the soldiers of Christ must work in concert, else there will be a mere concourse of independent atoms....In union is strength. A few men and women who unite together, having the glory of God in view, will be growing in strength and wisdom, and gaining new victories." ST Sept 7, 1891.
God is not so much concerned with the numbers of those who unite together, but is concerned that they do unite! So the question is: Which army do YOU choose to enlist in and fight for?
"Where there is unity there is strength. United we stand, divided we fall. It is the special, declared plan of the enemy of Christ and man, to break up the church into independent factions....He loves to see discord and want of harmonious action in the church." RH July 10, 1888.
"...never, never forget that you are either servants of Jesus Christ, working strenuously for that unity of believers which Christ prayed might exist, or you are working against this unity and against Christ." 5T 478.
Not one of our separated people, whether they be ministers or lay-members, will ever make it into heaven until they knowingly give up their unsanctified independence, stop opposing a visible unity and oneness among our people, and instead work towards a complete and full union with one another in one faith with Christ as our head! "A self-confident, independent spirit will never enter into the kingdom of God." 2SM 216. And why can't such make it to heaven? "You would act an independent part in heaven as you have acted on the earth." Kress Collection, p 152.
Dear separated brothers and sisters, God is trying to fit His people up in righteousness and make them ready for eternity with Him by leading them to be one in purpose, one in faith, one in work, and one in unity. But the Devil and his agents among us are determined to stop this from happening, and our separated people are caught right in the middle of this controversy! Yet God has a clear purpose in calling for His true separated people to be united together as one. God is actually desiring to perfect our characters through our coming together as one and thus to prepare us for translation! And those who oppose this visible unity are working to keep our people connected with sin and character defects, to lose out on translation, and are thereby working their own selves out of a home in heaven!
"Perfection of character means perfection in unity. 'That they all may be one,' Christ said, 'as Thou, Father, art in me, and I in Thee' (John 17:21). What possibilities are before us. Shall not our faith grasp them?" 11MR p 179.
"...they should not take on an independent spirit, but as followers of Christ be subject one to another. This is the very means that God has ordained that one shall have influence over another and all be transformed and molded after the divine Pattern, that all the believers in Christ are to be sanctified through the truth." 15MR 357.
"There is order in heaven, and it is to be imitated by those upon earth who are heirs of salvation. The nearer mortals attain to the order and arrangement of heaven, the nearer are they brought to that acceptable state before God which will make them subjects of the heavenly kingdom and give them that fitness for translation from earth to heaven..." 2T 697-98.
So brethren, let us move forward in obeying God and work to achieve this blessed unity with one another in love!
Another misconception which is working to hinder efforts towards unity among us is that others believe they will not be led astray if they do not unite together. But this is a serious mistake.
"Satan took advantage of Brother and Sister G's lack of union with the body. They desired to take an independent course, and to lead instead of yielding to be led. Brother G has a jealous disposition, which, together with his independence, has kept him to one side; for with this spirit he could not be a true yoke-fellow with his ministering brethren....He has not possessed the spirit of the third angel's message. He shut himself away from union and sympathy with God's people...and this is one reason why he was left in such darkness." 1T 230-32.
Along this same line, some take no special interest in seeking to be united with their brethren, believing that it is only to be them and the Lord in these last days, but;
"None should feel that it is of no special importance whether they are in union with their brethren or not; for those who do not learn to live in harmony here will never be united in heaven." Historical Sketches, p 124.
"Follow its [John 17] teachings, and you will be brought into unity....No one is called to walk alone. In Christ life and immortality are brought to light. He has opened the way to the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in Him, but He assigns to no one a path different to that which all must travel. He calls for unity, and unity we must have." 17MR 291.
Clearly no one can do God's work successfully, while they remain independent of their true brethren!
"Like the different parts of a machine, all are closely related to one another...There is to be unity in diversity. No member of the Lord's firm can work successfully in independence. Each is to work under the supervision of God; all are to use their entrusted capabilities in His service, that each may minister to the perfection of the whole." RH May 13, 1909.
"The Captain of our salvation died for the human race that men might be made one with Him and with each other....No soul can be made independent of the rest. There is to be no party strife in the family of God; for the well-being of each is the happiness of the whole. No partition walls are to be built up between man and man." Fundamentals of Christian Education, p 479.
Those who are of unsanctified and independent minds and who refuse to unite with their brethren, are actually a church unto themselves, and thus are not part of God's true church.
"There have ever been individuals of independent minds...These draw away from the body, and each is a separate church of himself. All these cannot be right, yet they all claim to be led of the Lord." 3T 428-29.
So those who are not working and striving for and even urging this unity among God's people with pen and voice show that they are not united with Christ. And until this visible unity is achieved among our separated people and Home Churches, it indicates that we may not be united with God either!
"When the people of God are one with Him, they will be one with each other. Their unity and love will testify to the genuineness of their union with Christ. When their eyes are all fixed upon Christ, their hearts will be united in love. They will then stand shoulder to shoulder to resist the confederacy of evil, and they will have strength for a battle that cannot be seen by the natural eye. They will stay their hearts upon the Lord..." 15MR 86-87
Brethren, the plain undeniable fact is that we dishonor, misrepresent and deny Christ by our disunity!
"I am pained at heart when I consider how much Christ is dishonored by this disregard of His teachings....Shall we then repent and be doers of the words of Christ...? John 17:20-24 quoted." 18MR 213.
"Christ is so greatly misrepresented by those who claim to believe in Him, who disregard His prayer for the unity of His followers, that angels are amazed." ST Jan 10, 1895.
"'Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price' (1 Cor 6:19-20). Our owner is God....We must not think it a virtue to differ. We are in close bonds of relationship one with another. If the same vitalizing current is flowing through our minds and hearts, we shall act in harmony. In failing to do this, we deny the Source of all spiritual life." 8MR 69.
How can we claim to be the faithful followers of Christ and then dishonor Him by refusing to unite with our fellow separated brethren in this present truth? Do we want to continue to be hypocrites? How can we claim to be the unselfish disciples of Christ when we refuse to answer His prayer for unity among us? He answers our prayers, why can't we seek to answer His?
Plainly, we cannot be complete in Christ until we are united!
"When God's chosen people are of one mind, barriers of selfishness will disappear as by magic, and many, many souls will be converted, because of the unity which exists among believers....Man is to obey the word of God declared in the seventeenth chapter of John. Then of him can be spoken the words, 'Ye are complete in Him.'" 6MR 331.
Now once this visible unity is achieved, are we to sit back and do nothing more to maintain this blessed unity? NO!
"...[Once this visible unity is achieved God's people,] in humility and meekness, they are to strive to preserve unity and harmony." 5MR 342.
So we must strive to preserve unity and harmony among us after we have already achieved it! But why?
"Union is strength; division is weakness. When those who believe present truth are united, they exert a telling influence. Satan well understands this. Never was he more determined than now to make of none effect the truth of God by causing bitterness and dissension among the Lord's people." 5T 236.
"God has expressed His will in this prayer of Christ [John 17] for the unity of His believing people. But there is an unwearied conflict kept up upon this earth, polluted and marred with the curse. Satan works to make the prayer of Christ of none effect....for where there is unity there is strength, a oneness which all the powers of hell cannot break." 18MR 366. (See also 1T 212-13, 326; SC 71; RH Nov 10, 1885; 1888 Mat 1011, SpM 383; Series B#5, p 34-35; 18MR 359-60, 364.)
So Christ is desiring unity among His true people, and Satan is actively working to oppose this unity.
"Jesus and holy angels are bringing up and uniting God's people into one faith, that they may all have one mind and one judgment. And while they are being brought into the unity of the faith, to see eye to eye upon the solemn, important truths for this time, Satan is at work to oppose their advancement. Jesus is at work through His instruments to gather and unite. Satan works through his instruments to scatter and divide." 1T 332.
Therefore those who oppose a perfect visible unity and sweet oneness among God's separated people today are really Satan's instruments and agents. Thus we can know who are Satan's agents by their fruits to prevent unity. Let us then examine some of these evil fruits so that Satan's agents among us can be clearly exposed. Then who are these agents of the Devil?
1. Those who accuse. EGWE 278.
2. Those who act from impulse. Series A#1a, p 5.
3. Those who act from passion. Series A#1a, p 5.
4. Those who act from prejudice. Series A#1a, p 5.
5. Those who act like children in association with one another. 11MR 49.
6. Those who allow differences in points of opinion to cause coldness and indifference toward others. 12MR 365.
7. Those who allow dissensions to exist among brethren. ST May 6, 1880.
8. Those who allow evil-surmising in their hearts. ST May 6, 1880.
9. Those who allow personal feelings to be easily stirred up. 12MR 365.
10. Those who allow their pride to be easily hurt. 11MR 49.
11. Those who allow self to be center. Pam #146, p 18.
12. Those who allow the root of bitterness to spring up and cherish it. 2MCP 639.
13. Those who allow their dignity to be easily hurt. 11MR 49.
14. Those who allow their ears to hear wrong, and then report the wrong. HM Jan 1, 1892.
15. Those who allow their senses to imagine wrong, and then report the wrong. HM Jan 1, 1892.
16. Those who allow their tongue to report falsehood. HM Jan 1, 1892.
17. Those who anxiously endeavor to point out errors in their brethren. 5T 238.
18. Those who are ambitious for honor. SC 73.
19. Those who are busybodies. 15MR 163-64.
20. Those who believe heresy. 2SM 79.
21. Those who bite and devour one another. 5T 243.
22. Those who bring in different sentiments of faith. 1T 326-27.
23. Those who bring in evil speaking. PM 114.
24. Those who bring in evil-surmising. PM 114.
25. Those who bring in jealousy. PM 114.
26. Those who bring in a spirit of opposition among Christians. RH July 5, 1887.
27. Those who bring in variance. PM 114.
28. Those who bring passion into God's church. RH July 5, 1887.
29. Those who bring pride into God's church. RH July 5, 1887.
30. Those who build territorial lines of distinction between brethren. 6MR 331.
31. Those who are causing alienation between brethren. RH Jan 3, 1893.
32. Those who are continually sowing seeds of disaffection. 15MR 164.
33. Those who are covetous. 2 Peter 2:3.
34. Those who are in contradiction with God's will. OHC 170.
35. Those who are of a criticizing spirit. 2SM 79; RH Aug 27, 1889.
36. Those who cause confusion in God's church. RH Jan 3, 1893.
37. Those who cause errors in others. 1888 Mat 1248.
38. Those who cause estrangement between brethren. RH Jan 3, 1893.
39. Those who cause mistakes in others. 1888 Mat 1248.
40. Those who cause or spread discouragement. 18MR 366.
41. Those who cause sorrow. 18MR 366.
42. Those who cause weakness. 18MR 366.
43. Those who charge wrong against another without giving them a chance to answer the charges. HM Jan 1, 1892.
44. Those who charge wrong against another without giving them a clear, definite statement of the supposed wrong. HM Jan 1, 1892.
45. Those who cherish envy. CC 357.
46. Those who cherish evil in their hearts. CC 357.
47. Those who cherish false reports which destroys the influence of those engaged in God's work. 1T 251.
48. Those who cherish hardness against others. 2MR 274.
49. Those who cherish hate. 11MR 49.
50. Those who cherish malice. 11MR 49.
51. Those who cherish prejudice. PC 153.
52. Those who cherish secret feelings of dissatisfaction against those who bear the burden of the work. 1T 251.
53. Those who cherish a spirit of accusation. RH Aug 27, 1861.
54. Those who cherish strife. 11MR 49.
55. Those who cherish suspicion toward each other. 12MR 365; CC 357.
56. Those who circulate false reports which destroys the influence of those engaged in God's work. 1T 251.
57. Those who close their eyes to all that is commendable and righteous about those whom they dislike. HM Jan 1, 1892.
58. Those who communicate darkness to God's church. RH Jan 3, 1893.
59. Those who communicate unbelief to God's church. RH Jan 3, 1893.
60. Those who contradict one another's testimony. 8MR 67.
61. Those who counterwork efforts of fellow laborers. CD 401.
62. Those who counterwork the teaching on health reform. CD 401.
63. Those who create bitterness. 18MR 366.
64. Those who create discord. 18MR 366.
65. Those who criticize habits of dress. RH Aug 27, 1889.
66. Those who criticize manners. RH Aug 27, 1889.
67. Those who criticize those whom God has chosen. 1888 Mat 1248.
68. Those who criticize those whom God is using. 1888 Mat 1247.
69. Those whose cherished idol is self. ST May 6, 1880.
70. Those who are deceptive. Pam #97, p 45.
71. Those who are dictatorial. EGWE 278.
72. Those who are dishonest. 2SM 79.
73. Those who are of a denouncing spirit. 2SM 79.
74. Those who deal in undercurrent work [gossip]. Pam #97, p 45.
75. Those who despise correction. 1T 251.
76. Those who distract God's workers from doing their work. RH Aug 27, 1861.
77. Those who distribute the leaven of accusation against others. RH Jan 3, 1893.
78. Those who distribute the leaven of distrust about others. RH Jan 3, 1893.
79. Those who distribute the leaven of malice against others. RH Jan 3, 1893.
80. Those who divide into parties. 5T 243.
81. Those who do things in direct contradiction to another in the same work. RH July 5, 1887.
82. Those who dwell upon differences of opinion. 6MR 242.
83. Those who want to draw apart from brethren in the same faith. EGWE 278.
84. Those who are envious. RH Nov 12, 1903; ST Nov 2, 1888; RH June 28, 1887; 11MR 49.
85. Those who evil-surmise about others. RH April 22, 1890; CC 357.
86. Those who exalt self. RH Nov 12, 1903.
87. Those who exalt their ideas as supreme. 2MR 275.
88. Those who exalt their opinions as supreme. 2MR 2775.
89. Those who keep their ears open to reports that injure their brethren. 1888 Mat 1092.
90. Those who are false-accusers. RH Jan 3, 1893.
91. Those who are fault-finders. ST May 6, 1880; 15MR 164; 1T 251; CC 357.
92. Those who are filled with their own doings. Pam #146, p 18.
93. Those who are full of vanity. RH April 22, 1890.
94. Those who feel a special interest in finding fault. RH July 5, 1887.
95. Those who feel free to condemn others. 2MR 274.
96. Those who fight against God's servants. 1T 251.
97. Those who follow feelings as sufficient evidence. Pam #16, p 10.
98. Those who follow impressions as sufficient evidence. Pam #16, p 10.
99. Those who give false reasons instead of the correct one. Pam #97, p 45.
100. Those who give in to envious feelings. ST May 6, 1880.
101. Those who give in to jealous feelings. ST May 6, 1880.
102. Those who give sympathy to those who have a spirit of opposition. 1T 251.
103. Those who go off on tangents. 8MR 67.
104. Those who hate reproof. 1T 251.
105. Those who have a bitter spirit. 1T 251.
106. Those who have an excitable spirit. 1T 251.
107. Those who have enmity against others. 4SP 340.
108. Those who have hatred towards others. 1888 Mat 1011.
109. Those who have little forbearance for their brethren. EGWE 277.
110. Those who have little love for one another. EGWE 276.
111. Those who have a spirit of opposition. 1T 250.
112. Those who have unholy ambition. RH Nov 12, 1903; ST Nov 2, 1888.
113. Those who have unholy tempers. EGWE 278.
114. Those who have unsanctified hearts. EGWE 278.
115. Those who hold barriers between brethren of different color or caste. 6MR 331.
116. Those who hold to sin. 12MR 365.
117. Those who hold to variance with one another. OHC 170.
118. Those who are impetuous. SC 73.
119. Those who are interested in the affairs of others, but neglect their own duty. RH April 16, 1889.
120. Those who indulge hatred. 5T 243.
121. Those who indulge strife. 5T 243.
122. Those who introduce things which cause division. RH Sept 23, 1909.
123. Those who introduce things which cause strife. RH Sept 23, 1909.
124. Those who are jealous of others. AA 88; 1888 Mat 1011; ST Nov 2, 1888; RH June 28, 1887; Pam #97, p 45; 1T 251; 11MR 49; RH Aug 27, 1889.
125. Those who judge. EGWE 278.
126. Those who pronounce judgment. RH Aug 27, 1889.
127. Those who keep light from others. 1888 Mat 1248.
128. Those who are looking at the failings of others. RH April 16, 1889.
129. Those who labor to have entirely different messages from others. 8MR 67.
130. Those who labor to show rivalry. RH July 5, 1887.
131. Those who labor to show superiority. RH July 5, 1887.
132. Those who lack noble frankness with one another. Pam #97, p 45.
133. Those who lead others to take up the reproach against those whom they dislike. HM Jan 1, 1892.
134. Those who let envy rule. OHC 170.
135. Those who let jealousy rule. OHC 170.
136. Those who let strife rule. OHC 170.
137. Those who let their tongues express the jealousy of their hearts. 4T 337.
138. Those who look for defects. CC 357.
139. Those who look for flaws. 1888 Mat 1248.
140. Those who lose brotherly love. CC 357.
141. Those who lose love of Christ in their heart. CC 357.
142. Those who lose sight of Christ. CC 357.
143. Those who are murmurers. 15MR 164.
144. Those who magnify the mistakes of those whom they dislike. HM Jan 1, 1892.
145. Those who make a man an offender for a word. 15MR 125.
146. Those who make more of the faults of others than their own. RH July 5, 1887.
147. Those who make of no account words of justly reproof given them. Pam #146, p 18.
148. Those who make remarks to try and hurt others. EGWE 276.
149. Those who manifest little patience for your brethren. EGWE 277.
150. Those who measure others by their own standards. RH Aug 27, 1889.
151. Those who murmur against God. ST May 6, 1880.
152. Those who murmur against their brethren. ST May 6, 1880.
153. Those who are not equally concerned and interested in the advantage of their brethren. RH July 5, 1887.
154. Those who are not equally concerned and interested in the success of their brethren. RH July 5, 1887.
155. Those who are not quick to discern their own errors. RH July 5, 1887.
156. Those who are not quick to discern their own mistakes. RH July 5, 1887.
157. Those who are not reconciled with those whom God has chosen to bear His message. 1888 Mat 1245.
158. Those who are not severe upon their own defects of character. RH July 5, 1887.
159. Those who are not slow to communicate suspicions to others. RH Jan 3, 1893.
160. Those who do not cleanse their soul-temple. ST May 6, 1880; 4T 337.
161. Those who do not love all their brethren. Pam #97, p 45.
162. Those who do not love their neighbor as themselves. RH July 5, 1887.
163. Those who do not purify their hearts. ST May 6, 1880.
164. Those who do not want harmony among all brethren. Pam #97, p 45.
165. Those who have no special interest to do strict justice in all things with their others. RH July 5, 1887.
166. Those who oppose enforcing order among God's people. RH Aug 27, 1861.
167. Those who oppose those whom God has chosen. 1888 Mat 1248.
168. Those who are passing their own judgment on others. 2SM 79.
169. Those who are pettish. 11MR 49.
170. Those who are prejudiced against others. PC 153-54; 8T 84; 1888 Mat 1011.
171. Those who are proud. RH April 22, 1890; ST May 6, 1880; RH Nov 12, 1903.
172. Those who participate in secret whisperings. Pam #97, p 45.
173. Those who present others in a false light. RH July 5, 1887.
174. Those who profess to have discernment to discover spots in characters. RH Jan 3, 1893.
175. Those who profess to have discernment to discover stains in characters. RH Jan 3, 1893.
176. Those who promote strife. RH July 5, 1887.
177. Those who promote variance. RH July 5, 1887.
178. Those who put forth the finger. 1888 Mat 1247.
179. Those who are of a questioning spirit. 2SM 79.
180. Those who have quick tempers. SC 73.
181. Those who question why God has chosen certain ones to do His work. 1888 Mat 1248.
182. Those who quibble about matters of little importance. 6MR 242.
183. Those who quibble about matters which are not tests from God. 6MR 242.
184. Those who are rebellious. RH Jan 3, 1893.
185. Those who are resentful under injuries. SC 73.
186. Those who receive false reports which destroy the influence of those engaged in God's work. 1T 251.
187. Those who refuse to dethrone self that Jesus might be enshrined in their hearts. ST May 6, 1880.
188. Those who report suppositions as facts of truth. HM Jan 1, 1892.
189. Those who report the mistakes of those whom they dislike. HM Jan 1, 1892.
190. Those who retard the work of advance among God's people. RH Aug 27, 1861.
191. Those who retard the work of reform among God's people. RH Aug 27, 1861.
192. Those who are self-assertive. SC 73.
193. Those who are selfish. 4SP 340, RH April 22, 1890.
194. Those who are speaking of the evil traits of others. RH April 16, 1889.
195. Those who by their spirit seek to counterwork the influence of the minister of Christ. 15MR 163-64.
196. Those who seek spots upon the characters of others. 4T 337.
197. Those who seek stains upon the characters of others. 4T 337.
198. Those who seek vainglory. RH July 5, 1887.
199. Those who seize upon the mistakes of others whom they dislike. HM Jan 1, 1892.
200. Those who set themselves up as judges by admitting evil thoughts. HM Jan 1, 1892.
201. Those who sow seeds of doubt about others. 15MR 163-64.
202. Those who sow seeds of infidelity about others. 15MR 163-64.
203. Those who speak evil of others. 2MCP 639; 15MR 163-64.
204. Those who speak words of vanity. 1888 Mat 1247.
205. Those who spread falsehood. 2SM 79.
206. Those who spread fanatical teachings. RH Sept 12, 1893; Spiritual Gifts, vol 4b, p 159.
207. Those who spread sorrow. 18MR 366.
208. Those who spread their bitterness about one another to other minds. HM Jan 1, 1892.
209. Those who spread their evil-surmising to other minds. HM Jan 1, 1892.
210. Those who spread their suspicions about one another to other minds. HM Jan 1, 1892.
211. Those who spread weakness. 18MR 366.
212. Those who stand aloof from those whom God is using. 1888 Mat 1248.
213. Those who stand between God and the people. 1888 Mat 1248.
214. Those who stand ready to oppose every advance step that God would have His people make. RH Aug 27, 1861.
215. Those who strain to be new and original. 8MR 67.
216. Those who strive for the supremacy. RH Nov 12, 1903.
217. Those who are tale-bearers. ST May 6, 1880.
218. Those who take advantage of mistakes of others. 1888 Mat 1247.
219. Those who take mere mole-hills (imaginary difficulties) and magnify them into mountains. 15MR 145.
220. Those who take up and spread reports against others. 1888 Mat 1092.
221. Those who talk of the errors of others. EGWE 279.
222. Those who talk of the mistakes of others. EGWE 279.
223. Those who teach things which nourish disunion. RH Aug 27, 1861.
224. Those who tear down that which God designs to be built up. RH Aug 27, 1861.
225. Those who tell others first instead of telling the very one they're talking about. Pam #97, p 45.
226. Those who think evil of one another. 2MCP 639.
227. Those who try to catch another in his words. 15MR 125.
228. Those who try to counteract work to be done. Pam #146, p 18.
229. Those who are unyielding. ST May 6, 1880.
230. Those who use their influence to counterwork the influence of the minister of Christ. 15MR 163-64.
231. Those who use their words to counterwork the influence of the minister of Christ. 15MR 163-64.
232. Those who are watching for evil in others. 1T 251.
233. Those who watch eagerly for all that is wrong against those whom they dislike. HM Jan 1, 1892.
234. Those who watch for errors in their brethren. 5T 238.
235. Those who watch others with distrust. Pam #97, p 45.
236. Those who watch others with jealousy. Pam #97, p 45.
237. Those who weaken God's church. RH Jan 3, 1893.
238. Those who will not concede to the right. Pam #146, p 18.
239. Those who will not consent to correct their wrongs. Pam #146, p 18.
240. Those who will not walk in the light. Pam #146, p 18.
241. Those who work to be esteemed. RH July 5, 1887.
242. Those who work to exalt self. RH July 5, 1887.
243. Those who work plans for their own selfish interest. RH July 5, 1887.
244. Those who are zealous to spread false reports. 1T 251.
After reading through this listing of the fruits manifested by Satan's agents, most of us would find ourselves guilty of aiding the Devil and ignorantly being used by him to prevent unity from taking place among us. Yet this brings up a valid point: we would surely be lost if God treated us like we treat one another!
"We should be in a wretched state if the God of heaven were like one of us, and treated us as we are inclined to treat one another. Thank the Lord that His thoughts are not our thoughts, nor His ways our ways....If we have the love of Jesus, we shall love those for whom He has died." RH Aug 27, 1889.
But we do not need to continue to be used by the Devil any longer! Christ can free us from all self and from all sin so that we no longer are a dupe of Satan working to thwart Christ's prayer of a visible unity among His people. So for those who truly desire to follow God and fulfill His will among us, God is willing to work in you to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13). Thus unity will by your desire and goal! As such, what is the key thing which we all need to avoid and which is Satan's most successful means of keeping God's church weak?
"...give no place to the enemy by giving way to evil thinking and evil speaking,--his most successful means of keeping the church in a weak, unconverted state." AUCR April 15, 1905.
"...this earthliness and sensuality, this cheap and nonsensical talk, this jesting and joking, this false reporting, babbling, and evil surmising....It enfeebles and weakens the church." Faith and Works, p 79.
What is the greatest sin in the sight of God?
"God does not separate from His people, but His people separate themselves from God by their own course of action. And I know of no sins greater in the sight of God than cherishing jealousy and hatred toward brethren, and turning the weapons of warfare against them." 1888 Mat, 1011.
And where is the source of every evil work?
"Pride of heart, if cherished, creates envy, evil surmising, and even revenge." 15MR 188.
"For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work." James 3:16.
"Where envying and jealousies are cherished, there is every evil work." RH June 28, 1887.
How is this true?
"Envy and jealousy are like two sisters who blend together in their workings. Envy will lead a man to desire some good which another possesses, and will urge him to use every means in his power to bring down and injure the character and reputation of one in whose place he desires to be. Falsehood, hearsays, and slanderous reports are circulated, and everything that can be made use of will be employed to place the envied man in an unfavorable light before the people. Jealousy leads a man to suspect another of seeking to deprive him of advantages and position." ST Nov 2, 1888. (See also 15MR 149.)
Why is Satan so successful among us?
"It matters not how blameless the character and life of those who speak to the people the words of God; this procures for them no credit....But if a false report is circulated, if by some inference or conjecture an imputation is cast upon the character of Christ's ambassador, with what absurd credulity is it received! How many are ready to magnify and spread the slander! Such are revealing their real character." 1SM 72-73.
But how can these agents of Satan really believe that they are working for God by spreading falsehoods and evil surmising?
"He who opens his heart to the suggestions of the enemy in evil surmising and jealousy frequently misconstrues this evil-mindedness to be special foresight, discrimination or discernment to detect guilt and wrong motives in others; he regards it as a precious gift vouchsafed to him, and he draws apart from his brethren, with whom he should be in harmony. He climbs upon the judgment seat and shuts his heart against the one he supposes has erred, as though he himself were above temptation. Jesus separates from him, and leaves him to walk in the sparks of his own kindling.
"Let no one among you glory any longer against the truth by pretending that this spirit is a necessary consequence of faithfulness in righting wrongs and standing in defense of truth. Such wisdom has many admirers, but it is very deceptive and harmful. It does not come from above, but is the fruit of the heart that needs regeneration. Its originator is Satan himself....
"May God pity those who are watching, as did the Pharisees, to find something to condemn in their brethren, and who pride themselves on their wonderfully acute discernment. That which they call discernment is cold, satanic criticism, acuteness in suspecting and charging souls with evil intent who are less guilty than themselves. They are, like the enemy of God, accusers of the brethren." 15MR 180.
"Do not the same evils still exist that lay at the foundation of Korah's ruin? Pride and ambition are wide-spread; and when these are cherished, they open the door to envy, and a striving for supremacy; the soul is alienated from God, and unconsciously drawn into the ranks of Satan. Like Korah and his companions, many, even of the professed followers of Christ, are thinking, planning, and working so eagerly for self-exaltation, that in order to gain the sympathy and support of the people, they are ready to pervert the truth, falsifying and misrepresenting the Lord's servants, and even charging them with the base and selfish motives that inspire their own hearts. By persistently reiterating falsehood, and that against all evidence, they at last come to believe it to be truth. While endeavoring to destroy the confidence of the people in the men of God's appointment, they really believe that they are engaged in a good work, verily doing God service." RH Nov 12, 1903.
We most assuredly have the same rebellion of Korah and his companions among our separated people today! It has not died out, but is very active. But do we have any power to stop Satan working among us? Can we thwart his scheming plans to divide us?
"As we approach the last crisis, it is of vital moment that harmony and unity exist among the Lord's instrumentalities....While he [Lucifer] seeks to unite his agents in warring against the truth he will work to divide and scatter its advocates. Jealousy, evil surmising, evil speaking, are instigated by him to produce discord and dissension. The members of Christ's church have the power to thwart the purpose of the adversary of souls. At such a time as this let them not be found at variance with one another or with any of the Lord's workers. Amidst the general discord let there be one place where harmony and unity exists because the Bible is made the guide of life. Let the people of God feel that a responsibility rests upon them to build up His instrumentalities." PM 114.
So there are two groups of separated people today, and the parable of the vine and the branches is a perfect description.
"I sought to impress upon the people the lesson of that wonderful parable of the vine and the branches. [John 15:1-6 quoted]. There are two kinds of connection between the branches and the vine; the one is deceptive, superficial." Church and Sabbath School Bulletin, March 3, 1899.
In the parable of John 15:1-6, there are two kinds of connections of the branches with the Vine or Christ. One group of branches have a close connection, and are cared for by the Husbandman, which bear much fruit; while the other group of branches have a deceptive connection and bear only leaves, which are cut off the Vine, whither, and are eventually burned. Yet those branches which have a close connection with Christ, are in close union with every other branch which has a close connection, and bear much fruit for the Husbandman.
"...I dwelt largely upon the importance of a close union of the members of Christ's church one with another, and with Him, as illustrated in the parable of the vine, in the fifteenth chapter of John." RH Aug 29, 1907.
"...the branches in the true Vine are the believers who are brought into oneness by being connected with the Vine stock. There must be unity in their diversity. Individuality is preserved; for one branch cannot blend into another in the same stock; yet every individual branch must be in fellowship with the other if they are united to the parent stock." 6MR 104. (See also RH Nov 9, 1897; AA 20; 5BC 1148.)
While those branches which are superficial and deceptive, which have not a close connection with Christ, are not in close union with the other branches, and bear only leaves.
"Those who are truly connected with Him [Christ] cannot be at variance with one another. His Spirit ruling in the heart will create harmony, love, and unity. The opposite of this is seen among the children of Satan." 5T 28.
"There have of late arisen among us men who profess to be the servants of Christ, but whose work is opposed to that unity which our Lord established in the church....Some are watching their fellow laborers and anxiously endeavoring to point out their errors, when they should rather be earnestly seeking to prepare their own souls for the great conflict before them. The Saviour bids them: 'Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.'" 5T 238.
Which kind of branch do you want to be? A true branch, or a false superficial one? You will plainly show to others exactly which kind of branch you are by your actions and words. By your actions and words you either reveal that you are working in and for unity, being God's true servants--reaping everlasting life, or you are working to oppose unity, being Satan's true servants--reaping everlasting destruction by fire! We are either workers and agents for God, or workers and agents for the devil!
"The two great powers in controversy are working, one from beneath, the other from above. Every man is under the secret influence of the one or the other, and his acts will reveal the character of the inspiration from which they proceed. Those who are united with Christ will work always in Christ's lines. Those who are in union with Satan will work under the inspiration of their leader, opposed to the Holy Spirit's power and action. The will of man is left free to act, and by action is revealed what spirit is moving upon the heart. 'By their fruits ye shall know them.'" 1888 Mat, 1508. (See also 2SP 141; 6T 238-39.)
Thus all of us will be in unity with some power--either Christ, or the Devil. Those who refuse to be in complete union with Christ and His people will seek to be in union with anti-christ!
"Men are taking sides, according to their choice....All that have refused to be taught of God, hold the traditions of men. They at last pass over on the side of the enemy, against God, and are written, 'antichrist.' The people of God, who understand our position in this world's history, are, with ears open and hearts softened and subdued, pressing together in unity--one with Jesus Christ. Those who will not practice the lessons of Christ, but keep themselves in hand to mold themselves, find in antichrist the center of their union." Series A#9, 55-56.
So where is the greatest enemy to unity to be found? From the world? NO! But right from our own separated ranks--right from among us!
"It is not the opposition of the world that most endangers the church of Christ. It is the evil cherished in the hearts of believers that works their most grievous disaster and most surely retards the progress of God's cause." AA 549.
"It is not the opposition of the world that we have to fear; but it is the elements that work among ourselves that have hindered the message. The efficiency of the movements for extending the truth depends upon the harmonious action of those who profess to believe it. Love and confidence constitute a moral force that would have united our churches, and insured harmony of action; but coldness and distrust have brought disunion that has shorn us of our strength." General Conference Daily Bulletin Feb 28, 1893. (See also ST Jan 3, 1884; CC 357.)
As this is so, why do some of our own people become agents of Satan and our worst enemies?
"Unless man is given the converting grace of heaven, he will have no disposition to oppose Satan's counsels, and will become the enemy's willing dupe." 13MR 383.
What is one of the greatest reasons for most church trials?
"The abuses of the stomach by the gratification of appetite are the fruitful source of most church trials. Those who eat and work intemperately and irrationally, talk and act irrationally. An intemperate man cannot be a patient man....The sin of intemperate eating, eating too frequently, too much, and of rich, unwholesome food, destroys the healthy action of the digestive organs, affects the brain, and perverts the judgment, preventing rational, calm, healthy thinking and acting. And this is the fruitful source of church trials." 1T 618-19.
What is the greatest cause of most church trials?
"...the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell....it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:5-8.
"More distractions and wickedness in the church are caused by a wrong use of the tongue, by a lack of governing the speech, than by anything else." 15MR 183.
"It is impossible to express the pain and trouble caused by the false tongue....The professed followers of Christ should realize that the influence of their words and acts not only has a bearing upon themselves, but extends outside the church. If they could see the mischief wrought by their careless words, the repetition of vague reports, the unjust censures, there would be far less talking and more praying when Christians assemble together." RH Oct 19, 1886.
This issue of the tongue is mentioned quite often in God's word (see also RH July 21, 1904.) And if we could just control our tongues, we could become perfect!
"If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." James 3:2.
Then how can we defeat Satan and his nefarious work of disunion among us?
"The adversary of souls is not permitted to read the thoughts of men; but he is a keen observer, and he marks the words; he takes account of actions, and skillfully adapts his temptations to meet the cases of those who place themselves in his power. If we would labor to repress sinful thoughts and feelings, giving them no expression in words or actions, Satan would be defeated; for he could not prepare his specious temptations to meet the case. But how often do professed Christians, by their lack of self-control, open the door to the adversary of souls! Divisions, and even bitter dissensions which would disgrace any worldly community, are common in the churches, because there is so little effort to control wrong feelings, and to repress every word that Satan can take advantage of. As soon as an alienation of feeling arises, the matter is spread before Satan for his inspection, and the opportunity given for him to use his serpent-like wisdom and skill in dividing and destroying the church....Satan and his angels are actively at work to secure a harvest from seed thus sown. Worldlings look on, and jeeringly exclaim, 'Behold how these Christians hate one another! If this is religion, we do not want it.' And they look upon themselves and their irreligious characters with great satisfaction. Thus they are confirmed in their impenitence, and Satan exults at his success." RH March 22, 1887.
Thus the whole problem of our disunity devolves around our NOT DOING GOD'S WILL!
"There is alienation and division where none should exist, among those who profess to be the children of God; and the reason of this is that men are hearers, readers, of the words of Christ, but not doers." RH July 22, 1890.
For those separated Present Truth believers among us who want to be a doer of God's will; for those who want to be in perfect union with each other--being agents of Christ and reaping eternal life if faithful to the end, what must we do?
WHAT IS THE SECRET TO UNITY?
"The secret of unity is union with Christ. Christ is the great center. We shall approach one another just in proportion as we approach the center. United with Christ, we shall surely be united with our brethren in the faith." PC 153.
"The secret of unity is found in the equality of believers in Christ. The reason for all division, discord, and difference is found in separation from Christ. Christ is the center to which all should be attracted; for the nearer we approach the center, the closer we shall come together in feeling, in sympathy, in love, growing into the character and image of Jesus." 1SM 259.
"Jesus Christ is the one great Unity; He possesses the attributes that harmonize all diversities." YI Aug 19, 1897. (See also AH 179; 5BC 1148; DA 660; TDG 51; UL 36; LHU 292, 296; 1888 Mat 1092-93.)
This is plainly shown by looking at the example of a bicycle wheel which has spokes. The farther away the individual spokes are from the center hub of the wheel, the farther away they are from the other spokes. But the closer the individual spokes are to the hub, the closer they draw together. So with us: the closer we are to Christ, the closer we will unite with one another. But if we are not united with one another it plainly shows that we are not united with Christ either.
"When the people of God are one with Him, they will be one with each other. Their unity and love will testify to the genuineness of their union with Christ." 15MR 86-87.
But there are other essential keys to unity.
"Prayer unites us one to another and to God. Prayer brings Jesus to our side..." RH Oct 30, 1900.
What else is an essential key to unity?
"The Holy Spirit will create unity." LHU 296.
"Until the Holy Spirit is accepted and allowed to do its office work upon the heart, each individual will strive to become a center of influence for himself. But we know in our experience, that harmonious subordination to the Spirit of God is rest, and peace, and joy." Bible Training School, March 1, 1909.
"All difficulties are easily settled, all wrongs easily righted, when human beings are under the control of the Spirit of God." SpM 347. (See also OHC 170.)
What else is an essential key to unity?
"Through the Holy Spirit, Christ will open more clearly to those who will believe on Him that which He has inspired holy men to write concerning the truth. And it is thus that the unity for which Christ prayed is to be effected." Gospel Workers (1892 edition), p 391.
"Sanctification, unity, peace--all are to be ours through the truth." OHC 329. (See also RH Feb 16, 1892, March 4, 1890.)
What else is an essential key to unity?
"Those who walk in the light of Christ reject no message of truth, and the fruit of their acceptance of truth is unity among themselves. Christ is their center, Christ is to them the way, the truth, and the life. But those who simply cry, 'Christ, Christ,' and do not accept the words of Christ, are not partakers of His divine nature, and do not eat of His flesh, or drink of His blood. Those who live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God will not, cannot, be at variance...This is the unity that will exist among those in whose hearts Christ is formed, the hope of glory." ST May 23, 1895.
"He [Paul] warned them [Galatians] that if they indulged hatred and strife, dividing into parties, and like the brutes biting and devouring one another, they would bring upon themselves present unhappiness and future ruin. There was but one way to prevent these terrible evils and that was...to 'walk in the Spirit.' They must by constant prayer seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which would lead them to love and unity." 5T 243.
And what else is an essential key to unity?
"This plan [rescuing souls from Satan's snares to behold the Lamb of God] united the believers to God as one man. One rule of life is the principle of action. A chain of mutual dependence, made fast to the throne of God, passes round every blood-bought soul....Reformative influences destroy the desire to do evil; the holy agencies of heaven sanctify the soul and choose the human agent to do service for God." RH June 5, 1900.
So in order to have a true lasting visible unity among our separated people and Home Churches we must pray, that through the Holy Spirit we can know and understand the truth so that we can follow it unerringly, and thus be truly connected and in union with Christ! Then we can spread Christ and the truth to a perishing world. In doing this we would be eliminating all barriers that keep us from uniting one with another in the same faith! And in uniting with one another in the same faith, we would be fulfilling Christ's command to be "All ye are brethren!" (Matthew 23:8). Now God did not say "all ye are clones" or "all ye are puppets," but "all ye are brethren." Then how do we become such, being so widely different in personality from each other?
"The apostles differed widely in habits and disposition. There were the publican, Levi-Matthew, and the fiery zealot Simon, the uncompromising hater of the authority of Rome; the generous, impulsive Peter, and the mean-spirited Judas; Thomas, true-hearted, yet timid and fearful, Philip, slow of heart, and inclined to doubt, and the ambitious, outspoken sons of Zebedee, with their brethren. These were brought together, with their different faults, all with inherited and cultivated tendencies to evil but in and through Christ they were to dwell in the family of God, learning to become one in faith, in doctrine, in spirit. They would have their tests, their grievances, their differences of opinion; but while Christ was abiding in the heart, there could be no dissension. His love would lead to love for one another; the lessons of the Master would lead to the harmonizing of all differences, bringing the disciples into unity, till they would be of one mind and one judgment. Christ is the great center, and they would approach one another just in proportion as they approached the center." DA 296.
"...God's people are to guard against the danger of condemning the methods of individual workers who are led by the Lord to do a special work that but few are fitted to do. Let brethren in responsibility be slow to criticize movements that are not in perfect harmony with their methods of labor. Let them never suppose that every plan should reflect their own personality. Let them not fear to trust another's methods; for by withholding their confidence from a brother laborer who, with humility and consecrated zeal, is doing a special work in God's appointed way, they are retarding the advancement of the Lord's cause." 9T 259. (See also OHC 169; 6T 235; 1888 Mat 1154.)
It was only after the disciples came into complete harmony and unity with each other in love that the Lord recognized the fact by pouring out His Holy Spirit upon them in early rain power.
"Before the power of the Holy Ghost rested upon the disciples, they spent ten days before God in prayer and fasting and confession of sin. After they had come into unity, the heavens were opened, the glory of God was revealed, and the Holy Spirit came upon them. Then they went forth to proclaim the gospel with power, and under the influence of the Spirit five thousand were converted in one day." Sermons and Talks, vol 2, p 203 (Manuscript 77, 1902).
In like turn, we will not have any hope of receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in latter rain power until we come into complete harmony and loving unity with each other in this precious separated faith.
"I would that I had the power to present the subject to others as it has been presented to me. Just before He descended to the greatest depths of humiliation, the Saviour lifted up His eyes to heaven, and prayed that His disciples might be one. He said, [John 17:20-23 quoted]. The church will never as a whole receive the latter rain unless they shall put away all envy, evil surmising, and evil speaking. Those who have cherished hatred in the heart until it has strengthened and become part of their character, must have a different experience if they would share in the latter rain. Many are not awake to the fact that the Lord is testing and proving them to make it manifest whether or not they really love Jesus. The spirit and attitude manifested to their brethren, tells their spirit and attitude toward God. Great dishonor is done to Jesus Christ by those who claim to be His disciples....it is impossible for one to have the love of God, and fail to have compassion for his fellow men. The love of Jesus in the heart will always be revealed in tender compassion for the souls of those for whom Christ paid so dear a price." HM Aug 1, 1896. (See also RH Feb 25, 1890; TM 399.)
All envying, evil surmising, bearing false witness, gossiping, character assassination, spreading rumors, disunity, dissension, etc., must be put away from us and our separated Home Churches with all speed, and be replaced with loving harmony and unity with each other. Unless this occurs among our separated people and Home Churches, we will be left without the latter rain--watching others being chosen to finish God's work, watching others receiving the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, and watching others taking our heavenly crowns, while we wither and dry up without Christ ready to be burned! We must be "All ye are brethren"!
But what does it mean to be "All ye are brethren"? Let us examine a few testimonies on this.
"'Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price' (1 Cor 6:19-20). Our owner is God. The same blood that purchased one brother, purchased the next also, and the next. All are born of God by the same Spirit. All are members of the same body, and are worked by the same Spirit....The sustenance of all comes from the same source. We must not think it a virtue to differ. We are in close bonds of relationship one with another. If the same vitalizing current is flowing through our minds and hearts, we shall act in harmony. In failing to do this, we deny the Source of all spiritual life." 8MR 69.
"Every worker is to be a laborer together with God. No human being is to be put in a low place to be lorded over by any man, whatever his position. No one is to be kept from expressing his opinion." 1888 Mat 1680-81.
"In the church of God no one is to set himself up in kingly power and authority....Be very courteous in speech, very kindly in action." Bible Training School, May 1, 1903.
"In the very fact that men are free moral agents, God teaches us not to be forced or compelled into any course of action, also that as responsible beings in copartnership with God we are to represent God in character. We are to have an interest in our brother, in our neighbor, in all around." 5BC 1098.
"The Lord looks upon the creatures He has made with compassion, no matter to what race they may belong. God 'hath made of one blood all nations of men'...God is our common Father, and each one of us is our brother's keeper." RH Jan 21, 1896.
"Do not excuse anything in yourselves that you would condemn in another....Be careful how you treat the purchase of His blood." Pam #66, p 8-9.
"What can lead brethren to present before the world opposite opinions, without first coming together in love, and comparing views to see if they cannot come into harmony?" PC 151.
"There is to be no secret societies in our churches....The minister's work is the lay member's work as well. Heart should be bound to heart. Let all press forward, shoulder to shoulder." RH July 9, 1895.
"We should remember that the best and most intelligent of men have only limited ability, and we should pray for discernment to understand what is each man's true place." RH July 22, 1890.
"If a brother errs in his ministerial work, remember that you have all erred, and shown great want of faith in the Lord. Yet, God has not discarded you, and given you no place to work." SpM 60.
"Men often commit wrong through ignorance or want of judgment. In many instances there is no premeditated wrong; it is caused through a lack of thoughtfulness. The one who treats this as sin is himself a sinner. There is many a keen imagination that makes them offender for a word or action. But often the one judged is innocent in the sight of God. The accuser, who has permitted the tempter to ruffle his feelings, needs to humble his soul before God, to be purified and refined by the Holy Spirit, to love as brethren, be kind, be courteous....If one errs, remember that this is no more than you yourself have done. Put away evil surmisings." 11MR 371.
"The Lord in His providence has permitted these brethren who have been doing His work to make some mistakes. For what reason? To reveal what is in the hearts of men who have also made mistakes, and whom God has repeatedly graciously pardoned. God is testing and proving them to see what manner of spirit they are of." 1888 Mat 1249.
"The most essential work now to be done is to consider the words of Christ, 'All ye are brethren.' Each must stand in his lot and place to do the work appointed him, in perfect harmony with his brethren." 18MR 8.
"Those who, in the spirit and love of Jesus, will become one with Him, will be in close fellowship one with another, bound up by the silken cords of love. Then the ties of human brotherhood would not be always on the strain, ready at any provocation to snap asunder. 'All ye are brethren' will be the sentiment of every child of faith. When the followers of Christ are one with Him, there will be no first and last, no less respected or less important ones. A blessed brotherly fellowship one with another will bind all who truly receive the Lord Jesus Christ in a firm loyalty that cannot be broken. All will be equally one with Christ." 5BC 1097-98.
"We are not to place dependence upon man, nor expect homage from our fellow-men.....We are not to be blind; we may see the prejudices which are cherished by those with whom we associate, we may see the errors that hinder their religious growth, we may discern their instability of opinion, their partiality of action; but because we see thus, we should not feel that we are superior to them, measuring ourselves among ourselves, and leaning to our own understanding. As we see the deficiencies of others, it should lead us to be less self-confident, to be jealous of our own spirit and action." RH July 22, 1890.
"God does not require His servants all to work in precisely the same way. Each worker should thank God that he has a part in the Lord's vineyard, and each should believe that the Lord is leading his brother workers as verily as he believes that the Lord is leading him....The spirit that leads workers to measure themselves among themselves, and to estimate the value of the workers according to human judgment, is not the spirit of Christ." SpM 410.
"Avoid all contention among yourselves. Use every means within your reach to restrain the unsanctified words that are ever upon the tongue,--words that would cast a reflection upon others. Be true to one another. We are bought with a price; therefore in word and act we should glorify God." RH Jan 6, 1903.
"Brethren differ in ideas; for their temperaments are unlike. One is more speculative than practical; another thinks his position gives him authority to say what the next man should and must do, without any argument on the point. 'All ye are brethren.' Let each resolve that he will not, under any provocation, show a cheapness and littleness of spirit, that he will speak no words in bitterness." 18MR 66.
"The wealthy are not to be honored above the poor. No distinction is to be made." 16MR 49.
"The desire to have one's own way, contrary to the judgment of co-workers, is to find no place..." Medical Ministry, p 172.
"Those who withdraw their sympathy and help from their fellow laborers, God will deal with in a way to show them His displeasure." SpM 410. (See also SpM 62, 67-68; ST July 16, 1896; TDG 192; GCB Feb 25, 1895, April 5, 1901; TM 224, 362; UL 74; Southern Work, p 11; TDG 356; RH Oct 6, 1891, July 11, 1899, Dec 11, 1900; 5BC 1135; YI March 22, 1900; Ministry of Healing, p 166; 1888 Mat 1639-40, 1759; ST Oct 17, 1895.)
So "all ye are brethren" means that no one is to be kept from expressing his opinion, no one is to set himself up in kingly power and authority, all are free moral agents and are not to be forced or compelled into any course of action, we are to have an interest in our brother, and it does not matter to what race we may belong, each one of us is our brother's keeper. We are not to excuse anything in ourselves that we would condemn in others, there is to be no secret societies in our churches, and if a brother errs in his ministerial work, remember that you have all erred. There will be no first and last, no less respected or less important ones, we are not to place dependence upon man, nor expect homage from our fellow-men, and God does not require His servants all to work in precisely the same way. As workers, we are not to measure ourselves among ourselves, nor to estimate the value of the workers according to human judgment. We are to avoid all contention among ourselves, we are to restrain the unsanctified words that are ever upon the tongue, we are to be true to one another, the wealthy are not to be honored above the poor--no distinction is to be made, and the desire to have one's own way, is to find no place among us.
After reading to this point, I hope that you can clearly understand that God is not calling for His people and Home Churches to unite in an ecumenical union where truth is compromised. Nor is He calling for them to unite under a hierarchical system where men rule over one another. But God is calling for all of His true separated people to unite in a loving oneness in Christ and with each other under a system of equality where "all ye are brethren".
Obviously, this unity must start at the local Home Church. It starts when the brothers and sisters in just one of our separated Home Churches decide that they will follow God's will and then work together until they achieve a visible unity and oneness with each other. Then God's precious promises and blessings can become theirs by faith! But it does not end there, because when the brethren in another separated Home Church decide to do the same and also achieves visible unity among their own members, they receive God's blessings as well, and can then extend this unity with other united separated Home Churches. And so on, until all the brethren in all the separated Home Churches that will do so have achieved this blessed visible unity among their own members, as well as with their fellow separated Home Churches, and are bathing in the blessings and glory of God and lightening this world with His glory! So once again, there is no call for an organization to be set up where all the separated Home Churches must unite under before a visible unity can be achieved. This blessed unity starts among the individual Home Church brethren themselves when they decide to work with God's strength until they achieve a visible oneness and unity among their own Home Church members.
But once this blessed visible oneness and unity has been achieved among the separated brethren in a local Home Church, how are they to preserve this unity in an "All ye are brethren" atmosphere?
"Every heart renewed by the Spirit of God would not only love God but love his brother, and if that brother made mistakes, if he erred, he must be dealt with after the gospel plan. Every step must be followed according to the directions given in the word of God." EGWE 276.
So the individual united Home Church itself must deal with their own erring brothers and sisters after the Gospel plan or after Gospel Order. But why is Gospel Order needed in the first place?
"The Lord desires...us to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of His will, that there may be unity with His people. And what an influence there is for good when brethren are in harmony; and what an influence it has for evil when there are strife and dissension among those who profess to believe the truth of God!" RH July 2, 1889.
God wants His people to be under His plan of Gospel Order so that His church will not be an influence for evil, but for good! But there is another reason why God wants His people under Gospel Order.
"Unless there was church discipline and church governments, the church would go to fragments. They could not hold together as a body." 15MR 130.
Even more importantly, God wants Gospel Order so that His church will not fall apart, and He be forced to choose others to take their places. So after we have achieved the unity among us for which Christ prayed, then God desires us to preserve this unity or protect it, with Gospel Order. And if God's separated people and Home Churches would come together under Gospel Order, what a power for God they would be!
"I saw [that] if Israel [God's people] moved steadily along, going according to Bible order, they would be as terrible as an army with banners." 13MR 301.
What then is Gospel Order? The underlying principle of Gospel Order is clearly spelled out when we look at the kingdom in heaven:
"Were there no justice, no penalty, there would be no stability to the government of God" 6BC 1072.
Not only is this true in the government of heaven, but it is also necessary in God's Loud Cry Separation Movement of Home Churches today.
"...it is necessary to have order and discipline..." RH Sept 4, 1888.
There must be a biblical system of Gospel Order upon which God's separated people and Home Churches are to abide by today. Without this, whatever unity is achieved will quickly be destroyed. AGAIN, THIS IS NOT A CALL FOR A HIERARCHY TO BE SET UP! NOR IS THIS A CALL FOR A KINGLY POWER TO RULE AND LORD IT OVER OUR SEPARATED PEOPLE! BUT IT IS A CALL FOR A SYSTEM OF CHURCH ORDER TO BE ESTABLISHED IN OUR HOME CHURCHES WHICH IS SOLELY AND PURELY BASED UPON THE GOSPEL FOUND IN GOD'S INSPIRED WORD!
"The Lord has shown me that gospel order has been too much neglected and feared. That formality should be shunned; but in doing so, order should not be neglected. There is order in heaven. There was order in the church when Christ was upon the earth; and after His departure, order was strictly observed among His apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing His children into the unity of faith, there is more real need of order than ever before; for, as God unites His children, Satan and his evil angels are very busy to prevent this unity and to destroy it." EW 97.
"Christ would have His followers brought together in church capacity, observing order, having rules and discipline, and all subject one to another, esteeming others better than themselves. Union and confidence are essential to the prosperity of the church." 3T 445.
"...the members of the church of Christ should be united in one symmetrical body, subject to the sanctified intelligence of the whole....Many do not realize the sacredness of church relationship and are loath to submit to restraint and discipline. Their course of action shows that they exalt their own judgment above that of the united church...Every believer should be wholehearted in his attachment to the church." 4T 16-18.
Until unity is achieved and Gospel Order established, the separated Home Churches will not get right with God!
"I hope the church will soon get right--when they can move in gospel order." 1BIO, p 174.
We must have Gospel Order established in our united Home Churches or we will not be able to move and advance forward in God's will.
"The order that was maintained in the early Christian church made it possible for them to move forward solidly as a well-disciplined army clad with the armor of God. The companies of believers, though scattered over a large territory, were all members of one body; all moved in concert and in harmony with one another." AA 95-96.
There must be order in our separated ranks or we will not be able to shut Satan out from among us, and we will continue to be plagued with troubles and dissensions.
"I saw that this door at which the enemy comes in to perplex and trouble the flock can be shut. I inquired of the angel how it could be closed. He said, 'The church must flee to God's Word and become established upon gospel order, which has been overlooked and neglected.' This is indispensably necessary in order to bring the church into the unity of the faith." EW 100.
And in shutting Satan out, all evil will be shut out with him: fanaticism will be shut out, division will be shut out, evil speaking will be shut out, character assassination will be shut out, etc.
"...satanic policy cannot succeed if the people of God will bar the doors against the enemy, and work harmoniously to carry out the divine will. The foe cannot enter unless the gates are thrown open by traitors within. If we are but loyal and true, every attack of the enemy will lead us to a firmer reliance upon God, and to more determined effort to carry forward His work, against all opposing influences." ST Dec 13, 1883.
Under Gospel Order, we are no longer separate and independent from our separated brethren in the same separated faith, but we are united brethren. We no longer can follow our will against the will of our united brethren. We must give up self and be under restraint to God and to our united brethren, thus no one can continue to cling to sin and still be united with his brethren. This is one of the greatest reasons why there is so much opposition to unity among us--because cherished sin and dear self would have to be given up if we had unity!
"Dear self is the most obstinate person the follower of Jesus has to contend with. There must be humility and forbearance in the church. Self must be overcome, and those looking for Christ's appearing must possess the power of endurance and self control if they would have God's Spirit with them....
"Then God's people were presented before me. Oh, the lack of forbearance and patience with one another, the lack of brotherly love, of meekness, of self control, while professing to be followers of Christ, subjects of His special grace! Oh, what a reproach to Christ! What a reproach to God's cause! Brethren and sisters professing His name suffer evil traits to appear in their lives, and they are stumbling blocks to those who have not professed to be Christ's followers." 15MR 124-25.
"Christ gave Himself to the world that He might 'purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.' This refining process is designed to purge the church from all unrighteousness and the spirit of discord and contention, that they may build up instead of tear down, and concentrate their energies on the great work before them....Many do not realize the sacredness of church relationship and are loath to submit to restraint and discipline....they are not careful to guard themselves lest they encourage a spirit of opposition to its voice....Dissensions, unhappy differences, and petty church trials dishonor our Redeemer. All these may be avoided if self is surrendered to God and the followers of Jesus obey the voice of the church. Unbelief suggests that individual independence increases our importance, that it is weak to yield our own ideas of what is right and proper to the verdict of the church; but to yield to such feelings and views is unsafe and will bring us into anarchy and confusion." 4T 17-19.
As we are not talking about setting up a hierarchical system of kingly power to lord it over our separated people, what kind of Gospel Order are we to have?
"The world must see in the church of God true order, true discipline, true organization....There is to be no schism in the body of believers" Kress Collection, p 76.
We must be so united with and so close in brotherly love to one another, that when one part of our church body falls into sin or into deep trouble, the rest of the body will come to their rescue.
When Lot and his group fell into deep trouble--being captured by enemies, Abraham and all his group came to their rescue! The same must be with us!
"Those who associate together in church capacity have entered into a relationship with one another which implies mutual responsibility. They have individually pledged themselves to God and to their brethren to build up one another in the most holy faith,--to build up, not to tear down." RH Oct 19, 1886.
Under Gospel Order, what do we do if dissensions come in our midst?
"When dissension arose in a local church...and the believers were unable to come to an agreement among themselves, such matters were not permitted to create a division in the church, but were referred to a general council of the entire body of believers, made up of appointed delegates from the various local churches, with the apostles and elders in positions of leading responsibility. Thus the efforts of Satan to attack the church in isolated places were met by concerted action on the part of all, and the plans of the enemy to disrupt and destroy were thwarted." AA 96.
Under Gospel Order, and after the Bible rules have been followed, how are our Home Churches to handle the cases of their own members who are accused of doing wrong to see what church action, if any, should be taken?
"At some appointed time the subject should be patiently considered, and in the fear of God, with much humility and sorrow for the erring who are the purchase of the blood of Christ, with earnest, humble prayer, the proper officers should deal with the offenders....
"The matter should be thoroughly investigated before any action is taken. Let such questions as the following be carefully considered: What is the charge brought against the erring? Has the law of God been willfully transgressed? Has the offender been dishonest in his dealings with his brethren or the world? Has he been guilty of licentious conduct? Has he been untruthful? Has he practiced deception? Has he been severe, overbearing, and abusive in his family, with his neighbors, his brethren, or worldlings? Has he shown a spirit of penuriousness, selfishness, covetousness, of doubt, fault-finding, or talebearing? Has he talked of the faults of his brethren, magnifying their wrongs and cherishing a spirit of bitterness toward them, thus endangering the prosperity and unity of the church?
"All these points require careful consideration, but the next question is, What course has been pursued toward the erring? Has the Bible rule been followed to the letter? Read before the church the rules given them by their Captain, and let the question be asked, Have they obeyed orders like faithful soldiers in the army? To go contrary to the positive orders of the Captain of our salvation is deserving of severest censure by those whom God has placed in authority." 15MR 135-36.
With Gospel Order, the united Home Church brethren cannot be afraid to take action, when necessary, with their own members who get out of Christ's lines--especially in regards to unruly tongues. No neutrality can be sanctioned when dealing with those who cling to sin.
"On the church has been conferred the power to act in Christ's stead. It is God's instrumentality for the preservation of order and discipline among His people. To it the Lord has delegated the power to settle all questions respecting its prosperity, purity, and order. Upon it rests the responsibility of excluding from its fellowship those who are unworthy, who by their un-christlike conduct would bring dishonor on the truth. Whatever the church does that is in accordance with the directions given in God's word, will be ratified in heaven." Gospel Workers (1915 edition), p 501-02.
"God is not pleased with the slothful work done in the churches. He expects His stewards to be true and faithful in giving reproof and correction. They are to expel wrong after the rule God has given in His word, not according to their own ideas and impulses. No harsh means must be used, no unfair, hasty, impulsive work done. The efforts made to cleanse the church from moral uncleanness must be made in God's way. There must be no partiality, no hypocrisy. There must be no favorites, whose sins are regarded as less sinful than those of others. Oh, how much we all need the baptism of the Holy Ghost. Then we shall always work with the mind of Christ, with kindness, compassion, and sympathy, showing love for the sinner while hating sin with a perfect hatred." Ev 368-69 (See also 15MR 158-59, 170.)
"Christ cannot save the purchase of His blood without, through reproof and correction, administering His discipline. This is necessary for the safety of the church, for the preservation of a wholesome atmosphere in the church. But He sees the danger of unwise judgement, and He gives the following injunctions: [Matt 7:1-5 quoted]." 15MR 170.
Christ gives clear, simple instructions on what actions are to be taken by the local Home Church if wrongs have been committed by one of their members to another.
"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou has gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican. Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." Matthew 18:15-18.
Thus it is God's will that the united Home Church members are to follow these steps in dealing with problems between them--even to the point of church action against those who refuse to repent! Is this really true? What should the local Home Church do if any of its own members do not follow these plain instructions of Christ, for preserving unity in His church, and are guilty of breaking these Biblical rules?
"If members of the church go contrary to these rules (Matthew 18:15-18), they make themselves subjects for church discipline, and should be under the censure of the church. This matter, so plainly taught in the lessons of Christ, has been treated with strange indifference....Measures should be taken to correct this cruel spirit of criticism, of judging the motives of others, as though Christ had revealed to men the hearts of their brethren. The neglect of doing right, with wisdom and grace, the work that ought to have been done, has left churches...almost inefficient and Christ-less." RH April 16, 1895.
"No church can be in a healthy, flourishing condition unless its leaders shall take firm, decided measures to repress this fault-finding, accusing spirit wherever it exists. Its indulgence should be made a matter of church discipline; for it is a violation of the law of God, a violation of the rules which Christ has laid down for preserving order in the church. If these mischievous talkers are not subjected to church discipline they become confirmed in their evil work, and God charges the guilt upon the church." RH Oct 19, 1886.
"Many are partaking of the spirit...--a driving, censorious, dictatorial spirit. Oh, I would that it might be banished from the hearts of all who profess the faith! But if this cannot be, then it is necessary, for the salvation of the remaining members, that all who stir up strife be separated from the church." 15MR 140. (See also 15MR 163.)
"There is a great need of work to be done, that the churches may not become defiled. Let those persons [evil-surmisers, murmurers, faultfinders, and etc] who have no inclination to come out and be on the Lord's side be labored with, and if they cannot harmonize with the church, let them either keep their tongues as with a bridle, or find some other place to worship. Their influence of evil cannot have the sanction of the church or God's approval. This work has been strangely neglected. It is time to set the church in order." 15MR 164.
What else does God desire His people to do in their local Home Church with unruly members?
"Our faith is misrepresented by men who are out of Christ, and many souls are misled. The stumbling blocks must be taken out of the way, or those who have not submitted themselves to the discipline of the church, must change their course. If they determine to leave the fellowship of the church, let a voice of warning follow them, that the people may know that they are not in harmony with the brethren, and the church will not be responsible for their course of action, or cover their transgressions. In this way many who sincerely believe the truth may be prevented from being led away to put confidence in men whose course of action God disapproves." 1MR 214.
"I saw that the church should feel their responsibility and should look carefully and attentively at the lives, qualifications, and general course of those who profess to be teachers. If unmistakable evidence is not given that God has called them, and that the 'woe' is upon them if they heed not this call, it is the duty of the church to act and let it be known that these persons are not acknowledged as teachers by the church. This is the only course the church can take in order to be clear in this matter, for the burden lies upon them." EW 100.
"All who wish to draw off from the body will have opportunity. Something will arise to test everyone. The great sifting time is just before us. The jealous and the faultfinding, who are watching for evil, will be shaken out. They hate reproof and despise correction. Those who love the spirit of the third angel's message can have no union with...[them]" 1T 251.
"Christ, after His resurrection, delegated power unto His church, saying: 'Whosesoever sins ye remit, they are remitted unto them; and whosesoever sins ye retain, they are retained.'
"Church relationship is not to be lightly canceled; yet when the path of some professed followers of Christ is crossed, or when their voice has not the controlling influence which they think it deserves, they will threaten to leave the church. True, in leaving the church they would themselves be the greatest sufferers..." 4T 17-18.
"The world's Redeemer has invested great power with His church. He states the rules to be applied in cases of trial with its members...the heavenly authority ratifies the discipline of the church in regard to its members, when the Bible rule has been followed." 3T 428.
"Let none speak lightly of the duty of the church to administer censure and rebuke; neither let them criticize the action of the church when this painful task becomes necessary. Christ has given plain instruction regarding the duty of the church toward those who, while professing to be loyal members, are bringing dishonor to the cause of God by their course of action. 'Every plant, which My heavenly Father hath not planted,' He says, 'shall be rooted up.' God has commanded that those who prove themselves unworthy of church fellowship shall be separated from His body. Those who speak against the exercise of this authority speak against the authority of Christ." 17MR 164-65.
What other divine and heavenly counsel does God give to His people?
"The prosperity and very existence of a church depend upon the prompt, united action and mutual confidence of its members. When, at a critical time, one sounds the alarm of danger, there is need of prompt and active work, without stopping to question and canvass the whole subject from end to end, thus letting the enemy gain every advantage by delay, when united action might save many souls from perdition." 3T 445.
"I saw that if God's people...would prosper, they must take a decided position in regard to these things, and thereby cut off the influence of those who are causing distraction and division by teaching sentiments contrary to the body. Such are wandering stars." 1T 327.
"Thus it came to pass that as disciples were multiplied, the enemy succeeded in arousing the suspicions of some who had formerly been in the habit of looking with jealousy on their brethren in the faith and of finding fault with their spiritual leaders...Prompt measures must now be taken to remove all occasion for dissatisfaction, lest the enemy triumph in his effort to bring about a division among the believers." AA 88.
"In dealing with the erring, harsh measures should not be resorted to; milder means will effect far more. Make use of the milder means most perseveringly, and even if they do not succeed, wait patiently; never hurry the matter of cutting off a member from the church. Pray for him, and see if God will not move upon the heart of the erring. Discipline has been largely perverted....and proper discipline has been strangely neglected. If those who deal with the erring had hearts full of the milk of human kindness, what a different spirit would prevail in our churches." RH May 14, 1895.
"False teachers may appear to be very zealous for the work of God, and may expend means to bring their theories before the world and the church; but as they mingle error with truth, their message is one of deception, and will lead souls into false paths. They are to be met, and opposed, not because they are bad men, but because they are teachers of falsehood, and are endeavoring to put upon falsehood the stamp of truth." RH Sept 12, 1893.
"Parents are responsible for the work coming from their hands. They should have wisdom and firmness to do their work faithfully and in the right spirit. They are to train their children for usefulness by developing their God-given talents. A failure to do this should not be winked at, but should be made a matter of church discipline, for it will bring the curse of God on the parents and a reproach and grievous trials and difficulties on the church." 5T 327.
"It is important and essential that all of Christ's followers understand Satan's devices and with a united front meet his attacks and vanquish him. They need to make continual efforts to press together even if it be a some sacrifice to themselves." 3T 435. (See also 5T 688-89; 1888 Mat 1815; Romans 16:17.)
Some react with indifference to those who are guilty of causing division among our separated Home Churches, thinking that it is not their problem. But God states:
"We must as workers be united in frowning down and condemning anything that bears the least approach to evil, in our associations with one another." 2SM 29.
"...unless these evils which bring the displeasure of God are corrected in its members, the whole church stands accountable for them." RH Dec 23, 1890.
Some believe that only a warning is necessary and then prayer, but no action is to be taken against those causing division. But God states:
"The sin of one man caused Israel to be beaten before the enemy. Something more than prayer was required. They were to get up and cleanse the camp of Israel." CC 120.
"There are those members who are busybodies, speaking evil, sowing seeds of doubt and infidelity, who pay no heed to the light God has given them in His word. If we have but one church member who by his spirit, words, and influence seeks to counterwork the influence of the minister of Christ, labor with that one faithfully; and if after taking the steps required by Christ, he will not hear, will not change his course of action, then separate him from the church, and let him know the reason why the church cannot hold him in her fellowship. And if there are those who sympathize with him, who will not discern the right from the wrong side, let them also be suspended. God's name must not be dishonored by murmurers, faultfinders, and those who are continually sowing seeds of disaffection." 15MR 163-64.
Some may even try to excuse such disorders, believing those who are guilty of causing division should be ignored and not receive any church discipline; in other words, believing that it is not their problem and God will take care of it. But God states:
"Perfect order characterizes all the movements of the angels of God....We should carry out as far as possible in our families and in the church the order and harmony of heaven. Angels of God often turn away in grief from those who excuse disorder and confusion as very trivial matters; they are not authorized to bless such. All who desire and expect the co-operation of the heavenly messengers must work in unison with them. Satan understands that success will only attend unity of action. He well knows that independence, self-exaltation, and pride caused him to lose paradise, and he is constantly tempting others to rebel against order and discipline that they may share his fate." ST July 29, 1880.
"I always dislike to give pain, but when I see evil and its tendency to weaken and destroy the church discipline...I cannot hold my peace. I have to speak and in the name of the Lord seek to repress the incoming tide of evil." EGWE 204.
Some are fearful of uniting together and establishing order and enforcing discipline in their Home Churches. But what is God's will?
"...many...were fearful that church organization would bring us under condemnation. We sought the Lord with earnest prayer that we might understand His will, and light was given to us by His Spirit, that there must be
order and thorough discipline in the church,--that organization was essential. System and order are manifest in all the works of God throughout the universe. Order is the law of heaven, and it should be the law among God's people on the earth." RH Oct 12, 1905.
"I was shown that some have been fearing they should become Babylon if they organize...And now unless the churches are so organized that they can carry out and enforce order, they have nothing to hope for in the future. They must scatter into fragments....A spirit has been cherished to watch and accuse, rather than to build. If ministers of God would unitedly take their position and maintain it with decision, there would be a uniting influence among the flock of God. Separating bars would be broken to fragments. Hearts would flow together and unite like two drops of water. Then there would be power and strength in the ranks." RH Aug 27, 1861.
Are we to fear God as the first angel's message states? Or are we to fear uniting with one another and establishing Gospel Order in our Home Churches? God wants His people to act as one in stopping the mouths of those who spread falsehoods, evil surmising, false accusations, dissensions, and divisions so that He may have a pure church and people. (See Titus 1:10-11.)
"Some who have had but little or no influence for good have been free to talk...[of] this matter and to exaggerate. That which they did not know, they have surmised and guessed at. Such mouths should be stopped; they are a curse to the church." 17MR 157.
"There are some who, when reproved, make serious charges against those who deal with their cases. They accuse those who deal faithfully with them, because they are blinded, and feel humiliated before others....'whose mouths must be stopped.'" YI Dec 14, 1893.
"We must live so near to Jesus that we shall protest against iniquity and disobedience of God's requirements. While self is strictly disciplined, God will give wisdom and power to aid in disciplining others. Thus all the influence will be exerted on the side of pure, faultless, undeviating obedience, and no exception will be made on any policy principle, and no unsanctified influence will be tolerated to weaken and demoralize a church." 17MR 105.
What about those who may not spread the evil surmising themselves, but who sympathize with those who do, and thus encourage them on in their evil work?
"I saw that many souls have been destroyed by their brethren unwisely sympathizing with them, when their only hope was to be left to see and realize the full extent of their wrongs. But as they eagerly accept the sympathy of unwise brethren, they receive the idea that they are abused; and if they attempt to retrace their steps, they make halfhearted work. They divide the matter to suit their natural feelings, lay blame upon the reprover, and so patch up the matter. It is not probed to the bottom, and is not healed, and they again fall into the same wrong, because they were not left to feel the extent of their wrong, and humble themselves before God, and let Him build them up. False sympathizers have worked in direct opposition to the mind of Christ and ministering angels." 1T 213.
"Many of your brethren and sisters have been helping you in a wrong course. May God forgive them. They have caused dissension and confusion in the church." 5MR 337.
What about those who may not spread rumors and evil surmising, but who listen to these without protest?
"Ministers and lay members of the church displease God when they allow individuals to tell them the errors and faults of their brethren. They should not listen to these reports, but should inquire, 'Have you strictly followed the injunction of your Saviour? Have you gone to the offender and told him his faults between you and him alone, and has he refused to hear you? Have you carefully and prayerfully taken two or three others, and labored with him in tenderness, humility, and meekness, your heart throbbing in love for his soul? If the Captain's orders, in the rules given for the erring, have been strictly followed, then an advance step is to be taken. Tell it to the church, and let action be taken in the case according to the Scriptures....If these steps have not been taken, close the ear to their complaints, and thus refuse to take up a reproach against your neighbor. Listening to the reports of evil is taking up a reproach. If there were no brethren and sisters to do this, evil tongues would soon cease, for they would not find so fruitful a field in which to work in backbiting and devouring one another." 15MR 138.
"Their religion consists in prying into the affairs of others, as if the Lord had placed them on the judgment-seat to criticize and condemn their brethren. They have carried their reproaches and accusations from household to household, and instead of being promptly rebuked, they have found listeners. Those who thus give ear to these fault-finding ones are equally guilty; for they are encouraging them in their cruel work. Whoever lends himself to this work of evil surmising, reproach, and accusation, is rendering service to Satan, who is the accuser of the brethren...Those who have Christ abiding in the heart will not be engaged in any such work; they will be as far removed from it as the east is from the west." RH Oct 19, 1886.
What should the separated Home Churches do if they receive papers in the mail, charging certain individuals with all kinds of sins? What did the early Adventist's do?
"Resolved, that we, the church of Seventh-day Adventists of Battle Creek, deem it our duty to take measures to ascertain the grounds of the charges, complaints, and murmurs that are in circulation, that they may be sustained, and action taken accordingly, or may be proved to be groundless, and the envenomed mouth of calumny and slander be effectually stopped." 2BIO, p 30 (not Ellen White quote).
God wants us to arise and cleanse ourselves, and then cleanse His Home Church. Will you obey Him?
"Choose poverty, separation from friends, losses, reproaches, or any suffering, rather than to defile the soul with sin. Death before dishonor or the transgression of God's law should be the motto of every Christian....Sin and sinners in the church must be promptly dealt with, that others may fear God. Truth and purity require that we make more thorough work to cleanse the camp of the Achans. Let those in responsible positions not suffer sin in a brother. Show him that he must either put away his sins or be separated from the church. When the individual members of the church shall act as true followers of the meek and lowly Saviour there will be less covering up and excusing of sin." 7MR 210.
"Let none refuse to be reproved for evil, nor charge the servants of God with being too zealous in endeavoring to cleanse the camp from evil-doing. A sin-hating God calls upon those who claim to keep His law to depart from all iniquity." Prophets and Kings, p 416.
"We must as a people arouse and cleanse the camp of Israel." Manuscript Release #449, p 17.
What should we do if we think someone, especially a minister, is doing or speaking or writing something wrong?
"If you think a minister is making mistakes, it is your duty to go to him in love and meekness and present the matter before him. You may not have a correct idea of his motive or work, and under misapprehension may grow cold to him, close the door of your heart, and fail to receive his message or appreciate his labors....He has dropped a word, or done a deed which has wounded you in some way, and he does not know that it has hurt you. Then go to him, tell him his faults between him and you alone, and have the coldness and bitterness of spirit that has been created by an unwitting act on his part, changed to respect and love. You cannot afford to allow any un-christlike spirit to embitter your spirit against your brethren....We should leave no means untried to preserve the unity of the church. Receive in the fullness of your heart the words of Christ, and be doers of His word. We cannot receive the blessings that the love and presence of Christ can bring us, if we cherish feelings that will mar the unity that Christ prayed might exist among His disciples." RH July 25, 1893.
How can we keep ourselves from being guilty of aiding Satan and hurting our brethren by a loose tongue in spreading rumors and gossip?
"When a person comes to a minister or to men in positions of trust with complaints against a brother or a sister, let the minister ask, 'Have you complied with the rules our Saviour has given?' And if he has failed to carry out any particular of this instruction, do not listen to a word of his complaint. In the name and Spirit of Jesus, refuse to take up a report against your brother or your sister in the faith." RH April 16, 1895.
"You should keep off from Satan's enchanted ground, and not allow your minds to be swayed from allegiance to God. Through Christ you may and should be happy, and should acquire habits of self-control. Even your thoughts must be brought into subjection to the will of God, and your feelings under the control of reason and religion. Your imagination was not given you to be allowed to run riot and have its own way, without any effort at restraint or discipline. If the thoughts are wrong, the feelings will be wrong; and the thoughts and feelings combined make up the moral character....If you yield to your impressions, and allow your thoughts to run in a channel of suspicion, doubt, and repining, you will be among the most unhappy mortals, and your lives will prove a failure." 5T 310.
"...weigh your words carefully before you speak them..." 11MR 208.
"Let all keep diligent guard over their own disposition, and then pleasant words will be spoken....Let them be sure to take charge of their own individual selves....Let every one stand in his lot and place, refusing to go out of his way to assume authority as a dictator. The Lord calls upon every man to be courteous and to discipline himself." LLM 147-48.
"Let every member of the church try to save the souls of others, and not seek to discourage or destroy them through criticism or evil reports. How many and how great evils would be extinguished in the church if men would follow Christ's rule of dealing with the erring instead of following the impulses and passions of their unsanctified hearts. If matters of difficulty between brethren are not laid open to others, but frankly spoken of between themselves in the spirit of Christian love, the difficulty would in nearly every case be healed and the offending brother won. Misunderstandings have arisen that have been thus explained, in Christian tenderness, and the breach has been healed." 15MR 153-54.
"Doleful, discouraging words will do no good. When Christ abides in us, we shall not even repeat the false statements we hear. We shall not retaliate or bring railing accusation against any, because this would wound our souls deeply, and make us forget our resting place of confidence and peace in Christ." AUCR Aug 1, 1900.
What if we are guilty of aiding Satan and hurting others by spreading rumors and gossip? What are we to do?
"Every open sin should be as openly confessed. Wrong done to a fellow-being should be made right with the one who has been offended. If any who are seeking health have been guilty of evil-speaking, if they have sowed discord in the home, the neighborhood, or the church, and have stirred up alienation and dissension, if by any wrong practice they have led others into sin, these things should be confessed before God and before those who have been offended." Gospel Workers (1915), p 216-17.
"Zacchaeus declared: 'If I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.' You could at least made efforts to correct your acts of injustice to your fellow men....you should make reparation to the wronged ones." 5T 339.
"Members of the church must awake, and do their part, and God will work mightily in behalf of His commandment-keeping people....Have you old grudges? Have you difficulties, envyings, jealousies, heart-burnings? Let Jesus come in and cleanse the soul-temple....and set their hearts in order. Where difficulties exist among brethren, let them carry out the injunction of the apostle: 'Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed.'" RH Dec 24, 1889.
Some may already agree that Gospel Order is very needed in our separated Home Churches and Movement, but they do not understand how to set up Gospel Order, or what must be done to preserve unity among us?
Obviously, the greatest and most urgent need for every one is to become one with our Great Center--Jesus Christ, one with His precious truth and then one with each other in unity. Then Gospel Order can be established in our Home Churches. Also it is clear that the Christian church in the first century is set forth as the divine model for us to follow today (see AA 88-96; 6BC 1056; RH Oct 10, 1893.) But besides the above guidelines, the following is a list of God's directions and God-given rules needed in setting up and maintaining Gospel Order among the separated Home Churches after they are united. This is not a church manual, but it is the wisdom of God for His separated people and Home Churches to adhere to.
WHAT IS TO BE OUR INDIVIDUAL RESPONSE TO GOD'S
SEPARATED PEOPLE AND HOME CHURCH?
- The human instrumentality is to co-operate with the divine. AA 96.
- Mutual confidence in each other is essential. 3T 445.
- All must be subject one to another. 1 Peter 5:5; 3T 445.
- All must esteem others better than themselves. Phil 2:3; 3T 445.
- All should exercise Christian refinement and courtesy towards one another. 8T 139; ST May 7, 1894; 7T 186.
- All should work for purity and perfection of character. RH Sept 12, 1907.
- Each should feel a responsibility to see that each other prospers in their religious life. 15MR 129.
- All must have their feelings, thoughts, imaginations, and impressions under the control of reason and religion. Hebrews 12:9-10; MYP 92.
- All must not allow their imaginations to run riot and have its own way. 2 Cor 10:4-5; MYP 92.
- All should be so near Jesus that they will protest against iniquity and disobedience of God's requirements. 17MR 105.
- All are to keep diligent guard over their own disposition. LLM 147.
- All should patiently listen to advice and counsel of others and carefully weigh the matter and incorporate it into our experience if valid. 15MR 126.
- All must be willing to be counseled, reproved, and directed by the body. 15MR 124.
- None are to feel downcast by needed rebuke for their wrongs. RH July 16, 1895.
- Our duty is to lay our case in the hands of the church; if they err, they are responsible, not us. 15MR 125.
HOW ARE GOD'S SEPARATED HOME CHURCHES TO SET
UP CHURCH GOVERNMENT AND ORGANIZATION?
- Every agency is to be subordinate to the Holy Spirit. AA 96.
- None are to be left out of working in their proper position that things may be harmoniously adjusted. RH Oct 11, 1887; 6T 432.
- Every agency is to be combined in giving to the world the good tidings of the grace of God. AA 96.
- Christian is to be united with Christian. Ephesians 4; AA 96.
- Development and discipline are essential. RH Oct 22, 1889.
- Order and system must be observed in the conduct of church affairs. 1 Cor 14:33; AA 96.
- Order must be preserved at any cost. 1 Cor 14:33; 1MR 324.
- Formality in setting up Gospel Order should be shunned. EW 97.
- Unity of the church does not consist in all viewing every text of Scripture in the same way. 15MR 150. (This is not referring to those Scriptures defining the pillars of our faith.)
- Members must move together like well-trained soldiers. RH Oct 22, 1889.
- God's work is to be carried forward with thoroughness and exactness. AA 96.
- Elders and deacons are to be chosen to care for the prosperity of the church, yet these alone have not authority to disfellowship offending members. Acts 14:33; Titus 1:5; 12MR 113.
- Each Home Church is to seek a working union with other united separated Home Churches. AA 96.
- Home Churches which are weak or few in members should be looked after by established Home Churches. RH Oct 12, 1886.
- Those who are not with us should have no voice or influence among us. 17MR 98.
- No member is to move independently from the other members. 3T 445.
- One man may not be allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church body. 15MR 130; TM 29.
- One man may not set up his judgment in opposition to the judgement of the church body. 15MR 130.
- God chooses His messengers to write and preach His Word, the church only recognizes the fact that God has given them this gift and chosen them as His messengers. 1BIO, p 174; LLM 147-48; EW 98-100; 15MR 178.
- Those in the field, who have proven that God has indeed chosen them, need to be acknowledged and recognized as workers by the church. EW 97.
- Those who have given full proof of their commission and calling from God should receive the sanction and recognization of the church by the laying on of hands. EW 101.
- Only those recognized by the church can administer the ordinances and perform baptisms. EW 99-101.
- There should be a counseling together of the messengers with other messengers and men of experience before any new points of importance are advocated. EW 61.
- God's messengers must carefully watch and check all fanaticism wherever they see it rise. EW 63.
- Ministers are to exercise watchful diligence over the flock, not a dictatorial vigilance. RH Aug 8, 1912.
- The minister who fails to direct wisely their own households is not qualified to guide the church. 1 Samuel 2:27-34; ST Nov 10, 1881; 6MR 47.
- Do not hurry men into the work. EW 97-98.
- Those who have been deeply involved in fanaticism are not to be allowed to feed any flock. EW 62-63.
- Those who have been in the truth, but who have been deceived by the errors of perfectionism (can not sin) and Spiritualism--bringing the cause of truth into reproach, are never to be given positions of teaching God's truths to others. EW 101-102.
- The local Home Church has jurisdiction over its own members. When a doctrinal issue arises between members, and it cannot be resolved within that Home Church, and that church is in danger of being divided, that church should set that doctrinal issue aside and call for a General Council to convene where all the separated Home Churches can be represented through delegates to hear this doctrinal issue and then come to a united decision. Thus that local Home Church, as well as all the other Home Churches, will avoid division and dissension and thereby preserve unity. AA 95.
WHAT HOME CHURCH RULES ARE GOD'S SEPARATED
PEOPLE TO HAVE AND ABIDE BY?
- God means every word He says. ST Nov 13, 1901.
- All must follow the directions given through the Spirit of Prophecy. Gospel Workers (1915), p 308.
- Church order, thorough discipline, and organization are essential and a law among God's people. RH Oct 12, 1905.
- No one is to excuse disorder and confusion as trivial matters. ST July 29, 1880.
- No one has a right to manage in any work of the church unless they manage in God's order. GCB April 3, 1901.
- No unsanctified influence is to be tolerated. 17MR 105.
- Ministers should love order and discipline themselves. Ev 115.
- Ministers are not to flatter God's people or treat them harshly. RH Aug 8, 1912.
- Our homes must have discipline and unity before we can have it in the church. RH July 2, 1889.
- Duty of parents to educate, discipline, and restrain their children. ST Feb 9, 1882.
- If the ministers take their wives and children with them, the children must be well disciplined, obedient, and subject to them. 6MR 47-48; AH 356.
- We must follow Christ first before we can counsel or teach others. RH April 16, 1889; Fundamentals of Christian Education, p 497.
- Do not allow disunion to occur because someone makes a blunder in his interpretation of some portion of Scripture. 15MR 150.
- All should be very modest in assuming church responsibilities. 12MR 113.
- Let all stand in their own lot and place, refusing to go out of their way to assume authority over others. LLM 147-48.
- All must act their part with fidelity--doing it as unto the Lord. RH Oct 11, 1887.
- All are required to do something for the advancement of God's cause. Pam #152, p 7-8.
- All members should attend church meetings, and if some neglect to attend, it should be inquired into, and if valid reasons are not given, they should be urged and admonished to attend for their spiritual strength and to stop their backsliding from God. Pam #152, p 8.
- At meetings where God is worshipped, let not one person do much of the taking to the exclusion of several others. 15MR 153.
- Weigh your words carefully before you speak them. 11MR 208.
- Cease to look at the failings of others. RH April 16, 1889.
- Cease evil thinking, evil speaking, and hasty words. AUCR April 15, 1905.
- Cease speaking of the evil traits of the character of others. RH April 16, 1889.
- No one is to listen to any complaint against another that is not in accordance with the rules listed in Matt 18. 15MR 193.
- Do not allow disagreements to create a division. AA 95.
- No strength is to be invested in warring against each other. 15MR 152.
- Do not leave wrongs uncorrected because of the unpleasant results which attend reproof and earnest appeal. 2T 698.
- No sympathy should be shown to those who are reproved and disciplined for their wrongs, but all must help them to accept the discipline and repent. 1T 213; 5MR 337.
WHAT ACTIONS DOES GOD'S
SEPARATED HOME CHURCHES NEED TO TAKE?
- God expects His church to fit its members to work for the enlightening of the world. Pam #7, p 13.
- Members must be educated, trained, and disciplined by precept and example to do their God-given work. 1888 Mat 249.
- The church must make liberal efforts to train the young to be skilful workers for God. Special Testimonies on Education, p 198.
- Work must be done at all points with carefulness. RH Oct 11, 1887.
- Prompt, united action of all is needed--especially in a critical time. 3T 445.
- Difficulties among members should be cleared away before the Sabbath. RH July 21, 1904.
- Measures need to be taken to stop the spirit of criticism and the judging of another's motives. 15MR 194.
- The spreading of disaffection is to be shut out. LS 178.
- Dissatisfaction must be completely rooted out or it will return. Pam #16, p 7-10.
- Disorder is to be shut out. LS 178.
- Confusion is to be shut out. LS 178.
- Rebellion is to be shut out. LS 178.
- Error is to be shut out. LS 178.
- Fanaticism is to be shut out. LS 178.
- The church must act against self-sent men professing to be ministers, and let it be known that these persons are not acknowledged by the church as God's teachers; if this is not done, the church stands responsible. EW 100.
HOW AND WHEN DOES GOD'S SEPARATED HOME CHURCHES NEED TO ADMINISTER DISCIPLINE TO ITS OWN MEMBERS?
- In dealing with the erring, manifest hearts full of the milk of human kindness. RH May 14, 1895.
- In dealing with the erring, harsh measures should not be resorted to--milder means will effect far more. RH May 14, 1895.
- Great care must be exercised in dealing with one another so that we uplift, restore, and heal--without neglecting proper discipline. 7T 264.
- Discipline is to be carried out in the way Christ would were He in our places. 4MR 134.
- Trifling misdemeanors of children are not to be treated as grave sins. RH March 21, 1882.
- No exception is to be made on any policy principle when disobedience is discovered. 17MR 105.
- All exhibitions of pride in dress calls for church discipline. 4T 647.
- Parents who fail to train their children for usefulness should be under church discipline. 5T 327.
- Firm decided measures must be taken against fault-finders and false accusers. RH Oct 19, 1886.
- Those who do not follow Matthew 18:15-19 with their brethren should be under church discipline and censure. 15MR 193-94.
- If the erring one repents and submits to discipline, they are to be given another trial. 7T 263.
- If erring one does not repent, the church must work to bring him to repentance. 7T 263.
- Those who will not submit to church discipline must change their course or leave the fellowship of the church, and the church must voice a warning to other Home Churches concerning these. 1MR 214.
- Never hurry the matter of disfellowshipment. RH May 14, 1895.
- Members who persist to manifest a fierce spirit--being overbearing, critical, and denouncing, should be disfellowshipped. EGWE 202.
PLEASE NOTE THIS VERY IMPORTANT POINT: The above God-given rules are with the understanding that each individual separated Home Church has authority over its own members, as well as the jurisdiction to solve its own problems. It is ONLY when an issue arises in doctrine which cannot be solved by that local Home Church itself and which also threatens to divide that Home Church, that a General Council, made up of representatives of all other united separated Home Churches, is authorized by God to convene and to decide this doctrinal issue. Thus a General Council has no other God-given authority to convene and decide for the entire Separated Home Church Movement except under the above doctrinal crisis scenario. This would clearly prevent any chance of a hierarchy being set up wherein a few leaders would try to control the entire Home Church Movement, because each individual Home Church retains jurisdiction and authority itself to decide and resolve any issues involving its own members or affairs. Even though each separated united Home Church is to be in union and connection with other separated united Home Churches, yet there is no General Council controlling the entire body of separated Home Churches except under the above doctrinal crisis scenario.
It is hoped that after reading this booklet, you will be led to study this issue more fully, and then to follow the truth--doing all that you can to become one with Christ and one with each of your true brothers and sisters in the same separated faith. If our separated Home Church brothers and sisters do not become one with each other in the Lord, achieve a visible unity and then protect this unity by establishing Gospel Order, then what hope have we of receiving the latter rain? And then what hope have we of salvation?
Brothers and sisters, God desires to work for us and through us; will we let Him?
"A great work will be accomplished by God's people if they will work in unity and unselfishness and with humility of heart. All self-exaltation must be seen and put away. Truth and righteousness alone will stand the test for this time. We need to have the Spirit of God daily with us, that we may be kept from all evil thoughts and unwise actions. We should fear lest our eyes become blinded to our individual spiritual needs in these perilous times." RH Aug 5, 1909.
"We have great changes to make before we reach perfection. God calls for complete self-surrender. We must guard diligently our lips, lest they speak guile. We must be strict with ourselves, that we bring not false principles into our dealings with others, and lead souls from the safe path. We must work the works of God. Adhere to correct principles, whatever the cost to yourself....Let your holy example lead the sympathies of your friends heavenward." Bible Echo, Jan 14, 1901.
God is working to bring all His true separated people into unity before His mighty judgments go throughout the length and breadth of this wicked earth, and those who refuse to obey Him will be shaken and sifted out of His true separated church and from His true separated people. So do not be surprised at all or discouraged in the least by this shaking among us; it is necessary for the purifying of God's church--preparatory for the closing up of this world's history, and the coming of our blessed Lord and Saviour.
"God is deferring the bringing of His judgment upon the earth in order that those who are supposed to be His people, but who have been bringing in the very things He has condemned in ancient Israel, working according to methods He will not accept, may get ready to meet Him in peace....God says, 'I will thoroughly purge My floor of all chaff. I will sift My people as in a sieve. Those who name My name must be thoroughly cleansed from all false and corrupting principles. Those whom I claim as My heritage will even now be wondered at as a peculiar people, cleansed from all fraud, all injustice.' Those who enter the city of God will here have worked righteousness revealing to the world the principles of heaven." 12MR 150.
May we put away all self and all pride, letting God work in and through us to bring us into unity with His dear Son, and into unity with each other in a Gospel "all ye are brethren" Order. Thus we will be prepared for an abundant outpouring of the precious gift of God's Holy Spirit in latter rain power. Then we can not only prove the verity of the following biblical truth, but we can live it and receive the blessing promised in it:
"Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; as the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion: for there the Lord commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." Psalms 133:1-3.
So Zion receives these precious blessings. But who represents Zion? Zion was not Jerusalem (see 1 Kings 8:1; 2 Chronicles 5:2). Nor was Zion connected with Babylon (see Psalms 137:1; Jeremiah 50:4-8, 28). So Zion is not part of Jerusalem, nor is it connected with Babylon.
We are also told this about Zion:
"When we are united in the unity for which Christ prayed...Then will Zion's watchmen unitedly sound the trumpet in clearer, louder notes; for they will see the sword coming, and realize the danger in which the people of God are placed." LS 327.
So Zion today represents those who have completely separated from all the corrupt harlot churches represented by Jerusalem and Babylon today -- including the SDA church. Zion represents those who are dwelling together in unity; those who are sounding the trumpet notes of alarm, and only these will receive the abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit -- that precious ointment, that refreshing dew which descends from above. And what will this accomplish?
"Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined." Psalms 50:2.
But we can not have God shine through us to others, or receive the full and abundant outpouring of the Holy Spirit as promised in Revelation 18:1, or really be living or giving the full message of the loud cry, until we are living in and maintaining a visible unity with our true separated brethren under Gospel Order.
Oh brothers and sisters, may we unite with Christ and one another; may we arise and shine for our God and thus show to the world the true Gospel -- not just in loud cry tones, but especially through our lives! Thus the world will be able to clearly see the three angels' messages of Revelation 14:6-12 & 18:1-5, because these are being lived, and thus the earth will be filled with the glory of God! (Habakkuk 2:14).
"Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." Isaiah 60:1-3.
In closing, we are told that the 144,000, who are not defiled by women--or who are not connected to, but are completely separate from, all corrupt churches (see Jeremiah 6:2; Revelation 14:4; Isaiah 52:11), will stand in a perfect square on the sea of glass (see EW 16; GC 648). And who is in the midst of this square? Jesus Christ. Where did the 144,000 receive the disciplined training necessary to stand in this perfect and orderly fashion? They had to have learned how to do this while still on the earth. But how? By learning how to stand in, and achieving, perfect loving unity with each other before the second coming of Christ!
That is why the 144,000 are referred to as the Philadelphia church (Revelation 3:7-13). They are identified as such because they cultivated true brotherly love for each other and proved it by living in perfect unity and oneness with their brethren.
But why are the 144,000 depicted as standing on a sea made of glass? Glass is composed of individual rough particles of sand that have been fused together into a solid union by intense heat. The glass formed by this fashion is also clear and transparent.
These symbols plainly and beautifully reveal to us several things about the 144,000. It plainly reveals that each one of these 144,000 was not connected with any corrupt church, that they learned how to overcome unsanctified independence, and that they then united together in brotherly love with one another. It shows us that they learned how to overcome all the dissension, division, evil-surmising common to the human nature, and did indeed achieve the perfect and visible unity with one another as God desired.
It also reveals that they endured all the fiery trials and pressures from all quarters and overcame them all through Christ while they remained in complete and loving union with one another. And it shows us that the 144,000 had completely crucified self to the point that it was not seen at all! Thus, no matter how many trials or temptations were thrown across their path, no matter how intense and fiery the pressures applied to try and cause them to separate from one another, all these just brought them closer in union with one another until they all became fused into an impenetrable fortress of God. What all these fiery trials did was to allow the 144,000 to perfect their characters by crucifying self, and soon it became less and less until it was completely dead! Thus when looking at any of the individuals making up the 144,000, it was like looking through transparent glass, self was nowhere to be seen, and Christ was the only person revealed!
Oh, brothers and sisters, with such a blessed view before us, let us determine to strive with every power we have to crucify self and to be part of the 144,000! Let us strive to be in perfect unity with each other in the same separated faith, and after achieving it to maintain this blessed unity through brotherly love and Gospel Order! Thus with Christ in our midst and in complete love and union with each other, we can receive an abundant outpouring from on high with which to herald and hasten the triumphant return of our blessed Saviour.
Let us arise and shine for our God and King! May we be of that blessed number and be able to stand in that perfect square on the sea of glass in praise, glory, and honor to our Father and our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ!
"None should feel that it is of no special importance whether they are in union with their brethren or not; for those who do not learn to live in harmony here will never be united in heaven." Historical Sketches, p 124.
"Follow its [John 17] teachings, and you will be brought into unity....No one is called to walk alone. In Christ life and immortality are brought to light. He has opened the way to the kingdom of heaven to those who believe in Him, but He assigns to no one a path different to that which all must travel. He calls for unity, and unity we must have." 17MR 291.
"That we may unite with Christ in this work we should place ourselves under the molding influence of His Spirit. Through the power thus imparted we may co-operate with the Lord in the bonds of unity as laborers together with Him in the salvation of souls. To everyone who offers himself to the Lord for service, withholding nothing, is given power for the attainment of measureless results." 7T 30.