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UNITE and UNITY
As we approach the last crisis, it is of vital moment that harmony and unity exist among the Lord's instrumentalities. The world is filled with storm and war and variance. Yet under one head--the papal power--the people will unite to oppose God in the person of His witnesses. This union is cemented by the great apostate. While he seeks to unite his agents in warring against the truth he will work to divide and scatter its advocates. Jealousy, evil surmising, evilspeaking, 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 exist 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. Testimonies, Vol 7, p 182 (Maranatha, p 187; Publishing Ministry, p 114-115).
The Lord desires His chosen servants to learn how to unite together in harmonious effort. It may seem to some that the contrast between their gifts and the gifts of a fellow laborer is too great to allow them to unite in harmonious effort; but when they remember that there are varied minds to be reached, and that some will reject the truth as it is presented by one laborer, only to open their hearts to God's truth as it is presented in a different manner by another laborer, they will hopefully endeavor to labor together in unity. Their talents, however diverse, may all be under the control of the same Spirit. 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. Testimonies, Vol 9, p 145 (Evangelism, p 99-100; Gospel Workers, p 483; Review and Herald, February 21, 1907).
If your faith in the Word of God is strengthened; if you will fully accept the truths that have called us out of the world and made us a people denominated by the Lord as His peculiar treasure; if you will unite with your brethren in standing by the old landmarks, then there will be unity. But you remain in unbelief, unsettled as to the true foundation of faith; there can be no hope of any more unity in the future than there has been in the past. Manuscript Releases, Vol 11, p 319 (Spalding-Magan Collection, p 341).
I do not plead for inactivity, but I plead for this selfish, worldly spirit to be overcome. Any enterprise which will unite the interests of church members, and will bring harmony and unity of effort into the work of God, may be safely entered into. But 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. Testimonies, Vol 5, p 478.
My brethren, the Lord calls for unity, for oneness,.. We are to be one in the faith. I want to tell you that when the gospel ministers and the medical missionary workers are not united, there is placed on our churches the worst evil that can be placed there. Our medical missionaries ought to be interested in the work of our Conferences, and our Conference workers ought to be as much interested in the work of our medical missionaries.(--Manuscript 46, May 18, 1904). Loma Linda Messages, p 59.
It is time that we stood upon a united platform. But we cannot unite with Dr. Kellogg until he stands where he can be a safe leader of the flock of God. E.G. White Bibliography, Vol 5, p 332.
We are not to feel that we must speak the very same things, giving the same representation in the same words, and yet there is to be unity in the diversity. All the different testimonies unite to form one whole, as the books of the Bible are brought together, and bound under one cover. But should Matthew, Mark, Luke and John go off on some tangent, contradicting each other's testimony, then there would be confusion. In all the presentation of truth by different minds, there is to be unity in diversity. One must not labor to have everything that comes from his mind entirely different from that which comes from another man's mind. But he is to follow in the line where the Spirit of the Lord shall direct, then there will be different figures and different ways of presentation, that will interest and educate different minds. Some are always straining to get something original; this places them in great danger. They produce something new, that is not according to the Word of God, and they have not the discernment to see the real harm that results from their ambition to excel some other one in new and strange productions. Thus error comes to appear to them as truth, and they present it as wonderful new light, when it is an innovation that makes of none effect a "Thus saith the Lord."(--Letter 53, April 5, 1900.) Manuscript Releases, Vol 8, p 67 (Manuscript Releases, Vol 9, p 26, Publishing Minsitry, p 100).
It may seem to some that the contrast between their gifts and the gifts of a fellow laborer is too great to allow them to unite in harmonious effort; but when they remember that there are varied minds to be reached, and that some will reject the truth as it is presented by one laborer, only to open their hearts to the same truth as presented in a different manner by another, they will hopefully endeavor to labor together in unity. Their talents, however diverse, may all be under the control of the same Spirit. 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. The Signs of the Times, March 8, 1910.
My dear brethren and sisters, all the money we have is the Lord's. I now appeal to you in the name of the Lord to unite in carrying to successful completion the enterprises that have been undertaken in the counsels of God. Let not the work of establishing memorials for God in many places be made difficult and burdensome because the necessary means is withheld. Let not those who are struggling to build up important enterprises, great and small, become disheartened because we are slow to unite in placing these enterprises in a position to do efficient service. Let all our people arise and see what they can do. Let them show that there is unity and strength among Seventh-day Adventists. Testimonies, Vol 9, p 132-133.
We are nearing the end of this earth's history, and God calls upon all to lift the standard bearing the inscription: "Here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." He calls upon His people to work in perfect harmony. He calls upon those engaged in our medical work to unite with the ministry; He calls upon the ministry to co_operate with the medical missionary workers; and He calls upon the church to take up their appointed duty, holding up the standard of true reform in their own territory, leaving the trained and experienced workers to press on into new fields. No word is to be spoken to discourage any, for this grieves the heart of Christ and greatly pleases the adversary. All need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit; all should refrain from censuring and disparaging remarks, and draw near to Christ, that they may appreciate the heavy responsibilities which the co_workers with Him are carrying. "Press together; press together," are the words of our divine Instructor. Unity is strength; disunion is weakness and defeat. Testimonies, Vol 6, p 292-293 (Counsels on Health, p 517-518).
Our great need is unity perfect oneness in God's work. We are nearing the end of this earth's history and God calls upon all to lift the standard bearing the inscription. "Here are they that keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus." He calls upon His people to work in harmony. He calls upon those engaged in our medical work to unite with the ministry: He calls upon the ministers to cooperate with the medical missionary workers: and He calls upon the church to take up their appointed duty, holding up the standard of true reform in their own territory, leaving the trained and experienced workers to press on into new fields. No word is to be spoken to discourage any, for this grieves the heart of Christ, and greatly pleases the adversary. All need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit; all should refrain from disparaging remarks, and draw near to Christ, that they may appreciate the heavy responsibilities which the coworkers with Christ are carrying. "Press together, press together," are the words of our divine Instructor. Unity is strength; disunion is weakness and defeat. Pacific Union Recorder, February 13, 1902.
"God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints." There was order in the church when Christ was on the earth, and after his departure, order was strictly observed among the disciples. And now, in these last days, when God is bringing his children into the unity of the faith, there is more real need of order than ever before; for as God seeks to unite his people, Satan and his angels strive to destroy this unity. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, February 16, 1911.
Christ, in His mediatorial capacity, gives to His servants the presence of the Holy Spirit. It is the efficiency of the Spirit that enables human agencies to be representatives of the Redeemer in the work of soul saving. 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. Testimonies, Vol 7, p 30 (Review and Herald, January 13, 1903).
Let parents seek the Lord with intense earnestness, that they may not be stumbling blocks in the way of their children. Let envy and jealousy be banished from the heart, and let the peace of Christ come in to unite, the members of the church in true Christian fellowship. Let the windows of the soul be closed against the poisonous malaria of earth, and let them be opened heavenward to receive the healing rays of the sunshine of Christ's righteousness. Until the spirit of criticism and suspicion is banished from the heart, the Lord cannot do for the church that which He longs to do in opening the way for the establishment of schools; until there is unity, He will not move upon those to whom He has entrusted means and ability for the carrying forward of this work. Parents must reach a higher standard, keeping the way of the Lord and practicing righteousness, that they may be light bearers. There must be an entire transformation of mind and character. A spirit of disunion cherished in the hearts of a few will communicate itself to others and undo the influence for good that would be exerted by the school. Unless parents are ready and anxious to co_operate with the teacher for the salvation of their children, they are not prepared to have a school established among them. Testimonies, Vol 6, p 202.
It is of the highest importance that the youth understand that Christ's people are to be united in one; for this unity binds men to God by the golden cords of love, and lays each one under obligation to work for his fellow men. The Captain of our salvation died for the human race that men might be made one with Him and with each other. As members of the human family we are individual parts of one mighty whole. 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. Christ as the great center must unite all in one. Fundamentals of Christian Education, p 479.
The time has come when things must be called by their right names. The truth is to triumph gloriously, and those who have long been halting between two opinions must take their stand decidedly for or against the law of God. Some will take up with theories that misinterpret the Word of God, and undermine the foundation of the truth that has been firmly established, point by point, and sealed by the power of the Holy Spirit. The old truths are to be revived, in order that the false theories that have been brought in by the enemy may be intelligently met. There can be no unity between truth and error. We can unite with those who have been led into deception only when they are converted. The Upward Look, p 88.
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. Are there not urgent reasons why we should take heed to these words of Christ? Is it not time we sought for the unity for which the Saviour prayed? Shall we not open our hearts to the melting love of Jesus? May the Lord unite the hearts of all that believe His word, in that oneness for which Christ prayed, that we may be one, even as He and the Father are one. Bible Echo, April 23, 1894 (Signs of the Times, February 7, 1895).
Every converted soul has a work to do. We are to receive grace in order to freely give grace. We are to let the light shine forth from the bright and morning Star, to shed forth light in works of sef_denial and self_sacrifice, following the example that Christ has given us in his own life and character. We are to draw from "the Root" that substance that will enable us to bear much fruit. Every soul who has heard the divine invitation, is to echo the message from hill and valley, saying to those with whom he comes in contact, "Come." From the moment of conversion, those who receive Christ are to become the light of the world. They are to reflect the glory of the bright and morning Star. 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, vil 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, August 1, 1896.
Students should be taught that they are not independent atoms, but that each one is a thread which is to unite with other threads in composing a fabric. In no department can this instruction be more effectually given than in the school home. Here students are daily surrounded by opportunities which, if improved, will greatly aid in developing the social traits of their characters. It lies in their own power so to improve their time and opportunities as to develop a character that will make them happy and useful. Those who shut themselves up within themselves, who are unwilling to be drawn upon to bless others by friendly associations, lose many blessings; for by mutual contact minds receive polish and refinement; by social intercourse, acquaintances are formed and friendships contracted which result in a unity of heart and an atmosphere of love which is pleasing in the sight of heaven. Testimonies, Vol 6, p 172 (Messages to Young People, p 405).
I urge those who claim to believe the truth, to walk in unity with their brethren. Do not seek to give to the world occasion to say that we are extremists, that we are disunited, that one teaches one thing, and one another. Avoid dissension. Let very one be on guard, and be careful to be found standing in the gap to make up the breach, in place of standing at the wall seeking to make a breach. Let all be careful not to make an outcry against the only people who are fulfilling the description given of the remnant people, who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus, who are exalting the standard of righteousness in these last days. God has a distinct people, a church on earth, second to none, but superior to all in their facilities to teach the truth, to vindicate the law of God. God has divinely appointed agencies,--men whom he is leading, who have borne the heat and burden of the day, who are co_operating with heavenly instrumentalities to advance the kingdom of Christ in our world. Let all unite with these chosen agents, and be found at last among those who have the patience of the saints, who keep the commandments of God, and have the faith of Jesus. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, September 12, 1893.
The very first work we are to do is to unite in the bonds of Christian fellowship. Those who are working for God should put away all unkind criticism, and draw together in unity. Christ desires His soldiers to stand shoulder to shoulder, united in the work of fighting the battles of the cross. He desires the union between those who work for Him to be as close as the union between Him and His Father. Those who have felt the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit will heed the lessons of the divine Instructor, and will show their sincerity by doing all in their power to work in harmony with their brethren. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, October 29, 1901.
A few others were shown me as joining their influence with those I have mentioned, and together they do what they can to draw off from the body and cause confusion; and their influence brings the truth of God into disrepute. 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. "For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth." Testimonies, Vol 1, p 332.
When professing Christians are united as one,--one with Christ in God,--they are representatives of the church of the Firstborn. Unity should ever be the element of preservation in the Christian church. Men and women are united in church capacity by a most solemn covenant with God to obey his Word, and to unite in an effort to strengthen the faith of one another. Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, January 6, 1903.
Honest souls will see the straight chain of present truth. They will see its harmonious connections, link after link uniting into a great whole, and will lay hold upon it. The present truth is not difficult to be understood, and the people whom God is leading will be united upon this broad, firm platform. He will not use individuals of different faith, opinions, and views, to scatter and divide. Heaven and holy angels are working to unite, to bring into the unity of the faith, into the one body. Satan opposes this, and is determined to scatter, and divide, and bring in different sentiments, that the prayer of Christ may not be answered: "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 hast sent Me." John 17:20, 21. Jesus designed that the faith of His people should be one. If one goes forth preaching one thing, and another differing with him preaches something else, how can those who believe through their word be one? There will be difference of sentiments. Testimonies, Vol 1, p 326-327.
"Blessed are the peace_makers; for they shall be called the children of God." Our Heavenly Father is a God of peace. When he created man he placed him in an abode of peace and security. All was unity and happiness in the garden of Eden. Those who are partakers of the divine nature will love peace and contentment; they will cultivate the virtues that insure those results. They will seek to allay wrath, to quiet resentment and fault finding, and all the evil passions that foster quarrels and dissensions. The more men unite with the world, and fall into its ways, the less they have of the true elements of peace in their hearts, and the more they are leavened with the bitterness of worldly strife, jealousy, and evil thoughts toward each other, which only needs certain circumstances to develop them into active agents for evil. Those whose anger kindles at slight provocations, and those who watch the words and acts of others to secretly report them where they will stir up enmity, are the direct opposite of the peace_makers who are called the children of God. Redeemption, Vol 4, p 61-62 (Spirit of Prophecy, Vol 2, p 209-210).
Every church_member should cherish the spirit of sacrifice. In every home there should be taught lessons of self_denial. Fathers and mothers, teach your children to economize. Encourage them to save their pennies for missionary work. Christ is our example. For our sake He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. He taught that all His followers should unite in love and unity to work as He worked, to sacrifice as He sacrificed, to partake of His sufferings, that they may be partakers of His glory....Let all our people arise,and see what they can do. Let them show that there is unity and strength among Seventh_day Adventists. Special Testimonies, Series B, #8, p 5 (Southern Watchman, April 16, 1907).
In our large cities a decided effort should be made to work in unity. In the spirit and fear of God the laborers should unite as one man, working with strength and with earnest zeal. There should be no sensational efforts, no strife. Let there be seen practical repentance, true sympathy, hearty co_operation, and decided emulation of one another in the grand, earnest effort to learn lessons of self_denial and self_sacrifice by saving perishing souls from death.(--Manuscript 128, 1901). Evangelism, p 42.
Unity should be recognized as the element of preservation in the church. Those who are united in church capacity have entered into a solemn covenant with God to obey His word, and to unite in an effort to strengthen the faith of one another. They are to be one in Him, even though they are scattered the world over. This is God's purpose concerning them, and the heart of the Saviour is set upon His followers' fulfilling this purpose. But God cannot make them one with Christ unless they are willing to give up their way for His way. Pamphlets, #151, p 85 (Review and Herald, May 12, 1903).
If you can connect with the Doctors Kress, this will be of great benefit both to you and to them. The Lord would have you labor together in unity, even though your ideas and plans are not exactly alike. Men and women of different dispositions must unite in labor, working without contention or strife. Both you and Doctor Kress should stand in a conciliatory position. Remember that no one is free from mistakes. May the Lord help you, my dear friends. Manuscript Releases, Vol 17, p 292.
If we are laborers together with God, we have many fellow laborers with whom we should unite with heart and mind and strength. Our success depends upon our unity. Our efficiency and the power of our influence depends upon our wise and unreserved cooperation with one another and with God. We are to advance the work in new territories, sustaining pure principles at every step. We are to cooperate with the angel that is flying in the midst of heaven, who also is in harmony with the two former angels in forwarding the solemn event of the second appearing of Christ in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.(--Manuscript 177, 1899). Manuscript Release, #311, p 47.
I will now hold my peace; for anything I might say may confuse. I fear for nothing that I have written. It lies out in clear, straight lines, because the Holy Spirit is working with the human agent. I greatly fear that the power and glory of God which may come in will not be recognized. God say, Work in unity. He does not say that your course has been one which will advance and unite hearts. You need to put on Christ, to follow your own Leader more closely. You are in a positive danger through your own spirit, which will always strive for the supremacy unless it is kept in subjection. You are upon a high pinnacle of greatness, because the Lord has prospered the principles you have advocated. But the Lord never designed that you should critise your brethren and hold yourself aloof from them because they do not put their whole interest in the work you are interested in. Battle Creek Letters, p 19.
He is to unite with his brethren, some of whom have already been his associates in labor. Elder Butler is president of the Southern Union Conference, and I believe that this is right. The men who have been placed in office are to carry forward their appointed work. By walking humbly with God, they are to learn how to bring their different lines to perfection. There is to be perfect unity among the workers. They are to respect and uphold one another, each esteeming the other better than himself, each standing steadfastly at his post of duty. E.G. White 1888 Minneapolis Materials, p 1775 (Spalding-Magan Collection, p 217).
The time had come when differences of opinion would be aired and discussed, and when Ellen White rose at 5:00 A.M. Friday to prepare for her devotional talk she said she "felt urged by the Spirit of God" to keep before the workers the necessity of being teachable. Her message, based on James 3:13_18, was another call for unity. "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....Even though you think you are right, you are not to urge your individual ideas to the front, so that they will cause discord....Let Christ appear. Do not cherish a spirit of independence which will lead you to feel that if your brethren do not agree with you they must be wrong. The opinions of your brethren are just as precious to them as yours are to you. Christ in you will unite you to Christ in them, and there will be a sweet spirit of union. Ellen G. White in Europe, p 70.
The bonds of unity which unite member with member of the church are to be as firm and harmonious in their operation as are the different parts of the natural body. The hands, head, and feet are so closely united, and so mutually dependent, that one member cannot live and act independently of the other members. The life and Spirit of Christ sustains and causes to flourish every particular member of his own body, and they live because Christ lives in them. As the branch cannot live or bear fruit except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye abide in Christ. The apostle writes, "Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ" [Gal. 6:2]. "For we are members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones" [Eph. 5:30].(--Manuscript 44, 1900). Manuscript Releases, Vol 19, p 370.