Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 6

116/333

Ms 26, 1889

Counsels to Ministers: An Appeal for Unity and Harmony

Denver, Colorado

September 11, 1889

Portions of this manuscript are published in RC 277; UL 268.

Colorado, September 11, 1889

Denver

I attended ministers’ meeting and was impressed to talk with them in regard to having unity and harmony among themselves. If suspicions and envy and jealousies and evil surmisings are cherished, these will exclude the blessing of God, for Jesus cannot dwell in a heart where these things are cherished. The soul temple must be cleansed of every defilement. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 1

Brother Pegg had a question to ask. If his heart was softened and warmed by the testimony borne by his brethren, would it be lasting upon his heart when he left the company of these brethren? Or was the light and blessing which he enjoyed on this occasion merely the sparks of another’s kindling? 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 2

I answered that this was a difficult question. He must look beyond the instrument to Christ, the Life, the true Minister of the church. The minister appointed of God is in Christ’s stead. He delegates men to preach the Word, and men are to practice the Word they present to others. They are the undershepherds. They are to watch for the sheep, and to feed the sheep. They have the treasures of truth in earthen vessels, but God must superintend the ministry, for He is the true source of power. The words spoken find lodgment in the heart because we recognize that the Lord Jesus is speaking to the hearers through the human instrumentality. Christ with His energizing presence is there. The true messenger of God is not to be regarded as merely a public speaker delivering a lecture. He is Christ’s ambassador, deriving his authority from the great Head of the church. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 3

The great evil prevailing among us is that the Chief Minister is lost in the one visibly officiating, and many seem to think that they cannot be benefited unless the instrument shall in all things be patterned according to their ideas. Christ is always sending messages through His appointed agencies to all those who listen to His voice. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 4

As ministers of Christ, we need to be vitalized by His Holy Spirit. As we seek the Lord most earnestly in these meetings, we are sorry that ministers do not bring Christ, and a Thus saith the Great Teacher, into their discourses more than they do. They say many things, and there are many Christless sermons preached. The true followers of Christ will find portions of meat in these discourses which seem barren and without the Spirit and grace of Christ, but the discourses ought not to be barren. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 5

First, talk with God in prayer. Lay right hold of His promises. Plead with Christ. When He was ministering in this world He spent many hours in prayer—the hours long before day, and entire nights. Then He was ready to meet His disciples. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 6

Some souls find water where the fountain is apparently dry because these faithful hearers look beyond the minister, the living agent, to feed by living faith on Jesus Christ. The great Head of the church is the reservoir of power, the fountain of living waters. They see Jesus, their atoning sacrifice, able to save to the uttermost all who come unto Him, for He liveth to make intercession for us. But the minister is in need, great need, of Jesus to sanctify his own soul. Then he can bring fresh, living food from the Word. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 7

There is need of Christ’s ambassadors putting away their evil surmisings. Their companions can help them in this work, or they can prove to be their tempters, ever suggesting ideas that are of Satan’s own originating. Thus they become agents for the wicked one. They set things in a wrong light before their own husbands. The husbands in turn are not clear in spiritual discernment, catch at suggestions just as Satan hoped they would, and begin to imagine that they are neglected and slighted by their brethren or brother ministers. It may be purely false imaginings. There may be no intention on the part of their brethren to demerit them or to slight them, or to show the least discourtesy to them, and yet Satan has made an estrangement. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 8

How does the Lord Jesus look upon this? The Spirit of the Lord is grieved. The words spoken by his brothers in messages of warning, reproof, and correction, have no influence because enmity against them is cherished in the heart; and yet the word spoken is just what he needs to correct the evil surmising and jealousies that exist. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 9

Christ foresaw the danger of all these things, and just prior to giving His life for the world He prayed to His Father that His disciples might be one with Christ as He was one with the Father. He prayed that His disciples might be sanctified through the truth—“thy word is truth.” [John 17:21, 17.] 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 10

There has been too much child’s play even among men who claim to be sent of heaven to bear a message of God to the people, and they bind themselves away from the Source of their strength by their own perversity of will. They feel in no harmony with their brethren engaged with them in the same work of leading souls to Jesus Christ. But will the Lord send His divine power to work with human agencies that are at variance one with another? Nay, He will not do this. The Lord Jesus Christ will not work in power for His people until they will cooperate with Him by casting out of their hearts and minds evil thoughts and imaginings which separate them from their fellow laborers and defile the soul temple. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 11

Our Saviour has said, “If two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them.” Matthew 18:19. Their prayers will be heard. Nothing can grieve the Spirit of God more than variance among those who are engaged as laborers in His vineyard because the same spirit they entertain is diffused among the churches. Such seed, once sown, is difficult to eradicate. It required time and labor and distress of soul to adjust things and bring in a state of harmony and peace. All heaven is laboring for the unity of the church, and the professed followers of Christ are working at cross purposes with God, because they will not heed His instruction but will bring in dissension. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 12

God’s ambassadors must be an example to the unbelieving world and to the flock of God in words, in spirit, and in character. They must be one in heart. Christ prayed to His Father that this might be, and they are to answer that prayer in doing God’s will, in loving one another, in esteeming one another—not continually looking for slights and watching to find something to which they can take exception. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 13

If they are looking to Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of their faith, they will not be regarding their precious selves with so much solicitude. They will be waiting and diligently hearkening to receive their orders from the Captain of their salvation, and they will not be saying, as did Peter, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” Christ said to Peter, “What is that to thee? follow thou me.” John 21:21, 22. We must not take our eyes off Jesus. We must be constantly receiving the gift of His grace, the baptism of the Holy Ghost, or we shall not be able to resist temptation or to strengthen the things that remain that are ready to die. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 14

There are men who are self-sufficient. They will lay plans and seem to see what needs to be done in devising plans and in executing [them]; but if they are not especially requested to do these particular things, they stand back on their dignity and take considerable satisfaction if they can see any deficiencies in their brethren because of their neglect to come in at the right time and do that which they should have felt they must do for Christ’s sake, as faithful soldiers on duty. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 15

Self has interposed between them and God. They thought their discernment was superior, but alas, they could not discern the influence of their own spirit and could not discern that they had hindered the work by allowing Satan to use their words, which ought to have been used to build up the Redeemer’s kingdom; [and this was] all because of the perversity of their own spirit and disposition, and because they fancied their own judgment and capabilities were not sufficiently appreciated. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 16

This, I have been shown, is becoming quite general among the workers in the cause of God at this present time; and the Spirit of our Saviour is grieved, and the work hindered, because men who ought to be a blessing become a curse, to retard in the place of advancing the work. There is inward, concealed strife for the supremacy. There is manifest strife to be first in our ranks. The Lord cannot work, manifesting His power and His grace, until all this unsanctified element is cleansed from the soul temple. The Lord Jesus gives all professed Christians this lesson in Matthew 18. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 17

If it is indeed so—that brethren do not appreciate the ability and capabilities of a brother laborer—is this any excuse for him to throw himself like a balking horse and refuse to draw or to do his work? Who has given man his work? Was his commission of man, or did he receive it of man? Has not God called him to do His work? If his orders have been given him of God, then how dishonoring to God it will be for him to act like a rebel and refuse to work because he thinks his brethren have misused him and underrated his talents and abilities! 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 18

Who has given us our talents? Did we not receive them of God, to be improved to His glory? If you really desire to stand in a true light before your brethren, then do your work for Christ’s sake, work stimulated by doing your duty as to God, and not merely to men. Work with an eye single to the glory of God. Work as valiant soldiers of the cross of Christ. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 19

The one running in a race will surely lose his victory if he keeps looking behind him or from side to side to see if his fellows are coming out ahead of him. He must run to win the crown of immortal glory, looking unto Jesus, who is the Author and Finisher of his faith. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 20

This work in which we are engaged is a grand, a holy, a sacred work. We cannot for a moment be off our guard. The crown, the crown, the imperishable crown to be won, is to be kept before the one running the race. So run that ye may obtain. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 21

“Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown.” Revelation 3:11. Let not the doings and sayings of men, finite erring men, place their own interpretations upon your work to your discouragement. Has not God given you your work? Has not God entrusted you with the work of a shepherd to care for the flock? Look not to man. Your responsibility is to God, and He will render to every man according as his work shall be. “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name” (verse 12), which is Christ Our Righteousness. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 22

God has given to every man his work. When He gives to His servant a special work to do, what a pity it is that he will take up so many burdens that God has not appointed to him, but to some others to bear, and go on grumbling and complaining. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 23

What tongue can tell, what pen can trace and unfold the mighty moral results of looking with earnest believing hearts unto Jesus, our Helper? “But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:18. What a grand victory! Beholding, you become a changed man. Consider this. We behold, and catch the bright beams in the face of Jesus Christ. We receive as much as we can bear. Let us not stop to quarrel over circumstances, but keep Christ in view. Through the transforming power of the Holy Ghost we become assimilated to the image of the blessed Object we behold. 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 24

Do not murmur nor find fault. Looking unto Jesus, the image of Christ is engraven upon the soul and reflected back in spirit, in words, in true service for our fellow beings. Christ’s joy is in our hearts, and our joy is full. This is true religion. Let us make sure to obtain it, and to be kind, to be courteous, to have love in the soul—that kind of love which flows forth and is expressed in good works, which is light to shine to the world and which makes our joy full. Why will so many carry their own image and testify that they are not lovable, self-denying, and steadfast? 6LtMs, Ms 26, 1889, par. 25