Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16 (1901)


Ms 69, 1901

The Unity of the Spirit


July 29, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in 11MR 276-277.

“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints; for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ; till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” [Ephesians 4:11-13.] 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 1

These words describe the work which in the church is to be carried forward to completion. The apostle continues, “That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ; from whom the whole body, fitly joined together, and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.” [Verses 14-16.] 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 2

Let us study these Scriptures. They tell us that it takes many members to make the church complete. 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 3

There is need of close self-examination. Let every one ask himself the question, How is it with my soul? Man is naturally inclined to feel displeased if every one does not agree with his methods of conveying truth. But it is not the Spirit of the Lord that leads him to feel thus. From nature we see that all cannot be alike. No two leaves on a tree are precisely the same. In the work of the Lord there are different ways of communicating truth. No one is to refuse to unite with a fellow laborer because his plans are not exactly the same as his own. We are laborers together with God. To measure men by human standards, to choose certain ones as companions because they agree with our ideas, is not Christ’s wisdom, but the wisdom of the world. 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 4

Those who abide in Christ will reveal His Spirit. They will be branches of the true vine, differing from one another, yet united in Christian love. 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 5

No haphazard work is to be done by those who are laboring in the ministry or in medical missionary lines. God’s servants must seek to understand the words, “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office, so we being many are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith. Or ministry, let us wait on our ministry; or he that teacheth on teaching; or he that exhorteth on exhortation; and he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that showeth mercy, with cheerfulness. Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil; cleave to that which is good. Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love, in honor preferring one another.” [Romans 12:4-10.] 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 6

This instruction is of vital importance to every one. At this time, above all other times in the history of the earth, these words should be practiced. But today they are to a great extent left out of the practice of professing Christians. This is the reason why God is dishonored by discord and strife, why He does not give to His people the power He would be pleased to impart. He desires to glorify His name before the world and before the heavenly universe. But church members are not doing the work they should do. 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 7

“There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. ... And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh in us all. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.” [1 Corinthians 12:4, 6-12.] 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 8

A man should not be loaded down with responsibilities because he is thought by his brethren to be qualified to bear burdens. This is not the Lord’s plan. It is His desire that the leaders in His cause, those who have gained an experience in His work, shall take with them young men to educate and train as burden-bearers. But the young worker must not become so wrapped up in the ideas and opinions of the one in whose charge he is placed, that he will lose his individuality. He must not lose his identity in the one who is instructing him, so that he does not dare to exercise his own judgment, but does what he is told, irrespective of his understanding of what is right and true. It is his privilege to learn of the greatest Teacher the world has ever known. If the one with whom he is working pursues a course which he does not think is in harmony with a “Thus saith the Lord,” let him not report to some outside party. Let him go to his superior in office and lay the matter before him, freely expressing his mind. Thus the learner may be a blessing to the teacher. He must faithfully discharge his duty. God will not hold him guiltless if he connives at a wrong course of action, however great the influence or responsibility of the one who follows this course. He is not to allow anyone to lead him in false paths. With a conscientious regard for the Scriptures, and for the light which God has been pleased to give them [since] the commencement of our work, he is to move forward in the strength of the Almighty. 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 9

The Lord has declared that no man can be conscience for another man. Let the one who is working for God consecrate himself to His service, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of his faith. Just as surely as he does this, God will reveal to him His purposes. 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 10

God calls for earnest, whole-souled, benevolent Christian men and women. All unholy ambition must be crucified. I entreat Seventh-day Adventists to be drawn to the uplifted Saviour, far above the common level of a worldly life. 16LtMs, Ms 69, 1901, par. 11