Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 21 (1906)


Ms 9, 1906

Unity in Christ

St. Helena, California

April 11, 1905

Portions of this manuscript are published in SpTB #7 42-46.

I awoke at twelve o’clock, unable to sleep because my mind was so deeply exercised. In my sleep I was talking earnestly with one to whom I had given message after message from the Lord. These messages had not been received and believed, and yet I could not throw off the burden. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 1

The Lord still has His hand stretched out to save, and He will save, if Dr. Kellogg will be humble enough to repent and find his true position. Dr. Kellogg has been making, and still continues to make, large human calculations. This is because he does not know the time of his visitation. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 2

If Elder A. T. Jones had been wise to that extent that he could reason from cause to effect, he would have followed a different course. When he sanctioned the re-opening of the school in Battle Creek, the message that God had given was made of no effect by the tradition of men. Had a different course been followed, provision would have been made to obviate sufficiently the difficulties that would have to be met after years of dallying. But the work and cause of God has been <stigmatized> by the unconsecrated elements in the characters of those connected with the work. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 3

We have a work to do of the highest order to prepare a people to stand in the last days, ready for the issues that will come to Seventh-day Adventists; but we are years behind. Why is it that those who know the truth cannot discern the signs of the times? 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 4

Christ declared through His prophet, “The Lord God hath given Me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary; He wakeneth morning by morning; He wakeneth Mine ear to hear as the learned.” [Isaiah 50:4.] 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 5

It is of the utmost consequence that we remember that we have a Shepherd who calls His sheep by name. The good Shepherd condescended to pitch His tent amidst human encampments, to teach His followers the way of life. “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us,” the chosen sheep of His pasture. [John 1:14.] In the prayer recorded in the seventeenth of John, the good Shepherd identifies His interests with those of fallen humanity. Think of Christ, the adored of the angels, in the attitude of a suppliant. He was a mighty petitioner, seeking at the hands of the Father fresh supplies of grace and coming forth invigorated and refreshed to impart His lessons of assurance and hope. Look at His kneeling form, as in the moonlit hours He pours forth His soul to the Father. Behold the angels watching the earnest suppliant. His prayer rises to all heaven in our behalf. He is our Elder Brother, compassed with human infirmities, and in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 6

The disciples often witnessed Christ kneeling in prayer, their hearts broken and humbled. As their Lord and Saviour arose from His knees, what did they read in His countenance and bearing?—That He was braced for duty and prepared for trial. Prayer was a necessity of His humanity, and His petitions were often accompanied with strong crying and with agony of soul, as He saw the necessities of His disciples, who, not understanding their own dangers, were often, under Satan’s temptations, led away from duty into wrongdoing. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 7

Christ’s life was pure and undefiled. He refused to yield to the temptations of the enemy. Had He yielded on one point, the human family would have been lost. Who can tell the agony that He endures as He sees Satan playing the game of life for the souls of those who claim to be His disciples and sees them yielding point after point, allowing the soul’s defenses to be broken down? We can form no conception of the agony that He endures at this sight. One soul lost, one soul given up to Satan’s power, means more to Him than the whole world. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 8

“The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.” [John 1:14.] He is the Prince of heaven. In our behalf He could say, “As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after Thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God.” [Psalm 42:1, 2.] Here is the power that He receives, to impart to whose who receive Him. “As many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God.” [John 1:12.] Will those who claim to be His disciples try to understand this? 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 9

Read the prayer recorded in the seventeenth of John. “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. ... 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.” [Verses 14, 17, 18.] 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 10

Bear this in mind. The Lord Jesus gave Himself for the world, and His followers must give themselves to the working out of the divine plan. And in giving themselves up as workers together with God, they will have to practice self-denial and sacrifice. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 11

“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 hast 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. Father, I will that they also, whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My glory, which Thou hast given Me; for Thou lovedst Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee; but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou has sent Me. And I have declared unto them Thy name, and will declare it; that the love wherewith Thou hast loved Me may be in them, and I in them.” [Verses 19-26.] 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 12

The evidence that Christ’s followers are indeed converted, the evidence that they are standing on the sure foundation, will be found in their faithful performance of the work given them. Their works will reveal that they have experienced the new birth. They will be heavenly minded, not estranged from one another, but united with one another and accepted of God. They are the purchase of the blood of Christ and bear satisfactory fruit in works of righteousness. They do not give to the world evidence that they are selfish, but evidence that they are unselfish. Through the merits of the grace of Christ, daily received, they practice the virtues of Christ. They are consecrated to the ministry of service, not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with the blood of Christ, a better sacrifice. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 13

Every one who becomes a child of God will reveal genuine holiness. Christ said, I sacrifice Myself, that they may be sacrifice to the glory of God. Self-glory, whenever cherished, spoils the figure. For the church’s good, the members must follow Christ’s example of suffering, whether it means shame, imprisonment, or death. “God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel, according to the power of God. ... Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou has heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus.” [2 Timothy 1:7, 8, 13.] 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 14

What an argument of power is the prayer, “That they all may be one; a 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. 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 17:21-23.] 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 15

I have repeated this wonderful statement; for it contains the very evidence that we are to present to the world—the perfection of unity in the followers of Christ. The members of the church of God must reach this perfection. I cannot do more than urge upon them that this perfection is found in unity in Christ. The Saviour has presented before us how much will be gained in working out the unity that will join one believer to another in the perfection of Christian love. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 16

This unity is not brought into the practical life as Christ has specified it should be. When professing Christians meet the requirements of this prayer of Christ, there will be true, solid conversions. Self will not be magnified; self will not strive for the highest place. At any cost believers will meet the requirement, “I in them, and Thou in Me, that they may be made perfect in one.” The desired result is plainly stated, “That the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them as Thou hast loved Me.” [Verse 23.] “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,” one in the grand, pure truth of the Bible, free from all sophistry. [Verses 22, 23.] This is the oneness that God requires. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 17

All heaven turns away with sadness at the sight of the dissension caused by differences and obstinacy and the imperfections caused by self-worship. Self is very much alive, and divine grace is obliterated from the soul. The testimony borne in the daily life is not to the honor and glory of God; for self is very much alive. This imperfect representation of Christ given to the world detracts from the power of the gospel message. All might be one in their testimony in behalf of Bible truth. The words of believers might be a power to convict and convert souls. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 18

God calls upon ministers and doctors and all believers to be one in Christ, bearing the same precious message of Bible truth. The unselfish, Christlike love of believers for one another is to be a marked evidence that they have learned from Christ the precious gospel politeness of esteeming one another better than themselves. Tender regard for one another, Christian politeness and courtesy, gives beauty and strength to the Word preached. It is a heavenly witness to the soul-saving gospel message. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 19

The oneness that Christ prayed might exist among His followers is the sign believers are to give to the world that they are obeying the truth that perfects the character. The Lord is very much displeased when ministers, physicians, or lay members do that which works counter to this prayer for unity. The Father and the Son are dishonored by strife in the church. Although believers may be scattered throughout the world, from one end to the other, they are to be one in Christ. The Word of God is to be their rule of action. Widely scattered they may be, but they are to be closely united with the great Teacher who is our Head, our Mediator, our divine Physician. Christ will give His grace to all who will humble themselves and obey the law of God in sincerity and truth. Upon such ones the Father will look as members of the royal family, bearing the seal of God. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 20

This message I am given to bear, as the Lord’s messenger. The unity for which Christ prayed is a sacred pledge of discipleship. Those who enter heaven must be one with Christ. Unless they should bear the same perfection of character that He bore while on this earth, they would spoil heaven. The trial and test is to come here in this world. Here we are to be stamped with the image and superscription of God. The virtue of the grace of Christ will perfect the character of every believer who truly accepts Him. All true disciples are made members of the royal family. All have the new heart, and all blend in perfect harmony. They speak the same thing, though in this world their language may differ. Their manner of expression may not be the same, but their one desire is for the highest end in this life—the sanctification of the same Spirit. They love as brethren. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 21

Christ’s disciples must obey the laws of heaven on this earth, else they will never obey them in the higher world. I call upon every physician, upon every gospel minister, to obey the laws of God in everything. This world is the school in which we are to prepare for graduation into the higher school. We know not who are the chosen of God only as they reveal the education they have received from the Father and the Son, through the Holy Spirit. Christ is their Mediator, their Righteousness, and their unity centers in God. Those who are so stubborn that they will not comply with the prayer of Christ will be lawless, loveless, impolite. They could not be admitted into the family of heaven. The truth cherished in the heart will work out a blessed unity among Christ’s disciples in the lower school of earth. The Lord is dishonored by the contention and strife caused by the unsanctified dispositions of professing Christians. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 22

I have written out fully the instruction that I was commissioned to give. We are now to take our individual selves in hand and conquer the wicked feelings that rise in our hearts. In allowing the venom of these feelings to flow forth in words, we help Satan in his work. Our church members need a reconversion, a renewal of the Holy Spirit’s power to make them children of God, members of His family. Let every one in our churches now humble his own heart, confess his own sins, and remember that God has a controversy with those who have kept the work from advancing by their crooked characters, which need to be made all over again. 21LtMs, Ms 9, 1906, par. 23