Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5


Number Thirty-Three—Testimony for the Church

Chapter 54—Unity and Love in the Church

Dear Brethren and Sisters in Healdsburg,

Do not forget that the most dangerous snares which Satan has prepared for the church will come through its own members who do not love God supremely or their neighbor as themselves. Satan is continually striving to wedge himself in between brethren. He seeks to gain control of those who claim to believe the truth, but who are unconverted; and when he can influence these, through their own carnal nature, to unite with him in trying to thwart the purposes of God, then he is exultant. 5T 477.1

The Health Institute, the college, the ministry, and the missionary societies, are all instrumentalities which God employs for the accomplishment of His work. If Satan can in any way invent something which will divert talent and means from these instrumentalities into another channel, he will do it. There are some who are deceived in themselves. While flattering themselves that they are doing God's work, they are playing into the hands of the great deceiver and rendering him effectual service. Beware of these deceptions. Ever remember what is due to our Christian profession as God's peculiar people; and beware lest, in the exercise of personal independence, your influence may work against the purposes of God, and you, through Satan's devices, become a stumbling block, directly in the way of those who are weak and halting. There is danger of giving our enemies occasion to blaspheme God and heap scorn upon believers in the truth. 5T 477.2

Be especially guarded against becoming a tool in the hands of the enemy to divert the minds of any—men and women, or children—from an entire surrender of themselves to God and to the great work for this time. Beware of flattering the young by holding out to them the prospect of financial gain, wonderful educational advantages, or great personal achievements. Flattering words are sweet to the unconsecrated heart, and some who think they are standing firm, are dazed, allured, and intoxicated with hopes that will never be realized. A great wrong has been done in this way. All should think and speak modestly of their own capabilities, and should be careful not to encourage pride and self-esteem in others. Men and women, unless consecrated to God, are weak in moral power and may be entirely mistaken in their estimate of human ability and of what constitutes Christian fidelity. Present no inducements which will lessen the interest of any in building up an institution which God has said should be built up. 5T 478.1

Brother A does not manifest good judgment upon all occasions and in all matters. He is not well-balanced, and unless he walks in humility before God, he will make dangerous mistakes. He lacks discernment, and therefore misjudges character, using such extravagant words of flattery to some as will hurt their souls. He will lead them to think that they can do some great thing, and thus they will neglect the little duties lying directly in their path. 5T 478.2

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. 5T 478.3

Those who seek to lessen the interest of any in the school at Healdsburg, or in the missionary work in any of its branches, are not working together with God, but are working under another captain, whose aim is to weaken and destroy. Your usefulness, brethren and sisters of the Healdsburg church, requires that you be straightforward in all your dealings; that you be humble, holy, and undefiled. There should be less proud self-seeking, less self-importance. When the members of the church are clothed with humility, when they put from them self-esteem and self-seeking, when they seek constantly to do God's will—then they will work together in harmony. God's Spirit is one.... 5T 479.1

The crisis is just before us when each will need much strength from God in order to stand against the wiles of Satan, for his deceptions will come in every conceivable form. Those who have allowed themselves to be the sport of Satan's temptations will be unprepared then to take the right side. Their ideas will be confused so that they cannot discern between the divine and the satanic. 5T 479.2

There will come a crisis in every one of our institutions. Influences will be at work against them from both believers and unbelievers. There must be no betraying of confidence or holy trust now to benefit or exalt self. We should constantly watch our life with jealous care lest we leave wrong impressions upon the world. Say it, act it: “I am a Christian. I can not act upon the world's maxims. I must love God supremely and my neighbor as myself. I cannot enter into or connive at any arrangement which will interfere in the slightest manner with my usefulness or weaken my influence or destroy the confidence of anyone in God's instrumentalities.” ... 5T 479.3

Remember that God's people are but a little flock compared with the professedly Christian world and the myriads of world-adoring men and women. They are to be Bible Christians, examples to our youth of righteousness and exactness in all things. Every influence surrounding the young should be of a holy character, and this influence should begin in our own families. The sacred and the common should not be commingled. 5T 479.4