Summer 2000 Newsletter: That All May Be One
Author: Professor Walter J. Veith, PhD
Publish date:
 
 
When Jesus offered His high-priestly prayer in John 17 for unity among the believers, this unity was to be based on the Word of truth. In today’s society, this prayer of Jesus is often misinterpreted to mean unity of all religions.

I have manifested Your name to the men whom You gave to Me out of the world. They were Yours, and You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word…

I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine; and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are…

I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You have sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, so that they also may be sanctified by the truth. I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me (John 17:6, 9-11, 14-22 NKJV, emphasis added).


It is evident from this prayer that Jesus is not praying for worldly unity, but rather He is praying for a unity based on the Word of truth which is to be found in Him as His is with the Father. Friendship with the world is condemned in the Word of God:

Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God (James 4:4).

Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him (1 John 2:15).


In fact, true unity in Christ will bring about such a separation from the world that the world will respond with hatred. This is just as Cain responded with hatred when Abel followed the Lord’s will.
   
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you (John 15:19).

This unity that is so important to Christ’s people is being counterfeited by a unity of all religions, not just in the Christian ecumenical movements but also in the drive towards one world religion. This unity is at the expense of truth and is achieved through compromise. Unity at all cost is the driving force ecumenical theology.

 

True Christianity is based on Scripture. In order for religious organizations to find unity outside the criteria of Christ, ecumenical thinking must be their central approach. It is unity at all costs. It will mean that denominations will have to compromise their creeds.

Ecumenical unity can also be furthered by experiential unity, where experiences and emotions become the unifying factor. This type of unity can cross doctrinal barriers and is thus the one factor that Scripture calls the all-engrossing deception of the last days.

Let not anyone deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and the man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition (2 Thessalonians 2:3).

For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect (Matthew 24:24).


The Word is not the unifying factor in such unity, because the Word cannot be compromised. Discussions on unity for the sake of unity must therefore be governed by another spirit.

“Woe to the rebellious children,” says the LORD,
“Who take counsel, but not of Me,
And who devise plans, but not of my Spirit,
That they may add sin to sin” (Isaiah 30:1 NKJV).


Ecumenism Today
The formation of end-time Babylon requires the unity of peoples through a single, all-pervading ideology. This unity of the world is not the type of unity referred to by Christ. It is a unity of compromise and rebellion against God. It is a unity in sin and not in righteousness. Christ never prayed for such a unity. The Church was never to conform to the standard of the world. Those who belong to Christ should conform to the high and exalted principle of His righteousness of Christ—a transformation upwards not downwards.
   
A new standard is being erected in the world: the standard of human rights based on liberty, equality, and fraternity. Liberty means freedom to be like you want to be. Equality has no hierarchy, whereas the Scriptures embody a hierarchical system in both the human race and the angelic host. And fraternity is the brotherhood of all. This is an apostate system of unity since it creates the capacity to entrench and exalt sin. More, it makes sin a virtue. It is Satan’s end-time unity, the final apostasy and rebellion against the government of God.
   

And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered (Daniel 8:12).


If human rights mean that you have the right to be what you want to be, then rebellion, blasphemy, and idolatry, within the boundaries of human legislation, are permissible. Self is exalted and authority is disowned.
   
In the Old Testament, under the theocratic system, God viewed behavior contrary to His Word and law in a very serious light. Sins that today are protected by human rights, were even punishable by death in the Old Testament. What were the sins punishable by death in the Old Testament?

1. Homosexuality

And the man that commiteth adultery with another man’s wife, even he that commiteth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death (Leviticus 20:10).

If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them (Leviticus 20:13).

Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination (Leviticus 18:22).


Has God changed His thinking in regard to the sins outlined above? Modern science urges that we are not responsible for our sexual preferences because genetic factors could have influenced our behavior. If this were so, then Sodom and Gomorrah should have been left untouched. In the New Testament, we find the exact same sentiments expressed:

Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you are washed, but you are sanctified, but you are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God (1 Corinthians 6:9-11 NKJV, emphasis added).


This is not a judgmental statement and it clearly demonstrates the effect of salvation in Christ. The words “and such were some of you” underline the transforming power of the Gospel. An adulterer ceases to be an adulterer. An idolater ceases to be an idolater. A thief no longer steals. A drunkard is no longer addicted to alcohol. And a homosexual is transformed.

Do the churches in their quest for unity today endorse homosexuality and idolatry? Indeed, they have no choice. Various Protestant confessions have ordained homosexuals in order to comply with human rights. The world gathering of religious leaders in September 2000 in New York proclaimed the equality of all religions thus entrenching idolatry. This unity is therefore not based on truth, but on ecumenical grounds. In this regard, it is therefore not strange that in Roman Catholicism, the icon of Mary is to tour churches in North America to be prayed for in various churches.

During the first week of September 2000, the local newspaper in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada reported “It is wonderful, says Gino Masotti grand knight of Columbus Council 11608 at Precious Blood Cathedral. He is hoping that many Precious Blood parishers will pray before the icon.”

Unity with Roman Catholicism would thus also be a unity outside of the Word of truth. The Vatican stated in September 2000 that Roman Catholicism is the only true church and that all authority rests in the Pope. However, Canon David Oliver, minister of St. Thomas Anglican Church in Montreal, says, “I don’t think it breaks any rule of dialogue.”

2. Spiritism
A further sin punishable by death in the Old Testament was spiritism and communication of the dead.

A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall be surely put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them (Leviticus 20:27).

When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations. There shall not be found among you anyone who makes his son or his daughter pass through the fire, or one who practices witchcraft, or a soothsayer, or one who interprets omens, or a sorcerer, or one who conjures spells, or a medium, or a spiritist, or one who calls up the dead. For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD, and because of these abominations the LORD your God drives them out from before you. You shall be blameless before the LORD your God (Deuteronomy 18:9-13 NKJV).


At the WCC meeting in Australia, a list of dead people including our “brother” Jesus Christ was called up under great ceremony. In August 2000, the Times of London carried an article in which the Church of England is urged to hold séances for the dead, particularly for deceased atheists:

Parishers in the church of England will next month be urged to hold Christian séances and encourage worshippers to develop their psychic skills. David Christie-Murray, Anglican priest will call on parishes to set up a Christian rescue group to help atheists and others who have passed over to the other side…The fifth Christian Parapsychology Conference at Christ Church College, Canterbury, is sponsored by the Churches Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual studies, patrons of which include the Archbishop of York, and Dr. David Hope.


3. Blasphemy


Further sins punishable by death in the Old Testament were blasphemy and cursing of parents:

And he that curses his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death (Exodus 21:17).

And he that blasphemeth the name of the LORD, he shall surely be put to death, and all the congregation shall certainly stone him: as well as the stranger, as he that is born in the land, when he blasphemeth the name of the LORD, shall be put to death (Leviticus 24:16).
One just has to turn on the television to see that such sins are made an object of entertainment in the soap operas and talk shows, where these sins are often held as virtues.

4. Breaking the Sabbath

To break the Sabbath was also punishable by death:

You shall keep the Sabbath, therefore, for it is holy to you. Everyone who profanes it shall surely be put to death; for whoever does any work in it, that person shall be cut off from among his people (Exodus 31:14 NKJV).


In the light of statements issued by Vatican in regard to Sunday sacredness and unity of religions based on Sunday sanctity, these bodies are acting outside that unity God wishes for His Church. At the 1961 WCC meeting in New Delhi, the slogan was, “The church must be converted to the world of today.” And at the 1966 WCC meeting, the resolution of unity of all peoples was adopted.
   
Lessons from the Spirit of Prophecy
Can the Church attain unity by dropping its standards to the level of the world? Or does Christ wish His people to come up to a higher standard? We read this in the Spirit of Prophecy:

It is our privilege, by an earnest study of the Word, to learn wherein we are not revealing the principles of that Word in our daily lives. And as the mirror reveals to us our defects, we are to seek by earnest prayer and faith to put them away, and come up to the standard that is given us. As we strive to meet the perfection that God desires for us, insensibly to us the image of God will be revealed in words and works and spirit. The human will become molded to the divine. – Letter 300, Sept 29, 1907, to Elder O. A. Olsen, president of the Australian Union Conference (TDG 281.3, emphasis added).

According to the Spirit of Prophecy, God has not changed. He hates sin as much today as He hated it in the past. Yet He still has same tender compassion for the sinner that He demonstrated in Eden when He covered Adam and Eve with the robes of the lamb. Following are a few quotes to highlight this position:

God hates everything impure (ApM 28.1).

God hates all sin (CC 165.5).
   
God hates all pride (FLB 68.8).
       
God hates hereditary and cultivated tendencies to wrong (4BC 1154.9).

God hates hypocrisy and falsehood (3SP 284.3).

God hates such worldly-mindedness. “Cut loose, cut loose,” were the words of the angel (1T 152.1).

Hypocrisy is peculiarly offensive to God. A large majority of the men and women who profess to know the truth prefer smooth messages. They do not desire to have their sins and defects brought before them. They want accommodation ministers, who will not arouse conviction by speaking the truth. They choose men who will flatter them, and in their turn they flatter the minister who has shown such a “good” spirit, while they revile the faithful servant of God (TDG 55.1).

God hates covetousness, which is idolatry (PH15023.1).

God hates a criticizing spirit (15MR 166.1).

God hates selfishness (SpM 166.1).

Lessons from Scripture
God is calling His people to come up to the standard, to give up wrong character traits, to work in our sphere as He works in His sphere. Moreover, in order to achieve this, we cannot join together with those willing to compromise on important issues. Romans 12:2 says, “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, in order to prove by you what is that good and pleasing and perfect will of God.”

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?

And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel?

And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.

Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you (2 Corinthians 6:14-17).

I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ (Ephesians 4:1-7).


Works of the flesh must die with our old person of sin and a new spirit must actuate our new being.

But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another (Galatians 5:18-26, emphasis added).


We should not be deceived by worldly unity. The Word and the Word alone should be our guide. Many may preach of Jesus and many may feel the working of a spirit, yet these may be another Jesus (an all-forgiving, compromising Jesus), or a deceiving spirit not in harmony with the Word of God. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is not complicated: “your sins are forgiven; go and sin no more.”

For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, of if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him (2 Corinthians 11:2-4, emphasis added).

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:13-16 NKJV).

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works (Titus 2:11-14 NKJV).


Ten Markers of a Triumphant Church from the Spirit of Prophecy


1. Has a Humble, Meek Spirit
If we are to succeed as a church we need earnest confession of sins. We need to come up to the standard. We need to stand together in humility of spirit and meekness. Where there are wrongs let us correct them. We need to support and sustain each other. The Spirit of Prophecy says this:

Let us learn to follow the Bible rule for dealing with the erring. Let us do our part to answer Christ’s prayer for unity among His people. During the coming year, let us obey the new commandment the Christ gave to His disciples in every age, "Love one another, as I have loved you." For our soul’s sake let us serve Him with more zeal and earnestness than we have ever served Him before (KC 38.3).

Be very careful how you treat the Lord’s heritage. Each worker is to be drawn to the other by the cords of Christ’s love. There is no need of their being estranged from one another. They are all embraced in Christ’s prayer that the disciples might be one with Him as He is one with the Father (SpM 269.2).

Continuing His prayer, Christ pleaded: “I pray for them; I pray not for the world, but for them which Thou hast given Me; for they are Thine. And all Mine are Thine, and Thine are Mine; and I am glorified in them.” Oh, what a lesson Christ’s prayer should teach every one who bears any responsibility in God’s service! Can Christ say concerning us, “I am glorified in them”? Should not a thorough transformation take place in the hearts of even the men who have long known the truth, but who have not earnestly endeavored to glorify Christ? Let every worker carefully search his heart to detect the motives prompting wrong words and actions (PUR, July 3, 1902 par. 9).

The arrows of the Almighty must wound you so sorely that you will feel that you need a physician. “I have torn,” saith God, “And I will heal; I have smitten and I will bind you up.” When you come, meek and lowly, then Jesus will pardon your transgressions – Ibid (3BIO 309.3).


2. Works together as a unit

God has not passed His people by and chosen one solitary man here and another there as the only ones worthy to be entrusted with His truth. He does not give one man new light contrary to the established faith of the body. In every reform men have arisen making this claim. Paul warned the church in his day: “Of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." The greatest harm to God’s people comes through those who go out from among them speaking perverse things. Through them the way of truth is evil spoken of (5T 291.2).

Those who prefer to act alone are not good soldiers. They have some crookedness in their character which needs to be straightened. They may think themselves conscientious, but they do not the works of Christ. They cannot render efficient service. Their work will be of a character to draw apart when Christ’s prayer was that His disciples might be one as He was one with the Father (14MR 29.3).

Little differences dwelt upon lead to actions that destroy Christian fellowship. Let us not allow the enemy thus to gain the advantage over us. Let us keep drawing nearer to God and to one another…The heart of the Savior is set upon His followers’ fulfilling God’s purpose in all its height and depth. They are to be one in Him, even though they are scattered the world over…When Christ’s prayer is fully believed…unity of action will be seen in our ranks. Brother will be bound to brother by the golden bonds of the love of Christ. The Spirit of God alone can bring about this oneness. He who sanctified Himself can sanctify His disciples. United with Him, they will be united with one another in the most holy faith (AG 210.5).


3. Lifts up the Sabbath standard

God has a test for us, and if we come up to the standard we shall be a peculiar people. The Sabbath draws a separating line between us and the world, not faintly but in plain, distinct colors. To those who have received the light of this truth the Sabbath is a test; it is not a human requirement, but God’s test. It is what will distinguish between those who serve God and those who serve Him not, and upon this point will come the last great conflict between truth and error. All who profess to keep God’s law should stand united in the sacred observance of His holy Sabbath (HP 150.2).


God can and will use an obedient church. That church will be a blessing to the community, a disseminator of light and truth. The true joy of fellowship with God and with each other will give direction and meaning to life. We need to be missionaries and not hide our light “under a bushel.”

4. Is Mission Oriented

The people who obey God’s commandments are now the light of the world, the preserver of the Word of God in its purity, and they are elevating and exalting the law of God, - the only true, infallible standard of character in our world, - therefore every man and woman whom Heaven has entrusted with this most sacred truth is required to be an active instrument to diffuse the light to others. The church who obeys God’s law is to send forth her sons as missionaries and preachers, and her daughters as teachers. The Bible is to be opened and explained to those who are in the darkness of error. The great missionary work is to draw men to Christ. Every individual member of the church is under the claims of God to let this light shine to the world…He designs that we should be sanctified through the truth, elevated, ennobled, and all our powers increased to do good (PrT, November 4, 1886 par. 10).


5. Is Educated
We are living in the closing stages of this earth’s history, and many people wonder about the purpose of education.
   

Church members must work, they must educate themselves, striving to reach the high standard set before them. This the Lord will help them to reach if they will cooperate with Him. – Testimonies vol. 9, p. 140 (ChS 62.2).

We should not let slip even one opportunity of qualifying ourselves intellectually to work for God. – Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 334 (ChS 62.3).

Your perceptive faculties will increase in power and soundness if your whole being, body, soul, and spirit, is consecrated to the accomplishment of a holy work. Make every effort in and through the grace of Christ to attain to the high standard set before you. You can be perfect in your sphere as God is perfect in His sphere. Has not Christ declared, “Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect” (HP 186.4).


6. Loves “more and more”

Every means of grace should be diligently improved that the love of God may abound in the soul more and more, “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness.” Your Christian life must take on vigorous and stalwart forms. You can attain to the high standard set before you in the Scriptures, and you must if you would be children of God. You cannot stand still; you must either advance or retrograde (Mar 75.2).

If we are closely connected with sacred things, and yet do not realize their importance, the heart will become so hard that the most earnest appeals will not move it to contrition. We must cherish every ray of light. We must work intelligently to form our characters after the divine model, continually striving, with all the powers God has given us, to reach the high standard set before us in His word (ST, June 5, 1884 par. 7, emphasis added).

Our heavenly Father presents before his finite creatures no impossibilities; he requires not at their hands that which they cannot perform. He has not set before his church a standard to which they cannot attain; yet he designs that they shall labor earnestly to reach the high standard set before them in the text. He would have them pray that they may be “filled with the fruits of righteousness,” and then expect this blessing and receive it, and in all things grow up into Christ their living Head. This was the apostle’s great desire, not with reference to the church at Ephesus only, but to all the churches that he had been instrumental in raising up (ST, December 9, 1886 par. 2).


7. Is reforming, not conforming

He who would reform others must first reform himself. He must obtain the spirit of his Master and be willing, like Him, to suffer reproach and to practice self-denial. In comparison with the worth of one soul, the whole world sinks into insignificance. A desire to exercise authority, to lord it over God’s heritage, will, if indulged, result in the loss of souls. Those who really love Jesus will seek to conform their own lives to the Pattern and will labor in His spirit for the salvation of others (5T 614.1).


There is a new tendency in the world today to meet the people where they are. Jesus mingled with sinners and outcasts, but He never sinned. We do not become sinners to reach sinners. Sin and righteousness are mutually exclusive. To become a Greek to reach the Greek does not mean to take part in pagan worship in order to win a soul.

Like Israel, Christians too often yield to the influence of the world and conform to its principles and customs, in order to secure the friendship of the ungodly; but in the end it will be found that these professed friends are the most dangerous of foes. The Bible plainly teaches that there can be no harmony between the people of God and the world. “Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.” 1 John 3:13. Our Savior says, “Ye know that it hated Me before it hated you.” John 15:18. Satan works through the ungodly, under cover of a pretended friendship, to allure God’s people into sin, that he may separate them from Him; and when their defense is removed, then he will lead his agents to turn against them and seek to accomplish their destruction (PP 559.1).

We are not to shut ourselves away from the world to escape from it. Christ’s prayer to His Father was, “Not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil.” We have a work to do in the world, the work seeking for lost souls. The law of God is made void. God calls upon us to stand in defense of this law. As Christ was made the light of the world, so we are to be lights in the world. Christ lived in the world, but He was not of the world. Men did not understand Him. His self-sacrifice was to them a mystery. He lived a life apart from them. “He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.” They hated Him because He would not be one with them. Had He united with them in eager pursuit for applause, for riches, for worldly honor, they would not have hated Him; for He would have been of them. And because the world knew not the Savior, it knows not His followers (RH, July 23, 1901 par. 6).

Many urge that by uniting with worldlings and conforming to their customs they might exert a stronger influence over the ungodly. But all who pursue this course thereby separate from the Source of their strength. Becoming the friends of the world, they are the enemies of God. For the sake of earthy distinction they sacrifice the unspeakable honour to which God has called them, of showing forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9 (PP 607.2).

God’s people will separate themselves from the unrighteous practices of those around them, and will seek for purity of thought, and holy conformity to his will, until His divine image will be reflected in them. Like Enoch they will be fitting for translation to Heaven. While they endeavor to instruct and warn the world, they will not conform to the spirit and customs of unbelievers, but will condemn them by their holy conversation and godly example. Enoch’s translation to Heaven just before the destruction of the world by a flood, represents the translation of all the living righteous from the earth previous to its destruction by fire. The saints will be glorified in the presence of those who have hated them for their loyal obedience to God’s righteous commandments (1SP 65.1).


8. Is Selfless

Through Christ, God has made every provision that fallen humanity may be restored and reflect the image of the divine. But we cannot become Christlike if we continue to plan, to work, to live for ourselves, to use all our entrusted capabilities for our own gratification. Our lives were not given to us for this purpose. Jesus did not follow this plan. He did not live to please Himself, and He desired us to learn of Him. In order to do this, we need to keep away, as far as possible, from the excitement and bustle of the world, close our eyes and ears to things seen, and contemplate, far more than we do, unseen, eternal realities. As we daily conform our lives to His perfect example, we shall, like Him, bear precious fruit in good works (HM, October 1, 1897 par 2).


9. Is Christ-centered

But few of the youth understand what it is to be Christlike. A prayerful study of the word of God is necessary if they would conform their lives to the perfect Pattern. Few experience that separation from the world which God requires of them in order to become members of His family, children of the heavenly King. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters saith the Lord Almighty (RH, March 11, 1880 par 25).

Dear brethren and sisters who shall assemble in our camp-meetings, Jesus will do great things for us, if we will faithfully perform our duty. We must yield our will to the will of God. We must honor the Lord by obeying all his commandments, even in what we term little things. The truth, like its divine author, is unchangeable in its requirements, the same yesterday, today, and forever. It is not in harmony with the traditions of men, it does not conform to their opinions. The truth has ever brought a separation between God’s people and the world. But if our position in former years, as a peculiar people, was approved of God, how does He regard our present position? Have we gained in spirituality since we departed from our earthly simplicity? “Ye are living epistles, know and read of all men.” It was our Savior’s mission to “purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” To His disciples He says, “Ye are the light of the world.” And the apostle Paul declares, “We are a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men” (ST, May 25, 1882 par. 20).

The children of God profess to be pilgrims and strangers on the earth, seeking a better country. It is not for them to set their affections on things below. They are not to conform to the world, but to be transformed by the renewing of their mind. They are to learn daily in the school of Christ, so profiting by the lessons of the divine Teacher that they shall be able to serve God better and better, better today than yesterday, better tomorrow than today. This is the hour of probation, when opportunity is given us to perfect such characters as will fit us for a place in the mansions that Jesus has gone to prepare for those who love him. In order to perfect Christian character, we must dwell upon the perfection of Christ, and as we behold His matchless charms, we shall desire to be like Him, and become changed, reflecting more and more of His spirit of love (ST, January 26, 1891 par. 7).

It is a terrible thing for a man or woman to have his own way. May my way be God’s way, my will God’s will. Self shall not enter me. I will submit my will, my way, my life into the hands of God. He will keep that which is committed to His trust. I hope the entire [E. G. White] household will not fail to watch unto prayer and allow nothing to divert their minds from God. He is our strength and our shield and in Him we may trust implicitly. Just in accordance with our obedience and faithfulness will He prosper and strengthen and bless us in all our undertakings. We are all aware how easy it is to conform to the world and separate our affections from God. Let us guard this point. Let your prayers come up before God like sweet incense because of their sincerity and earnestness mingled with faith (7MR 339.10).


10. Surrenders all to God

We are to surrender our hearts to God, that He may renew and sanctify us, and fit us for His heavenly court. We are not to wait for some special time, but today we are to give ourselves to Him, refusing to be the servants of sin. Do you imagine you can leave off sin a little at a time? Oh, leave the accursed thing at once! Hate the things that Christ hates, love the things that Christ loves. Has He not by His death and suffering made provision for your cleansing from sin? When we began to realize that we are sinners, and fall on the Rock to be broken, the everlasting arms are placed about us, and we are brought close to the heart of Jesus. Then we shall be charmed with His loveliness, and disgusted with our own righteousness. We need to come close to the foot of the cross. The more we humble ourselves there, the more exalted will God’s love appear. The grace and righteousness of Christ will not avail for him who feels whole, for him who thinks he is reasonably good, who is contented with his own condition. There is no room for Christ in the heart of him who does not realize his need of divine light and aid (1SM 327.1).

Jesus says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). There is fullness of grace in God, and we may have His spirit and power in large measure. Do not feed on the husks of self-righteousness, but go to the Lord. He has the best robe to put upon you, and His arms are open to receive. Christ will say, “Take away the filthy garments from him, and clothe him with a change of raiment (1SM 328.1).


Christ’s Prayer for Unity Among His Followers

If we would study the prayer of Christ recorded in the seventeenth chapter of John, we would understand what a grievous mistake we make when we introduce into the church those things that create division and strife. Christ prayed that His followers might be one in faith and understanding of His Word. The closeness of the relation that He would have exist between Himself and His people is brought to view in the words. “All mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them” (RH, September 23, 1909 par. 5).

Let those who are ready to differ and to separate into factions, consider the teachings of this prayer. When as a people we see the necessity of maintaining a sacred unity among ourselves, remarkable changes will take place in the hearts and lives of some who are now eagerly striving for the supremacy. Every verse in this chapter contains instruction of the highest and most essential kind, - instruction that every church should have. If there are higher attainments to be reached than are here brought to view, where shall we learn about them? Where are they to be found? Christ presents eternal principles for our study that we may answer His prayer in our own experience. O that these teachings might be brought more fully into the religious life of our people, and its refining, purifying, unselfish principles be truly appreciated (RH, September 23, 1909).


In order to achieve all of these ideals, we need to display a supreme confidence in God and a distrust in ourselves:

For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One if Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and confidence shall be your strength (Isaiah 30:15).


We also need to remember the law of God:

My son, do not forget my law,
But let your heart keep my commands;
For length of days and long life
And peace they will add to you. 
Let not mercy and truth forsake you; 
Bind them around your neck, 
Write them on the tablet of your heart, 
And so find favor and high esteem 
In the sight of God and man. 
Trust in the LORD with all your heart, 
And lean not on your own understanding;
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths (Proverbs 3:1-6 NKJV).


We need to display total trust in Christ and be distrustful of ourselves. If we follow the call from Proverbs 3, then we will truly have unity, and the prayer of Christ will be answered in us.

Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran downup on the beard, even Aaron’s beard: that went down to the skirts of his garments; As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that came down on the mountains of Zion; for there the LORD commanded the blessing, even life for evermore (Psalm 133:1-3).


 

Science Deceptions
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Reformation
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