2. Personal Adjustments for Unity

By John Thiel, Learning the Lessons of Unity in Christ Conference, Study 2, Audio: mp3

Securing our Personal Connection with Christ

John 17:19 And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. 20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; 21 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. 22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: 23 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.

To understand for ourselves is our first adjustment to make. The first application of Jesus is praying for us; for them also which shall believe on me through their word. We are here because of the word of the disciples and Jesus is praying for us. To understand and appreciate this, the very first application is expressed.

In these first disciples was presented a marked diversity. They were to be the world’s teachers, and they represented widely varied types of character. {CC 288.2}

He is praying for them and he is praying for us. They represented widely varied types of character.

There were Levi Matthew the publican, called from a life of business activity, and subservience to Rome; the zealot Simon, the uncompromising foe of the imperial authority; the impulsive, self-sufficient, warm-hearted Peter, with Andrew his brother; Judas the Judean, polished, capable, and mean-spirited; Philip and Thomas, faithful and earnest, yet slow of heart to believe; James the less and Jude, of less prominence among the brethren, but men of force, positive both in their faults and in their virtues; Nathanael, a child in sincerity and trust; and the ambitious, loving-hearted sons of Zebedee. Ibid

Of the twelve disciples, four were to act a leading part, each in a distinct line. In preparation for this, Christ taught them, foreseeing all. James, destined to swift-coming death by the sword; John, longest of the brethren to follow his Master in labor and persecution; Peter, the pioneer in breaking through the barriers of ages, and teaching the heathen world; and Judas, in service capable of pre-eminence above his brethren, yet brooding in his soul purposes of whose ripening he little dreamed. {CC 288.3}

In order successfully to carry forward the work to which they had been called, these disciples, differing so widely in natural characteristics, in training, and in habits of life, needed to come into unity of feeling, thought, and action. This unity it was Christ’s object to secure. . . . The burden of His labor for them is expressed in His prayer to the Father, “that they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21). {CC 288.4}

What sort of a work did Jesus have? With these varied personalities and characteristics and the baggage of the past upon them. Is this also our dilemma? What work Jesus has to do. He has come to bring us into close fellowship with Him just like the disciples. We may have been born again, remember He said to Peter, those who have been washed need not to be washed again apart from just their feet. They had already made an experience with Jesus just like us.

God’s people may be born again and live the new life in Christ with His love abiding in their hearts, their candlestick will stand securely in its place but the principles they have followed in their connection with one another need revising. This was precisely where the disciples were and Jesus had to help them to revise the principles of the manner of their past. This is our duty; this is what Jesus is praying for.
What adjustments were theirs to make which we are to follow? What work did Jesus have to do with them that He has to do with us? Our unity must like theirs be found in diversity. We are so different and yet to be united. There are such vast chasms between each individual and yet to be in unity. Unity is possible in extreme diversities.

In all the Lord’s arrangements, there is nothing more beautiful than His plan of giving to men and women a diversity of gifts. The church is His garden, adorned with a variety of trees, plants, and flowers. He does not expect the hyssop to assume the proportions of the cedar, nor the olive to reach the height of the stately palm. Many have received but a limited religious and intellectual training, but God has a work for this class to do if they will labor in humility, trusting in Him.–Letter 122, 1902. {Ev 98.3}

From the endless variety of plants and flowers, we may learn an important lesson. All blossoms are not the same in form or color. Some possess healing virtues. Some are always fragrant. {Ev 99.1}

Children, when you come to some flowers and you smell them and you think, I can’t smell a fragrance, do you say it is an ugly flower? No. Just because it doesn’t smell, it looks pretty. Everyone is different.

There are professing Christians who think it their duty to make every Christian like themselves. Ibid

Here the Lord Jesus is telling us don’t be like many Christians to make everybody meet your expectations the way you want it to be.

This is man’s plan, not the plan of God. In the church of God there is room for characters as varied as are the flowers in a garden. In His spiritual garden there are many varieties of flowers.–Letter 95, 1902. Ibid
Diverse in mind, in ideas, one subject is to bind heart to heart–the conversion of souls to the truth, which draws all to the cross.–Letter 31, 1892. {Ev 99.2}

Diverse in minds just like those disciples of old. Diverse in ideas yet heart is to be bound to heart. Our unity must come from these varieties. The world knows this. In the world there are very powerful clichés that they want to put into practice. The world knows that out there unity must take place in various different positions of responsibility. For instance in the army. How essential it is that every soldier in that army is in perfect unity to go together as a team to win the war? In a sports team, it is essential to work in unity. In running a business effectively, perfect unity is necessary. There are different motives that drive them for unity.

God’s church must have only one motive.

Galatians 3:27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.

What is our motive? We have only one motive. We are different even male and female, the Jews and Greeks. There are vast differences. Germans, Australians as we are, it is a bad combination. All these kinds of differences, yet there is to be one source of unity and that is that we may be in Christ and Christ in us. We are all one in Christ; this is to be the one and only source of unity.

I am determined to keep before the people the fact that we must have unity. We must cease all criticism. We must urge that the great peculiarity distinguishing Christians from all others is the union that exists between them and the Lord Jesus Christ, by constant exercise of the faith that works by love and purifies the soul. This union, oneness with Christ, leads to unity with and love toward one another. Christians delight to honor God by obeying all His commandments. Bound together in love with Christ, they have love toward one another. {VSS 347.2}
We must dwell upon this theme more than we have done. The subject of His renewing grace, dwelt upon in discourses, will be pleasing to the Lord, and His Holy Spirit will come into the hearts of those who listen.–Lt 42, 1906. {VSS 348.1}

Have we dwelt long enough on this unity principle? She says no. This is why this we are going to dwell on this subject. We are praying for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. This is what the Lord is pleased that we do. To ponder upon this subject, to dwell upon it and then the Holy Spirit will come into the hearts of those who listen. We have a wonderful prospective and anticipation that the Holy Spirit is pouring upon us. We will experience it more as we do what the Lord wants us to do. Our personal individual bond with Christ is the only source of our union with one another.

If we individually abide in Christ, and Christ abides in us, we shall be of one heart, of one mind, and will love as brethren. {RH, September 30, 1890 par. 3}

In our need to perfect our unity, we need to make adjustments.

But the principles they have followed in their connection with one another need revising….{15MR 109.2}

This is what is necessary as we focus on the motive the one and only motive that must unite us. In our need to perfect this unity, our first personal adjustment is to secure our unity with Christ. If this is our only source of unity, how essential is this? We need to know this experience completely and thoroughly.

Rest yourself wholly in the hands of Jesus. {SD 311.2}

Are you doing this every day? This is a mental adjustment.

Contemplate His great love, and while you meditate upon His self-denial, His infinite sacrifice made in our behalf in order that we should believe in Him, your heart will be filled with holy joy, calm peace, and indescribable love. Ibid

Do you want that in your heart? Here is an adjustment; spend time to make Jesus your personal preoccupation. Meditate upon His self-denial and all the detail of His infinite sacrifice. This is what will produce what is needed.

As we talk of Jesus, as we call upon Him in prayer, our confidence that He is our personal, loving Saviour will strengthen, and His character will appear more and more lovely. We may enjoy rich feasts of love, and as we fully believe that we are His by adoption, we may have a foretaste of heaven. Ibid

As you believe that you are adopted, murky and horrible as you feel about yourself, we are adopted, we will have a foretaste of heaven.

Wait upon the Lord in faith. The Lord draws out the soul in prayer, and gives us to feel His precious love. We have a nearness to Him, and can hold sweet communion with Him. We obtain distinct views of His tenderness and compassion, and our hearts are broken and melted with contemplation of the love that is given to us. We feel indeed an abiding Christ in the soul. Our peace is like a river, wave after wave of glory rolls into the heart, and indeed we sup with Jesus and He with us. Ibid

Can you see the adjustments of mind that are constantly in need to be exercised?

We have a realizing sense of the love of God, and we rest in His love. No language can describe it, it is beyond knowledge. We are one with Christ, our life is hid with Christ in God. We have the assurance that when He who is our life shall appear, then shall we also appear with Him in glory. With strong confidence, we can call God our Father. Whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. His Spirit makes us like Jesus Christ in temper, and disposition, and we represent Christ to others. When Christ is abiding in the soul the fact cannot be hid; for He is like a well of water springing up into everlasting life. We can but represent the likeness of Christ in our character, and our words, our deportment, produces in others a deep, abiding, increasing love for Jesus, and we make manifest . . . that we are conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Ibid

The fragrance of Jesus will come forth and people will say, I want that. This is the most essential in our mind adjustments. The degree to which we do this, to that degree our unity comes. This experience is observed by others, they can see there is something different here. There is a perfect restfulness, a perfect joy within, that can’t be hidden. It leads others to come into a happy assimilation because they are attracted to someone who is like that. The assimilation grows.

A union of believers with Christ will as a natural result lead to a union with one another, which bond of union is the most enduring upon earth. {AG 211.3}

It is the only motive that is successful.

We are one in Christ, as Christ is one with the Father. . . . It is only by personal union with Christ, by communion with Him daily, hourly, that we can bear the fruits of the Holy Spirit. . . . Our growth in grace, our joy, our usefulness, all depend on our union with Christ and the degree of faith we exercise in Him. Ibid

Do you long for unity among each other? What shall I concentrate on? I can’t concentrate for anybody else; I can only concentrate myself in my close union with Christ. That is the essential source of our union; it will lead to a union with one another.

The vine has many branches, but though all the branches are different, they do not quarrel. In diversity there is unity. All the branches obtain their nourishment from one source. This is an illustration of the unity that is to exist among Christ’s followers. In their different lines of work they all have but one Head. The same Spirit, in different ways, works through them. There is harmonious action, though the gifts differ. . . . God calls for each one … to do his appointed work according to the ability which has been given him. {AG 211.5}

You can see that this is very personal individual responsibility adjustment of mind. Are you doing this? If you haven’t been doing it, here is the reason why there is lack of unity. It must be exercised for that unity.

The Christ in us will meet the Christ in our brethren, and the Holy Spirit will give that union of heart and action which testifies to the world that we are children of God. {AG 211.6}

You don’t have to try to unify, you will be unified as you concentrate on a relationship with Jesus. That is the most precious experience. Why don’t we pursue it and hold on to it? That is what will make the blessing of our union with one another. Instead of thinking we have to unite together, we have to do this and that together and we have to meet up with expectations of each other; no. There is to be none of that, we are so free from stress when we do the opposite to that.

Is Christ divided?–No. Christ abiding in the soul will not quarrel with Christ in another soul. We must learn to bear with the peculiarities of those around us. {TDG 262.5}

Aren’t we all peculiar? This is the human idea. We start to criticise each other because this person is just so strange and this person, look at the way they react to each other! We are to stop criticising. If there is any quarrel, it is not Christ, it is human difference. Therefore we must learn in Christ to bear with the peculiarities of those around us.

If our will is under the control of Christ’s will, how can we be at variance with our brethren? If we are at variance, we may know that it is because self needs to be crucified. He whom Christ makes free is free indeed. We are not complete in Christ unless we love one another as Christ has loved us. When we do this, as Christ has given us commandment, we shall give evidence that we are complete in Him. {TDG 262.5}

When we are complete in Him, can He come? That is what we are waiting for, that is what Jesus was praying for; that is what He was working for among the disciples. When He had them there after the death and resurrection, then they could work together in unity.

How can they quarrel with each other?

Although a company of Christians united in church capacity have not all the same talents, yet it is the duty of everyone to work. Talents differ, but to every man is given his work. All are dependent upon Christ in God. He is the glorious Head of all grades and classes of people associated through faith in the Word of God. Bound together by a common belief in heavenly principles, they are all dependent on Him who is the Author and Finisher of their faith. He has created the principles that produce universal oneness, universal love. His followers should meditate upon His love. They should not stop short of reaching the standard set before them. If the principles of Christianity are lived, they will produce universal harmony and perfect peace. When the heart is imbued with the Spirit of Christ, there is no quarreling, no seeking for the supremacy, no striving to be reigning lords.–Manuscript 46, March 31, 1902, “Unity a Sign of Discipleship.” {UL 104.5}

Because Jesus is the one source, as we meditate upon Him and as we make it our own personal individual responsibility not the others, not expecting anything from anyone else, just me, as I am focusing on Jesus, I will not for one moment look at the other person’s discrepancies. I will not look for anything to criticise. I am just concentrating on looking at Jesus. As I do this I become an integral part of His body.

Ephesians 4:16 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.

To understand this we need to ponder and abide in the thoughts of this. There are some adjustments to be made so that we can supply the benefit of each one of us to the body. In each one of us there is an element that is to be contributed. What can I contribute within the body?

Contributing Elements in the Body

I am just one individual; I have a particular relationship with Jesus that everyone else must have but I am not to examine others. I am to do my job as the branch in the vine draws the sap.

When laborers are associated together who decidedly vary, both in natural disposition and character, and in their manner of labor, each will need to keep a careful watch over his own strong traits of character, and to exercise the meekness of Christ, or he will be in danger of drawing apart from the others. Such a separation would retard the work and dishonor God. No move should be made independently or in opposition to one another. Pray together; counsel together in humility, willing to be instructed. This will bring you where God will be your counselor. {PUR, June 29, 1905 par. 7}

I think about this incessantly because I yearn for unity. Here is this powerful counsel. What is needed if we are to be united? I, you, or anyone else in this faith must not independently push forth. We are called upon to exercise great care and to watch my strong traits of character and to exercise the meekness of Christ. Jesus is me. I love Him and now I have to deal with some responsibilities and I can leave Jesus on the shelf and go and do it in my own strong personality. No, stay in connection with Jesus and His meekness or I will be in danger of drawing apart from the others.

While I or you or anybody else has a strong sense of something that could be done here, then let us do the will of God to bring Him into our counsel. How do you do that? You do that by the contributing elements; we come together and we counsel in humility willing to be instructed. Is that what human nature does? I have a strong conviction, I read what is written and I powerfully state my conviction as this is it. Everybody has to submit to that and if they don’t, there is trouble. This is not the counsel of the Lord. Come together and counsel together and look for Christ in each other and be willing to be instructed. Can you see what a blessing this is? As we come together in counsel, if we are all willing to be instructed we come with a particular thought and then we listen to the other one. That’s an interesting thought too. Then we hear another one. How is this going to work Lord? Jesus is there and the Holy Spirit is there to meld it together.

Each one is to stand in his lot and in his place, doing his work. Every individual among you must before God do a work for these last days that is great and sacred and grand. Every one must bear his weight of responsibility. The Lord is preparing each one to do his appointed work, and each one is to be respected and honored as a brother chosen of God and precious in His sight. One man is not to be selected to whom all plans and methods shall be confided while the others are left out. If this is done, errors will be made, wrong moves will be taken. Harm rather than good will be done. No one of you needs to be afraid of the other lest the other shall have the highest place. Without partiality and without hypocrisy each is to be treated. {21MR 336.5}

Let these precious words govern and adjust our minds. We are to counsel together in humility willing to be instructed with each fulfilling his responsible branch work but counselling in unity and bringing a united concept. This will bring you where God will be your counsellor as you do that.

1 Corinthians 12:4 Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. 8 For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; 9 To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; 10 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: 11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 12 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. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many.

What are we confronted with here? One brother may have much wisdom and the other ones don’t have it as much, but who gave it to him? One Spirit gave it to him. Another person has great knowledge, more than the others. That is wonderful. Who gave it to him? The Holy Spirit. Another person has administrative capabilities that others don’t have. Who gave it to him? One Spirit. You have all these different particles of different gifts. We all need wisdom but have we all got it? No. What is going to happen? Each segment of the body contributes and in counselling together and in functioning together we glean from each other the talents and gifts that the Holy Spirit has given.

The wisdom that brother has that I haven’t got, I can now have because in counselling together we are picking it up from each other. There is a united voice that comes from the church because we are all humbly, willingly, submissive one to another in Christ Jesus. This is how the body functions together; this will bring you to where God will be your counsellor. That is an interesting statement. God will be my counsellor; how? Through all the segments counselling together, coming to a combined unity. We can’t be separate individuals having it all. It does not work that way. When the body is to be directed by the head, all the elements are distributed to contribute to a combined conclusion; one mind over us all.

Unity in diversity is God’s plan. Among the followers of Christ there is to be the blending of diverse elements, one adapted to the other, and each to do its special work for God. Every individual has his place in the filling up of one great plan bearing the stamp of Christ’s image. {OHC 169.2

Can you see the principle here? As each element blends together; the kitchen staff know this well, they put all the ingredients together in the blender. When it is turned on it all goes together and now it becomes one whole. That is exactly what God is saying. Blend, mix them together and then it becomes one whole.

One is fitted to do a certain work, another has a different work for which he is adapted, another has a still different line; but each is to be the complement of the others. . . . The Spirit of God, working in and through the diverse elements, will produce harmony of action. . . . There is to be only one master spirit–the Spirit of Him who is infinite in wisdom, and in whom all the diverse elements meet in beautiful, matchless unity. . . . Ibid

We are studying mental adjustments to let this happen. This is very essential that when a particular element is saying and contributing something, we respect each other and listen carefully for the voice of God speaking through each other. What will that produce? It will produce God’s counsel through the combined contributing elements. Now we get a correct understanding of the voice of the church.

If the world sees a perfect harmony existing in the church of God, it will be a powerful evidence to them in favor of the Christian religion. Dissensions, unhappy differences, and petty church trials dishonor our Redeemer. All these may be avoided if self is surrendered to God and the followers of Jesus obey the voice of the church. {4T 19.2}

We are to obey the voice of the church. People say, I have my own strong belief. We are united in doctrine are we not? Now that we are united in doctrine and have the contributing factors of each individual and as we listen carefully, we come finally to a conclusion and that is the voice of the church, it is the voice of God.

Unbelief suggests that individual independence increases our importance, that it is weak to yield our own ideas of what is right and proper to the verdict of the church; but to yield to such feelings and views is unsafe and will bring us into anarchy and confusion. Christ saw that unity and Christian fellowship were necessary to the cause of God, therefore He enjoined it upon His disciples. And the history of Christianity from that time until now proves conclusively that in union only is there strength. Let individual judgment submit to the authority of the church. Ibid

I can still hear it ringing in my ears; that is the papacy, you people have the spirit of the papacy. If you follow carefully this beautiful picture that has been painted here in His Word, then we will understand what the voice of the church is. Each element contributing until we, under the beautiful guidance of the Lord as a body function and move together with one voice benefited from each other walking with Jesus. That is an adjustment that is difficult for self to make.

Hold Unimportant Points to Yourself

You may feel that something is very important to you but it’s a small detail, it is something insignificant. Later on it might become something significant, but for now not.

There was such an occasion that Br Haskell, who was such a wonderful brother in the early church. He said we should not be eating pork. Sr White wrote to him and told him to keep it to himself; that is not an important point with us as a church. That was the case back there because they had very important points to consider and they were the fundamental truths that were developing step by step. If you have an important point in your own thought and it’s not something that the whole body is embracing, leave it alone and wait for the combined voice of God’s people. Sr White wrote to Br. Haskell and said to him, the Lord will show our duty to more than one in our combined work.

2 Timothy 2:14 Of these things put [them] in remembrance, charging [them] before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, [but] to the subverting of the hearers. 15 Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Here is a very important counsel to adjust ourselves to; that there are words in our discussions and in our reading of the Scriptures that we can get ourselves bogged down on discussing the meaning of those words when they are of little value. We want to be able to work together in unity, let’s not throw the cat among the pigeons as they say.

Colossians 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

The moment that somebody comes in and begins to exercise philosophy and vain deceit, I have this thing and it’s very special to me and I have to impress it upon everybody around me. It is a philosophy after the tradition of men and the rudiments of the world and not after Christ.

Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, 19 And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. 20 Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, :21 (Touch not; taste not; handle not; 22 Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Satan has done a fantastic thing with the health reform. We learn from Christ what to touch and what not to taste and so on. Then comes Satan with his sophistications, health reform, vegetarianism and what does he do? After commandments and doctrines of men; he installs these philosophies and he confuses the people of God.

Colossians 2:23 Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.

It sounds so good but it is not from Christ so we don’t hold the head in interpreting the meanings of the health reform. We are to follow Christ and we have the directions beautifully portrayed to us in this matter. This holding of unimportant things for oneself if they are not directly crystal clear from the Lord and from counselling together, let’s not make an issue of them and keep them to ourselves.

We sought most earnestly that the Scriptures should not be wrested to suit any man’s opinions. We tried to make our differences as slight as possible by not dwelling on points that were of minor importance, upon which there were varying opinions. But the burden of every soul was to bring about a condition among the brethren which would answer the prayer of Christ that His disciples might be one as He and the Father are one. {TM 25.2}
Sometimes one or two of the brethren would stubbornly set themselves against the view presented, and would act out the natural feelings of the heart; but when this disposition appeared, we suspended our investigations and adjourned our meeting,… {TM 25.3}

The unity and answer to the prayer of Christ is more important to them than opinions that they have developed.

…that each one might have an opportunity to go to God in prayer and, without conversation with others, study the point of difference, asking light from heaven. Ibid

Then they would come back together and come to united conclusions. This is the beautiful work of each segment in connection with Jesus, learning to answer the prayer of Christ.

Brethren should not feel that it is a virtue to stand apart because they do not see all minor points in exactly the same light. If they agree on fundamental truths, they should not differ and dispute about matters of little real importance. To dwell on perplexing questions, that after all are of no vital consequence, tends to call the mind away from truths vital to the saving of the soul. Brethren should be very modest in urging these side issues which often they do not themselves understand, points that they do not know to be truth and that are not essential to salvation. . . . {Ev 182.3}
I have been shown that it is the device of the enemy to divert men’s minds to some obscure or unimportant point, something that is not fully revealed or is not essential to salvation. This is made the absorbing theme, the “present truth,” when all the investigations and suppositions only serve to make matters more obscure and to confuse the minds of some who ought to be seeking for oneness through sanctification of the truth.–Undated Manuscript 111. {Ev 182.4}

This requires adjustment and I am sure that as I am reading these statements, questions arise. These are the counsels that come directly from Jesus, these are not man’s opinion.

Adjustments to Minds Differing From Ours

How do I deal with this? Apostle Paul had to deal with this in his time.

Romans 14:1 Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, [but] not to doubtful disputations. 2 For one believeth that he may eat all things: another, who is weak, eateth herbs. 3 Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him.

Is there a difference of habit of practice here? Yes.

What are we told to do? We are told to leave each other alone; adjust your mind to another person’s individuality. If there are certain people that will only eat herbs and vegetables and nothing else, you might think they will get sick. Leave them alone. If they are going to get sick, they will learn for themselves. We don’t have to start to judge them. If those people that are eating everything that the feeble in stomach can’t hold, we don’t say, they are going to get indigestion from what they are eating I have to tell them that. Nothing like that, leave them alone. Keep things to yourself, adjust your mind to other minds, to let them have their experience. This is exactly what Sr White writes as a principle. I am not just addressing food here, I am addressing the principle.

We must remember that there are a great many different minds in the world, and we cannot expect every one to see exactly as we do in regard to all questions of diet. Minds do not run in exactly the same channel. I do not eat butter, but there are members of my family who do. It is not placed on my table; but I make no disturbance because some members of my family choose to eat it occasionally. Many of our conscientious brethren have butter on their tables, and I feel under no obligation to force them to do otherwise. These things should never be allowed to cause disturbance among brethren. I cannot see the need of butter, where there is abundance of fruit and of sterilized cream. {CD 351.3}
Those who love and serve God should be allowed to follow their own convictions. We may not feel justified in doing as they do, but we should not allow differences of opinion to create disunion. {CD 352.1

Have you got the principle? This is the word of Jesus to us.

Give Room for Individuality

There are many different flowers so in my mind adjustment,I must give room for individuality in our unity.

The Lord does not desire that our individuality shall be destroyed; it is not His purpose that any two persons shall be exactly alike in tastes and dispositions. All have characteristics peculiar to themselves, and these are not to be destroyed, but to be trained, molded, fashioned, after the similitude of Christ. The Lord turns the natural aptitudes and capabilities into profitable channels. In the improvement of the faculties God has given, talent and ability are developed if the human agent will recognize the fact that all his powers are an endowment from God, to be used, not for selfish purposes,… but for the glory of God and the good of our fellowmen.–Lt 20, 1894. (HC 90.) 425 {2MCP 424.3}

Doesn’t this give us freedom in our fellowship one with another? We are not worried about what the other person is saying and thinking about me because they are giving me the freedom of individuality.

With earnest solemnity the Speaker declared: “The church is made of many minds, each of whom has an individuality. I gave My life in order that men and women, by divine grace, might blend in revealing a perfect pattern of My character, while at the same time retaining their individuality. Manuscript 109, July 21, 1906, “Love Toward God and Man.” {UL 216.7}

This is Jesus speaking. To have differences and at the same time reveal the perfect character of Christ.

No one has the right to destroy or submerge the individuality of any other human mind, by uttering words of criticism and faultfinding and condemnation.—Ibid

That is why we must put all that away, because Jesus says you must remember that I have all different minds among you here and there is to be no destroying and submerging of another’s individuality. You know what it is like, you have had it no doubt in your own experience that you have an individuality and you are expressing it and someone comes down like a ton of bricks and squashes you. Have you ever done that in your family? If you do it in your family you will do it in the church too. These are realities that the Lord is wanting us to adjust.

Accept Opposing Thoughts Without Remonstrance

These are pretty heavy adjustments but if we keep focused on Jesus it’s not a problem. As we counsel together, we will meet opposing thoughts. Just because the thought is opposite to what you feel is right, don’t remonstrate. Accept opposing thoughts.

If we reach the standard of perfection, our peculiar traits of disposition must be molded in harmony with Christ’s will. Then we shall sit together in heavenly places in Christ. Brethren will work together, without a thought of collision. Little differences, dwelt upon, lead to actions that destroy Christian fellowship. Let us keep drawing near to God, and He will draw near to us. Then, as one, we shall reach upward to Him. The churches will be as gardens of the Lord, under His cultivation. God’s people will be trees of righteousness, planted by the Lord, and watered with the river of life. {OHC 170.5}

What is contained in a thought of collision? If you come and meet together and you know we are going to collide, what is involved there? An unwillingness to accept opposing thoughts, that is where that comes from. If you know that somebody has an opposing thought and you come there ready to meet metal with metal, what are you doing? We are actually destroying the unity of Christ that He is praying for. We must make these adjustments so that we will answer the prayer of Christ. This will be the beautiful way by which He has given us these counsels so that we can achieve what He is praying for. In the gospel, in any subject in the Bible, He is giving us practical know-how how to be saved and how to be in unity.

Let us heed the unity of all contributions as it was in the writings of the Bible and the Spirit of Prophecy. Are all people in the Bible that are giving the word the same? No. They all express things from their own individual cases. All the different writers have highlighted different aspects that the other one doesn’t highlight but as you listen and you read through them, you combine them all and you can hear the voice of God. This is the exact principle of the church working together. Our unity is prescribed by one mind.

Philippians 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:

What did He do? It’s that beautiful atonement that is described. He made Himself of no reputation. He came to be one with us in atonement respecting us. He came close to us in order that we might become close to Him. Through Him total union with the Father, ‘Father, not my will but Thy will be done’ will be exposed to us. He who knew no sin was made to be sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Ponder the impact of the atonement upon our attitude to one another from such a meditation. To make adjustments for unity, let us follow that mind that opened the path of unity with us.

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Posted on September 26, 2013, in Learning the Lessons of Unity in Christ, Sermons by John Thiel and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

  1. Uf this was Gods church you wouldn’t need to be preaching unity, you’d have it. No King but KING JESUS!

  2. Yes unsubscribe. We must separate from error and apostasy. There is no unity to be had with them.

  3. Thankyou for the recent studies you have sent to me.i’m just wondering if these emails have been directed to myself only as it looks like they have been? If they are i would please like to not recieve them any more as much as they might be a good gesture.i’m wondering if they have been sent to me indirectly through other matters that are happening at the moment

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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