Preparing Our Social Character

By Victor Bireaud, Last Generation Candidates for Heaven’s Society Conference, Study 5, mp3

We as God’s people, are on the verge of Jordan. As God’s people we are facing the prospect of finally meeting the fulfillment of God’s plan in the creation of man.

God’s Original Plan

Among all the creatures that God had made on the earth, there was not one equal to man. And God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.” Man was not made to dwell in solitude; he was to be a social being. {CC 14.2}

You can see right from the beginning that we are seeing the purpose of what God had intended man to be from the beginning. He was to be a social being. We can’t help but look at this picture: the 144,000 and the redeemed in the society of heaven. This was always the purpose of God in creating man. God created man to live in society with other human beings, with angels, and with Himself.

Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. There was none of the same nature to love and to be loved. {Ibid.}

This is speaking in the context of the creation of Eve, but in the greatest sphere it also has to do with the intent that God had for man to be a social being with a brother, a sister, a friend, in the big realm of social interactions. This was God’s purpose, but ever since the fall the social elements of man’s nature have been so corrupted that they have actually been made the instrumentalities of sin and rebellion – the enemies of righteousness. What God had purposed to be good turned out to be absolutely against Him. And ever since Cain and his family and his line, the emotions and affections were all turned in rebellion against the Lord, whereas God had intended it for the good of man.

God declares: “I will put enmity.” This enmity is not naturally entertained. When man transgressed the divine law, his nature became evil, and he was in harmony, and not at variance, with Satan. There exists naturally no enmity between sinful man and the originator of sin. Both became evil through apostasy. {GC 505.2}

Now pick up the following key words because this will follow us through the rest of the meditation:

The apostate is never at rest, except as he obtains sympathy and support by inducing others to follow his example. {Ibid.}

One key word: Sympathy.

For this reason fallen angels and wicked men unite in desperate companionship. {Ibid.}

Second key word: Companionship. We had those two words in the beginning:

Without companionship the beautiful scenes and delightful employments of Eden would have failed to yield perfect happiness. Even communion with angels could not have satisfied his desire for sympathy and companionship. {CC 14.2}

So there is a desire in me for sympathy and companionship which God has actually placed there. But, as you can see from the statement of Great Controversy above, this has been absolutely turned against God.

When Jesus came down to this earth to redeem you and me, the fallen race, He became a man so that man might find in Him true sympathy and true companionship.

From His [Jesus’] lips the word of God came home to men’s hearts with new power and new meaning. His teaching caused the things of creation to stand out in new light. Upon the face of nature once more rested gleamings of that brightness which sin had banished. In all the facts and experiences of life were revealed a divine lesson and the possibility of divine companionship. Again God dwelt on earth; human hearts became conscious of His presence; the world was encompassed with His love. Heaven came down to men. In Christ their hearts acknowledged Him who opened to them the science of eternity– “Immanuel, . . . God with us.” {Ed 82.6-83.1}

This is so essential as we continue in this meditation to really see that I was created with a natural desire for sympathy and companionship, and this desire has been thwarted to fulfil Satan’s purposes, but Jesus actually came to give me this possibility of divine companionship.

Before leaving His disciples, His church on earth, Jesus prayed a very significant prayer which has been handed down to us:

John 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. … 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;

He prayed:

John 17:21 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.

The unity of the believers with one another is to be as complete and as intimate as was that Jesus with the Father. “As thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us.

John 17:22 And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one:

Simply understanding the word as it reads, the glory, the character, of God is to be the foundation of all true Christian unity.

John 17:23 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.

There is so much encapsulated in that scripture that I could not possibly bring out everything, but can you see that this character of verse 22 and this unity, when it is exemplified in the lives of you and I, of the believers, of Jesus’ disciples, is actually to be one of the most conclusive and final evidence of the truth of the everlasting gospel? “I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one” – He that overcometh as I have overcome will sit on my throne, as I am also sitting down on My Father’s throne. It is I in them, drinking the cup with them, and You and Me, and they experiencing My experience. This was Jesus’ prayer for the transformation of our social character.

We associate with people in the world, and to some degree our association with them helps us to polish our character, but the greatest extent to which our character can be polished for the heavenly kingdom and the joys of heaven, is among believers of the same faith.

We now want to take a closer look at an aspect of the character and mind of heaven. What is the mind of heaven?

The Selflessness of Heaven

In heaven none will think of self, nor seek their own pleasure; but all, from pure, genuine love, will seek the happiness of the heavenly beings around them. If we wish to enjoy heavenly society in the earth made new, we must be governed by heavenly principles here. {CCh 80.3}

It’s beautiful because when you read the Spirit of Prophecy you don’t have to be a theologian; you can just be a childlike person and see where it is that your life doesn’t come into harmony with the statements of Inspiration, and come to the Lord absolutely broken in heart and seek for His acceptance through the grace of Christ and the beautiful incentives of the love of God. Can you see that self is not considered in heaven? “In heaven none will think of self.” All that matters in heaven is the happiness of others. Really try to understand the practical impact of this. Simply not to consider myself; to do what is necessary for myself, my wellbeing, but there comes a point in my personal experience, and in each of our personal experiences, where we can see that I have done what is necessary and now the Lord gives me an opportunity to lay my comfort aside and do something for the other. And it is revealed in each of our experiences. There is not one rule to prescribe for everyone. It is as we listen to the Lord, and He leads us to harmonise our behaviours with the selflessness of heaven.

Philippians 2:1 If [there be] therefore any consolation in Christ,

Can’t you see the love of Jesus? If there be any consolation in Jesus,

Philippians 2:1 …if any comfort of love,

Haven’t you been comforted by the love of Jesus, the love of God, towards you, so decrepit a sinner? If there be comfort in that,

Philippians 2:1 …if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, 2 Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, [being] of one accord, of one mind.

This was the apostle’s unselfish joy. He wanted to see among Christ’s followers a like-mindedness in both love and truth – being of one accord, of one mind, having the same love.

Philippians 2:3 [Let] nothing [be done] through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Every time you read this statement, can you not see that this is absolutely contrary to man’s sinful nature? It just doesn’t compute with the sinful flesh inside of me. And I say, Yes, this is beautiful! but how can I get there? Hence the words:

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

It’s really only as I consider Jesus’ perfect example of humility that I can actually heed this injunction of the Lord in verses 2-4. So because we can see that we want this, and the apostle tells us that this is the mind of Jesus, we read the following verses:

Philippians 2:6 Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: 7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.

It’s a downward path, and it’s a downward path in greater and greater humility. Jesus divested Himself of His own position, and then even of the position that He could have had on earth. It’s like down, and down, and down again. This is what the apostle Paul is bringing before our attention, to take this inspiration as a power to be able to not look on my own thing, but on the things of others, to make myself of no reputation, to not think that I want to keep some sort of status. Sometimes, because the oppression in the world is so big and the sins that try to oppress me are so overwhelming, we are liable to put on some cloak to protect myself from this sense of vulnerability. But the apostle Paul says that I must not do that. I must look at Jesus, and even if it feels like it’s uncomfortable to be among my brethren and sisters and have them see me as I really am, a terrible failure, I don’t have to do that; because I see Jesus going down to the lowest hell with me, and becoming obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. This is the experience of surveying the wondrous cross and having a beautiful incentive.

Now the contrast to that is very different.

Man’s Selfishness

Philippians 2:21 For all seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ’s.

Isn’t it amazing to you how faithful a description this is of both the Christianity of today and the natural heart? It’s absolutely natural to the flesh to seek my own things. So I feel like, Maybe I want to do something for myself; and this comes up naturally. And the apostle contrasts this with the things of Jesus Christ. …The things of Jesus Christ.

It is plainly written on the unrenewed heart and on a fallen world, All seek their own. Selfishness is the great law of our degenerate nature. Selfishness occupies the place in the soul where Christ should sit enthroned. {TDG 162.2}

These are the things of Jesus Christ that Paul was talking about – To actually have Jesus enthroned in my mind, so that I would not let my natural man seek his own benefit, his own comforts, and his own pleasure, at the expense of my brother’s benefit, pleasure, and comforts.

But the Lord requires perfect obedience; and if we truly desire to serve Him, there will be no question in our minds as to whether we shall obey His requirements or seek our own temporal interests. {Ibid.}

This thought is completed for us in the following scripture:

Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please [his] neighbour for [his] good to edification. 3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

This is that amazing, incomprehensible mystery and that powerful incentive to being selfless. It is as we behold the selflessness as it is manifested in the selflessness of the King of heaven. He says, The reproaches of them that reproach you fell upon Me. It is that terrible experience of Lamentations 1:12. It is absolutely horrifying, but it is actually at the same time beautiful. Jesus sought the happiness of others; His mind was the mind of heaven. He manifested in His life the unselfishness which is the attribute of God’s character, and He says to me, Will you be unselfish too? Can you die? I die daily.

This was absolutely essential for us to meditate upon, and let our hearts be enraptured by before we could go into some things which are different with regards to our social preparation for the society of heaven. We have this beautiful incentive; we have taken the time to grasp that beautiful hand, which is scarred. And now comes the subject of

Detachment and Attachment

A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. {5T 231.3}

Now comes the part that we will focus upon especially:

There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. {Ibid.}

What is the detachment?

Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness–sin in all its forms–must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols. {Ibid.}

We really want to remember: outward and internal obstacles. Obstacles to what? To this union.

The life we live in the flesh is not to the will of men, not to please our Lord’s enemies, but to serve and honor Him who loved us and gave Himself for us. A mere assent to this union, while the affections are not detached from the world, its pleasures and its dissipations, only emboldens the heart in disobedience. {5T 231.5}

This now gives us an expansion of what this work of detachment is. We have seen that it is pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness that need to be overcome if I want to enter into a union with Christ. I need to forsake those things so that my heart can be fully committed to the Lord. This is not a works-based salvation; this is simply a commitment of my will to God.

The pride and self-indulgence, the impiety and iniquity, by which we are surrounded have an influence upon us. Few realize the importance of shunning, so far as possible, all associations unfriendly to religious life. {5T 232.1}

We are living, as we now know, in the last generation, and the pride, self-indulgence, impiety and iniquity have grown to such proportions that it’s almost unbelievable now. And all this has an inevitable influence upon us. This is the reason why she says that there is an importance of shunning, so far as possible, all associations unfriendly to religious life. The following statement is a counsel to families as to where they were locating their houses, but there is here a principle there that we want to hone in on:

They [the children] will be assailed by temptations, and should be taught to meet them; but it is your duty to cut off every influence, to break up every habit, to sunder every tie, that keeps you from the most free, open, and hearty committal of yourselves and your family to God. {5T 232.2}

Can you see that this work of detachment is both an inward experience and also a dealing with outward obstacles to my union with Jesus? And in this effort to be free and to have an open and hearty committal of myself to the Lord, He is beseeching me that I cut off every influence, break up every habit, sunder every tie, that keeps me from this. This is so important. And I dare say it, because I know it in my own experience, and I have heard from the pure ministry, and seen in reflected in my experience. I said to the Lord, Is this real? Is something not right here? Am I doing the right thing?

Detachment

What is the Bible principle, the call in the Bible, for this detachment? Where is it in the word of God? 2 Corinthians 6:14-18. People would not like to hear me say this, but this is the word of God, and if I read it simply for what it says I cannot but come to the conclusion of what I am sharing with you right now. In the context, this following scripture is speaking about husband and wife, but you can see that is also speaking about the whole realm of social relationships:

2 Corinthians 6:14 Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? 15 And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? 16 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. 17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

Ever since I have received the beauty of Jesus in my life, this has been a perplexing scripture for me. And yet I could not but come to this simple conclusion that there is a separation to take place. He is making a parallel between us being the temple of God and unbelievers being as idols? This is rough language. And yet this is what the Scriptures are saying. I am not making this up. “I will dwell in them, and walk in them.” He wants to dwell in me, and walk with me; and He wants to be my God, so that I can be part of His people. And He is asking me to not touch, to be separate. Now I do not want to go into extremes, because this is always a danger. We know that we have to relate to people and to be kind with people, but there is always that danger, that outward obstacle to my personal union with Christ. This is something that we must personally tune in to with the Lord to really understand and compare my behaviours with the words of Inspiration and Scripture.

You can see that Christians today, as a general rule, do not take this requirement of God seriously. Or if they do, they only half believe that God expects them to obey it. I mean, I’ve been among evangelicals, and I wondered, Did I read this right? And yet there is a beauty here because God is saying that, If you do that, I will receive you. This was part of our baptismal vows. It is beautiful. And yet Christians are intermingling with unbelievers and it’s like nothing is wrong. And you think to yourself, I thought I was doing the right thing, but then there are all these influences, be they Christians, or worldlings. This is the reason why it is so essential that we take the Scriptures plainly as they come and that we let the Spirit of Prophecy help us in understanding the Scriptures. Because there are so many extremes, whether it be on one side or the other. But when I do this and I really practise and I really boldly set my face like a flint, it almost looks like intolerance, and cruelty. It was even said to me, I cannot accept your intolerance. Is this intolerance? The intolerance is that of not being able to accept what is looked upon as intolerance. That is the intolerance. This is how the world would view it; they would look upon it as cruelty, as intolerance, to justify themselves in being the way they are and in not submitting to the beautiful appeals of Jesus that they may be sons and daughters of God.

Here is a marvellous statement. It always rings in my ears when I see those pressures – the peer pressure – inciting to enter into some social engagements:

The Scriptures furnish abundant evidence that it is safer to be joined to the Lord and lose the favor and friendship of the world, than to look to the world for favor and support and forget our dependence upon God…. {TMK 308.2}

The Lord Himself has established a separating wall between the things of the world and the things which He has chosen out of the world and sanctified to Himself. The world will not acknowledge this distinction. . . . But God has made this separation, and He will have it exist. {TMK 308.3}

This is one of those powerful assurances that you can hold on to, without being unkind, while still being unselfishly kind to others, and say, But God has made this separation, and He will have it exist!

I cannot express how much this means to me because I have come straight out of the world, and to have such a beautiful confirmation is such a comfort. And it is a comfort for every one of us; I know it to be true. It is a comfort to really see that the Lord, in His loving authority, has purposed that this distinction would always exist between His people that He has sanctified to Himself and the people of the world who do not want to submit to His beautiful love.

In both the Old and the New Testaments the Lord has positively enjoined upon His people to be distinct from the world, in spirit, in pursuits, in practice; to be a holy nation, a peculiar people, {Ibid.}

Why?

…that they may show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light. The east is not farther from the west than are the children of light, in customs, practices, and spirit, from the children of darkness. {Ibid.}

And as we are now in the last generation and things have been growing to greater and greater proportions, the very last sentence of this paragraph also helps us to understand what happens in the social realm in the last generation:

This distinction will be more marked, more decided, as we near the close of time. . . . {Ibid.}

I had to say to people close to me, and I was inspired by the experience of people of experience, “I love you, yes, but enough that I will not give you the impression that what you are doing does not have eternal consequences.” I have a very strong sense of the solemnity of the times in which we are living, and although the Lord wants us to be joyful, yet He also wants us to be firm in making decisions to harmonise with the distinction that He wants to exist, not to constrain us, but to protect us.

What is that which I need to be aware of and be careful with?

There is an element called love which would teach us to praise and flatter our associates and not to faithfully tell them of their dangers and warn and counsel them for their good. This love is not Heaven-born. Our words and actions should be serious and earnest, especially before those who are neglecting their soul’s salvation. . . . If we unite with them in lightness, trifling, pleasure seeking, or in any pursuit which will banish seriousness from the mind, we are constantly saying to them by our example, “Peace, peace; be not disturbed. You have no cause for alarm.” This is saying to the sinner, “It shall be well with thee.” {TMK 308.4}

If we profess to be sons and daughters of God we should pursue such a course toward the unbelieving that our souls will be clear of their blood when we meet them in the great day of final reckoning. {TMK 308.5}

We have the beautiful understanding of Daniel 11:45 and 12:1, and we know that the close of probation is just about to take place. We are having this conference to understand what is going on in the last generation and to contrast that with our preparation for the society of heaven. As all of this is taking place, there is a need to “pursue such a course toward the unbelieving that our souls will be clear of their blood when we meet them in the great day of final reckoning.” But this is not to say, I’ve done what I needed to do, so now you stay away from me. No, but we must always remember that there is this balance to be entered into in our personal lives so that we make sure that we are not giving them a wrong impression with regards to what is going on in the world. This does not mean that I’m going to people and saying, Don’t you know Daniel 11:45?? It does not work like that. And it is not censuring with our silence either, because this never works; it never does good to the soul. But by loving and focusing our minds on what is the love of Jesus so that we can manifest the same love, while at the same time not giving any countenance to the wicked pursuits which are taking place around us and which we see people engaging in.

Here is the last day and the last generation experience of detachment. It is an element of confirmation in our endeavours to follow the Lord and stay under His protection, that distinction that He always would have exist:

I heard those clothed with the armor speak forth the truth in great power. It had effect. I saw those who had been bound; some wives had been bound by their husbands, and some children had been bound by their parents. The honest who had been held or prevented from hearing the truth, now eagerly laid hold of it. All fear of their relatives was gone. The truth alone was exalted to them. It was dearer and more precious than life. They had been hungering and thirsting for truth. I asked what had made this great change. An angel answered: “It is the latter rain, the refreshing from the presence of the Lord, the loud cry of the third angel.” {1T 182.2}

This is so meaningful to me, because I can see that the truth is so exalted to me, all fear of my relatives is gone. Have you experienced that? It is so beautiful. The truth is dearer and more precious than life; you are ready to do everything for the truth as it is in Jesus. It is wonderful. “They had been hungering and thirsting for truth.” I remember when I was praying before an idol and asking to whichever God existed, Show me the truth. I had been hungering and thirsting for truth when I didn’t even know truth. But then the Lord showed me the truth of Jesus. There is no other truth.

We have this wonderful counsel on the detachment, which is already edifying, and now we want to look at the attachment.

Attachment

Every believer should be wholehearted in his attachment to the church. Its prosperity should be his first interest, and unless he feels under sacred obligations to make his connection with the church a benefit to it in preference to himself, it can do far better without him. {CS 42.1}

I am reading this only for the sake of principle. I like it for my own personal benefit and it helps me to follow the Lord in His mind, and we are reading it together.

It is in the power of all to do something for the cause of God. There are those who spend a large amount for needless luxuries; they gratify their appetites, but feel it a great tax to contribute means to sustain the church. They are willing to receive all the benefit of its privileges, but prefer to leave others to pay the bills. Those who really feel a deep interest in the advancement of the cause, will not hesitate to invest money in the enterprise whenever and wherever it is needed.–4T 18. {Ibid.}

This is the principle that Jesus expressed, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Matt. 6:21). This is basically saying, by letting the Spirit of Prophecy be enlightened by the Scriptures, that I am to be wholehearted in my attachment to the church, which means that my heart is to be with the church. My treasure is there, so my heart is there. This is not saying, Give money! This is saying, Put your heart in it.

Galatians 6:10 As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all [men], especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

Let us do good unto all men – The separation which is to exist is no excuse for me to go and be indifferent, or intolerant, or unkind to the people who are not accepting God’s last generation message, God’s message of the three angels. We are to do good unto all men. Yet the Scripture does say that we are to do good especially unto them who are of the household of faith.

The following statement bring us back to what we saw in the beginning, the Creation of man, and what Jesus did in coming to this earth to give us the possibility of divine companionship.

The desire for love and sympathy was implanted in the heart by God himself. Christ in his hour of agony in Gethsemane, while bearing the guilt of sinful men, longed for the sympathy of his disciples. And Paul, though almost indifferent to hardship and suffering, yearned for sympathy and companionship. God would have his people cherish love and sympathy for one another. Humanity, elevated, ennobled, and rendered Godlike, is worthy of respect and esteem. The sons and daughters of God will be tender-hearted, pitiful, courteous, to all men, “especially unto them who are of the household of faith.” But Paul was bound to his fellow-disciples by a stronger tie than even that of Christian brotherhood. The Lord had revealed himself to Paul in a special manner, and had made him instrumental in the salvation of many souls. Many churches might in truth regard him as their father in the gospel. Such a man, who had sacrificed every earthly consideration in the service of God, had a special claim upon the love and sympathy of his converts and fellow-laborers. {LP 309.2}

This is really sad to me that we have seen people undermining the experience of one man whom I greatly appreciate, Brother John. “Such a man, who had sacrificed every earthly consideration in the service of God, had a special claim upon the love and sympathy of his converts and fellow-laborers.” I can see that and it is sad to me to see that people have not seen that with such sacrifices such a man had a special claim upon their love and sympathy. But I am grateful for the labours of such a man.

When the children of God manifest mercy, kindness, and love toward all men, and especially toward those of the household of faith, they bear testimony to the fact that “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” {RH, August 20, 1895 par. 1}

Can you see the connection here? This is saying something which is beautiful with reference to our desire to represent God and be faithful to the law of God.

It is because the law of God is trampled under foot, transgressed, and made void, that the world is becoming like Sodom, and like the world before the flood. In the midst of an apostate world, there must be those who represent loyalty to the law of God. {Ibid.}

How do they represent loyalty to the law of God? When they manifest “mercy, kindness, and love toward all men, and especially toward those of the household of faith.” When they do that, they bear testimony to the fact that “the law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul.” I always felt like representing the law of God, the commandments of God, was me being very staunch in my representation of the truth; but this is simply saying that the unity of the believers amongst themselves is also part of representing loyalty to the law of God.

…we are not to accuse those who make mistakes, to slight those who are in poverty and under oppression of adverse circumstances. We are not to find fault with them, and condemn them. They may have far more of the love and fear of God than have the ones who treat them with hardness of heart, and who manifest a spirit wholly unlike the Spirit of Christ, lifting up their finger, as it were in reproach and denunciation, as though God had placed them on the judgment seat to measure a neighbor or a brother, “speaking vanity.” O, how much of this has been encouraged! How much harm has been done because men have lifted up themselves in condemning others, when before God they were guilty of far greater mistakes and sins. They say to their brethren, “Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye,” when there is a beam in their own eye. {Ibid.}

This is the principle in our desire to be united with one another. I, as a person, am not to find fault with my brethren and condemn them, because they may have far more of the love and fear of God than I may have if I treat them with hardness of heart. There is something which happens and which God permits to happen in the last days which is that, someone may be right, but by doing wrong he will place himself on the wrong side. And someone who may have been wrong, by doing right and submitting Himself to God, is on the right side. The Lord is permitting this to happen to let people have excuses to go their own way and not follow the Lord withersoever He goeth anymore. I can see that. This is mysterious in God’s providence that He permits this to happen. You would think that, surely if someone is wrong he must be wrong all the way, and if he is right he is right all the way. But no, because this is teaching us to be merciful always, and not take into account the fact that I may be right. But when we are right we feel irritated, I get offended. And the Lord is saying, Okay, can you see there that I am letting this happen? It is mysteriously blended in My providence so that you, in the terrible anguish of heart of being right but not wanting to be divided, have to see that I am permitting this to happen so that you can see your defects of character. I am amazed when I see that this is the hand of the Lord, and yet this is my defects of character. We are all involved in this, personally, and unitedly as a church. We cannot read into one another’s motive; never. So we do not find fault. And I do not place myself on the judgment seat to measure a neighbour or a brother; because harm is done when people lift themselves up in condemning others, when before God those who were condemning were guilty of far greater mistakes and sins. It is the sin of Pharisaism, I am doing everything right so I can condemn and bring somebody down. This is what we have experienced time and time again.

Talking about the unity for which Christ prayed, the following statement says,

We cannot surrender the truth in order to accomplish this union; for the very means by which it is to be gained is sanctification through the truth. Human wisdom would change all this, thinking this basis of union too narrow. Men would effect a union through conformity to popular opinions, through a compromise with the world. But truth is God’s basis for the unity of his people. {GW92 391.2}

It is the truth through which Jesus was sanctified, and it is also the truths of doctrine, our understanding of the platform of truth of original Adventism. This is the basis for the unity of His people; but it is especially the truth as it is in Jesus which unites us together in the bonds of Christian fellowship, being each of us united with Jesus and then united together through the truth.

To be fitted for the heavenly society we must renounce the lofty ideas which we entertain about ourselves and we must love every man with an unselfish love, and especially God’s children, because they are the ones who are the more willing to receive this love, because they believe in this love. This is our preparation for the heavenly society and the joys of heaven.

May the Lord really tune our hearts to be at peace with Him, and at peace with one another.

Amen.

Posted on September 15, 2016, in Divine Service Sermons, Last Generation Candidates. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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