Unity brings Peace and Progress
By Ellen G. White
Unity in the family and with heaven The first work of Christians is to be united in the family. Then the work is to extend to their neighbors nigh and afar off. Those who have received light are to let the light shine forth in clear rays. Their words, fragrant with the love of Christ, are to be a savor of life unto life….If the will of God is fulfilled, the husband and wife will respect each other and cultivate love and confidence. Anything that would mar the peace and unity of the family should be firmly repressed, and kindness and love should be cherished. He who manifests the spirit of tenderness, forbearance, and love will find that the same spirit will be reflected upon him. Where the Spirit of God reigns, there will be no talk of unsuitability in the marriage relation. If Christ indeed is formed within, the hope of glory, there will be union and love in the home. Christ abiding in the heart of the wife will be at agreement with Christ abiding in the heart of the husband. They will be striving together for the mansions Christ has gone to prepare for those who love Him….There should exist in the minister’s family a unity that will preach an effectual sermon on practical godliness. As the minister and his wife faithfully do their duty in the home, restraining, correcting, advising, counseling, guiding, they are becoming better fitted to labor in the church and are multiplying agencies for the accomplishment of God’s work outside the home. The members of the family become members of the family above and are a power for good, exerting a far-reaching influence….The grace of Christ, and this alone, can make this institution [marriage] what God designed it should be–an agent for the blessing and uplifting of humanity. And thus the families of earth, in their unity and peace and love, may represent the family of heaven….Causes of division in the family and the churchSeparation from Christ. The cause of division and discord in families and in the church is separation from Christ. To come near to Christ is to come near to one another. The secret of true unity in the church and in the family is not diplomacy, not management, not a superhuman effort to overcome difficulties–though there will be much of this to do–but union with Christ. –The Adventist Home, pp. 37, 120, 359, 100, 179.Paul urges the Ephesians to preserve unity and love…. Divisions in the church dishonor the religion of Christ before the world and give occasion to the enemies of truth to justify their course. –God’s Amazing Grace, p. 211.Claims of new light leading to a breach. From that which the Lord has been pleased to show me, there will arise just such ones all along, and many more of them, claiming to have new light, which is a side issue, an entering wedge. The widening will increase until there is a breach made between those who accept these views and those who believe the third angel’s message.Just as soon as these new ideas are accepted, then there will be a drawing away from those whom God has used in this work, for the mind begins to doubt and withdraw from the leaders, because God has laid them aside and chosen “more humble” men to do His work. –Selected Messages, book 3, pp. 409, 410.
Personal opinion in opposition to the body. The word of God does not give license for one man to set up his judgment in opposition to the judgment of the church, neither is he allowed to urge his opinions against the opinions of the church. If there were no church discipline and government, the church would go to fragments; it could not hold together as a body. There have ever been individuals of independent minds who have claimed that they were right,… Each has a theory of his own, views peculiar to himself, and each claims that his views are in accordance with the word of God. Each one has a different theory and faith, yet each claims special light from God. These draw away from the body, and each one is a separate church of himself. All these cannot be right, yet they all claim to be led of the Lord. The word of Inspiration is not Yea and Nay, but Yea and Amen in Christ Jesus. –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 428, 429.Fault-finding. None who continue to cherish a querulous, fault-finding disposition can enter heaven; for they would mar its peace and harmony. They will be left outside the city of God, with all who stir up strife. Nor should they be permitted to remain in the church to prevent unity and destroy its usefulness. Let them be reproved, and if they do not change their course, let them be separated from the church. But all may, if they will, conquer these evil traits. The members of the church should pledge themselves to walk together in harmony. Each should set a guard over his own heart, not permitting himself to think evil of his brethren, but giving them credit for all the good qualities they possess. We should store the mind with the precious promises and instructions of God’s word. When Satan seeks to divert the attention to things of no profit, then we should think and talk of these heavenly promises, and the tempter will be vanquished. By thus battling day by day, with earnest prayer and determined faith, all may gain the victory. Those who have most to overcome will be like the sinner to whom Christ forgave much, and who loved much; and they will at last stand nearest to the throne. –Historical Sketches of the Foreign Missions of the Seventh-day Adventists, p. 214.While you so readily think and speak evil of one another, while you allow the root of bitterness to spring up and be cherished, your influence scatters from Christ and hardens hearts in resistance to the sweet spirit of unity and peace. Put it all away without a moment’s delay. “Love one another,” Christ says, “as I have loved you.” John 15:12. –(Letter 33, 1890) Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 639.Harmony in the home and the churchThe apostle Paul exhorts us, “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” Care should be taken by Christians to give no offense, that the truth may not be evil spoken of…. Dissensions will arise even between church members, because they are not Christlike in character. In the home they are oppressive and a reproach to the cause of Christ. Their practices are inconsistent with truth and religion, and to retain them in church fellowship would be unfaithfulness to the Master. The church as a body is to do all in its power to promote union and prevent schisms. If unsound doctrine is introduced, the safety of the flock of Christ will be endangered; and it is the duty of those in authority, who are jealous for the truth as it is in Jesus, to make a firm, decided protest. –Review and Herald, January 16, 1900.Harmony leads to progress. Unless we can have unity and harmony, there will be a retarding of the work continually. –Sermons and Talks, vol. 2, p. 322.The spirit of contention that some have revealed, has greatly retarded the progress of the Lord’s work. We are all to unify on the proper basis of unity. –Testimonies for the Church Containing Messages and Instruction to Seventh-day Adventists, No. 7, p. 55.Patience will seek for unity in the church, in the family, and in the community. This grace must be woven into our lives. Everyone should mount this round of progress, and add to faith, virtue, and temperance, the grace of patience. –Peter’s Counsel to Parents, p. 19.Unity and love will accomplish wonderful things for the believers. Will not our churches arouse and give the last warning message to the world? –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 70.An attitude of unityPress together. Those who are truly converted will press together in Christian unity. Let there be no division in the church of God, no unwise authority exercised over those who accept the truth. The meekness of Christ is to appear in all that is said and done. –Gospel Workers, p. 485.He [God] calls upon His people to work in perfect harmony…. No word is to be spoken to discourage any, for this grieves the heart of Christ and greatly pleases the adversary. All need to be baptized with the Holy Spirit; all should refrain from censuring and disparaging remarks and draw near to Christ, that they may appreciate the heavy responsibilities which the co-workers with Him are carrying. “Press together; press together,” are the words of our divine Instructor. Unity is strength; disunion is weakness and defeat. –Counsels on Health, pp. 517, 518.United in teaching. God is leading a people…. They will not be at variance, one believing one thing, and another having faith and views entirely opposite, each moving independently of the body. Through the diversity of the gifts and governments that He has placed in the church, they will all come to the unity of the faith. If one man takes his views of Bible truth without regard to the opinions of his brethren, and justifies his course, alleging that he has a right to his own peculiar views, and then presses them upon others, how can he be fulfilling the prayer of Christ? And if another and still another arises, each asserting his right to believe and talk what he pleases without reference to the faith of the body, where will be that harmony which existed between Christ and His Father, and which Christ prayed might exist among His brethren? –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 3, pp. 446, 447.Unity in faith and order. … “The church must flee to God’s Word and become established upon gospel order, which has been overlooked and neglected.” This is indispensably necessary in order to bring the church into the unity of the faith. I saw that in the apostles’ day the church was in danger of being deceived and imposed upon by false teachers. Therefore the brethren chose men who had given good evidence that they were capable of ruling well their own house and preserving order in their own families, and who could enlighten those who were in darkness….There is order in heaven. There was order in the church when Christ was upon the earth, and after His departure order was strictly observed among His apostles. And now in these last days, while God is bringing His children into the unity of the faith, there is more real need of order than ever before; for, as God unites His children, Satan and his evil angels are very busy to prevent this unity and to destroy it. –Early Writings, pp. 100, 101, 97.Achieving unityThe Saviour’s burden. That union and love might exist among His disciples was the burden of our Saviour’s last prayer for them prior to His crucifixion. With the agony of the cross before Him, His solicitude was not for Himself, but for those whom He should leave to carry forward His work in the earth. The severest trials awaited them, but Jesus saw that their greatest danger would be from a spirit of bitterness and division. Hence He prayed:“Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth. As Thou hast sent Me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us: that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 236, 237.Sacrifice for reconciliation. If it seems hard to yield, remember that for our sakes God surrendered his dearly beloved Son to the agonies of crucifixion. When so great a sacrifice has been made to save men, to reconcile them to God, and to bring them into unity with one another, what sacrifice is too great in order to secure and preserve that unity? There is nothing too precious for us to give to Jesus. Nor will this course result in our personal loss. Every effort we make for Christ will be rewarded; every sacrifice that we make, every duty that we perform in His name, will minister to our own happiness. Bible Echo, September 1, 1888.The source of unity. Seek for unity; cultivate love and conformity to Christ in all things. He is the source of unity and strength;…
If you do as God would have you, His blessing will come into the church. –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, p. 348.The Lord has had a church from that day, through all the changing scenes of time to the present period, 1893. The Bible sets before us a model church. They are to be in unity with each other, and with God. When believers are united to Christ, the living vine, the result is that they are one with Christ, full of sympathy and tenderness and love. –Selected Messages, book 3, p. 18.Staying close to Christ. God’s people have many lessons to learn. They will have perfect peace if they will keep the mind stayed on Him who is too wise to err and too good to do them harm. They are to catch the reflection of the smile of God, and reflect it to others. They are to see how much sunshine they can bring into the lives of those around them. They are to keep near to Christ, so close that they sit together with Him as His little children, in sweet, sacred unity. They are never to forget that as they receive the affection and love of God, they are under the most solemn obligation to impart it to others. Thus they may exert an influence of rejoicing, which blesses all who come within its reach, irradiating their pathway. –Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, p. 378.
Precious joy in oneness of spiritOf one heart and soul. And it should be their earnest, constant effort to preserve the unity of the faith; to cherish love and affection for each other as children of God. I thought if even two or three were united in the truth as it is in Jesus, what good they might do! What precious promises are given to them! Where two or three are agreed together as touching anything they shall ask in the name of Jesus, it shall be done for them. These souls, then, if of one heart, of one mind, of one purpose, will see of the salvation of God, and will be blessed. –Review and Herald, September 27, 1887.Mutual support in missionary service. Never can the church reach the position that God desires it to reach until it is bound up in sympathy with its missionary workers. Never can the unity for which Christ prayed exist until spirituality is brought into missionary service, and until the church becomes an agency for the support of missions. The efforts of the missionaries will not accomplish what they should until the church members in the home field show, not only in word, but in deed, that they realize the obligation resting on them to give these missionaries their hearty support. –Counsels on Stewardship, pp. 47, 48.Spiritual oneness in marriage. The happiness and prosperity of the marriage relation depends upon the unity of the parties; but between the believer and the unbeliever there is a radical difference of tastes, inclinations, and purposes. They are serving two masters, between whom there can be no concord. However pure and correct one’s principles may be, the influence of an unbelieving companion will have a tendency to lead away from God…. The Lord’s direction is, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers.” 2 Corinthians 6:14, 17, 18. –Conflict and Courage, p. 57.The happiness and prosperity of the married life depend upon the unity of the parties. How can the carnal mind harmonize with the mind that is assimilated to the mind of Christ? One is sowing to the flesh, thinking and acting in accordance with the promptings of his own heart; the other is sowing to the Spirit, seeking to repress selfishness, to overcome inclination, and to live in obedience to the Master, whose servant he professes to be. Thus there is a perpetual difference of taste, of inclination, and of purpose. Unless the believer shall, through his steadfast adherence to principle, win the impenitent, he will, as is much more common, become discouraged and sell his religious principles for the poor companionship of one who has no connection with Heaven. –The Adventist Home, p. 84.Love and unity in the family and the church. Unity and love will accomplish wonderful things for the believers. Will not our churches arouse, and give the last warning message to the world? –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, pp. 69, 70 (1909).That family, properly conducted, is a favorable argument to the truth, and the head of such a family will carry out the very same kind of work in the church as is revealed in the family. Wherever severity, harshness, and want of affection and love are exhibited in the sacred circle of the home, there will most assuredly be a failure in the plans and management in the church. Unity in the home, unity in the church, reveals Christ’s manner and grace more than sermons and arguments…. Is the truth, the advanced truth we have received, producing in our own hearts the fruits of patience, faith, hope, charity, and thus leaving its saving influence upon human minds, revealing that we are branches of the true Vine because we bear rich clusters of fruit? –(Letter 6b, 1890) Evangelism, pp. 342, 343.“How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth! Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice; with the voice together shall they sing: for they shall see eye to eye, when the Lord shall bring again Zion.” Thus is portrayed the happiness and grace that will be revealed when unity and love abide in the church. –Review and Herald, May 12, 1903.Love and happiness. It is of the highest importance that the youth understand that Christ’s people are to be united in one; for this unity binds men to God by the golden cords of love, and lays each one under obligation to work for his fellow men. The Captain of our salvation died for the human race that men might be made one with Him and with each other. As members of the human family we are individual parts of one mighty whole. No soul can be made independent of the rest. There is to be no party strife in the family of God; for the well-being of each is the happiness of the whole. No partition walls are to be built up between man and man. Christ as the great center must unite all in one. –Fundamentals of Christian Education, p. 479.
Undivided affections, perfection, and joy. We are representatives of Jesus Christ in character, and are to serve Him with our undivided affections. Not only will we reveal the fact that we love God, but will, in accordance with His holy character, live a pure, perfect life. We must live perfection, because in looking at Jesus we see in Him the embodiment of perfection; and the great Center upon whom our hope of eternal life and happiness is centered will lead us to unity and harmony. –The Upward Look, p. 36.