One with the Church Above
For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named. Ephesians 3:14, 15.
The church of God upon the earth is one with the church of God above. Believers on the earth, and those who have never fallen in heaven, are one church. Every heavenly intelligence is interested in the assemblies of the saints, who on earth meet to worship God in spirit and truth, and in the beauty of holiness. In the inner court of heaven they listen to the testimonies of the witnesses for Christ in the outer court on earth, and the praise and thanksgiving that comes from the church below, is taken up in the heavenly anthem, and praise and rejoicing resounds through the heavenly court because Christ has not died in vain for the fallen sons of Adam. While angels drink from the fountainhead, the saints on earth drink of the pure streams flowing from the throne of God, making glad the city of God….
In every assembly of the saints below, are the angels of God listening to the thanksgiving, the praise, the supplication, that is offered by the people of God in testimonies, songs, and prayers. Let them remember that their praises are supplemented by the choirs of the angelic host above….
The company of believers may be few in number, but they have been taken by the cleaver of truth as rough stones from the quarry of the world … to be fitted up by test and trial for a place in God’s heavenly temple, and they are very precious in the sight of the Lord…. Even in the rough they are precious in the sight of God. The ax and the hammer and the chisel of trial and test are in the hands of One who is skillful, and are used not to destroy, not to bring to nothingness, but to work out the perfections of every soul….
The Lord will no more cast off the humblest, lowliest believer in Jesus, than He will demolish His throne. We are accepted in the Beloved. We are members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.
Most Precious of all Meetings
Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another: and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. Malachi 3:16.
What a hope-inspiring picture is this, where the Lord is represented as bending down and hearkening to the testimonies borne by His witnesses! …
The words to which God and the angels listen with delight are words of appreciation for the great gift that has been made to the world in the only-begotten Son of God. Every word of praise for the blessing of the light of truth … is written in the heavenly records. Every word that acknowledges the merciful kindness of our heavenly Father in giving Jesus to take away our sins, and to impute to us His righteousness, is recorded in the book of His remembrance. Testimonies of this kind “shew forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.” 1 Peter 2:9….
The time and season are very precious. The assembled believers are in the audience chamber of the universe of heaven. They are to witness for God and the Lord Jesus Christ who gave His life for the world…. What deep and grave importance is attached to these little assemblies! Jesus Christ has paid the ransom money of His own blood for their souls, and He is in the midst of them when they meet to worship God. The Majesty of heaven identifies His interests with those of the believers, however humble may be their circumstances. And wherever they are privileged to meet together, it is appropriate that they speak often one to another, giving utterance to the gratitude and love that results from thinking upon the name of the Lord. Thus shall God be glorified as He hearkens and hears, and the testimony meeting will be considered the most precious of all meetings….
Let all remember that … angels are recording in the book of remembrance every word that vindicates the character and mission of Christ. Of those who testify of the love of God, the Lord says, “They shall be mine, … in that day when I make up my jewels.” Malachi 3:17.
Unity in Diversity
There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; … one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Ephesians 4:4-7.
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…. 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….
Differences of character exist by nature, but our unity depends upon the degree in which we yield to the transforming influence of the Spirit of God. Through the grace of Christ, some persons possess precious traits of character, a kindly and genial disposition; their very rebukes are imbued with tenderness, for the Spirit of Christ seems manifest in them…. The power of His grace will mold and fashion character according to the divine Model, renewing it in softness and beauty, in conformity to His own blessed image….
How great the diversity manifested in the natural world! Every object has its peculiar sphere of action; yet all are found to be linked together in the great whole. Christ Jesus is in union with the Father, and from the great center this wonderful unity is to extend … through all classes and diversities of talents. We are all to respect one another’s talent; we are to harmonize in goodness, in unselfish thoughts and actions, because the Spirit of Christ, as the living, working agency, is circulating through the whole…. It is not striking actions that produce unity; it is the mold of the Holy Spirit upon the character.
United in Christ
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. John 17:21.
The solemn, earnest prayer of Christ … reaches down along the line to our time. What a position is this for fallen man to attain through obedience—oneness with God through Jesus Christ! To what heights we are permitted to rise if we will have respect unto the recompense of the reward! We are to receive power from God that human nature, under the divine working, may not always be perverted and not always be under the depraving, corrupting influence of sin. Human nature, through Jesus Christ, becomes allied to angels—yes, even to the great God.
Those who are truly connected with God will not be at variance with one another…. His Spirit ruling in their hearts will create harmony, love, and unity. The opposite of this works in the children of Satan; there is with them a continual contradiction. Strife and envy and jealousy are the ruling elements. The characteristic of the Christian is the meekness of Christ. Benevolence, kindness, mercy, and love originate from Infinite Wisdom, while the opposite is the unholy fruit of a heart that is not in harmony with Jesus Christ….In union there is strength. In division there is weakness and defeat.
The most convincing argument we can give to the world of Christ’s mission is to be found in perfect unity….In proportion to our unity with Christ will be our power to save souls.
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.