Dear brethren around the world,
Warm Christian greetings with the following words from the Inspiration: “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,” John 17: 20, 21.
Jesus was on His way to Gethsemane and Calvary. Before His terrible anguish, He manifested His concern about His disciples. Sadly, after working with Jesus for more than three years, the disciples still had wrong ideas about God’s kingdom and were fighting among themselves for the highest place in the supposed earthly kingdom. After the ceremony of the feet washing, almost all of them reached harmony and unity. Only Judas refused to surrender his life to Christ and Satan took control of him.
As we approach the new year, we realize that the same experience of the disciples in the upper room needs to be reached by our people. We have not reached that blessed unity that will be necessary before the church can be blessed with the baptism with the Holy Spirit during the latter rain.
In His prayer in John 17, Christ interceded with the Father to bless His disciples so that they could be one as Christ, the Father, and the Holy Spirit are one.
However, before being fully united with one another, we need to be united with Christ. This blessed condition can be reached only through the entire surrender of our life to the control of the Holy Spirit.
Among ourselves as a people there is still backbiting, defamation, false accusations. These are Satan’s tools to promote division and disunity among God’s people.
When we surrender our life to Christ, the Holy Spirit sheds God’s love in our heart. God’s love is the main principle of His law. If we really love Christ, then we will love each other, and this love will be manifested in obedience to all God’s commandment.
The apostle Paul wrote that only with love we can fulfill the law.
“Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if [there be] any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love [is] the fulfilling of the law.” Romans 13:8-10.
If we do not posses God’s love in our heart, we cannot love God supremely and our neighbors as ourselves. In other words, we cannot keep God’s commandment if we do not possess God’s love. And we cannot have God’s love if we do not surrender our life to Christ. In Matthew 5:48 Christ said that we need to be perfect in love as our heavenly Father is perfect in His sphere. And James declares that only those who have control of their tongues are perfect.
“For in many things we offend all. If any man offends not in word, the same [is] a perfect man, [and] able also to bridle the whole body. Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body. Behold also the ships, which though [they be] so great, and [are] driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth. Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindle! And the tongue [is] a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; [it is] an unruly evil, full of deadly poison,” James 3:2-8.
Only when we are united with Christ, and guided by the Holy Spirit, we can have full control of our tongue. Ellen G. White declares that most of the church’s problems come from the wrong use of our tongue. The church will have the power to shake the world only when we reach Christian unity.
Let us consecrate ourselves fully to the Lord so that during this new year God’s character of love may be reflected through His children. Let us take more time to pray, to study God’s word, to unite our family around the family altar. This way we walk with Jesus and love one another as Christ has loved us.
May this be our experience during 2019!
Cordially, in Jesus Christ,
Davi P Silva