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January 1919 IBSA Convention Report

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Friday, 2:30 P. M., Discourse by Brother T. Toujian

Subject: "CHRISTIAN UNITY"

WE are very glad to be with you, dear brethren. We bring to you the greetings of the friends of many places on the way. They wanted to be with you. They all pray that this convention may be a success. And we believe it is. In harmony with our subject we call your attention to Psalm 133: "Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. It is like the precious ointment upon the head, that ran down upon the beard, even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of his garment. As the dew of Hermon, and as the dew that descended upon the mountains of Zion, for there the Lord commanded the blessing — even life for evermore."

In the midst of this great commotion, tribulation, distress, revolution, war, unrest, indeed it is the hardest proposition to "dwell together in unity," However, it is possible if we have the power. What power? "Not by might, nor by (human) power, but by My spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." (Zech. 3:4.) It is by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can dwell in unity; and those who remain faithful to the end, keeping the Christian unity, are more than conquerors. They will shine most brilliantly in the Kingdom.

The Lord has a wonderful place for those who will remain faithful to the end and become the last members of the body of Christ. Our Lord Jesus said, "He that reapeth, receiveth wages." (John 4:36.)

Now, dear friends, that we have gone so far in this narrow way, shall we stop, or go ahead? I say, by God's grace we will go ahead. "We are not of them who draw back unto perdition, but of them that believe to the saving of the soul." (Heb. 10:39.) That is what we expect of each one this afternoon. We expect that every consecrated child of God will strive to make his calling and election sure, and attain that wonderful Kingdom which the Lord promised only to the overcomers.

Oh, what a "high calling" we have. How high? "Higher than the heavens." "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither have entered in the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him." (Isa. 64:4; I Cor. 2, 9.)

Do you think for a moment that we will draw back? No, we will not. However, as today is a day of "examination," we want to examine ourselves to see if we have in our hearts the spirit of Christian unity or not.

You know people at large are governed by sentiment. The world is guided by leaders, by influences. Therefore, today they are for, and tomorrow they are against certain propositions. You know how it was a little while ago; when you talked about "peace" they put you in jail. Now, when you talk about war, they will put you in jail. What is the matter? You know why! Why? Because they are governed by sentiment, — "wishy-washy," that is all. But to us, there is one God; one Christ; one baptism: one principle. War or no war, it doesn't make a bit of difference. You cannot change a man who is governed by principle.

Now there are principles that underlie "Christian Unity." If we learn these principles, we will remain faithful to the end. If not, we might just as well get out. Therefore, the Lord is proving you, proving me, to see if we are governed by certain principles of the doctrines of Christ. What do we learn about the principles of Christ? Oh, dear friends, we learn certain laws; certain regulations that will govern our conduct, and our thoughts, and our actions. If we do not learn these principles well, and put them into operation, we will never get there at all. If we are not united here, we will never be united there. There is a separation or division of mind. It implies, therefore, dear friends, that one party is wrong, somewhere.

Let us realize the importance of "Christian Unity." Let the dear friends sacrifice everything which is not a principle: Your opinions, your likes and dislikes, your sentiment, your reputation, your pocketbook.

You know that is a hard proposition for some. I was in Texas, meeting with a congregation (20 strong I. B. S. A. members), and they hired a place, and only had to pay $8.00 per month. And yet they were two months behind the rent. I told them, "You will never be in the Kingdom." (Laughter.) I said, "If you haven't any of the spirit of sacrifice, as much as a common ordinary church member, you better quit." For pity's sake, a church of twenty members must support a reverend gentleman; and besides that, send eggs and milk, and 1 don't know what else. But, dear friends, when we come to the Lord and make a full consecration of ourselves, we say, "All for Jesus! All for Jesus, but not a cent to Him, I won't give my money." I am not taking any collections this afternoon. So don't worry about that. (Laughter.) But I tell you, dear friends, when the Holy Spirit gets into our heads and hearts, it goes into the pocketbook as well, and I would be ashamed to go to a congregation where they can't pay their rent for a meeting place. I think they will learn their lesson later.

But, my friends, here is the thought: When we give our hearts to God, we give all. That includes everything. I am sorry many of us are governed by this idea that the "money that I have is mine! My wife is mine, and my children are mine." They are not! Don't you remember the text yesterday morning? "Ye are bought with a price: therefore, glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's." You are purchased! If this body belongs to somebody else, then that which belongs to this body belongs to somebody else, too. It includes your pocketbook and everything else. Let us live the true Christlike life. Give all to the Father, realizing whatever we have, we are simply stewards over God's goods. That is all: we are His by creation. We are His by justification. We are His by consecration. We are His in every way. Our bodies are His, and also as New Creatures, we are the sons of God. We have nothing to our name: all belongs to Him.

The Psalmist evidently here in this Psalm painted a wonderful picture of the unity of Christians — the unity of the Gospel Age. You know the very word "David," means Beloved. And Jesus received that name at His consecration. The Lord says, "This is My only begotten Son in whom I am well pleased." "My beloved Son." or "My David." Jesus received the name David. Therefore, David was a type of the Christ — the head; and the Church which is His body; and as we well know today. David is a man of war; so the Church Militant is a man of war. And in these days they do lots of fighting, and they put them in jail because they fight too much. You cannot call them pacifists, but they fight this man here — the old man. They fight the world, the flesh and the devil. It is a fight, friends, in which no common, ordinary man. or general on earth can participate. It is impossible that any human being on earth can fight the good "fight of faith," except one who has the power of the Holy Spirit in his heart.

Therefore, David says, "How good, and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity." How sweet! You know that for yourself. If there is no inharmony, oh. how sweet it is. We want to come to the meeting, and after the meeting is over we go home, about twelve o'clock midnight, and after we go home we think about the brethren you know. "How good and how sweet it is." Isn't it remarkable. You have had the experience, and have it yet.

"How good and how sweet it is for the dear brethren to dwell together in unity." How good! Dear friends, the illustration is a grand one. "It is like a precious ointment." What is the precious ointment that was poured on Aaron at the time of consecration? It was poured upon the head and came to the neck, then to the shoulders, then to the body, and then to the feet: and the whole oil went to the feet. No wonder the feet class are "oily." There is plenty of it. No wonder that we have so much of it. I tell you we need it too, so that we will not scratch

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one another. We need to be lubricated well to keep the spirit of unity. And we will need a lot of oil before we get through. You take a. piece of machinery and run it without oil, and it will have a "hot box."

And so, my friends, if we don't have plenty of oil, we will have a "hot box" too. It will show tomorrow how much oil we have in our oil boxes. Are we of the class who receives very much oil in our vessels? Or are we of the foolish virgin class? It is one, or the other. May the Lord help us show the spirit of Christ, and show really and truly that we are of the class spoken of here! "How good, and how pleasant it is for the (dear) brethren to dwell together in unity."

Now, friends, we see Aaron there, and when the oil was poured upon his head, it lubricated all his body for it went way down his garment. There he stood, as the Advocate of the Jewish people. There he realized he had a very important mission to make good the broken covenant. As he stood there he was lifted in the spirit, and he said "what a grand, and glorious office I have that I am a High Priest over the people of God," and when Aaron on the Atonement Day, came and made "at-one-ment" between God and man, he said: "Oh, God, how thankful I am for this office! What a high calling this is!" (This is only typical you know.) It was indeed a "high calling." He was called of God. St. Paul says, "No man can take this honor unto himself, except he that is called of God." (Heb. 5:4.) And he was called of God. And it was a remarkable call at that. Not only that. Aaron's sons received the same anointing that he received. They did not receive an individual anointing. No. even as we did not receive an individual anointing. We received the anointing which is in Christ Jesus. We are anointed as we become part of Him. Therefore, his sons received the same unction from the Holy One; and consequently they were glad. Oh, they were happy that they were also under-priests. And again, dear friends, the perfume of the oil was so soothing to smell the fragrance. Oh. how sweet! "How good it is!"

Now, dear friends, in this picture this is a type of what? "Christian Unity." The oil anti-typical was poured on our Lord Jesus at Jordan. There He received the whole, great amount of oil, without measure, because He had a very large vessel. He had a perfect vessel. He could have plenty of it. Then, dear friends, for three years and a half the oil came down and ran below the head. Then, after His ascension on high, the oil dropped upon the neck. The apostles received the holy anointing oil, and then it came to the shoulders. Now, if there was no neck, there would be no oil there, and so, dear friends, the apostles were the connecting link between the head and the body. They had twelve places if you please in the body, — as if they were immersed into the neck of the Christ, from which they received the anointing. Therefore, we can understand the thought of the Apostle Paul. "Fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh (not for the head's sake but) for His body's sake, which is the Church." (Col. 1:24.) And the oil ran down all during the ages and saturated the body. Suppose a person became a rib member, the oil went right over it. But if it were not there, the oil could not go over it. If we have not the spirit of Christ, we are "none of His," and if you are not in the body, the oil will not go over you. Then later on, when due time came (since 1878) the Lord began to deal with what is called in the Bible the "feet members" — the last members. We have come to the extreme time of the feet members. In fact the heel members, if you please. Now, dear friends, as long as we, as members of Christ, remain in this great body we will receive the holy anointing oil. We will have the spirit of unity. Or, reversing it, if we have the spirit of Christian unity we are members in His body now, prospectively; and, thank God. bye and bye we will have a glorious body which the Lord promised to the faithful.

It is a remarkable thought, dear friends, that our dear Heavenly Father does place each one in the body as it pleaseth Him." You remember that it was the dear mother of John and James who came to our Lord and requested that her two sons (nice looking and certainly noble boys) might have a prominent place in the kingdom, one on the right side and the other on the left side, and Jesus asked the question: "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of?" Oh, yes, "we are able." So they knew what He meant. "But so far as placing you in the body is concerned that is not My prerogative, but Jehovah God Himself is the one who does the placing. But if you eat of My body (in mind) and masticate it well, — digest it well, you will be perfectly contented with your place in the body of Christ." What a glorious thing it is that the Lord has passed thousands and millions of people, and has given to you and to me the privilege of becoming members in the body of Christ.

If we come to the Lord in prayer and supplication, asking Him that He may guide and direct us, that implies that He will hear our prayers. If we pray, the Lord will guide us in the important work we are about ready to enter into. After you go to Him in prayer, and then use your common sense (if we have any, and I think we have some), we can leave the thing in the Lord's hands and say, "Amen."

There is one lesson I learned during 1915: it took me fourteen years to learn it — some of us have thick brains. I was with a large congregation in the West, and a question of great importance came up, which resulted in a great amount of trouble. I was on the minority side. Sometimes they call it the "G" side, because that means the Seventh Book. I was on the minority side and we felt we must do our duty, and tell the friends that if they took a certain course it would be detrimental to the interests of the congregation. We put the matter just as strong as we knew how. Later, however, the matter went the other way. It was a hard test, because it meant a great amount of suffering. However, I made up my mind once and for all that I would abide by the decision, and if the congregation made a mistake they have to suffer, and not I, because I told them not to do that. By the way, since then I found I was wrong. But I kept my mouth shut. Some brother said, "Well, how do you stand? Have you changed your mind?" I said, "No, I believe I am right, but I am keeping my mouth shut. I am in harmony with you to the extent that I close my eyes. I will act as though everything is fine. Brethren, God bless you —  we will unitedly co-operate." And as the result, we are before you here this afternoon trying to talk. The Lord gave us the privilege and blessed us abundantly, because we were governed by a wonderful principle. But if I. would raise trouble after the decision, I would be in the depths of outer darkness. I was not governed by sentiment. No, by God's grace, I was governed by principle.

In many congregations, I find they cat the food, but they cannot talk until after the matter is decided. Then the steam goes out. And the first thing you know there is confusion. Well, what is the matter? Let the steam out. Punch the steam out before it is decided. Go ahead and put it as strong as you can — then keep your mouth shut. That is the way I will do. It might come out in harmony with my views, or it might not. As a brother said, "Why, there is a man who had ears that long (three inches), but he had sense. He was riding on a creature with ears only about one foot long. And the time came that the Lord used the one that went on four legs. The Lord asked: Why do you whip him so hard? What is the matter, don't you see the angel before him?" I tell you, my friends, the Lord can use anyone. If the Lord's people tell us that they want it this way, and I say I want my way, too, — who is boss? The Lord's people.

I find, too, many kinds of people. In one congregation three brethren couldn't agree with the Seventh Book. I said, "What is the matter with you?" Well, we had a question meeting, and it lasted for about three hours. And we talked pro and con, and then these brethren began to talk about different things, and I caught on to where the trouble was. I made a suggestion, something to the effect that those elders in the Church were "not supposed to be bosses"; they must not rule the congregation, for they were servants. They said, "St. Paul states, "Let those who rule get the greater proportion of honor." "Oh," I said, "I see the point now. You want a double portion of the honor before you work like him, then get the proportion." How is that? Oh, he worked himself to

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death. Here, brother, you ought to do just as Pastor Russell did (you elected him as elder or pastor). When he wrote a letter to you brethren, this is what I think he usually wrote, "If you don't like it, put it in the waste basket." He did not say, "Here, you have got to do so and so." Oh, no! I tell you, dear friends, many people have the wrong idea of what it means to rule the Church.

If there are several hobbyists (you know some people have hobbies: Some look at the stars, and are always talking about the Great Company. One place I visited they didn't talk of anything else for six months but "Great Company") I would suggest, friends, why can't you do this way: "The Sixth Volume says if a brother has a hobby, let him let out the steam for half an hour and let him talk all he wants to. Then say to the class: 'Do you want this horrible stuff any more? Those in favor of it kindly manifest same by a right hand vote'." These things are stopped like that [snapping thumb], but the trouble is this, we don't read or study the truth. We talk about the thrice double sword, and the point (you have heard that: "Thrice double" — three times two makes what? Six), but most of the friends don't know anything about it. They try to get the "point" without having the stock. You can't do that. If a brother has a knowledge of that Sixth Book — the encyclopedia of the New Creation, he can cut out the hobbyist. You can fix everything so nicely and beautifully. Why, friends, the study of these things will cause you to increase and abound in grace and love and knowledge.

In connection with this thought we would like to emphasize one point, i.e., this matter of ruling. I find that there is danger for us to go into the nominal condition. You know what that is. It means just camouflage —  something that isn't there. Now the tendency for us is to slack our energy and say, easy now: "I believe in the ransom. I am saved." However, the apostle said, "I brow-beat my body. I keep my body under." We must strive, and try hard to do this every day. We should improve or develop. Which way? Every way, not only the Christian way, but even in our appearance, in our expressions. Improvement must be the watchword of the Christian in every respect. You must not pass one thing without examining yourself to see if you are in the faith; to see if you are making progress. "Be ye clean that bear the vessels of the Lord." (Isa. 52:11.) We must do that in order to get into the kingdom.

I find that some of the friends have the idea that we Pilgrims are just about two and one-half feet higher than others. Some of the friends are inclined to look at it like we did before our eyes were opened. (They are opened now for good.) We used to say, "Who is that coming?" The answer was, "Reverend Smith." "Oh, Reverend Smith? He is of the Divine or Apostolic ordination." I don't mean to say our Pilgrim brethren are doing that now. I have seen them in the past write their name "So-and-So. Pilgrim," in the manna. Oh, isn't it nice! But why should we put it that way? After you write your name, nothing more is essential. What is the difference between a Pilgrim and a Brother? No difference, except that the Pilgrim has to work harder than the other brethren. They have to preach five hours. One time I preached for five hours. I don't know whether I reported it to the Watch Tower; for I was afraid. There was a reverend gentleman at the meeting and I talked for a long time and after we finished what we had to say, the gentleman went home — fifteen minutes after twelve, midnight. That is the difference. Sometimes the Pilgrims preach eight hours a day; sometimes six. Anyway, that is the difference. Like St. Paul, they must be overworked. The Brother who is not a Pilgrim carries a lighter satchel, while the Pilgrim carries a very heavy one. The thought we have in our minds is for us not to make that great difference, or contrast. When a Pilgrim talks to you, don't think they are entirely the words of the Lord. Of course, they are supposed to tell the plan, but if they say something different from what you have read before, take that and put soap on it and weigh it until that soap soaks in. We should honor and respect it, but at the same time, let us not make such a vast contrast. Clergy! Laity! "One is your master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren." Our dear Pastor surely manifested that spirit.

Let us take the Scriptures and see the importance of Christian unity. We turn to John 17:21 to 23. Jesus said in that wonderful prayer, "I pray not for these alone (which refers to the twelve apostles), but for them also which shall believe on me." Jesus prayed, dear friends, for the friends meeting here today. Why did He pray? He is emphasizing one point especially: "I pray for them." Why? "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."

Do we have a clear understanding of the height of Christian unity? What is Christian unity? Jesus says it is the unity which exists between Jesus and God. Do you think that Jesus ever uttered a cross word to the Father? Can you imagine that Jehovah God scolded Him because He did something wrong? The unity is so wonderful that we, with our finite minds, cannot comprehend such infinite unity. In other words, if we want to keep the spirit of unity, we cannot utter one cross word. Well, we say, we have done this in the past. Yes, and we are sorry we did. But, dear friends, we can have the spirit of unity if we so wish. You might say "we are imperfect." Even St. Paul says, "Jesus was tested in all points like as we are, yet He was without sin." We are sinners. Well, shall we lower the standard? No! It is not our business to do anything with the standard. God sets the standard. You just do the trying. Don't lower anything. You can't do it if yon try. If you try to lower it you will be lowered yourself, and you will be out of the race.

Let us keep the height of Christian unity, which implies that unity existing between the Father and Son, — that we may be in mind, in thought, in purpose, and even as far as possible, in doctrine and also in relation to each other, that our unity may be like unto God and Christ.

Then what? "That the world may know" — Do you want to show the world who you are? The sons of God! Our Lord Jesus is emphasizing this thought. We should demonstrate that unity to the people of the world of mankind, "that the world may believe that Thou hast sent Me." Therefore, if we have Christian unity and because of our faithfulness to Him, the Lord in the age to come, will bring millions of people into the truth. In other words, our actions, our words, and conduct, our spirit of Christian unity will bring millions into the truth. It is remarkable when we think about that! Let them "see your good works" so that they might glorify God. When? In the "Day of His Visitation" — when He visits the earth and makes His footstool glorious.

"And the glory which Thou gavest Me. I have given them, that they may be one, as we are one." Again He is emphasizing the point. What is the glory given us? Well, primarily speaking, it is the "Glorious Hope"; also the begetting or the anointing. That is primary, but bye and bye it will be the wonderful privilege of sharing with Him in the Kingdom. "And the glory which Thou gavest Me, I have given them." What "glory" did He have? It was the opening of His vision, the "heavens were opened unto Him." He saw the antitypical things. "I have given it to them," He says. "I have given them the understanding of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, and those Seven Books. Also, the Temple of God, and I don't know what all." There is just one purpose, and what is that? "That they may be one."

If we don't have the unity, it means we don't have the truth. Is that possible? That is what the Lord says: "I have given My glory to them, that they may be one." How remarkable! "I in them, and Thou in Me." Indeed, it is remarkable that our Heavenly Father and our Lord Jesus is in us. "That they may be made perfect in one." Dear friends, we cannot be in the kingdom if we are not one here. If we are two here, we will be two somewhere else. If one here, we will be one there.

You remember, dear friends, what we learned about the construction of the great pyramid, that every course of that wonderful structure was placed and fitted together before it was laid upon the next layer, or the next course. Therefore, all the congregations in different places are certain layers in that wonderful structure of love — "living stones." They must now be chiseled and fitted. This

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must be done here, because they will never take a hammer and fit you in the kingdom. There must be "no noise of a hammer" in the kingdom. "Silence" prevails in the kingdom.

I pray that they may be perfect in one, that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and love them as Thou hast loved Me." That is one of the most precious Scriptures in the Bible. "That the Heavenly Father loved the Church, as He loved Christ Jesus." Christian unity is one of the remarkable evidences that the Father loved the Church as well as He loved His only begotten Son.

We have several Scriptures in this connection. Phil. 2:15: "If there be, therefore, any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the spirit, if any bowels and mercies. Fulfill ye my joy, that ye may be like minded." St. Paul is telling the Church, "If you love me and want me to joy forever more: fulfil ye my joy"; fill it full, overflowingly; that ye be like minded! Well, Paul, what can we do to have the spirit of unity? He tells us, dear friends, "let nothing be done through strife or vainglory." "As the body is one and hath many members — " It makes no difference, for "the body is one." When you look at a person, you don't think of him as many members; you say he is "Mr. Jones." That is all. So "also is Christ" — One! Let "nothing be done through strife or vainglory." No partisan spirit should be allowed in the Church. You remember St. Paul said, It is a spirit of the Adversary to say 'I am of Apollos', etc. Some say, "I am a Baptist," or "I am a Methodist. Sectarianism implies the spirit of division, — carnal-mindedness I don't care whether it is inside or outside. Then he goes on to imply: "Don't be called Russellite." What is the difference between a Lutheran and a Russellite? We belong to Christ and God. We love our dear Pastor more than any saints now living, but, my friends, we don't want to take the name of any human being. I will never do it. I am a Bible Student. I am not a teacher! Not a prophet, but a Bible Student, — studying always until I graduate and receive my diploma. And in the Kingdom He will say, "Go ahead and teach." Then I will be a Bible teacher — bye and bye. You can't graduate from the Bible school until you are dead. A wonderful graduation, isn't it? (Laughter.)

"But in lowliness of mind." Not through strife or vainglory. What is vainglory? It is that glory that you intercept or stop before it goes to God. That is a plain way of putting it, isn't it? In other words, public speakers are in the greatest danger of losing their reward because they are in the lime-light, and they shine. You know when the trouble comes up it is the big man who goes out. It is the little man who stays in. So we appeal to you — especially to the public speakers — that by God's grace, when you serve the truth — before you serve and after you serve — tell the Lord, "Now, Lord, you get all the glory and I get nothing but the peace of heart." Thank God for that, because bye and bye He will give us cash. We want to work on credit; but it is cash on credit. We have so much faith in the Lord and His power, that when trouble comes we thank God for it. When we are alive, we say "all things work together for good," and when we are dead, we can say the same thing. Surely, dear friends, it is a grand compensation for what little we do. Therefore, let us have the spirit of Christ, as He said, "I take no glory from any one." "Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but (in humility) in lowliness of mind, let each esteem the other better than himself."

"Look not every man to his own things, but every man also on the things of others." Look to the interest of the brethren; try to serve the brethren. Don't look to your own personal interests. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who being in the form of God, did not meditate a usurpation." He left the Heavenly glory and became a man (a perfect man, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners), and then He was put to death, — even the ignominious death of the cross. "Therefore, God has highly exalted Him, and given Him a name above every name."

My dear friends, let us follow in our dear Master's footsteps; let us keep the spirit of Unity, as He so prayed for us and surely when we finish our course in sacrificial death, by God's grace we will have that wonderful place in the Kingdom.

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