The unity experienced by the New Testament believers was based on far more than emotional warmth between members.
The disciples were consumed with something much larger than themselves. Christ’s commission to take the gospel to the entire world swallowed up their personal ambitions. The church cannot reach the community with the gospel until it is united, but it will never be united until it is consumed with the preaching of the gospel.
Mission is a great unifying factor. The early believers rallied around mission. The life, death, resurrection, priestly ministry, and return of our Lord bound them together. New converts were anchored in the “apostles’ doctrine” (Acts 2:41-42, NKJV). The teachings of Jesus provided the foundation for their unity.
The apostle Peter uses the term “present truth” (2 Pet. 1:12). The message of “present truth” in Peter’s day united the church and propelled it forward with a prophetic impetus: Jesus Christ of Nazareth was the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament. They were united with an urgent, present truth message regarding the fulfillment of prophecy.
Now, in the final days of earth’s history, God has given His people an urgent, present truth message, as well (Rev. 14:6-12). It is the message of “the everlasting gospel” in the context of judgment, of obedience, and of the Lord’s return. This is what unites Seventh-day Adventists as a worldwide family. If this message were watered down, given a secondary place, or treated as a relic of the past, the unity of the church would be fractured, and its mission would lose its urgency. If the church’s message is either misunderstood or distorted, its mission will be unclear. It is the proclamation of the prophetic message of the Three Angels that gives Seventh-day Adventists the reason for our existence.
How connected are you with our message and mission? Or, look at it this way: why are you a Seventh-day Adventist? Bring your answer to class on Sabbath.