Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 16

331/447

Ms 85, 1901

Talk/Teachers to Have an Abiding Christ

Healdsburg, California

August 30, 1901

Portions of this manuscript are published in 5BC 1092, 1095, 1142-1143; 6BC 1075; UL 256. +Note

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.” [John 15:1, 2.] 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 1

“In me.” This does not mean that those who are really in Christ do not bear any fruit. God has purchased us through Christ, that He might be a propitiation for our sins. We are within the bounds of His mercy; for in mercy His arm encircles the whole human race. Since Christ has paid the price for all the service that we should give Him, we are His servants by purchase. Although we are in Christ Jesus by His covenant of promise, yet if we stand in a position of perfect indifference, without acknowledging Him as our Saviour, we bear no fruit. If by failing to be a partaker of His divine nature we bear no fruit, we are taken away. Worldly influences take us away from Christ, and our portion is the same as that of the unfruitful branch—“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.” 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 2

“Every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” [Verse 2.] Our fruit-bearing testifies whether we are really abiding in Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 3

Every opportunity, every advantage, every privilege, has been given to us to gain a rich Christian experience; but we do not learn everything all at once. There must be a growth. Many, having learned a little in school, think they are ready to graduate. They think they know about all that is worth knowing. We are not to think that as soon as we are baptized we are ready to graduate from the school of Christ. When we have accepted Christ, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit have pledged ourselves to serve God, the Father, Christ, and the Holy Spirit—the three dignitaries and powers of heaven—pledge themselves that every facility shall be given to us if we carry out our baptismal vows to “come out from among them, and be ... separate, ... and touch not the unclean thing.” When we are true to our vows, He says, “I will receive you.” [2 Corinthians 6:17.] 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 4

We are Christ’s property. “Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price.” [1 Corinthians 6:19, 20.] Are we in Him by living faith? If we do not bear any fruit, the powers of darkness take possession of our minds, our affections, our service, and we are of the world, though we profess to be children of God. This is neither a safe nor a pleasant position, because we lose all the beauty and the glory and the satisfaction that it is our privilege to have. By abiding in Christ, we may have His sweetness, His fragrance, His light. Christ is the Light of the world. He shines in our hearts. His light in our hearts shines forth from our faces. By beholding the beauty and the glory of Christ, we become changed into the same image. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 5

“Now ye are clean through the word [through obedience to the word] which I have spoken unto you. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.” [John 15:3, 4.] Consider this. We are to abide in Christ. We make a mere profession of faith in Christ, if we keep the world and its affections in our hearts and in our minds. O, what power the enemy has to strengthen our thoughts of vanity and of self, even in our childhood years, so that when we bear responsibilities in the church there are serious defects in our character and a disagreeableness in our words, because we have not learned of Christ. If we were in Christ, learning His lessons, we should be meek and lowly of heart. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 6

We must have an abiding Christ. Then we shall choose to accept His invitation, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden.” Many persons who are weary and heavy laden come to me, and to different ones, but they do not go to my Saviour, who has invited them. He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] How precious is this invitation! 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 7

The Saviour adds, “Take my yoke upon you.” Are there any here who have felt that it is disagreeable to comply with the conditions Christ has made, to “take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart”? [Verse 29.] While you are preparing to teach in harmony with Jesus Christ, are you learning to bear His yoke? Or have you fixed your eye upon something very exalted which “I” am going to do—“I,” “I,” the most exalted person in the world? God can work through those who lie the lowest at the feet of Christ, those who are the most humble. He can mold them, fashioning them after the divine similitude. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 8

If Christ does not abide in you, then take the very lowliest position, and surrender to God. Determine that you will surrender to God. When you are willing, and will to do that which God would have you do, you may come in the simplicity of a child, and tell the Lord that you realize your weakness. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 9

We all need to humble ourselves before God and to realize our weakness. As we do this, let us have faith in the One who can help us. Let us not run to some human being, hoping that he will exalt us and tell us that we are a great deal better than we are. No; we are to come to Christ Jesus as we are, self-broken, and put ourselves fully into His hands. We are to tell Him that we are willing to be molded, not allowing in ourselves anything that bears a likeness to the powers of darkness. We need an abiding Christ. If He abides in us, we shall not think of running to human agents because we do not happen to feel just as we want to feel. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 10

It may be that the mother or the father so trained their children that they do not have the right mold of character. These children must be born again. They must come to Jesus and give their hearts in submission to Him. They must say, “Now Lord, here I am; I am thy child, and I must have the things that I ask of thee.” 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 11

Then take the promise of God, “Lo, I am with you alway.” [Matthew 28:20.] Believe that He has invited you to come and that you may abide in Christ and He in you. If there was no possibility of your abiding in Him, do you think that He would tell you to do so? Then why are you so troubled, when you do not have just the feeling that you expected to have? 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 12

I do not pretend to go by feeling. I do not think of such a thing. Is feeling stronger than the Word of the living God, which is Spirit and life? When you do not feel just as you want to feel, tell the Master all about it, and ask Him to give you His peace. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 13

“Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart.” [Matthew 11:29.] You will continue to learn all the time. When you have been converted and can say, “I have received Christ,” when your name is put on the church-book, you have not learned your whole lesson. It is then that the life with Christ, the bearing of the yoke of Christ, the learning of Christ, commences. You are to go on from step to step; and by watchfulness, by working out your own salvation with fear and trembling, you are learning how to educate others. Your very words can educate them. But do not turn away from our precious Lord to some human agency who may have just as much difficulty in understanding as you have. Come to the Master, saying, “Now I take this yoke upon me; I will learn of Thee, the divine Teacher. I must have Thy strength and grace, or I cannot bear fruit. I must have the virtue which is in the Parent-stock, or I shall fail.” 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 14

But what is Christ’s promise?—“Learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” That is just what you desire. You will find it by learning of Him in your experience. He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and I will give you rest.” [Verses 28, 29.] Learn of Him His meekness and lowliness, and by a living experience you will find rest. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 15

Take hold of the arm of God, and say, “I am nothing and Thou art everything. Thou hast said, ‘Without me ye can do nothing.’ [John 15:5.] Now, Lord, I must have Thee abiding in me, that I may abide in Thee.” Then advance step by step, by living faith abiding in Jesus Christ. This is wearing His yoke, the yoke of obedience. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 16

Christ continues, “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:30.] Rejoice in this. It is the very life of your being. It will bring you into close relation with those out of Christ who need your help. You are to tell them how to find Him. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 17

You need to walk circumspectly. Let every step be of such a character that you may reach the very highest standard. In lifting and bearing the cross, you are yourself lifted and borne upward. The cross lifts you up from the lowlands of earth and brings you into sweetest communion with God. Through bearing the cross your experience may be such that you can say, “‘I know that my Redeemer liveth’ [Job 19:25], and because He lives, I shall live also.” What an assurance is this! 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 18

Study this chapter verse by verse, and you will see that it is when you bear the cross of Christ, that He gives you rest. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 19

“Learn of me.” [Matthew 11:29.] There is to be a learning. You are to study Christ’s words. Step by step you are to follow in His footsteps. But there is something else to do. “Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and”—follow Me?—No; “let him deny himself,”—and what?—“and take up his cross, and follow me.” [Mark 8:34.] How many of us are willing to take up the cross—to be partakers with Christ of His suffering and follow Him through cloud as well as sunshine? How many of us will realize indeed that true rest is found in taking up the yoke of Christ? By yoking up with Christ, we shall find rest; for He has covenanted with us to give us rest. In this rest there is a blessedness of more value than gold and silver and precious stones. It will fit you for any position in life. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 20

Planted firmly upon the earth, and reaching heavenward to the throne of God, is a ladder of shining brightness. God is above the ladder, and His light is shining along its whole length. This ladder is Christ. Every round that you climb, you are coming step after step into fellowship with the sufferings of Christ, and are becoming fashioned after His divine similitude. The angels of God are constantly ascending and descending this glorious ladder. They will not let you fall, if you keep your eye fixed upon the glory of God that is at the top of the ladder. Some are trying to grasp the highest round of the ladder, without starting at the first round. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 21

Every teacher should train the voice, so that he can speak intelligibly and read the Scriptures distinctly, giving emphasis where it is necessary and essential. The voice is a power, a talent, which few appreciate. Then cultivate your voice; for thus God is to be magnified. Let the voice be mellowed and softened by the Holy Spirit of God. There was pathos in the voice of Jesus. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 22

Your words are a precious talent. You should learn how to bear testimonies in meeting with a clear and distinct voice, as though you knew that you had an abiding Christ. Learn to pray as though you had confidence that your prayer reached the throne of God. Then you will have an educating power which will go further than any Latin or Greek or any such knowledge you may gain. My soul is tired of hearing tame prayers—prayers offered by those who do not believe that they will receive what they ask for. These prayers hurt my soul, because I remember that Christ died in order that a whole heaven of opportunities and privileges might be brought within the reach of fallen humanity. Yet many act like helpless babes. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 23

Teachers, you must have a living faith, or you will be separate from Christ. He does not ask how much favor you have with the world, and how much praise you are receiving from the world; but He does ask you to live so that He can put His seal upon you. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 24

Satan is seeking to cast his hellish shadow across your pathway, that he may hinder your journey heavenward. Act as though you had within you a power from above, that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth you may resist that power which is working intensely from beneath. To have in the heart the sweet, mellow Spirit of Jesus Christ is of more consequence than any amount of self-sufficiency and self-exaltation, which separate you from Christ. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 25

Christ teaches humanity never to be self-sufficient. He says, “Learn of me: I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:29.] Learn of the One who was meek and lowly in heart—the One who has promised, “Ye shall find rest unto your souls.” This glorious experience will come, and you can say, “I know Him, I know Him; I have tested Him; I have proved Him, and He has never failed me.” 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 26

I feel sorry for Christ. O, I feel sorry for my Redeemer, that we honor Him so little in our life service! But I feel a great deal more sorry for the half-hearted professors of religion, because unless they obtain a living experience in the things of God, they never will see His face. I feel sorry for them, because of their unbelief and their dwarfed religious life. There is not a particle of reason for such an experience, for with Christ was given all heaven. You may draw upon all the treasures of heaven. It is your privilege to be wise in Jesus Christ; to learn day by day His methods, His ways; and to be educated with Christ in God. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 27

“I am the vine,” Jesus said; “ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” [John 15:5.] Let the fruit be manifest in your prayers. Learn how to pray. Learn how to come to the Lord, and to plead with Him until the heavenly assurance comes. And then praise Him. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 28

Teachers, how much praise comes from your lips to the One to whom you should be full of gratitude for this probationary time during which, if you allow Christ to abide in you, you may obtain a fitting in character to live with Him? 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 29

Co-operate with God and He will co-operate with you. Then you are God’s helping hand. Then you can take hold of Him, and He will hold your hand. He says, “I am at thy right hand to help thee.” [See Isaiah 41:13.] As you work for Him with only His glory in view, He will teach you. You are to learn all these lessons, that you may teach others. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 30

“If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered.” God has made you children of His covenant, and if your wills are submitted to His will, you are as children that have an abiding Christ, and you will not be cast off. If men abide not in Christ, they will be as the branches of which He says, “And men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.” [John 15:6.] 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 31

“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” [Verses 3, 7.] Do you believe this? Have you practical faith? Do you practice the truth of God? He says, “It shall be done unto you.” In giving your testimony, do you say you are not all in a transport of joy and feeling? What has feeling to do with faith? It is just as distinct from faith as is the East from the West. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 32

If you send up your petition to God, He says He hears you. What is your evidence? Do you feel any better than before? Do you think of and examine your feelings to see if some great change has taken place within? You should step out on the Word of God, and go straight forward, knowing that He answers your prayers, because He has promised to give, if you ask. Thus by exercising faith, bring about the answer to your petitions. As you work to answer your own prayers, you will find that God will reveal Himself unto you as He does not unto the world. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 33

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit.” [Verse 8.] What will be the fruit of such a meeting as we are holding here? It costs something to provide it for you. It has cost a great deal to the Son of God. He gave His life for you. Where the grace of God is concerned, there should be no trifling with His precious time. You are on trial for your life. You are on test, to see what you are going to make of all these opportunities and privileges, all this light which shines upon your pathway. Will you come forth from this trial and test purified? “I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.” [Isaiah 13:12.] Who believes it? Open now a new chapter in your experience of faith. Open a chapter of purification of everything that interposes between the soul and God. Lay hold upon the promises of God which are “yea” and “amen” in Christ Jesus—not outside of Christ. [2 Corinthians 1:20.] 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 34

There are some who love the society of the world, who think it is a great deal better than the society of those who are not considered so elevated and who do not know, as they judge, half so much. Teachers, know enough to obey God and His commandments. By studying His Word, know enough to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, to wear the yoke of Christ. Then you will become fools for Christ’s sake. It is not the so-called wisdom of worldlings that God accounts anything. He says their wisdom is foolishness; but to them the wisdom of God is foolishness. Do you desire to have the wisdom of God? Humble yourselves before God, walk in the way of His commandments, be determined that you shall make the most of every educational privilege, gather every ray of divine light, practice the light, bring it into your life and character, and thus show that you have learned of Jesus. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 35

“As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you.” Think of this! As the Father has loved His Son, Christ loves you. “Continue ye in my love. If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father’s commandments, and abide in his love. These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:9-11.] 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 36

God grant that from this time every one here may have a new experience. Begin now to reach higher and still higher. Prize the things of heaven above earthly attractions and inducements. In this institute it is your privilege to advance. Learn how to pray; learn how to bear a clear and intelligent testimony; and God will be glorified in you. If you trust God, if you commit the keeping of your souls unto Him as unto a faithful Creator, you will have the sweet assurance of His love. 16LtMs, Ms 85, 1901, par. 37