Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 23 (1908)


Ms 37, 1908

Sermon/Abiding in Christ

Oakland, California

March 10, 1908

This manuscript is published in entirety in 2SAT 292-298.

“I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 1

“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. I am the vine, 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. If a man abide not in Me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 2

“If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” [John 15:1-7.] 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 3

It is your privilege to be one with Christ as He is one with the Father. If you are a member of such a union, you will not ask favors of Him from a selfish motive, but you will be prompted by pure, holy desires, and your petitions will be such as God can grant. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 4

The Saviour next points out the sign of discipleship: “Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples.” [Verse 8.] 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 5

By faith we are to lay hold on a living God and maintain an experience that shall breathe love, tenderness, kindness, compassion, and affection. These traits of character are the fruit that the Lord Jesus desires us to produce, and to present before the world as a witness that we have a Saviour who can uplift and who can satisfy. We have not as our Saviour one who will continually cast a shadow across our pathway. We need not be on the losing side; for in everything He is our efficiency. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 6

What we need is the presence of Jesus Christ. We want His truth shining in our hearts, pervading all our life actions. This will determine whether or not we are branches of the true vine. If we are fruit-bearing branches, we may expect that the Great Husbandman will prune us, that we may bring forth more fruit. All that is useless, all that would hinder our growth in the Christian life, must be removed. We are to be representatives of Jesus Christ who died for us that we might have life. The sanctification of the Holy Spirit of God is to be manifested in our heart and revealed in our disposition, in our conversation, in all our dealing with others. After we have made a promise, even though we consider that we have acted against our own interests to the advantage of others, we are not to break our word. Let us all be Christians. God desires us to stand with Him, His grace resting upon us, His character revealed by our influence. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 7

“As the Father hath loved Me,” He continues, “so have I loved 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.” [Verses 9, 10.] This language is so plain that there need be no mistake as to what God requires of us. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments: and His commandments are not grievous.” [1 John 5:3.] 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 8

Our duty is made so plain in the Word that there will be no excuse for us if we fail. It is our privilege to believe the words of Christ. If we exercise a living faith in God’s power, we shall be overcomers. May the Holy Spirit come into our mind and heart, and transform our character, so that we may discern the right, and may give to the world an example of a true Christian life. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 9

“These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:11.] 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 10

We, as Christians, are not required to go about with long faces, sighing as though we had no Saviour and no hope. This will not glorify God. He desires us to be cheerful. He desires us to be filled with praises to His name. He desires us to carry light in our countenances and joy in our hearts. We have a hope that is far above any pleasures that the world can give, and this fact should be made manifest. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 11

Why should not our joy be full—full, lacking nothing? We have an assurance that Jesus is our Saviour, and that we may draw freely from Him. We may partake freely of the rich provision that He has made for us in His Word. We may take Him at His word, believe on Him, and know that He will give us grace and power to do just as He bids us. He has given us every assurance, and He will fulfil all that He has promised. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 12

We may constantly seek the joy of His presence. We need not be all the time upon our knees in prayer, but we may be constantly asking for His grace, even when we are walking on the streets or when we are engaged in our ordinary daily duties. We may constantly keep the mind ascending to Christ, and He will freely impart to us of His grace; for He Himself has said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” [Matthew 7:7.] 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 13

The joy of Christ is a pure, unalloyed cheerfulness. It is not a cheap gaiety that leads to vanity of words or lightness of conduct. No, we are to have His joy, and His greatest joy was to see men obeying the truth. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 14

“This is My commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” [John 15:12.] This is a wonderful statement. In our lives we are to exemplify the love of Christ. Then, like Him, we shall labor most earnestly for the salvation of sinners. He desires that we shall abide in Him, that He may work through us in keeping before the world such a representation of the infinite love of God as He Himself gave. Through our lives the despondent may receive an assurance that it is possible to be partakers of the divine nature, and by taking hold of this divinity, win the victory that all must win who shall enter in through the gates into the city. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 15

It seems impossible for us to comprehend Christ’s great love for us. We can only behold the wonderful sacrifice that He made in manifesting that love. He who was one with the Father laid aside His royal robe and kingly crown and in coming to this world clothed His divinity with humanity. Had He come in all His glory, escorted by myriads of angels, no man could have endured the sight. But He took upon Himself humanity, that He might perfect in His own life a humanity that we can lay hold of and be united with divinity. The divine nature is to be imparted to every true seeker after Jesus Christ. Divinity must be united with humanity. Thus humanity may be partakers of the divine nature, that men may be able to escape the corruption that is in the world through lust. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 16

Without perfection of character, no one can enter the pearly gates of the city of God; for if, with all our imperfections, we were permitted to enter that city, there would soon be in heaven a second rebellion. We must first be tried and chosen, and found faithful and true. Upon the purification of our character rests our only hope of eternal life. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 17

In so far as we lack perfection of character, thus far do we fail of attaining that which God has provided for us through Jesus Christ. If we do not lay hold upon the provisions of His grace, we shall have a cheap experience governed by our own impetuous, changeable disposition. We cannot glorify God by our own efforts. We must become partakers of the divine nature, abiding in Him as the branches abide in the vine. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 18

God helping me, I am determined to be an overcomer. Through Christ, I shall obtain the victory. Then His joy will remain in me, and my joy be full. I will talk of His goodness; I will tell of His power. Through a dependence upon the divinity of Christ, I may overcome as He overcame. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 19

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. Ye are My friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of My Father I have made known unto you.” [Verses 13-15.] 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 20

Here is brought to view our work. There is something that we are to make known to the world. If Jesus Christ is revealed in us, the world will see that humanity may lay hold of divinity. There will be no excuse for us if we fail in overcoming as God requires of us. The question we must now decide is, Will we put on the armor of righteousness? Will we lay hold of the divinity of Jesus Christ, that we may receive strength to overcome? 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 21

“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you.” [Verse 16.] 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 22

Can we desire more than this? Then why, with such a promise, should we manifest unbelief? Why should we be halfhearted in our efforts to follow Christ? What excuse can we have for occupying such a position? May the Lord God of heaven tear away the film that dims our perception, hindering us from discerning the requirements of Jesus Christ and following Him. May we, by living faith, grasp the hand of Infinite Power. This is our privilege; and if we take Christ at His word, He is honored and glorified. Then our joy will be full, and we shall not appear as a company of mourners. Happy are the people who have laid hold of the divine nature, and escaped the corruption that is in the world. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 23

“Ye have not chosen Me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” [Verse 16.] We are ordained unto God to bear fruit. Was this not our experience when we were led down into the water and baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost? What did that mean?—It meant that the three great powers in heaven were pledged to keep us so long as we remain one with Christ, united to the vine. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 24

We are not, because Christ died, left a company of orphans. “Greater works than these shall ye do,” says He, “because I go unto My Father.” [John 14:12.] It is possible for us to obtain victory after victory and be the most happy people on the face of the earth. True, we shall feel sorrow as we see the results of sin around us. But we have a message to bear that can, through the grace of Christ as revealed in the Word, transform the sinner. We are not to fold our arms and do nothing. If there are around us unconverted ones, we are not to leave them till the day of judgment to find out what their sins are. We must hunt for these people. We have words to speak to them of the highest, holiest import. As we endeavor to win them to Christ, we must ever keep Him in view. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 25

We are to overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony. When God is dishonored by men who appear to be doing the will of God, then we sometimes have a very plain testimony to bear. We must take a decided stand on the side of Christ, to approve that which is of Him. Unless we do this, we shall not be accounted as faithful stewards. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 26

I have felt compelled to bear some very straight testimonies to men who, though dead in trespasses and sins, did not realize their true condition. They have even thought that, because they were doing a certain work, they were doing the will of God. But when it came to a representation of Jesus Christ in character, they revealed a decided failure. To those who receive testimony after testimony from the Spirit of God, and do not heed the reproof, the time will come when, unless they repent and are converted, the Spirit will no longer strive with them. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 27

Every day of our lives, we need a manifestation of the converting power of God. There must be a continual yielding of self to do the will of God. Our will is not a sanctified will unless it is in harmony with His will. And if it is in harmony with His will, our actions will bear testimony to that fact. God will not leave us in darkness, not knowing whether we are serving Him or not. We have the Word, and our actions will bear testimony as to whether or not we are obeying that Word. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 28

We need not go about like a band of mourners. We may commit our case to God, saying, “I will do Thy will, whatever comes. I will honor Thy name.” Now that is just what every one of us will have to do if we are to have the divine nature and be enabled to distinguish between right and wrong, and to overcome every evil thing. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 29

“These things I command you, that ye love one another. If the world hate you, ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name’s sake, because they know not Him that sent Me. If I had not come and spoken unto them, they had not had sin: but now they have no cloak for their sin. He that hateth Me hateth My Father also. If I had not done among them the works which none other man did, they had not had sin: but now have they both seen and hated both Me and My Father. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause.” [John 15:17-25.] 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 30

Jesus says, “They hated Me without a cause.” [Verse 25.] And if we take a straightforward course to lift up Jesus Christ, if we work determinedly, that we may bring souls to Him, we shall arouse the hatred of the world, even as did He whom we follow. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 31

“But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall testify of Me: and ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning.” [Verses 26, 27.] I am very glad that our workers have the privilege of attending these meetings. I hope that as a result of the labors put forth here, some who have not been keeping the commandments of God will be led to feel that it is high time to take hold of the divine nature of Jesus Christ, in order that they may be overcomers. Do not allow these opportunities to pass by without seeking the Lord with all the heart. Let every one repent and be converted. If you will do this, you will see of the salvation of God. We may be misunderstood by the world; for spiritual things are spiritually discerned; but we are to go straightforward, following in the footsteps of our Lord. We are to trust Him who is spirit and life to the believer. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 32

Confess your sins while you may. Clear the King’s highway, that He may use you as His disciples. He will accept every one who comes to Him. Whoso shall confess and forsake his sins shall find mercy. Even the thief, dying on the cross in awful agony, asked for forgiveness, and it was granted to him. His request to be remembered by the Saviour when He should come into His kingdom was granted. “Verily, verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with Me in paradise.” [Luke 23:43.] Not that he would be with Christ in paradise that same day, for Jesus did not then Himself go to paradise. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 33

I hope that all will here seek the Lord with the whole heart, that you may touch a new spring of praise and glory and thanksgiving to God and Jesus Christ, and that the light of heaven may shine into your hearts, and the glory of God be revealed in your lives. Make a steady work of overcoming. Be sure that your words and actions are right and sanctified. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 34

God calls upon His people to come into line. There is a great work to be done in a short time, and there is no time for hesitation. Plead with God, saying, “I make an entire surrender. I give myself away to Thee.” Then be joyful. The Word is in you, purifying and cleansing your character. God does not want His children to go about with anxiety and sorrow expressed in their faces. He wants the lovely expression of His countenance to be revealed in every one of us who are partakers of the divine nature; for we have power to escape the corruptions of the world. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 35

May God help you to labor for eternity. He wants you to have eternal life, and you may have it. If you will come to Christ, confess your sins in humility, and put them away, He will use you and will enable you to help others. You may be workers together—together! If you separate from God you can do nothing—workers together with Him. That is our privilege. May God help us as we strive for the victory. 23LtMs, Ms 37, 1908, par. 36