The Review and Herald

906/1902

November 9, 1897

The Vine and the Branches—2

EGW

“If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you,” Christ continued, “ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” RH November 9, 1897, par. 1

Every provision has been made in behalf of the human family. The heavenly treasury is supplied with the goods of heaven for them. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” RH November 9, 1897, par. 2

In Christ is God; and yet he, the Alpha,—the beginning,—the Omega,—the ending,—came as man. In taking upon himself humanity, Christ is related to the whole human family; but to any church this relationship is of no avail without a personal faith,—the identification of the individual heart and mind and soul and strength with Jesus Christ. Christ came to teach that through living faith in him, we may become one with him. And his promise is, “Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out” as branches that are withered and bear no fruit. As the representative of the human family, he came to save all who would make application, with prayer and supplication to, God in his name. RH November 9, 1897, par. 3

Man has no right to the name of Christian unless he will become Christlike in words, in spirit, and in action. To be a Christian means culture after the divine character of Christ. That mind which was in Christ Jesus cannot be correctly represented by untrained powers, which result in an unfurnished mind. The untrained powers of those who claim to be followers of Christ dishonor him who has paid the price for their redemption. A narrow mind and dwarfed character cannot meet the mind of God. Passion manifested by a professed Christian is a denial of Christ; it gives victory to Satan, and enthrones him in the heart. Such a man gives testimony to the world that Satan has more power over him than has Christ. His words, spirit, and character testify that the molding and fashioning hand of Satan is upon him, making of him a vessel that will dishonor God. RH November 9, 1897, par. 4

The physical, mental, and moral powers are the endowments of God, and are to be appreciated and cultivated. We are here on probation, in training for the higher life. All heaven is waiting to co-operate with those who will be subordinate to the ways and will of God. God gives grace, and he expects all to use it. He supplies the power if the human mind feels any need or any disposition to receive. He never asks us to do anything without supplying the grace and power to do that very thing. All his biddings are enablings. RH November 9, 1897, par. 5

“Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” Here the disciple whose religion is a profession only is distinguished from the true. Christ requires strict fidelity to truth and righteousness. “Let your light so shine before men,” he says, “that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offense till the day of Christ; being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.” RH November 9, 1897, par. 6

There must be no lawless deviation from right. Evil passions, envy, evil surmisings, jealousy, accusing of the brethren, cannot be indulged without denying Christ. Christianity must be brought into the life service, as a light kept ever shining, full of vital force. There is no such thing as occupying a neutral position. Each will have given him his work according to his ability. RH November 9, 1897, par. 7

The living Christ demands self-denial and strong faith. Circumstances are not to rule the life. The child of God, the heir of heaven, cannot drift hither and thither. In his mercy and love for his people, God sends them reproofs and warnings. This is kindness and benevolence on his part. It is an expression of the great love wherewith he hath loved us, that he reveals to us our misconception of his character. He does not want man to spoil himself, and make shipwreck of his faith. He has set before every one who is striving for an immortal crown, the example he is to follow. Every soul must be as a learner in the school of Christ. We shall profit by the searching of the Scriptures, by wearing Christ's yoke and lifting his burdens. Those who learn of Christ will never be anything else than meek and lowly in heart. They will learn their lessons, and give definite expression of them from lips that have no guile. In faith, hope, and charity, they will seek to serve Christ and one another, united in one by holy cords, and fully in harmony with the spirit and mind of Christ. RH November 9, 1897, par. 8

If we follow in the footstep of Jesus, we shall be obedient to the word. Christ enjoins upon his followers, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” By your course of action show your faith in me, and let the world and the heavenly universe witness your enjoyment of my love. When obedient to my words, you will glorify me. “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.” RH November 9, 1897, par. 9

In Christ there was a subjection of the human to the divine. He clothed his divinity with humanity, and placed his own person under obedience to divinity. Satan had tempted Adam and Eve to believe that they should be as gods. Christ requires that humanity shall obey divinity. In his humanity, Christ was obedient to all his Father's commandments. RH November 9, 1897, par. 10

Christ has expressed his love for man in that he has given his life for the ransom of the world. And this love is to measure the love that his disciples shall ever manifest for one another. “These things have I spoken unto you,” he says, “that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full. This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples,”—disciples of Him who laid down his life for them whom he loved. “Ye are my friends,” he says, “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. 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. These things I command you, that ye love one another.” RH November 9, 1897, par. 11

This chapter is simple in its illustrations, and is one that all may understand. Christ is ever seeking to present before his followers the privileges that are offered to sinful, feeble humanity. He would teach them that only through him can it be restored to healthful growth. We are to bear in mind that the branches in the True Vine are the believers who are brought into oneness by connection with the Vine. RH November 9, 1897, par. 12

The connection of the branches with one another and with the Vine constitutes them a unity, but this does not mean uniformity in everything. Unity in diversity is a principle that pervades the whole creation. While there is an individuality and variety in nature, there is a oneness in their diversity; for all things receive their usefulness and beauty from the same source. The great Master Artist writes his name on all his created works, from the loftiest cedar of Lebanon to the hyssop upon the wall. They all declare his handiwork, from the lofty mountain and the grand ocean to the tiniest shell upon the seashore. RH November 9, 1897, par. 13

The branches of the vine cannot blend into each other; they are individually separate; yet every branch must be in fellowship with every other if they are united in the same parent stock. They all draw nourishment from the same source; they drink in the same life-giving properties. So each branch of the True Vine is separate and distinct, yet all are bound together in the parent stock. There can be no division. They are all linked together by his will to bear fruit wherever they can find place and opportunity. But in order to do this, the worker must hide self. He must not give expression to his own mind and will. He is to express the mind and will of Christ. The human family are dependent upon God for life and breath and sustenance. God has designed the web, and all are individual threads to compose the pattern. The Creator is one, and he reveals himself as the great Reservoir of all that is essential for each separate life. RH November 9, 1897, par. 14

Christian unity consists in the branches being in the same parent stock, the vitalizing power of the center supporting the grafts that have united to the Vine. In thoughts and desires, in words and actions, there must be an identity with Christ, a constant partaking of his spiritual life. Faith must increase by exercise. All who live near to God will have a realization of what Jesus is to them and they to Jesus. As communion with God is making its impress upon the soul, and shining out in the countenance as an illuminating light, the steadfast principles of Christ's holy character will be reflected in humanity. RH November 9, 1897, par. 15