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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 14 (1899) - Contents
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    Ms 73, 1899

    “Abide in Me.”


    May 11, 1899 [typed]

    Portions of this manuscript are published in TDG 140. +NoteOne or more typed copies of this document contain additional Ellen White handwritten interlineations which may be viewed at the main office of the Ellen G. White Estate.

    The parable of the vine and the branches was given by Christ in explanation of genuine sanctification, and by it the mystery of the Christian life is made known. “I am the true vine,” Christ said, “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. 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. 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.]14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 1

    There are many who get above the simplicity of Jesus Christ, supposing that they must do some great thing in order to work the works of God. Things of a temporal nature absorb the attention of others, and they have little time or thought for eternal realities. Wearied out with cares that draw their minds from spiritual things, they cannot find time for communion with God. Constantly they ask themselves the question, How can I find time to study and practice the Word of God? Christ is acquainted with the difficulties that try every soul, and He says, “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.” [Verses 4, 5.]14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 2

    Our first and highest duty is to know that we are abiding in Christ. He must do the work. We are to seek to know “What saith the Lord,” yielding our lives to His guidance. When we have the spirit of an abiding Christ, everything will take on a changed aspect. The Saviour alone can give us the rest and peace we so much need. And in every invitation He gives us to seek the Lord that He may be found of us, He is calling us to abide in Him. This is an invitation not merely to come to Him, but to remain in Him. It is the Spirit of God that moves us to come. When we have this rest and peace, our daily worries will not lead us to be coarse and rough and uncourteous. We shall no longer follow our own way and will. We will want to do the will of God, abiding in Christ as the branches in the vine.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 3

    Christ declares Himself “The Way, the Truth, and the Life.” [John 14:6.] The way to heaven is represented as a narrow path, cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in. But truth illuminates this path at every step. Christ is “the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father), full of grace and truth.” “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” [John 1:9, 14, 16.] Every grace we receive is given us to impart, and when we make others the recipients of the grace we have, our souls are prepared to receive new grace.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 4

    Those who are obedient to the law of God are not under its condemnation, but are free from sin. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” “Thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savor of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a sweet savor of Christ, in them that are saved and in them that perish; to the one we are a savor of death unto death: and to the other the savor of life unto life. And who is sufficient for these things?” [2 Corinthians 3:17, 18; 2:14-16.] This is the working of the Holy Spirit upon human minds. It is thought strange by some that our salvation should demand our entire submission. But the Lord could not do a more cruel thing than to save man in his rebellion. No one can be saved unless he comes under the rule of Christ.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 5

    Salvation means to us complete surrender of soul, body, and spirit. Because of the unruly elements of our nature, our passions often gain the mastery. The only hope for the sinner is to cease from sin. Then his will will be in harmony with the will of Christ. His soul will be brought into fellowship with God. Those who enlist in the army of Christ must submit to His authority, and consult His will in all things. Implicit obedience is the condition of our salvation. God’s will must be obeyed in every particular. It is our salvation to make His law our rule, His life our pattern, His glory our chief end. To keep ourselves in the love of God, to be bound to obedience by His requirements, is to be free in Christ Jesus.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 6

    “He that will come after me,” Christ said, “let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it; and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” [Matthew 16:24-26.] Those who accept Christ as their Saviour must accept Him as their King and their Ruler. It is the defects in our characters which cause us unhappiness, and our lives cannot be brought into harmony with Christ unless these defects are placed under His control. Very little submission to Christ is revealed in the lives of His professed people. He is dishonored by outbursts of passion which are unreasonable and unholy. Then follows remorse, darkness, reproach. How much we need to be holy and pure. How much we need the sense of an abiding Christ, who will speak to the soul, saying, “Peace, be still.” [Mark 4:39.]14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 7

    Christ can redeem only those who will come under His control. He speaks to every needy soul, saying, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke”—the yoke of submission and obedience—“upon you, and learn of me, for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls.” [Matthew 11:28, 29.] No coming to Christ in genuine or complete which does not bring the soul out of self, out of its Christless state, to find Christ its chief good. When we are one with Christ in everything, He enters into the life and soul, directing, pervading, and giving character to all.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 8

    The words of Christ, “If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you,” should have weight with each one of us. [John 15:7.] The privilege is granted us of eating Christ’s words, taking them into the very soul. The Saviour declared, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father; so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.” [John 6:54-57.]14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 9

    Many of Christ’s disciples could not understand these words, and they murmured at them, saying, “This is an hard saying; who can hear it? When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it, he said unto them, Does this offend you? What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he was before? It is the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” [Verses 60-63.]14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 10

    Christ’s object in presenting before His disciples the parable of the vine was to impress upon their minds the necessity of their having the moral excellence revealed in His own character. “Learn of Me,” He said. [Matthew 11:29.] He desired to create in them a desire for the Holy Spirit. He reproached them for their dullness of comprehension, for many of the truths He sought to teach them were lost to them because of their lack of spiritual intuition.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 11

    After His resurrection He said to them, “These are the things which I spake unto you while I was yet with you, that all those things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses and in the prophets concerning me. Then opened he their understanding that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witness of these things.” [Luke 24:44-48.] The Bible now seemed a new book to the disciples, containing definite instruction. They saw that the events that had taken place in the suffering and death of their beloved Master were a fulfilment of prophecy.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 12

    “Now ye are clean, through the word which I have spoken unto you,” Christ said. [John 15:3.] In receiving and obeying His word, the disciples were cleansed and purified. Praying to His Father Christ said, “I have given them thy word, and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” [John 17:14-17.]14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 13

    In no other way can Christ’s followers be cleansed but through obedience to the truth. The apostle Paul said, “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.” [Ephesians 5:25-27.]14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 14

    “Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, the flower thereof falleth away; but the word of the Lord endureth forever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.” “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” [1 Peter 1:22-25; 2:1-3.]14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 15

    In this lesson Christ sought to bring before His disciples the false union with Himself in contrast with the true. Those who have not a living connection with Christ may to outward appearance be in fellowship with Him. Their house may appear to be swept and garnished. Their names may be enrolled on the church books, but they are not members of His body. They do not bear fruit to the glory of God. “By their fruits ye shall know them,” Christ said. [Matthew 7:20.] “Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 16

    “Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them. Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father that is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” [Verses 16-23.] We need to study the symbol closely. A profession of piety may connect men and women with the church, but if there is not a vital connection with Christ, they cannot bear good fruit; and this unfruitfulness will in time make their separation as complete as that of the dead branch, which is cast into the fire, and burned.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 17

    The true union with Christ is represented by the words, “Abide in me.” [John 15:4.] Christ has provided means whereby your whole life may be an unbroken communion with Himself. He invites you, “Come unto me ... and I will give you rest.” [Matthew 11:28.] How full of compassion is the invitation. This sense of Christ’s abiding presence can only come through living faith, through connection with the vine. There must be a personal consecration to Him. Self must be hid with Christ in God, and Christ declares, “He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit.” [John 15:5.] The grace received will be constantly imparted, as a gratitude offering to God.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 18

    In this union Christ identifies Himself with man before God and the heavenly universe. “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” [John 1:12.] Our sins are reckoned to Jesus Christ. His righteousness is imputed to us. “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” [2 Corinthians 5:21.] Because of His atoning sacrifice our prayers go up to the Father laden with the fragrance of Christ’s character, and, one with Christ, we are accepted in the Beloved.14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 19

    Christ’s connection with His believing people is illustrated by this parable as by no other. We should study the lesson, that we may know what the parent stock is to the branch, and in what light the Lord regards those who believe and abide in Christ. Let the youth and those of mature age contemplate the completeness it is their privilege to have in Christ. Let them ask themselves the question, Is my will submerged in Christ’s will? Is the fullness and richness of the living vine—His goodness, His mercy, His compassion and love—seen in my life and character?14LtMs, Ms 73, 1899, par. 20

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