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Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 18 (1903) - Contents
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    Ms 146, 1903

    Abiding in Christ

    “Elmshaven,” St. Helena, California

    December 20, 1903

    Portions of this manuscript are published in WM 272; 1NL 40-41.

    We need to understand the words of Christ found in the fifteenth chapter of John. “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. 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.” [Verses 1-6.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 1

    We should examine ourselves to see what kind of fruit we are bearing. If we bear good fruit, manifest in wise words and in earnest, untiring efforts to win others to Christ, we show that we are connected with the true Vine. If the fruit we bear is evil, it gives evidence that we are separated from the true Vine.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 2

    “If ye abide in Me,” Christ continues, “and My words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be My disciples. As the Father hath loved Me, 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 7-10.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 3

    In these words the truth is presented so simply that none need fail of understanding. Even children may comprehend this lesson. Through union with Christ we become “partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust,” and we receive His virtues. [2 Peter 1:4.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 4

    “These things have I spoken unto you, that My joy might remain in you, and that your joy may be full.” [John 15:11.] The Lord is not pleased to see any of His blood-bought heritage sad, and hopeless, and discouraged. Let us appropriate these words to ourselves and take fresh courage. To cherish and to obey the words of Christ brings joy, and peace, and all the other blessings of heaven.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 5

    In the sixth chapter of John Christ speaks of the union that His followers are to have with Him. “I am the living Bread which came down from heaven,” He declares; “if any man eat of this Bread, he shall live forever: and the Bread that I will give is My flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. ... Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth My flesh, and drinketh My blood hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.” [Verses 51, 53, 54.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 6

    The bond of union represented by eating Christ’s flesh and drinking His blood is the same as that represented by the figure of the vine and its branches.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 7

    Christ gave Himself for us. On Calvary’s cross He died for our sins, making it possible for fallen man to become children of God and to keep His commandments. By repenting of sin and uniting with Christ, we receive all the blessings that come through His sacrifice. Through faith in His merits and in the virtue of His atonement, we receive Him as a personal Saviour and become partakers of His nature. As we appropriate His words, we receive from them spiritual life and strength. This is union with Christ.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 8

    Those who listened to the words recorded in the sixth chapter of John had recently witnessed the miracle that Christ performed to satisfy the hunger of the weary company that had come to hear His words. Yet this did not cause them to believe in Him as the Son of God.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 9

    “They said therefore unto Him, What sign showest Thou, then, that we may see, and believe Thee? What dost Thou work? Our fathers did eat manna in the desert; as it is written, He gave them bread from heaven to eat. Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but My Father giveth you the true bread from heaven, and giveth life unto the world. Then said they unto Him, Lord, evermore give us this bread. And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst. But I said unto you, that ye also have seen Me, and believe not.” [Verses 30-36.] “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. 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.” [Verses 53-56.] Compare this statement with the words, “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 15:4.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 10

    Christ Himself explains the figure He employs. “It is the Spirit that quickeneth;” He says, “the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life.” [John 6:63.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 11

    He who receives the words of Christ enters into living connection with Him spoken of in the words, he “dwelleth in Me, and I in him.” [Verse 56.] This is a vital, saving union. Only by this union can we gain eternal life, even as the branch can live only as it is connected with the parent stock. Separated from the vine, it withers, and, accounted worthless, is cast into the fire, and burned.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 12

    Obedience to the words of Christ brings spiritual life. To continue in obedience brings eternal life. By receiving Christ’s words we receive Him. “If ye keep My commandments,” He says, “ye shall abide in My love; even as I have kept My Father’s commandments, and abide in His love.” [John 15:10.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 13

    “I have many things to say unto you,” Christ declared to His disciples, “but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are Mine: therefore said I, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you.” [John 16:12-15.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 14

    Had the minds of the disciples at that time been prepared to comprehend the truth, Christ could have opened to them that which would have enabled them to guard against the trials and temptations so soon to come upon them.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 15

    “Hitherto have ye asked nothing in My name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full. These things have I spoken unto you in proverbs: but the time cometh when I shall no more speak unto you in proverbs, but I will show you plainly of the Father.” [Verses 24, 25.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 16

    After His resurrection Christ explained to His disciples things that they had not before understood. After His ascension the disciples more fully discerned the meaning of the truths that He had spoken in proverbs. On the day of Pentecost the work of the Spirit revealed the Father and the Son. The adversaries of the truth could not gainsay the words of those whom Christ had appointed as His witnesses.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 17

    “At that day ye shall ask in My name: and I say not unto you, that I will pray the Father for you: for the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved Me, and have believed that I came out from God.” [Verses 26, 27.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 18

    Christ and His Father are one. God is in perfect harmony with every prayer offered in the name of Christ. The Father loves those who accept Christ, even as He loves His own Son, and He will answer their prayers.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 19

    Christ has redeemed the human race. In His humanity He bore all the temptations wherewith man is beset. Not once did He swerve from His allegiance to God. He died that men might become partakers of the divine nature and be glorified with Himself in the heavenly courts. Through the eternal ages the redeemed will abide with Him, as those who have been saved from death by His blood.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 20

    The poor are God’s heritage. Christ has given His life for them. He calls upon those whom He has appointed to act as His stewards, to give liberally of the means entrusted to them to relieve the poor, and to support His work in the earth. The Lord is rich in resources. He has appointed men to act as His treasurers in this world. That which He has given them they are to use in His service.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 21

    Christ took humanity upon Himself, that He might demonstrate the efficiency of the power that He offers to His followers. He will not be satisfied until they are complete in Him. He will give them power to become the sons of God. In His true disciples His image will be reproduced. And others, beholding in them the likeness of Christ, will also become changed into His likeness and reflect His character before angels and men.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 22

    We have no time to lose. “I must work the works of Him that sent Me,” said Christ, “while it is day; the night cometh, when no man can work.” [John 9:4.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 23

    We can do nothing without the aid of our divine Helper. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” [Philippians 2:12, 13.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 24

    “This is My commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you. 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. 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.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 25

    “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 cloke 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 also. But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated Me without a cause. 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 shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.” [John 15:12-27.]18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 26

    Who can read these words of comfort and assurance, and refuse to believe and accept Christ? Are we always to work away from the word of Christ? Will those who profess to be His children fail to receive His words?18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 27

    Our Need to Unify

    We must seek to become a united people. Every phase of our work is to bear the signature of God. Those who have not placed themselves on the Lord’s side are becoming more bold and more defiant. He calls upon His people to take their stand firmly on the platform of eternal truth. To His true and loyal subjects He has given the words of eternal life. It is for them to obey His Word and do His work, in accordance with His instructions.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 28

    God sends His Holy Spirit to kindle in the hearts of His followers a desire to open the Word to those who sit in darkness, that they may come to the light of the knowledge of God.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 29

    We are to carry forward in our world gospel medical missionary work. This work means far more than many comprehend. The one great work of medical missionaries is to be to fulfil the commission to carry the gospel of salvation to all parts of the world.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 30

    Medical missionary workers must be set apart by God Himself for His work. If they consecrate themselves to God, and are by Him sanctified, body, soul, and spirit; if they walk and work as men called to exalt Christ, they will be recognized as God’s appointed agencies. But they need to study carefully the life and character of their divine Example, that all their work may be done after the divine similitude. They need to be humble. Then the language of their hearts will be, “Who is sufficient for these things?” [2 Corinthians 2:16.] Their success depends upon co-operation with Christ.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 31

    Who can say where Seventh-day Adventists might be standing today, had they fully carried out the instruction given in the sixth chapter of John, had they received the words which, Christ declares, are spirit and life to the receiver? I hope and pray that we may now seek to understand these words; for they mean much to every soul.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 32

    Many do not earnestly seek to understand the lessons found in God’s Word. They lay aside the Bible and allow their minds to become engrossed with the cheap reading found in books of fiction, newspapers, and magazines.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 33

    “Search the Scriptures;” said Christ, “for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me.” [John 5:39.] The Lord calls for workers whose motives are pure and sincere. He calls upon His people to arouse and consecrate their capabilities to Him. He will lead all who are willing to be led by Him.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 34

    Will not all now make a resolute determination to exclude from the life all unprofitable reading and to feed upon the word, which, if received, is eternal life? At this time there needs to be a close searching of the heart. To become members of the royal family, children of the heavenly King, is of far greater value than treasures of gold and silver and precious stones.18LtMs, Ms 146, 1903, par. 35

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