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From Heaven With Love

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    Peter's Buried Sin

    Now Peter's voice was heard, protesting, “Although all shall be offended, yet will not I.” Jesus had warned him that he would that very night deny his Saviour. Now He repeated the warning: “Verily I say unto thee, that this day, even in this night, before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny Me thrice.” But Peter only “spake the more vehemently, If I should die with Thee, I will not deny Thee in any wise. Likewise also said they all.” Mark 14:29-31.HLv 452.1

    When Peter said he would follow his Lord to prison and to death, he meant every word of it, but he did not know himself. Hidden in his heart were elements of evil that circumstances would fan into life. Unless he was made conscious of his danger, these would prove his eternal ruin. The Saviour saw in him a self-love that would overbear even his love for Christ. Peter needed to distrust himself and to have a deeper faith in Christ. When on the Sea of Galilee he was about to sink, he cried, “Lord, save me.” So now if he had cried, Save me from myself, he would have been kept. But Peter thought it cruel that he was distrusted, and he became more persistent in his self-confidence.HLv 452.2

    Jesus could not save His disciples from the trial, but He did not leave them comfortless. Before the denial, they had the assurance of forgiveness. After His death and resurrection, they knew they were forgiven and were dear to the heart of Christ.HLv 452.3

    Jesus and the disciples were on the way to Gethsemane, at the foot of Mount Olivet. The moon was shining brightly and revealed to Him a flourishing grapevine. Drawing the attention of His disciples to it, Jesus said, “I am the true vine.” The vine with its clinging tendrils represents Himself. The palm tree, the cedar, and the oak stand alone; they require no support. But the vine entwines about the trellis, and thus climbs heavenward. So Christ in His humanity was dependent upon divine power. “I can of Mine own self do nothing.” John 5:30.HLv 452.4

    “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman.” On the hills of Palestine our heavenly Father had planted this goodly Vine. Many were attracted by the beauty of this Vine, and declared its heavenly origin. But the leaders in Israel trampled the plant under their unholy feet. After men thought they had killed it, the heavenly Husbandman took it and replanted it on the other side of the wall. The vine stock was to be no longer visible. It was hidden from the rude assaults of men. But the branches of the Vine hung over the wall, and through them grafts might still be united to the Vine.HLv 453.1

    The connection of the branch with the vine, Jesus said, represents the relation His followers are to sustain to Him. The scion is engrafted into the living vine, and fiber by fiber, vein by vein, it grows into the vine stock. So the soul receives life through connection with Christ. The sinner unites His weakness to Christ's strength, his emptiness to Christ's fullness. Then he has the mind of Christ. The humanity of Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity.HLv 453.2

    This union must be maintained. Christ said, “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.” This is no off-and-on connection. The branch becomes a part of the living vine. The life you have received from Me, said Jesus, can be preserved only by continual communion. Without Me you cannot overcome sin or resist temptation. We are to cling to Jesus and receive from Him by faith the perfection of His own character.HLv 453.3

    The root sends its nourishment through the branch to the outermost twig. “He that abideth in Me,” said Jesus, “and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me ye can do nothing.” When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our lives; not one will be missing.HLv 453.4

    “My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away.” There may be an apparent connection with Christ without a real union with Him by faith. A profession of religion places men in the church, but the character shows whether they are in connection with Christ. If they bear no fruit, they are false branches. “If a man abide not in Me,” said Christ, “he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.”HLv 454.1

    “And every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth [pruneth] it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” From the Twelve who had followed Jesus, one as a withered branch was about to be taken away; the rest were to pass under the pruning knife of bitter trial. The pruning will cause pain, but it is the Father who applies the knife. He works with no wanton hand. Excessive foliage that draws away the life current from the fruit must be pruned off. Overgrowth must be cut out to give room for the healing beams of the Sun of Righteousness. The husbandman prunes away the harmful growth, that the fruit may be more abundant.HLv 454.2

    “Herein is My Father glorified,” said Jesus, “that ye bear much fruit.” God desires to manifest through you the holiness, benevolence, and compassion of His own character. Yet the Saviour does not bid the disciples labor to bear fruit. He tells them to abide in Him. Through the Word Christ abides in His followers. The life of Christ in you produces the same fruits as in Him. Living in Christ, adhering to Christ, supported by Christ, drawing nourishment from Christ, you bear fruit after the similitude of Christ.HLv 454.3

    Jesus’ very first injunction when alone with His disciples in the upper chamber was, “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.” To the disciples this commandment was new, for they had not loved one another as Christ had loved them. But through His life and death they were to receive a new conception of love. The command to love one another had a new meaning in the light of His self-sacrifice.HLv 454.4

    When men are bound together, not by force or self-interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. It is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity. This love, manifested in the church, will surely stir the wrath of Satan. “If the world hate you,” He said, “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 yours keep also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name's sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.” The gospel is to be carried forward in the midst of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering.HLv 455.1

    As the world's Redeemer, Christ was constantly confronted with apparent failure. He seemed to do little of the work He longed to do. Satanic influences were constantly working to oppose His way. But He would not be discouraged. Through Isaiah He declares, “I have labored in vain, I have spent My strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely My judgment is with the Lord, and My work with My God.” Isaiah 49:4.HLv 455.2

    Upon this word Jesus rested, and He gave Satan no advantage. When the deepest sorrow was closing about His soul, He said to His disciples, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in Me.” “The prince of this world is judged.” Now shall he be cast out. John 14:30; 16:11; 12:31.HLv 455.3

    Christ knew that when He should exclaim, “It is finished,” all heaven would triumph. His ear caught the distant music and the shouts of victory in the heavenly courts. He knew that the name of Christ would be heralded from world to world throughout the universe. He knew that truth, armed with the Holy Spirit, would conquer in the contest with evil. He knew that the life of His trusting disciples would be like His, a series of uninterrupted victories, not seen to be such here, but recognized as such in the great hereafter.HLv 456.1

    Christ did not fail, neither was He discouraged, and His followers are to manifest a faith of the same enduring nature. They are to live as He lived and work as He worked. Instead of deploring difficulties, they are to surmount them, to despair of nothing.HLv 456.2

    Christ designs that heaven's order and divine harmony shall be represented in His church and on earth. Thus through His people He may receive a large revenue of glory. The church, endowed with the righteousness of Christ, is His depositary, in which the riches of His grace and love are to appear in full display. Christ looks on His people in their purity and perfection as the reward of His humiliation and the supplement of His glory.HLv 456.3

    With strong, hopeful words the Saviour ended His instruction. He had finished the work given Him to do. He had manifested the Father's name and gathered out those who were to continue His work among men.HLv 456.4

    As a consecrated high priest Christ interceded for His people: “Holy Father, keep through Thine own name those whom Thou hast given Me, that they may be one, even as We are.” “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on Me through their word; that they all may be one; ... that the world may know that Thou hast sent Me, and hast loved them, as Thou hast loved Me.”HLv 456.5

    Christ gave His elect church into the Father's arms. For Him there waited the last battle with Satan, and He went forth to meet it.HLv 456.6

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