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  • Writer's pictureEllen G. White

Abiding in Christ

Letters and Manuscripts — Volume 7 (1891-1892), Ms 1, 1891 Ms 1, 1891 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891

Pine Creek, Michigan

January 11, 1891

John 15:1-6. “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. 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.” 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 1 Now if we would only take that to heart and believe it, oh what a change would be revealed in our religious life. “Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” [Verse 5.] But abiding in Christ, receiving that sustenance and that power which Christ possesses, we will be like the fruitful branch that is grafted into the living vine. It will not be a limited supply of fruit that we shall bear, but it will be much fruit. And why should not this be the result if we are indeed abiding in Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily? There is every encouragement given us that we may have a strong hold from above. Everything has been done for man that a God can do to bring us in right relation to Himself. None need be in the position of uncertainty where they now stand. None need to be occupying a neutral position in this work. Why should we not be Christlike in every respect? Why should we not be in a position as branches representing the True Vine, bearing rich clusters of the graces of the Spirit, to reflect light to the world? 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 2 He says, “He pruneth every branch.” [Verse 2.] What for? That it may bring forth more fruit. Where there is a limited supply the pruning takes place so there will be a larger amount of fruit from that branch. When we have a right hold upon God we will do the works of God. The work of God in our world is one masterpiece of infinite wisdom. In the branches of the living vine are represented diversities which, co-existing in the one parent stock, present a matchless unity in fruit-bearing branches. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 3 Christ came to our world to represent the Father. Everything was out of joint. Here was Satan who had been at work ever since his fall misrepresenting the Father, and Jesus Christ came to our world to set things in order. Satan had been at work in his way, afflicting the minds and bodies of the people, and when Christ came there was a counterwork set in operation in our world. In Nazareth He announced His mission. Opening the Scriptures to Esais, He read the prophecy concerning Himself (Luke 4:18, 19): “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.” 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 4 As soon as Jesus Christ came into the world there was the opposition of a most determined order against Him. Why? Because Satan saw He was going to bind about his powers, to reveal to man a life of faith in Christ and establish a life of communion with God, a life that consists of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, a life of happiness even in this world and eternal life in the world to come; but will Satan peaceably allow that? No indeed. But Christ Jesus has His angels, thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand, around His throne to do His bidding; and He sends them to earth, and they are circulating all through. What for? To press back the powers of darkness. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 5 Satan is determined to have control of the minds and bodies of men and women, but the Lord Jesus Christ came to limit the power of Satan, to bring light out of darkness. Here they are to fight the battles and Satan is constantly at work to present God as a stern, unrelenting Judge. And what did Christ come to the world for? To represent the Father. In Him dwelt the power and glory of God. The Scripture says it, and we believe it—Jesus Christ came to represent the Father, and Satan was on the field. You know how he tried to set up Herod to destroy all the young children in order that he might destroy Christ. Now, if we expect to be in this world to proclaim God in His loveliness, and in His power and goodness, we must expect there will be opposition of the very sharpest to be arrayed against us so that that work will not be done. Why? Because Satan has cast his hellish shadow right before us. Then if God is made manifest in the world there must be a great work to bring this about. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 6 Jesus Christ left His royal throne and became a man among the children of men because He could not reach man in any other way. Humanity must touch humanity. How could Jesus Christ reach humanity? Only in veiling His glory by humanity itself. How could He know the afflictions of humanity? Only as He should clothe His divinity with humanity. Therefore He was afflicted in all points like as we are, yet without sin. Therefore we have the example of Jesus Christ. He stood in our world clothed with humanity and felt the woes and temptations wherewith humanity was beset in order that He might know how to succor those who were tempted. Now if we did not know of this, we might have discouragements. Oh, I cannot see what discouragements a Christian can have, because we have One who has traveled the way before us. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 7 He says, No man cometh to the Father except by Me. [John 14:6.] Therefore it is important for us to study the life of Christ and understand what He is to humanity and what He is to us individually. We want to know what Jesus Christ is to the world, and when we know it aright, it is life everlasting. Many have a casual faith. You remember upon a certain time when Christ was healing the sick and restoring sight to the blind, a certain ruler came to Him and begged Him to come and raise his daughter who had died. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 8 As Jesus went the multitude followed Him and thronged and pressed Him; and there was a poor woman who had been afflicted for years who, when she heard of His work, crowded into the throng that she might but touch the hem of His garment, and she knew she would be made whole. As she touched Him, Jesus knew immediately that virtue had gone out of Him, and He turned to His disciples and said, “Who touched me?” [Luke 8:45.] They answered Him, Master, the multitude throng Thee and press Thee, and askest Thou, Who touched Me? But Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me! He knew that woman who had been suffering so long, and He knew how she was pressing through the crowd to Him, and when she sees she cannot come directly before Him, she has such faith in His power to heal she says, If I can but touch the hem of His garment I will be made whole. That was a very important touch; not a casual touch; it was a touch of faith. And she put forth her hand and touched the hem of His garment and was made whole. Oh, this is what we want! That kind of a faith will give us power in the world; it will flash the light in the pathway of those in darkness. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 9 Somebody hath touched Me! says Christ. Well, it is just like the branch that is connected with the living Vine; it bears the same fruit as the parent stalk. But here He says, Somebody hath touched Me. Then she came forward and told what had been done for her, how many years she had been sick, and how she had spent all she had on physicians and was no better, but just as soon as she touched the hem of His garment, she was made whole. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 10 I have done it again and again, and realized in my touch that I was made whole. And when the agonies of death were upon me I have lifted up my voice and said, Heal me! and He has done it, and I can judge a little how this woman felt. Jesus wanted to represent the Father right before this multitude to show them that He was full of mercy and love and compassion, and here He was representing the Father in this very act. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 11 He says, “I and my Father are one.” [John 10:30.] This is what God is to us—a tender, compassionate, heavenly Father. He says, “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 ye abide in me and my words abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will, and it shall be done unto you.” [John 15:5, 7.] 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 12 What can we ask for more than that? Christ has declared, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” [Matthew 28:18.] When God gave His Son, He gave all heaven in one gift; He exhausted all He had. He gave His Son to die for the penalty of the law transgressed. And when you gather about the throne of God in the judgment, when the cross of Calvary shall there be made to appear as it is, it will be enough to condemn every soul who has transgressed. He has shown the value of the law, that its claims are everlasting upon man. Could God have changed one jot or tittle to meet man in his fallen condition, then Christ need not have died. But because He could not, Christ had to die; He became man’s sacrifice, his penalty. He opened His bosom to take the arrows of [Satan] that man might be saved. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 13 Now who will be loyal and true to the God of heaven? For them the pearly gates will open that they may enter in. Down here in the last chapter of the New Testament John the Revelator has opened the light. “Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” [Revelation 22:14.] Precious, precious words are these to us! 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 14 Take courage, brethren and sisters, notwithstanding the enemy’s warfare is against the truth and will be to the close of this earth’s history. Christ came that man might be made perfect. And how? Through Christ, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. Having overcome sin, and what? Principalities and powers, and spiritual wickedness in high places. God sent Jesus Christ into the world as Captain of our salvation, and He is made perfect through suffering. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 15 Christ came into our world to sway back the powers of darkness and dispel the powers of the enemy. There he comes pretending to be an angel of light, and he says, If You will fall down and worship me I will give You all the kingdoms of the earth. Just you accept something besides the truth! Shall we do it? Or shall we have the truth as it is in Jesus? He says, “Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit. ... As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you: continue ye in my love.” [John 15:8, 9.] Now I read something which refers to the same here in the 17th chapter of John. He says, “And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” [John 17:19, 20.] That means us, doesn’t it? “That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.” [Verse 21.] Now this is that oneness and unity that we want; and why the devil is so earnest and diligent is so that we shall not be united in the truth. There is no unity in error except for the one purpose to tear down the truth. Now Christ wants us to be one in the truth. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 16 And He says, “Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word.” [Verse 20.] “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.” [Verses 22, 23.] Now these words seem larger and larger to me every time I read them—“That thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me!” Can we grasp it? Is it not too high for us to take it in, and the hand of faith to lay hold upon it, that God will love those who believe on Jesus Christ as He loves His Son? What more could we ask than this, that He should love us, fallen humanity, as He loves His own Son? Yet if we believe on Him, He will love us as He loves Jesus Christ. Take it in, carry it home with you, feast upon it by day and night. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 17 Night after night when I cannot sleep I lie and praise His holy name for what He has done for me. He stands before us today, your Advocate and my Advocate, and there He stands before the Father today with His wounded hands saying, I have graven them upon the palms of my hands; and if this will not break up the ice-bound soul, tell me what can?—That God will lift up fallen man and put upon him the righteousness of Jesus Christ. It tells it in the Book, but we don’t read it half enough. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 18 We want to educate and train the mind to lay hold upon the vast resources placed at our command. Ask what ye will, and ye shall have it because Christ has said it. We will not ask for things to gratify ourselves, but to enlighten us. This is the last prayer that Christ made for His disciples just before He left them and was betrayed into the hands of Pilate. He was pleading in their behalf. Then here is another prayer that He has to offer: “Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me shall be with me where I am.” [Verse 24.] He has done everything that a God could do that we shall be there, and if we are not there it is because we do not appreciate the price He has paid for us and take Christ as our personal Saviour. We can believe that He died for someone else, but we cannot believe that He died for us individually. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 19 When I hear people ask, Won’t you pray for us? I ask the question, Why don’t you pray for yourselves? It is because they do not have the faith that the woman who followed after Christ had. She touched the hem of His garment and was made whole according to her faith. This is what we want; but Satan has so mystified our ideas that we do not believe the Saviour. Now do you take Christ as your personal Saviour? Do you come in such close relationship with God that you can say, He is my Saviour; He saves me; and I believe that He will save to the uttermost all that will come unto Him. We don’t want to trust someone else to do the work. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 20

Suppose all the members of our church were active members, and suppose you felt a sacred responsibility to represent Christ. You may have all the talent in the world but that doesn’t give you the quality; you must draw that from Jesus Christ, and He will be to you everything. If there are any here who are in darkness, and you will come to Him in contrition, He says He hears the prayer of the contrite heart and He will answer and will be everything to you that you desire. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 21

Let me read it here in the 57th [chapter] of Isaiah, (verse 13): “When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain; and shall say, cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people. For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the heart of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” [Verses 13-15.] This is just the office work of the Holy Spirit. I am so thankful, so thankful that we have this assurance! 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 22 And then we have here in the 55th chapter the most encouraging testimony to bring to the sinner. Just listen: “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: so shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” [Verses 7-11.] Thus God represents that the very nature that He has created is filled with gladness and joy to see the happiness of His people. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 23 Why cannot we take God at His word, and live for Jesus Christ? The devil has his agents. But there are so many of us that are reluctant to use our intellect. Why do you pour over your darkness and talk over your discouragements? This is just what the devil wants, and it pleases him to see that men are flattered, and he enjoys these things. Now what are those doing who claim to have a living connection with the God of heaven? Are they working in Christ’s line? Are they strengthening the weak hands and confirming the feeble knees? Are they taking the stumbling blocks out of the way that the glory of God may be revealed in our world, that sinners may be converted? I ask you in the name of the Lord God of Israel, What are you doing for the great sacrifice that has been made in your behalf? 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 24 “Put on,” says the apostle, “the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” [Ephesians 6:11, 12.] How are we ever going to stand against these? It is the power of hell that we are to meet. And how are we to stand? You must take hold from above, and labor as did Christ, and have the self-sacrifice that He had. Then what does Christ say to these? Open the gates of the city of God that those who have kept My truth may enter in. Then He invites them to enter into what? “The joy of thy Lord.” [Matthew 25:21.] What is that? Who gave Himself for us that He might redeem us from all iniquity and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works? Then what is the joy of the Lord? To see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 25 And what is your joy, co-laborers with Christ? I have been with Christ, yoked up with Him. Then He says, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you.” You have been framing yokes for yourselves, but they have been galling; and now He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” [Matthew 11:28-30.] That is what we want. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 26 We have lost the simplicity of true godliness, and now we must find it through the truth of heavenly origin. You must know the terms of salvation, for our life depends upon it. Christ says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” [John 14:6.] He says, “Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me.” [Matthew 11:29.] That is what we want; but do we act like it? Don’t we act half of the time as though the responsibility of the Christian was a great yoke? Don’t we talk our darkness and discouragement, and the more you talk, the darker it becomes. Then what shall we do? Talk of Christ; open your hearts; clear away the rubbish, and invite Jesus in. Abide with me for the day is far spent, and the night is at hand. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 27 Then we must educate the tongue every day, and the mind, gird it up. Says the apostle, “Hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.” [1 Peter 1:13.] Then what is it? “Look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” [2 Corinthians 4:18.] And this is where we are to look—at the future world. Christ came to our world because He saw men were making a world of an atom, and an atom of a world. Christ came to place the world in its relative importance. Will we let Him do the work? 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 28 What is Christ to you today? Is He your hope and crown of rejoicing? Every time you think of Him does your heart bound with joy, with love and gratitude to think that you can send your petitions to heaven and there is one there that has the censer and is standing before His Father’s throne pleading for you? And He wants you to have root in Him; and if you are rooted and grounded in Him, then you will be lifted up to have a right hold of immortal life. He doesn’t leave us in our weakness to fight these battles in our own finite strength, no indeed. While He shows them that all the confederate powers are arrayed against them, He tells them He will give them His Holy Spirit that they may grow into His likeness, and that the Father will love them as He loves Him. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 29 Christ came to bring moral power to man; and when Satan has buried up the truth in a mass of rubbish, Christ comes and shows you how to get the field, that you may have the truth as it is in Jesus. Now while He points to the error and darkness He tells you that angels compose the ranks which war against Satan. He says, “I will send you the Comforter that he may abide with you forever. And the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:16, 26.] Even when brought before magistrates and lawyers, or when cast into prison, take no thought what ye shall answer; I will put words into your mouth. Well, here is One to stand with us in the battle. Don’t you love Him? I do. I see in Him matchless charms. Here He presents it to us, and what is it? A far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory! What do you want richer than that? 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 30 Ask Isaiah who He is: “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” [Isaiah 9:6.] Oh, I am so glad that we have the Captain of the Lord’s host to be with us; then let us not be disappointed or discouraged. Christ came to bring moral power to man that through His righteousness you may be a partaker of the divine nature. He bridges the gulf sin has made, and now He is testing you to see if you will be obedient. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 31 And shall we, in the face of all that God has done for us, be disloyal? God forbid. We want to be loyal and true to the God of heaven. You will have trials—you must expect them—but let us honor God. Don’t run to any living mortal with your trials and difficulties, but go to God, and then you will find that you are a branch grafted into the living Vine, and you will find that the sap and nourishment that flows in the living Vine is in you. And here He says, “If a man loves me he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him. ... These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” [John 14:23, 25, 26.] 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 32 Now when we begin to be discouraged and despairing, then if we search the Scriptures, why we will hang in memory’s hall the sweet utterances of God. And in the place of discouragement and darkness you will talk light, and rejoice in Christ your Saviour. Satan will tell you you are a sinner; yes, I know it, but Christ says, “I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” [Mark 2:17.] But now when temptation comes upon us, and we err and make mistakes, what shall we do? “Confess your faults one to another and pray one for another.” [James 5:16.] Clear the King’s highway! Talk of the truth of Jesus. Don’t let your conversation be on low, cheap things. If you are abiding in Christ you can do this. You want your words to be like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Then what? Talk of faith; talk of Jesus Christ; educate your mind to dwell upon Him; and don’t allow a single seed to be sown of discouragement or doubt, for it will spring up and bear fruit. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 33 But the precious plant of love must be cultivated and nourished and cherished, for Satan will blast them if he can. But how, says one, am I to do it? Think of Christ, talk of Christ, and then He will be in us and His glory will be there. And what is His glory? It is His character. Then the world can look on you and say, They have been with Jesus and learned of Him. They judge you by your words. Then let us praise God with open voices. We have everything to praise Him for; then let the glory roll back to its Source. Let us rejoice in the Lord. Here Christ says, “These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” [John 15:11.] Why, if Christ’s joy is in us, our joy will be full. We will have no taste then for theaters and all these amusements, for we will have Christ enthroned in the home, and He is everything to us. We want more of Jesus and a great deal less of self. 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 34 Now may the baptism of the Holy Ghost be upon us, then our intellect will be sanctified if we are abiding in Christ, and we will lay hold of the eternal treasure; and when we have found it we will rejoice and say, I have bought the field which contained the hidden treasure. Then let us represent to the world the goodness of Christ, His love; and in Him is joy and peace. Then let us rejoice in the Lord! 7LtMs, Ms 1, 1891, par. 35

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