1. I AM THE TRUE VINE
a. What figure did Jesus use to describe the spiritual relationship between Himself, the Father, and the disciples? John 15:1.
“[Christ] used the figure of the vine that as we look upon it, we may call to remembrance His precious lessons. Rightly interpreted, nature is the mirror of divinity.
“Christ pointed to the vine and its branches: I give you this lesson that you may understand My relationship to you, and your relationship to Me.”—The Upward Look, p. 182.
b. What Biblical significance was associated with the vine? Psalm 80:8, 9.
“The Jews had always regarded the vine as the most noble of plants, and a type of all that was powerful, excellent, and fruitful. Israel had been represented as a vine which God had planted in the Promised Land. The Jews based their hope of salvation on the fact of their connection with Israel. But Jesus says, I am the real Vine. Think not that through a connection with Israel you may become partakers of the life of God, and inheritors of His promise. Through Me alone is spiritual life received.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 675.
2. MY FATHER IS THE HUSBANDMAN
a. What lesson of dependence does the vine teach us about Christ? John 5:19; 14:10.
“Instead of choosing the graceful palm, the lofty cedar, or the strong oak, Jesus takes the vine with its clinging tendrils to represent 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.”—The Desire of Ages, pp. 674, 675.
b. How confident was Christ that His Father would supply all His needs? John 5:30; 1 Peter 5:7.
“So utterly was Christ emptied of self that He made no plans for Himself. He accepted God’s plans for Him, and day by day the Father unfolded His plans.”—Ibid., p.208.
“When Jesus was awakened to meet the storm, He was in perfect peace. There was no trace of fear in word or look, for no fear was in His heart. But He rested not in the possession of almighty power. It was not as the ‘Master of earth and sea and sky’ that He reposed in quiet. That power He had laid down, and He says, ‘I can of Mine own self do nothing.’ John 5:30. He trusted in the Father’s might. It was in faith—faith in God’s love and care—that Jesus rested, and the power of that word which stilled the storm was the power of God.”—Ibid., p.336.
c. What does the lesson of the vine teach us about the character of the Father? Isaiah 27:2, 3.
“On the hills of Palestine our heavenly Father had planted this goodly Vine, and He Himself was the husbandman. Many were attracted by the beauty of this Vine, and declared its heavenly origin. But to the leaders in Israel it appeared as a root out of a dry ground. They took the plant, and bruised it, and trampled it under their unholy feet. Their thought was to destroy it forever. But the heavenly Husbandman never lost sight of His plant. After men thought they had killed it, He 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. They were to represent the Vine.”—Ibid., p.675.
3. YOU ARE THE BRANCHES
a. What is necessary for each branch to grow and bear fruit? John 15:5.
“This spiritual relation can be established only by the exercise of personal faith. This faith must express on our part supreme preference, perfect reliance, entire consecration. Our will must be wholly yielded to the divine will, our feelings, desires, interests, and honor identified with the prosperity of Christ’s kingdom and the honor of His cause, we constantly receiving grace from Him, and Christ accepting gratitude from us.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 229.
“A union with Christ by living faith is enduring; every other union must perish. Christ first chose us, paying an infinite price for our redemption; and the true believer chooses Christ as first and last and best in everything. But this union costs us something. It is a union of utter dependence, to be entered into by a proud being. All who form this union must feel their need of the atoning blood of Christ. They must have a change of heart. They must submit their own will to the will of God. There will be a struggle with outward and internal obstacles. There must be a painful work of detachment as well as a work of attachment. Pride, selfishness, vanity, worldliness—sin in all its forms—must be overcome if we would enter into a union with Christ. The reason why many find the Christian life so deplorably hard, why they are so fickle, so variable, is that they try to attach themselves to Christ without first detaching themselves from these cherished idols.”—Ibid., p.231.
b. How does Christ abide in us? John 15:7; 14:16–18, 23.
“It is through the word that Christ abides in His followers. This is the same vital union that is represented by eating His flesh and drinking His blood. The words of Christ are spirit and life. Receiving them, you receive the life of the Vine. You live ‘by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.’ Matt. 4:4.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 677.
“When thus united, the words of Christ abide in us, and we are not actuated by a spasmodic feeling, but by a living, abiding principle. The words of Christ must be meditated upon and cherished and enshrined in the heart.”—Testimonies, vol. 4, p. 355.
4. PARTAKING OF THE DIVINE NATURE
a. As we feed upon the word of God, obeying its principles in our life, what will take place? John 17:17; 1 Peter 1:22, 23; 2 Peter 1:4.
“As they feed upon His word, [God’s people] find that it is spirit and life. The word destroys the natural, earthly nature, and imparts a new life in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit comes to the soul as a Comforter. By the transforming agency of His grace, the image of God is reproduced in the disciple; he becomes a new creature. Love takes the place of hatred, and the heart receives the divine similitude.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 391.
“Pray that the mighty energies of the Holy Spirit, with all their quickening, recuperative, and transforming power, may fall like an electric shock on the palsy-stricken soul, causing every nerve to thrill with new life, restoring the whole man from his dead, earthly, sensual state to spiritual soundness. You will thus become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust; and in your souls will be reflected the image of Him by whose stripes you are healed.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 267.
b. What will be the nature of a branch vitally connected with the vine? Romans 11:16; 6:22.
“The connection of the branch with the vine, [Christ] said, represents the relation you are to sustain to Me. The scion is engrafted into the living vine, and fiber by fiber, vein by vein, it grows into the vine stock. The life of the vine becomes the life of the branch. So the soul dead in trespasses and sins receives life through connection with Christ. By faith in Him as a personal Saviour the union is formed. The sinner unites his weakness to Christ’s strength, his emptiness to Christ’s fullness, his frailty to Christ’s enduring might. Then he has the mind of Christ. The humanity of Christ has touched our humanity, and our humanity has touched divinity. Thus through the agency of the Holy Spirit man becomes a partaker of the divine nature. He is accepted in the Beloved.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 675.
“When this intimacy of connection and communion is formed, our sins are laid upon Christ; His righteousness is imputed to us. He was made sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.”—Testimonies, vol. 5, p. 229.
5. BEARING MUCH FRUIT
a. How constant must our connection to Christ through the Holy Spirit be? Hebrews 3:14.
“This is no casual touch, no off-and-on connection. The branch becomes a part of the living vine. The communication of life, strength, and fruitfulness from the root to the branches is unobstructed and constant. Separated from the vine, the branch cannot live. No more, said Jesus, can you live apart from Me. The life you have received from Me can be preserved only by continual communion. Without Me you cannot overcome one sin, or resist one temptation.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 676.
b. What will naturally appear in the life of a branch vitally connected to the vine? John 15:8; Galatians 5:22, 23.
“Abiding in Christ means a living, earnest, refreshing faith that works by love and purifies the soul. It means a constant receiving of the spirit of Christ, a life of unreserved surrender to His service. Where this union exists, good works will appear. The life of the vine will manifest itself in fragrant fruit on the branches. The continual supply of the grace of Christ will bless you and make you a blessing, till you can say with Paul, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me” (Galatians 2:20).”—That I May Know Him, p. 132.
“When we live by faith on the Son of God, the fruits of the Spirit will be seen in our life; not one will be missing.”—The Desire of Ages, p. 676.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. How alone is our spiritual life received?
2. What does the vine teach us about the confidence we can have in God?
3. What is one reason why we may find the Christian life so hard?
4. How alone can we partake of the life of the vine?
5. What is essential for a Christian to bear much fruit?