/ appointed you that ye should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should abide: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it
In the first verse of our parable, Christ revealed Himself as the True Vine, and the Father as the Husbandman, and asked for Himself and the Father a place in the heart. Here, in the closing verse, He sums up all His teaching concerning Himself and the Father in the twofold purpose for which He had chosen them. With reference to Himself, the Vine, the purpose was, that they should bear fruit. With reference to the Father, it was, that whatsoever they should ask in His name, should be done of the Father in heaven. As fruit is the great proof of the true relation to Christ, so prayer is of our relation to the Father. A fruitful abiding in the Son, and prevailing prayer to the Father, are the two great factors in the true Christian life.
"That whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it you." These are the closing words of the parable of the Vine. The whole mystery of the Vine and its branches leads up to the other mystery—that whatsoever we ask in His name the Father gives! See here the reason of the lack of prayer, and of the lack of power in prayer. It is because we so little live the true Branch life, because we so little lose ourselves in the Vine, abiding in Him entirely, that we feel so little constrained to much prayer, so little confident that we shall be heard, and so do not know how to use His name as the key of God's storehouse. The Vine planted on earth has reached up into heaven; it is only the soul wholly and intensely abiding in it, can reach into heaven with power to prevail much. Our faith in the teaching and the truth of the parable, in the truth and the life of the Vine, must prove itself by power in prayer. The life of abiding and obedience, of love and joy, of cleansing and fruit-bearing, will surely lead to the power of prevailing prayer.
Whatsoever ye shall ask. The promise was given to disciples who were ready to give themselves, in the likeness of the True Vine, for their fellow-men. This promise was all their provision for their work ; they took it literally, they believed it, they used it, and they found it true. Let us give ourselves, as Branches of the True Vine, and in His likeness, to the work of saving men, of bringing forth fruit to the glory of God, and we shall find a new urgency and power to pray and to claim the Whatsoever ye ask. We shall waken up to our wonderful responsibility of having, in such a promise, the keysofthe King's storehousesgivenus, and we shall not rest till we have received bread and blessing for the perishing.
"I chose you, that ye may bring forth fruit, and that your fruit may abide; that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in My name, He may give it to you." Beloved disciple! seek above everything to be a man of prayer. Here is the highest exercise of your privilege as a Branch of the Vine; here is the full proof of your being renewed in the image of God and His Son; here is your power to show how you, like Christ, live not for yourself, but for others; here you enter heaven to receive gifts for men; here your abiding in Christ has led to His abiding in you, to use you as the channel and instrument of His grace. The power to bear fruit for men has been crowned by power to prevail with God.
"I am the Vine, My Father is the Husbandman." Christ's work in you is to bring you so to the Father that His word may be fulfilled in you: "At that day ye shall ask in My name; and I say not that I will pray the Father for you; for the Father Himself loveth you." The poiver of direct access to the Father for men, the liberty of intercession claiming and receiving blessing for them in faith, is the highest exercise of our union with Christ. Let all who would truly and fully be Branches, give themselves to the work of intercession. It is the one great work of Christ the Vine in heaven, the source of power for all His work. Make it your one great work as Branch: it will be the power of all your work.
In My name. Yes, Lord! in Thy name, the new name Thou hast given Thyself here, the True Vine. As a Branch, abiding in Thee in entire devotion, in full dependence, in perfect conformity, in abiding fruitfulness, I come to the Father, in Thee, and He will give what I ask. OhI let my life be one of unceasing and prevailing intercession.
NOTE TO SIXTH DAY
Have you looked carefully at the frontispiece? The stem of a vine, with two branches pruned down to within an inch of the stem, waiting for the spring to come and fill them. On each there are two or three buds, which in due time will send out their shoots, each with one or more bunches of grapes. These branches are cleansed and abiding—waiting till the vine fill them with its sap. Beautiful type of the believer, in utter emptiness, resting, abiding in Christ, waiting the blessed inflow of the Spirit, to enable him to bring forth fruit. Study the little picture till you have learnt its lesson. Receive into yourself what the Vine has to give! it is then easy to give it out as fruit. Cleansed and abiding: this is the place of certain blessing and much fruit.
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