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B.M.

Message Two
The Vine (2)
Living in the Vine

Blending Conference Malaysia

      Our general subject is The Vine and the Lampstand. The vine signifies the Triune God in an organism. The lampstand signifies the Triune God embodied and expressed. With both the vine and the lampstand the Triune God is one with the believers. In the first message, we saw that the true vine is the meaning of the universe. Without the true vine, the universe would have no meaning. We also saw the meaning of human life is to abide, to live in this vine. Our living includes the totality of our existence. In this message, we will consider Living in the Vine.

      As being emphasized in the previous message, this conference is on experience. We want to consider the actual experiences of living in the vine. The brother helped us to consider two matters. The first concerns the true vine. The Lord says, "I am the true vine" (John 15:1a). Christ is the true vine. The vine is the organism of the Triune God. The Father is the source, the Son is the center and the Spirit is the reality. The Spirit of reality is flowing in the vine. When we live in this true vine, we live in the divine reality. All the divine things are real here. This vine is the only reality. Everything outside the vine is not real. The apostle John in his experience learned that when we live in the divine reality, in the true vine it makes us a person of truthfulness, a truthful, genuine, honest and sincere person. As we abide in the divine reality, we live a life of truthfulness. We live this way toward God and toward others. Toward God the Father, we worship Him in spirit and in truthfulness. God hates false worship and hypocrisy. Toward others, the apostle John in 2 John 1 said something wonderful. He said, "I love in truthfulness." He not only loved the saints with God as his love, but the love itself was so real, genuine and sincere. It was truthful, not just trying to act loving toward someone deliberately. John was this kind of person because he lived in the true vine. In 1 John 5:20, he even spoke of God as the True.

      Now we can see the significance of the true vine. The vine is an organism constituted with reality. Here everything is real, true, genuine and sincere. Two things are not found in the true vine. The first is politics, being political or diplomatic. God hates this. In Psalm 51:6, David realized God wanted us to be real, to be truthful in our inner being. The second thing that cannot be in the vine is culture. Culture is not real. We are all living in an organism where Christ is everything and Christ is everyone. This is the divine reality.

      The other matter is the vine is a person. It is not a plant or a thing but a person. The true vine is Christ Himself. Since the vine is a wonderful person, our living in the vine is deeply personal. To abide in the vine is to live in another person. This is not some kind of religious practice and is possible only in the divine and mystical realm. Abiding in the vine is a very personal and affectionate matter. In a certain romantic sense, the branches kiss the vine. This is a union of life in love.

We Abide in the Vine by Living in the Mingled Spirit

      As branches of the vine, we need to abide in the vine. To abide in the vine is not only a matter of union; it is a matter of fellowship. To have fellowship with the Lord means there is a flowing of life, a mutual participation and a mutual enjoyment. Our abiding in Christ as the vine depends on us seeing a clear vision that we are branches in the vine. Once we see that we are branches in the vine, we need to maintain the fellowship between us and the Lord. We admit that it is very easy to lose our fellowship with the Lord. We may be driving and we are enjoying the Lord, having fellowship with Him. Then another driver cuts us off and we have a reaction causing us to be no longer in fellowship. Therefore we need to recover and maintain it. 1 John shows us that the ways to maintain the fellowship are by walking in the light, confessing any sins we are conscious of, love one another and love not the world. We all have failures, but it is not hard to recover and maintain our fellowship with the Lord.

      To abide in the Lord is to be one spirit with Him, that is to live in the mingled spirit. We abide in the vine by living in the mingled spirit. This is personal. 1 Corinthians 6:17 says, "But he who is joined to the Lord is one spirit". The expression one spirit indicates the mingling of the Lord as the Spirit with our spirit. The spirit, which is the mingling of our spirit and the Lord's Spirit into one spirit, is both the Spirit of the Lord and our spirit. The mingled spirit is not only our regenerated spirit. The mingled spirit is our spirit plus the Lord Spirit. Deep in our being, we are one with the Lord Spirit. To live in the mingled spirit is not only to live in our spirit, it is also to live in the Lord Spirit. The Lord Spirit is in our spirit. The Lord Spirit is the true vine. Our spirit is where we are branches. All our spiritual experiences, such as our fellowship with the Lord, our prayer to Him, and our living with Him, are in this mingled spirit. We are helped not to mistaken a psychological experience with a spiritual experience. When we have a psychological experience, we are actually experiencing our self, our own feeling. This is not spiritual. Saints, all spiritual experiences are in the mingled spirit. Thus we need to know the difference between our spirit and our soul.

      Whatever God intends to do or accomplish is related to the mingled spirit. The Lord moves in the mingled spirit. He gives us a sense in the mingled spirit. There is no other way to know what God intends except by paying attention to this sense, open to the Lord, seek the Lord and ask the Lord. This is to live according to what God is doing in the mingled spirit.

We Need to Learn to Pray as Branches in the Vine

      Next, we need to learn to pray as branches in the vine. John 15:7, "If you abide in Me and My words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you." When we abide in the Lord, and His words abide in us, these words impress us with what God wants. Then in our fellowship with Him, we will want what God wants and ask for what He desires. Such a prayer restricts us from praying in a selfish way, but releases us to pray in union with the Lord. What God wills, we will. What God desires, we desire. What God wants, we want.

      When the branches pray in the vine, their prayer expresses the will of the vine. This will issue in effective prayers. When we abide in the Lord, and His words abide in us, there will be a desire in us that comes out of His words. We will touch the Lord's feeling and understand His intention; then spontaneously we will have His desire in us. His desire will become our desire; what He wants will be what we want; and we will pray according to this desire. The Lord will answer this kind of prayer, because it issues from our abiding in the Lord and from His words abiding in us.

When We Abide in Christ as the Vine,
We Have the Church Life

      The church life is different from meeting in a denomination. The church life is a life, a living where we contact the saints every day. Thus we need to consider how much church life we have. The first matter concerning the church life is it being in the mingled spirit. We can have the church life only by living in the mingled spirit—in Christ as the life-giving Spirit mingled with our spirit.

      Besides, the church life is also a matter of us being one with the vine. Then in the vine, the branches are one with one another. When Paul wrote the epistle to the Philippians, he realized that two sister branches were not one. Paul was suffering because these two branches were not one. But as a wise brother he did not expect them to solve the problems. Instead he exhorted them to think the same thing in the Lord, that is, in the vine.

The church life, the Body life is a life of loving one another. We need to love one another in the life of Christ, in the love of Christ and in the commission of Christ. We all need to spend more time in the vine. As we live in the vine, we touch the Lord's love. In this love, we love one another.

      Finally, when we live the church life by abiding in Christ, we participate in the wonderful fellowship among the co-branches. It is a wonderful fellowship. However it is quite painful to us when brothers or sisters are not really open to fellowship. There is no way we can force fellowship. There is no "fellowship police". We don't have to fill up a form every week reporting how much fellowship we have. Indeed many things regarding our living are personal and we do not have to talk about them. But many other things are also Body matters i.e. how to take care of our health is a Body matter. We cannot just live recklessly, saying, "I am a free person." We are members of the Body and our health for instance is a Body matter.

      It is so sweet when brothers will seek fellowship. It is because the inner life of all the branches is one and this life should continually circulate through all the branches. Then everything is in the flow of life, in the light of life where no one is controlling, no one is giving opinion, but everything is genuine. Fellowship also implies a mutual flowing among the believers. If someone violates this mutual flowing, then all those in the vine suffer because it affects the flow. We are neither for right or wrong, nor for opinion. We are for the sweet flowing of life in mutuality.

      Brothers and sisters, how much church life we have in reality is determined by how much fellowship we have. The fellowship is the reality of the church life. Suppose in making a major decision in our human life, we do not want to fellowship and say to ourselves, "This is my personal, private life". In this matter, we do not have the reality of living in the Body of Christ, and others will sense this. They suffer not because they have an opinion but because fellowship has been affected. Thus, the divine fellowship is the reality of living in the Body of Christ. All the local churches are one Body, and within this Body there is the circulation of the divine life; the circulation of the divine life in the Body brings all the members of the Body into oneness.

Conclusion

      We have seen the vision of the vine and we are branches in the vine. As branches in the vine, we live in the vine. This is not a concept but a practical experience in our mingled spirit. Only then will we be able to pray effective prayers and live in the reality of the church life. May we endeavor to live out such a reality for the expression of God.

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