.

Back to Justified Walk Sermon Series

A Scion in Him

"Abiding is a very difficult work. Losing one's confidence in Jesus is the greatest deterent to abiding. It is so difficult to abide and just let Him do His work in His own way. If only we could do the work, we could do it quicker, we think." Frank Phillips

These are my own notes and are not a word-for-word transcript of the message. However, by listening multiple times to the sermon and filling in what was missed previously, I have attempted to get as close as I can to what was shared. Quotations have, in many cases, been expanded to the sentences around what the speaker quoted to enable the reader to gain the full impact of what was shared in the sermon. Where the speaker referred to quotations without giving a reference, I have attempted to find the quotation that most closely reflects what was being shared. - © Cheryl Hosford


The handout accompanying this sermon will be used for both the sixth and seventh sessions.

The material that will be brought during this sermon is what I believe to be, without doubt, the best covered period of Christ's life - the shortest period, but the best covered.

The setting is on Thursday evening before Christ's death. John gives a full coverage of those few hours of time before he went into Gethsemane. This specific period of time is on Thursday. We find no Biblical knowledge of what actually happened early in the day on Thursday, neither do we find it in Ellen White's writings. It is likely that Jesus kept that part of the day to talk with His disciples personally. I believe that He did, for this was the last time that He would have to talk with them before He was going into Gethsemane and to Calvary. Never again would He have the opportunity. There was no time to waste. He had done all He could for the world. He had done all He could for the Jews. Now He wanted to zero in and give His last will and testament to His own disciples.

In John 13, we find Him sitting at the table with the disciples. The supper is finished. After the meal was completed, Jesus pushed back the couch or whatever he was lying or sitting on - whatever the custom was. He gave them an after-dinner talk that would encourage them and help them to look into the future. This is recorded in John 14. At the conclusion of that discussion, He said, "Arise, let us go hence." It is much the same as after a Sabbath meal, someone - often the host, says, "Let's find more comfortable chairs. Let's go into the other room and sit down." Jesus did much the same thing. The only difference was that Jesus knew where He was going, and it wasn't to the other room. It was to Gethsemane.

From that upper room to Gethsemane, it wasn't a great distance. I remember when I was in the seminary thirty years or more, in Tacoma Park, Dr. Horn just came back from overseas. He told us the size of Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. I've never been there, but He was talking about the triangular square that the General Conference, the Review and Hearald and the offices there sit on. (Note, this sermon was given in 1978. In 1989 the General Conference headquarters moved to Silver Spring, Maryland.) The original Jerusalem would have been about the same size as this triangle. I was amazed. When we live in the western world, it is very difficult to envision how things looked like way back then. In the days of Christ, it was probably a little bigger, but it couldn't have been a great huge area.

So, from the upper room to Gethsemane couldn't have been a great walk. Jerusalem, at that time was crowded with people. The streets were full, as people had come in from the entire country to celebrate this wonderful feast of the Passover. Jesus left the upper room that night and walked through this crowd with His eleven disciples. He couldn't have talked with them very much then.

So it was after He got out of this crowd of people, that He stands at the foot of the Mount of Olives. The moon was shining full and it was beautiful. He pictures a tree. The tree had a grapevine entwined around it. It was growing up there. Jesus kept looking. The disciples looked at what was taking place. Jesus saw their chests swelling up just a little bit. The grapevine to them was a symbol of Israel, and they were members of Israel. They were on the "in." Salvation was sure as far as they were concerned, and they had nothing to worry about. Jesus, on the other hand, was seeing what the vine really represents.

The disciples minds, and the mind of Christ were never on the same level. It didn't matter when it was or where it was, they never thought the same. It is a great tragedy, and is still a great tragedy. God wants you and me to be in tune with Him so that we think His thoughts, but unfortunately, most of us don't - and the disciples didn't. Often when Jesus was talking, they would say, "We don't know what He is talking about." That was true. They didn't understand Him. Jesus now spoke and said (John 15) "I am the true vine." I can just hear Peter, as he was almost always the first one to speak, turn to John and say, "Did you hear what He said?" And maybe Phillip turning to Andrew and saying, "I don't get it, do you?"

Why? Because Israel was typified by that vine. Now Jesus is saying that He's the vine. They simply could not understand Christ. Then Jesus went on and said, "My Father is the husbandman." The husbandman is the owner, the one who looks after the vineyard. It is the Father who does that, Jesus said. He went on and said, "Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, the Father takes away.

John 15

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.


There is only one purpose for pruning - that is to bear more fruit... The more the vineyard is pruned, the better the fruit is.

If you bear fruit, you will get pruned, and if you don't bear fruit, you will get pruned even worse.

I can imagine the wheels going around in the minds of the disciples, saying, "That doesn't leave much of a choice, does it?" If you bear fruit, you will get pruned, and if you don't bear fruit, you will get pruned even worse. That wasn't a very pleasant prospect. They didn't think they needed pruning. The pruning process is the cleansing process for the vineyard.

I had the privilege of looking after a vineyard many years ago and I learned some about pruning. The more the vineyard is pruned, the better the fruit is. It is done with a pruning knife. This is way the process spoken of here is carried out. There is only one purpose for pruning - that is to bear more fruit. One of the most interesting is that the more fertile the ground, the better the soil, the more pruning is needed. That is the way it is in the Christian life also.

We become enthusiastic for God, and we think that we are growing very rapidly, then the Lord does His pruning process and we need to be trimmed back. We don't understand it. It is all in the process here. The disciples thought they were way far above all others. "No one understood like they did." But they were about to go through the pruning process like no one has ever gone through. Jesus knew it. He knew that they would be so discouraged and dispondent that they would lose their way if He did not give them something that would prepare them. He tried desparately to prepare them.


There is one way that God does His pruning. The pruning knife is the Word of God. Paul calls it the Sword of the Spirit.

It is this pruning knife that does the pruning away of the excess foliage which keeps out the sunshine of God's love.

That is why in John 15:3 he said, "Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you." There is one way that God does His pruning. The pruning knife is the Word of God. Paul calls it the Sword of the Spirit, which is one and the same thing. It is this pruning knife that does the pruning away of the excess foliage which keeps out the sunshine of God's love.

In the disciples, there was a lot of excess foliage. It was this same lesson that Jesus tried to teach His disciples on Monday before. When they came into Jerusalem after the triumphal entry and they walked by a fig tree orchard. They noticed that they were all bearing, except for one. That one had a lot of excess foliage. When they have a lot of foliage, the fruit is supposed to be there. Jesus and the disciples were hungry they walked over expecting to eat breakfast. They looked from top to bottom and found that there was no fruit from the top to the bottom, so Jesus cursed the fig tree and they went on and spent the day in the temple. That evening when they came by, the disciples stood in absolute awe. What happened to the fig tree? Jesus wanted them to know exactly what would happen when you are severed from the Vine.


Jesus wanted them to know exactly what would happen when you are severed from the Vine.

Separated from Christ there is no life whatsoever.

I would like you to abide at the Vine and truely abide there. Live in the vine, or else death comes quickly. Separated from Christ there is no life whatsoever. John 15:4, "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."

Now suppose the branch is abiding in the vine. Which bears the fruit. The vine or the branch? Someone says "Isn't it the branch because that is where the fruit hangs?" Yes. My wife and I have a special place in the state of Oregon that we like to go to. It is a place where the gentleman grows many types of grapes. We happen to enjoy a variety called Niagras. In the fall of the year, he takes us out there and we find that this vine bears Niagras. Each year we get Niagra grapes. The branch that bears grapes is connected to the vine bears the same kind of grapes that the vine is. Now you see it is the vine that bears the grapes. The branches are an integral part of the vine, but they are only the portion on which the vine hangs the grapes. That is all. It is the vine that bears the fruit. It is the vine that has the root system in the soil that gathers nutrients from the soil and through its sap, it carries the nutrients up to the branch. The buds form, then the flowers, then the fruit which fully ripens. It hangs there on the on the branch. The branch doesn't have anything to do except to be an instrument through which the vine works. What a tremendous lesson for us!


It is the vine that bears the grapes.

The branch doesn't have anything to do except to be an instrument through which the vine works.

We might recognize that God has allowed us to be connected with Him so that we might actually bear the fruit. What fruit is this? Paul gives us a list in Galatians 5:22, 23, "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." This is the only type of fruit that in reality attracts. The fruit is born for only one purpose, that is to attract people.

In Southern California, going from Los Angeles to Loma Linda, there used to be thousands of acres of grape vineyards. Now there are thousands of houses. Those grape vineyards were beautiful. But they were never as beautiful as when you saw clusters of grapes hanging on them. It was hard to drive past them because they were so attractive. That is the way it is when you are in Christ's vineyard. That is the way it is when the clusters of the fruit of the Spirit are hanging upon people. Then the work of God will be finished.


A vineyard full of clusters of grapes hanging on them is beautiful and so attractive.

That is the way it is when you are in Christ's vineyard and the clusters of the fruit of the Spirit are hanging upon people.

Then the work of God will be finished.

Ellen White tells us, "Christ is waiting with longing desire for the manifestation of Himself in His church. When the character of Christ shall be perfectly reproduced in His people, then He will come to claim them as His own." Christ's Object Lessons, p. 69. Then He will come to claim them - not until then - because God has no other way of finishing the work. There is no other way. We could go out and do all types of programs. We can go out and do all kinds of work in our own way.

We are told that when the revival of true godliness, that is righteousness by faith, is seen in God's people, we will see a work done which was similar to that which was done in the early church. The earliest church was in Ephesus. It was through that church that God used to spread the message to all of the then-known world. Paul speaks of this in Colossians 1:23 in which he says that the gospel "was preached to every creature which is under heaven." That was only about 38 years after Pentecost. That is what God intends to do now - and He will do it.

In this experience there is something else very interesting about this experience. Ellen White connects this with the Scripture verse we have talked about - Romans 11:24
"For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert grafted contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be grafted into their own olive tree?"

God's ways are not our ways. He tells us in Isaiah 55:8, 9 "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."


Wild tree branches are never grafted into a tame tree, for it would only produce more wild fruit.

But God's method is exactly opposite of ours. He takes the wild stock and grafts it into the tame stock and He produces good fruit.

This gives us hope that not one of us that is beyond help, if we will be grafted into Him.

There is no way that you can think the thoughts of God. There is no way that you can turn your ways and begin to think as God thinks. But God wants you to think as He thinks, and He is willing and ready to put His thoughts in you if you are willing and ready to accept them. The problem with the disciples was that they weren't ready. They simply had their own minds filled with too many of their own thoughts. There was no room for God's thoughts. God's method in every respect is exactly what you find here in this grafting illustration. The wild olive tree and the grape vine was a symbol of Israel. Romans 11 says, You were cut out of a wild olive tree and put into a tame olive tree. Is that the way grafting is done? No.

In the state of Oregon, there are thousands of English Walnut orchards. As you drive by these English Walnuts, you see that every tree has a scar around the trunk of the tree, sometimes two of them. These are grafting scars. It is a scar that is left there in the grafting process, for every English Walnut is a grafted tree.

We chose as our title for this message today, "A Scion in Him", an agricultural title. The agricultural majors will know what this is. A scion is a branch that is grafted in. Now, every English walnut tree is an English Walnut branch grafted into a wild black walnut tree stock. The black walnut has a very hardy, healthy root system. When man takes the tame English walnut stock and grafts it into the wild black walnut trunk root system, it produces tremendous fruit.

God's method is exactly the opposite way. He takes the wild stock and grafts it into the tame stock and He produces good fruit. Do you know what happens when man tries to do that? All he does is produce more wild fruit. Man has tried to take wild stock and graft it into tame stock to produce good fruit, but he can't do it. God says, "You can't do things like I do." I am glad this is true, for it gives me hope. It helps me to understand that there is not one of us that is beyond help, if we will be grafted into Him.

Now the grafting process is a very interesting and fascinating process. There are two elements that are integrally connected in the grafting process and are essential.


There is no way that we can become a member of the vine except to be grafted in at Calvary.

This simply means that you participated with Jesus in His death experience. If your natural self did not die, then that experience must take place before you can become a partaker in the fruit bearing process.

1.) The stock into which the graft is to be placed must be wounded, it must be cut deeply into the sap wood and into the hard wood. I would suggest to you that Jesus is the stock, and the wound was Calvary. If you or I are grafted in any other place, we are not grafted in. There is no way that we can become a member of the vine except to be grafted in at Calvary. There is no other way. You may have been baptized at 12 years of age, or older, or even younger. It does not matter your age, but it does matter whether you were grafted in at Calvary. What does this mean? It simply means that you participated with Jesus in His death experience. If your natural self did not die, then that experience must take place before you can become a partaker in the fruit bearing process. That is the only first part of it.

2.) Then the husbandman must go and find the scion, the branch that must be grafted into the stock. That is the important thing. Jesus said, "You have not chosen me, but I have chosen you. He comes down and chose you.

John 15:16 - "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you."


As the branch is willing to be yielded, the husbandman comes and cuts the branch off from the former contact entirely. It is separated from it's former source of life entirely. There is no way that we can be grafted in and still partake of the old way of life.

Thank God, He has chosen all men, but He can only follow through by the response of the individual. We must be willing to yield to His choosing. That is the point. As the branch is willing to be yielded, the husbandman comes and cuts the branch off from the former contact entirely. It is separated from it's former source of life entirely. There is no way that we can be grafted in and still partake of the old way of life. What a lesson! It must be cut off completely. Then, the husbandman takes the pruning knife and shapes it to fit into Calvary. That is the process that is so painful - the process that we don't like. Ellen White calls it the grinding process. It is not comfortable to be put down to the grinding process. But, she says, it is profitable. It is not comfortable, but it is profitable. If we allow Him to shape us so that we will fit into Calvary, what is He doing? He is cutting away self. He is showing us our selfish natures, so that we can fit into calvary experience. The most self-less one single experience that the universe has ever witnessed. A demonstration of the kind of love that God is. You and I must have that same kind of experience - to be fit into Calvary.


Vane by vane, fiber by fiber, that branch becomes part of the vine - integrally one. Wow! That is what God wants for every one of us.

When the husbandman has done the shaping and the fitting, and he inserts the scion into the stock, then he doesn't leave it. He takes grafting wax and covers it to keep out any infection. He covers it completely so that no contaminate can come in. That is what we call the robe of Christ's righteousness. He puts it around us. He takes away for our best good anything that would in any way harm us. But He doesn't leave the graft there either. He then takes grafting tape and He covers the graft with the tape, winding it down the stock and then back up the vine again, until the winds of strife and the storms of life cannot dislodge that vine from the scion, the new branch. Then we are told that vane by vane, fiber by fiber, that branch becomes part of the vine - integrally one. Wow! That is what God wants for every one of us.

There is no way to become part of the family of God, except through the grafting process. None are born natural members of God's family. It is so essential for us to understand this. Jesus said, "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." John 15:5. The branch cannot bear fruit of itself - only by its connection with the vine.


Abiding is a very difficult work.

Losing one's confidence in Jesus is the greatest deterent to abiding.

It is so difficult to abide and just let Him do His work in His own way. If only we could do the work, we could do it quicker, we think.

The abiding process is a difficult one - especially to younger folks, but it doesn't get easier when you get older - let me assure you. Abiding is a very difficult work. Just imagine what it was, as far as the disciples were concerned. At this period of time, the disciples had lost their confidence in Jesus. That is the greatest deterent to abiding. As the week of time had gone by, they were separating themselves more and more from Jesus in the presence of others. In the temple the Wednesday before, they were outside of the inner court where Jesus was. On Monday they were close to Him. On Tuesday they were a little farther and on Wednesday they were farther. Why? They were embarrassed because they didn't think that Jesus knew what He was doing. They thought if only they could manage the affairs. It is so difficult to abide and just let Him do His work in His own way. If only we could do the work, we could do it quicker. If we would learn to abide, only then would we know Jesus and learn to bear fruit.

Jesus said, " 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 15:7. Please don't mistake these words, for in reality this has to do with fruit bearing. The subject is fruit bearing. Jesus is not giving you an open door to ask for anything that might come into your heart, but He will graft into you and me the knowledge of how to bear fruit. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples." John 15:8.


The grafting process connects us with the vine in a permanent relationship.

It is my prayer, as we bring this to a close, that we want to stimulate in your thinking as to what the process must be in order to become one with Him. For the grafting process connects us with the vine in a permanent relationship. Is that what you want right now? A permanent relationship with Jesus? Tell Jesus, "Yes, I want to be grafted in."

Our precious heavenly Father,
Here we are, branches to be grafted in. We realize that there is a grinding process - a prepatory process. But Lord, we want to say to You that we are willing to be ready to be grafted in. We want You to prepare us to be that graft. We thank You that 2000 years ago, You prepared the stock. We know that we talk of this very lightly. Help us to see it in it's true light, to realize that throughout the ceaseless ages of eternity the only mark of sin that will be carried will be the scars in Jesus hands and feet, the wound in His side. We also must be grafted in through that same experience. Self must die completely that Christ may live. Make this a reality in every individual's life who hears this message. Guide and direct in our lives that we might be wholly and completely Yours, and that we might learn moment-by-moment to partake of the very power, the very life itself, in Jesus wonderful and precious name, Amen.