THE HUSBANDMAN AND THE VINE
I believe you are persuaded that John is not so simple. This book is on the profound economy of God. It is expressed in these simple words: I am the vine, and My Father is the husbandman. In the universe God is a husbandman, a farmer. Farming is God’s economy! Just as the farmer’s economy is farming, growing things, so is God’s.
What does God grow? He grows a vine tree, a vine with many branches. Christ is this vine; Christ is God’s economy. A vine differs from a tree in that it has virtually no trunk. If you cut off the branches of a vine, there is practically nothing left, only the root. Christ said, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” This vine, including the branches, is God’s economy. This means that His economy includes us, for we are the branches of this vine. Hallelujah!
THE BRANCHES OF THE VINE
How could we be branches of Christ? If a farmer grows wheat, wheat is his economy, but wheat is not the farmer himself. But this vine which is Christ is the embodiment of God. God as a farmer grows Himself. By cultivating and developing this vine, God develops Himself. How does He do this? It is by the branching out of the vine. The branches are just the spreading of the vine. Whatever is in the vine is in the branches.
By your natural life, by yourself, are you a branch of the vine? No! By your fallen nature you are not only a branch of Adam, but even a branch of the Devil. Just as a branch is the branching out of a tree, so when we were born we were just the branching out of Adam. As branches of Adam, we were also branches of Satan; this is what all the people on earth are today. The wonderful thing is that the moment we believe in the Lord Jesus, He branches out into us. This branching out makes us branches, branches of this wonderful Christ.
Do not look at yourself. This morning you may have lost your temper, and even now you may feel like a branch of the Devil. The more you look at yourself, the more you will be disappointed. Look at the Word. “I am the vine, and you are the branches.” You just say, “Hallelujah, Lord, You are the vine and I am a branch. The Bible says so.”
To be a branch in the vine means that Christ has become your life. Life is not liberation; it is a Person, a living Person—Christ. As branches we are those filled with Christ. Do not say you do not feel that you are filled with Christ. When the Lord says, “I am the vine; you are the branches,” you have to say a strong amen. Just keep saying, “Hallelujah, I am a branch!” You will be filled with Him.
DISTRACTED FROM CHRIST
God wants you to be filled with Christ, to have Christ as your life and as your person. He is not interested in religion, nor in any work or service you would like to do for Him. He wants you to live Christ day by day. If we do not have such a daily life, when we meet together it will be just for a theatrical performance. When we shout to release our spirit, we shall be actors in a theater. This is not what the Lord wants. If you take Christ as your life, you will not say even a word without the assurance that you are speaking with Him.
The whole of Christianity is off. Even the saints in the Lord’s recovery today are somewhat off, distracted, from the center lane of life. If we are concerned about how to meet—in a quiet way or a loud way, with or without guitars—this is a sign that we are off. The Bible has nothing to say about how to meet or what kind of instrument to use for our music. Shouting or silence, guitars or no guitars, mean nothing. But to meet with Christ and in Christ means everything. Do not push the saints to release their spirit. What kind of spirit are they releasing? Perhaps it is a spirit full of self or of the natural life.
(Life Messages, Vol. 1 (#1-41), Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)