Greetings, brothers and sisters. This is Dr. James Perry continuing with our series where we seek to explore the deeper meanings of our relationship with Jesus Christ. Over the years, the heavenly Father has revealed many revelations of spiritual truth to me, and I want to share them with you. This morning, we explore the meaning and nature of the request for eternal salvation.
And now, sit back and listen to today's message.
A Request for Eternal Salvation
"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out my hand. My Father which gave them to me is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’’s hand. I and my Father are one." John, Chapter 10, Verses 27 through 29
Brothers and sisters, Jesus says, "I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. I am the vine, and you are the branches. And the Father requires of me only that you shall bear much fruit. The vine is pruned only to increase the fruitfulness of its branches. Every branch coming out of me which bears no fruit, the Father will take away. Every branch which bears fruit, the Father will cleanse that it may bear more fruit. Already are you clean through the word I have spoken, but you must continue to be clean. You must abide in me, and I in you; the branch will die if it is separated from the vine. As the branch cannot bear fruit except it abides in the vine, so neither can you yield the fruits of loving service except you abide in me."
"Remember: I am the real vine, and you are the living branches. He who lives in me, and I in him, will bear much fruit of the spirit and experience the supreme joy of yielding this spiritual harvest. If you will maintain this living spiritual connection with me, you will bear abundant fruit. If you abide in me and my words live in you, you will be able to commune freely with me, and then can my living spirit so infuse you that you may ask whatsoever my spirit wills and do all this with the assurance that the Father will grant us our petition. Herein is the Father glorified: that the vine has many living branches, and that every branch bears much fruit. And when the world sees these fruit-bearing branches--my friends who love one another, even as I have loved them--all men will know that you are truly my disciples."
Since Jesus is the living vine, if we remain on that living vine we shall continue to live as long as he lives. We shall live eternally just as he lives eternally. Therefore, we desire to be a permanent branch on the vine of loving service. But how do we accomplish this? How do we overcome the selfish tendency to disconnect from the vine of loving service? How can we actually love being on the vine of loving service rather than being on the vine because of duty mandates? The process of becoming a permanent member of the vine has two components: In this life, we can become a conditional permanent member of the vine; and in the next life we can become an unconditional permanent member on the vine of loving service.
Let us examine the conditional status of being a permanent branch on the vine of loving service. If we definitely decide against being a permanent branch on the vine, the Father will remove us from it. The flow of life is shut off from the vine permanently. Since the decision not to remain on the vine is permanent, there is no reconnecting to the vine. In the other states of conditional permanency, some brothers and sisters are still in the valley of decision, they have not made a final choice to remain on the vine of loving service. Thus the flow of life to their vine is intermittent. When they desire to remain, the flow of life continues in full force; when they desire to detach, the flow of life is temporarily detached. And they can detach and re-attach until they make a final choice. But a word of warning: Persistent detaching and re-attaching can cause the branch to lose all desire to remain on the vine of loving service. This is a dangerous game to play.
In the other case of conditional permanency, the branch remains attached to the vine and signals that it wishes to remain permanently. In this case, the branch undergoes the pruning process. It should be noted that when the branch first becomes attached to the vine, the branch has a quite a bit of superfluous growth that must be removed in order that the fruit can be maximized. Therefore, the Husbandman, who is the heavenly Father, removes it. If not removed, this growth will detract from the quality of the fruit produced. Once attached to the vine, the branch must be maintained in pristine condition. The Father does everything in his power to increase the fruitfulness of the branches. He even fertilizes them with his mercy and grace.
Now we can make a decision to remain attached to the vine eternally, but while we are living in the flesh we always have the option of revoking that decision. The decision does not become final until we are sealed to the vine. And once we are sealed to the vine, then we have become an eternal part of the vine. But even in our life in the flesh, the Father, knowing the true desire and sincerity of our hearts, for all spiritual purposes treats the branch as if it is already sealed. This allows the Father’’s love to flow through the branch without fear of interruption. The branch can be counted on to produce continuous fruit.
Jesus said, "For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day." "And it is the will that sent me, that everyone which seeth (comprehends) the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day." By the technique of submitting our will to the Father’’s will, we grow to where our spiritual natures dominate our animal natures; this allows us to submit the flesh to the divine nature and to reveal the Father’’s love in loving and merciful service. When we reach this point our desire to submit to the Father’’s will has become supreme, and we have only one supreme desire in our hearts: to reveal the Father’’s love to our brothers and sisters. The emergence of this supreme desire in our hearts allows the Father to treat us as if we were already sealed to the living vine of divine service. The waiting period of the final seal is used to reveal the Father’’s love in perfection to our brothers and sisters as well as to show us by experience that we really are one with the Father through his Son, Jesus.
Now that we understand the nature of eternal salvation, we would move from conditional permanence to unconditional permanence. We have experienced your divine will, Father, and we understand its nature. We love it, Father. We believe in your Son, Jesus, and comprehend him. No amount of time passing will change our minds Father. Father, we choose life, and this life is eternal. We want to see how this will is manifested on other levels of reality, even that level where we stand in your divine presence on Paradise Father. We have done all that we can do Father to show that we are worthy of being your sons and daughters. We harbor no ill will in our hearts against anyone, and we have received your forgiveness for our mistakes and errors of ignorance. We have forgiven all those who have offended us. We are loyal to your divine will, Father, and we would remove even the possibility of ever turning our backs on you. Therefore, Father, we request permanent status on the vine of loving service. We await the flashing mandate that will seal us forever on the vine of loving service, even as Enoch and Elijah and others waited. While we are waiting, Father, we will continue to display your divine character and behave in a manner that justifies our request. We will follow Jesus, loving our brothers and sisters, as Jesus loves us.
It is because of this temporal experience that we have had with you that we desire more of you, eternally more. We have tasted your divine goodness, and it tastes good. We realize that this is an eternal decision that we are making to forever abide by your divine will. This is not an emotional decision. This is a spiritual decision. We make this decision after much contemplation and much prayer. We have had ample time to consider its ramifications. We cannot imagine life without you, Father, and we know that there is no life outside of you, Father.
And although your way is challenging and at times difficult, we know that it is out of love for us that you take us this way. You want us to be all that we can eternally be, Father, and we want the same thing also, in spite of our negative emotional reactions to difficulty. We remain human, Father, and we cannot deny reactions of mortality. But we also know, Father, that those emotional reactions have lost their power to derail our choosing your divine will. We always choose your divine will, and it is always our eternal prayer that we continue to do so. We love you, Father, and want to be a part of you forever. We delight in revealing your love and mercy to our brothers and sisters. It is our supreme joy to see them respond to this love and mercy. With all of our hearts, mind, and soul, we request that you do this for us, Father, for we also know that this is your divine will for us. Make us eternally one with you, Father. "Make it so."
This concludes today's message on understanding the spiritual meaning and nature of the request for eternal salvation. We hope you find something in this message to ponder and pray about as you go about your day.
Until next time, this is Dr. James Perry