Jesus keeps the blessing in the pathway of obedience.
When the Lord Jesus promised the Holy Spirit, He said three times over that the blessing was for the obedient. "If ye love Me, ye will keep My commandments: and I will pray the Father, and He shall give you another Comforter." l Peter speaks of " the Holy Spirit whom God hath given to them that obey Him." 2 Of our Lord Himself we read that "He became obedient unto death. Wherefore also God highly exalted Him." Obedience is what God cannot but demand. It is the only true relation and blessedness of the creature. It is obedience that attains what was lost by the Fall. It is the power of obedience Jesus came to restore. It is His own life. Apart from obedience the blessing of Pentecost can neither come nor abide.
There are two kinds of obedience. There is one that is very defective, like that of the disciples previously to Pentecost. They desired from the heart to do what the Lord said, but
1 John xiv. 15, 16; cf. vv. 21, 23. 2 Acts v. 32.
100 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
they had not the power. Yet the Lord ac counted their desire and purpose as obedience. On the other hand, there is a more abundant life, which comes with the fulness of the Spirit, where new power is given for full obedience. The characteristic of the full blessing of Pentecost, and the way to keep it, is a surrender to obedience in the minutest details. To listen to the voice of Jesus Himself, to the voice of the Spirit, to the voice of Conscience, this is the way in which Jesus leads us. The method of making the life of Pentecost within us sure and strong is to know Jesus and to love Him, and receive Him in that aspect which made Him well-pleasing to the Father namely, as the Obedient One. The whole Jesus becomes the life of the soul.
It is the exercise of this obedience that gives to the soul a wonderful firmness and confidence and power to trust God and to expect all from Him. A strong will is necessary for a strong faith, and it is in obedience that the will is strengthened to trust God to the uttermost. This is the only way in which the Lord can lead us to ever richer blessing.
HOW IT MAY BE KEPT 101
Jesus keeps the blessing in fellowship with His people.
At the outset of His seeking for the full blessing a Christian thinks for the most part only of himself. Even after he receives the blessing as a new experience, he is still rather disposed to see merely how he can keep it safely for himself. But very speedily the Spirit will teach him that a member of the body cannot enjoy the flow of healthful life in a state of separation from others. He begins to under stand that " there is one body and one Spirit." The unity of the body must be realised to enjoy the fulness of the Spirit.
This principle teaches us some very important lessons about the condition on which the blessing received can be maintained. All that you have belongs to others, and must be employed for their service. All that they have belongs to you, and is in turn indispensable for you. The Spirit of the body of the Lord can work effectively only when the members of it work in unison. You should confess to others
102 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
what the Lord has done for you, ask their intercession, seek their fellowship, and help them with what the Lord has given you. You should lay to heart the unhappy condition of the enfeebled Christian Church in our days, yet not in the spirit of judgment or bitterness, but rather in the spirit of humility and prayer, of gentleness and willingness to serve. Jesus will teach you what is meant by the saying that " love is the greatest "; l and by the very intensity of your surrender to the welfare of His Church He will both keep and increase the blessing in you.
Jesus keeps the blessing in the service of His kingdom.
We have said more than once that the Spirit came as the power for work. The very name of Jesus Christ involves entire consecration to God’s work, utter devotion to the rescue of souls. It was for this end alone that He lived: it is only for this cause that He lives in heaven. How can anyone ever dream of having the
1 1 Cor. xiii. 13.
HOW IT MAY BE KEPT 103
Spirit of Christ otherwise than as a Spirit which aims at the work of God and the salvation of souls? It is an impossibility. Hence from the outset we must keep these two aspects of the Spirit’s operation closely knit together. What the Spirit works in us is for the sake of what He works by us. Our seeking for the blessing will miscarry, our initial possession of the blessing will be lost, if we do not as the dominant feature of our life present ourselves to be used by the Spirit in the doing of His work.
The blessing of Pentecost does not always come with equal power and not always at once. God often gives preparatory experiences and awakenings that must lead to the full blessing. Every attempt to keep such gracious gifts for ourselves will entail loss. He that does not follow his own inclination, either in being silent or in speaking, but presents himself to the Lord and waits upon Him with an undivided spirit, will experience that work, so far from exhausting or weakening, is the sure way to keep the treasure.
104 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
One thought more. It is as the indwelling. Lord that Jesus keeps the blessing of Pentecost in us.
Whenever mention is made of Jesus as our Keeper, it is oftentimes difficult to believe that we who are upon the earth can really know ourselves to be always, without interruption, in His hands and under His power. How much clearer and more glorious does the truth become when the Spirit discovers to us that Christ is in us; and that, not only as a tenant in a house, or water in a glass, in such a fashion that they continue quite distinct, but rather as the soul is in the body animating and moving every part of it, and never to be separated from each other except by a violent death. Yes: it is thus that Christ dwells in us, penetrating our whole nature with His nature. The Holy Spirit came for the purpose of making Him thus deeply present within us. As the sun is high in the firmament above me, and yet by his heat penetrates my bones and marrow and quickens my whole life, so the Lord Jesus, who is exalted
HOW IT MAY BE KEPT 105
high in heaven, penetrates my whole nature by His Spirit in such a way, that all my willing, and thinking, and feeling are animated by Him. Once this fact is fully grasped, we no longer think of an external keeping through a person outside of us in heaven, but rather become convinced that our whole individual life is itself quickened and possessed by One who, not in a human but in a divine, all-penetrating manner, occupies and fills the heart. Then we see how natural, how certain, how blessed it is that the indwelling Jesus keeps the blessing and always maintains the fulness of the Spirit.
Brethren, is there anyone amongst you who is longing for this life in the fulness of blessing, and yet is afraid to enter upon it, because he knows not how he is to persevere? Pray listen to what I say: Jesus will make this blessing continuous and sure. Is there any one of you who longs for it and yet cannot understand wherein the secret of it lies? Again listen to me: the blessing is this that as Jesus Christ was daily with His disciples in bodily fashion, so He will by His Spirit every day and always
106 THE FULL BLESSING OF PENTECOST
be your life; yea, live His life in you. No one can fully understand how things look on the top of a mountain until he himself has been there. Although you do not understand everything, yet believe that the Lord Jesus has sent His Spirit with no other object in view than just to receive and keep you in His divine power. Trust Him for this. Let all burdens be laid aside, and give yourself up to receive from Him this full blessing of Pentecost as a fountain which He Himself will cause to spring up in you unto everlasting life.