How It Is Bestowed from Heaven
"If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth" (John 14:15-17)
A tree always lives according to the nature of the seed from which it grew. Every living being is always guided and governed by the nature which it received at its birth. The Church received the promise and her growth by the Holy Spirit on the day of her birth. It is important for us to turn back often to the day of Pentecost and not to rest until we thoroughly understand, receive, and experience what God did for His people on that day. The hearts of the disciples were ready to receive the Spirit. Now we know what we must do to enjoy the same blessing. The first disciples serve as our examples on the way to the fullness of the Spirit.
What enabled them to become the recipients of these heavenly gifts? What made them acceptable vessels for the habitation of God? The right answer to this question will help us on the way to being filled with the Holy Spirit.
His First Disciples
They were deeply attached to the Lord Jesus. The Son of God came into the world in order to unite the divine life, which He had with the Father, with the life of man. In this way, the life of God could penetrate into the life of the believer. When He had completed the work by His obedience, death, and resurrection, He was exalted to the throne of God on high. This was done in order that in spiritual power His disciples and Church might participate in His very own life. We read that the Holy Spirit was not yet, because Jesus was not yet glorified. It was only after His glorification that the Spirit of the complete indwelling of God in man could be given. It is the Spirit of the glorified Jesus that the disciples received on the day of Pentecost, His Spirit penetrated all the members of His body.
In the fullness of the Spirit dwells in Jesus, a personal relationship to Him is the first condition for the reception of the full gift of the Comforter. It was to attain this end that the Lord Jesus kept the disciples in close fellowship with Himself. He desired to attach them to Himself. He wanted them to truly feel one with Him, as far as this was possible. By knowledge, love, and obedience, they became inwardly knit to Him. This was the preparation for participating in the Spirit of His glorification.
The lesson that is taught us here is extremely simple, but it is one of profound significance. Many Christians believe in the Lord, are zealous in His service, and eagerly desire to become holy, and who yet do not succeed in their endeavor. It often seems as if they could not understand the promise of the Spirit. The thought of being filled with the Spirit exercises little influence on them.
The reason is obvious. They lack that personal relationship to the Lord Jesus, the inward attachment to Him, that perfectly natural reference to Him as the best and nearest Friend, as the beloved Lord, which was so characteristic of the disciples. This is absolutely indispensable. Only a heart that is entirely occupied with the Lord Jesus and depends entirely on Him can hope for the fullness of the Spirit.
(continued with # 12)