For the Obedient
When the Lord Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit, He said three times 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, that he may abide with you for ever" (John 14:15-16). Peter speaks of "the Holy Spirit whom God hath given to them that OBEY HIM" (Acts 5:32).
Of our Lord Himself we read that "He became obedient unto death. Wherefore also God highly exalted him." Obedience is what God demands. Obedience attains what was lost by the Fall. Jesus came to restore the power of obedience. It is His own life. Apart from obedience, the blessing of Pentecost can neither come nor abide.
There are two kinds of obedience. One that is very defective is like that of the disciples previous to Pentecost. They desired from the heart to do what the Lord said, but they did not have the power. Yet the Lord accounted their desire and purpose as obedience. On the other hand, there is a more abundant life which comes with the fullness of the Spirit where new power is given for full obedience.
The characteristic of the full blessing of Pentecost is a surrender to obedience in the minutest details. To listen to the voice of Jesus Himself, to the voice of the Spirit, and to the voice of conscience is the way Jesus leads us. The method of making the life of Pentecost within us sure and strong is to know Jesus, to love Him, and to receive Him in that aspect which made Him well-pleasing to the Father - namely, as the OBEDIENT ONE.
The exercise of this obedience gives the soul a wonderful firmness, 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.
One Body, One Spirit
At the outset of His seeking for the full blessing, a Christian may think primarily 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 understand that there is one body and one Spirit. The unity of the body must be realized to enjoy the fullness of the Spirit.
This principle teaches us some very important lessons about the condition in which the blessing should 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 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 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 heat the unhappy condition of the enfeebled Christian Church in our days. It should not be done in the spirit of judgment or bitterness, but rather in the spirit of humility and prayer.
Jesus will teach you what is meant by the saying that love is the greatest. By the very intensity of your surrender to the welfare of His Church, He will increase the blessing in you.
The very name of Jesus Christ involves entire consecration to God's work of rescuing souls. It was for this end that He lived on earth and for this cause that He lives in heaven. How can anyone ever dream of having the 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. We must present ourselves to be used by the Spirit to do His work.
(continued with # 30 - "One More Thought")