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Thursday, October 18, 2012

A Job Experience # 2

In these glorious words, we are told that Christ is Head over "all things to the Church," an we are told that the Church, which is Christ's Body is the Fullness of Him Who fills all in all.

Beyond, on the one side, the Church (all of the redeemed) reaches its Fullness - its Complete and full Development - in and through Christ; and, on the other side, Christ Himself finds His Fullness in the sum total of all that He brings into Living Union with Himself.

All these scriptures concerning fullness make it clear that the Fullness of Christ has always been God's End. Since the beginning of all things, all that God has done, and is doing, and will do, in and through the lives of His people is moving toward His End! Therefore, the main purpose in all of God's dealings with His own, as it was with Noah, Daniel and Job, is to bring forth a greater measure of the Fullness of Christ. God did a full work in the lives of "these three men," but, of the three, perhaps Job is the greatest example of how God is working in a person's life in order to bring about His End - "Ye have heard of the patience (the endurance) of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord (the outcome of the Lord's dealings), that the Lord is full of compassion and is merciful" (James 5:11).

It is through the workings of the Holy Spirit that all that Christ is, and all that Christ accomplished, is made solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire in and through the lives and experience of the people of God - people like Noah, Daniel, and Job, and people like us!

Now, in order for us to understand the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, and n the lives of others, we need to have an ever-increasing comprehension of the Holy Spirit's greatest all-encompassing work. The Holy Spirit Who is all the accumulative energy, force, inherent strength, and might of the Omnipotent God, did His greatest work when He raised Christ from the dead. And in Ephesians 1:20, we are told of the exceeding greatness of this work which was "wrought in Christ," when Christ was raised from the dead.

...which He wrought in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places.

The word "wrought" ("energeo" in the Greek) speaks of that which was made alive, of that which was made operative, of that which was made active, of that which was energized, of that which was worked in Christ, when Christ was raised from the dead by the Holy Spirit of God. All that God had purposed in Christ was "wrought" in Christ when the Holy Spirit raised Him from the dead. And let us remember when Christ was raised from the dead, all of the redeemed were raised together with Him (Ephesians 2:5, 6)

Since it is the Holy Spirit's work to make Christ's death and resurrection a reality in our lives, let us take note of a statement that is made in 2 Corinthians 4:12, because in this scripture the word "worketh" is the same in Greek as the word "wrought" in Ephesians 1:20:

So then death worketh (energeo) in us,
but life in you.
death and life = Resurrection Life

The work of the Holy Spirit is an eternal work, and that which He works into, and through, the lives of God's people will always have eternal results.

So, as we consider the work of the Holy Spirit in the life and experience of Job, we are going to find that Job is not the only one to have such an experience. We will find that all who remain faithful unto God, all who endure until God has His End through His Way, will have Job's experience. We do not mean that those who remain faithful will have the exact same things happen to them that happened to Job, but we do mean that all who remain faithful will have the same deep spiritual experience of coming to the end of themselves! The faithful will come to the same place as Job in their life and experience, they will bow to the workings of God in their lives, and they will cry: "Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes"; then Job "prayed for his friends" (Job 42:6=10): - "So then death worketh (energeo) in us, but life in you."

Brethren, as we were praying and studying through the Book of Job, the Lord led us over and over again to the Book of 2 Corinthians; and in 2 Corinthians we found the deep effectual working of the Holy Spirit in the life of Paul, and in the lives of those who are with him. In that book, they were having what we may call a Job experience, they were being brought to the end of themselves. It is important to realize that the work which the Holy Spirit does in the lives o God's people is an eternal work which produces eternal results in God's purpose. Also, we need to see that this work is a corporate work, it is never only an individual work in an individual person. The effectual working of the Holy Spirit is always a corporate work: it is a corporate work, whether it be in an individual or in a local body, or in a group such as Paul, Timothy, Titus, etc.; or whether it be in "these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job" - three men who are eternally linked together, even though they lived at different times and in different periods of history. The work that the Holy Spirit does in the lives of God's people is a corporate work, because all that the Holy Spirit "worketh" has one goal, one aim, one end, and that is that Christ be ALL, and in ALL.

Thus, the work that the Holy Spirit did in Noah, Daniel, and Job, and that effectual work He did in Paul and Timothy and Titus, etc., etc., cannot be complete without the effectual work He is doing in us, and in those who come after us. Only then will Christ be ALL, and in ALL.

Consequently, in 2 Corinthians, we see that Paul and the others with him are in the throes of what we may call a Job experience; and in such an experience, the Holy Spirit is at work bringing them to the end of themselves, so that the fullness of Christ becomes a living reality in their lives. Thus we find Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, writing to the Corinthians, and to us, of this experience, for Paul knows that if the Corinthians, and all Christians who come after them, are to remain faithful unto the Lord until God has His End though His Way, that they must also experience the reality of their being brought to the end of themselves. Paul writes: "For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of (unaware of, uninformed of) our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, (beyond our strength), insomuch that we despaired even of life."

Now, Paul and the others with him were not having suicidal thoughts anymore than Job was when he wished he had never been born (Job 3); or when Elijah requested for himself that he might die (1 Kings 19). Suicidal thought are always the work of the devil, they are never the work of the Holy Spirit. NO! These people were in trouble and they were  very, very discouraged; and all that they, themselves, had ever wanted to accomplish for the Lord seemed to failure. They were "pressed out of measure": - inspirit, soul, and body, they were pressed beyond all of their natural ability, their natural strength, their natural sufficiencies. They found themselves in a place where anything that they could do would not change the situation. They had come to a place where the sufferings were so great, the afflictions so fierce, the trouble and pressures so weighted them down, that they wanted to give up; it seemed that they could not go any further. They were weak and insufficient and, to them, it seemed like the end. And it was the end! It was God's End! for God's End is that we be "pressed out of measure," and His Wise Reason for this is found in 2 Corinthians 1:9: "But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead ..."

So we see that Paul and the others were having a hard time: - they despaired of life; they were so anxious about Titus that they left an open door for the Gospel; Paul had fightings without and fears within; he also writes that he had asked the Lord three times to remove that which was "a thorn in the flesh". However, a few years later we find this same Paul, who had been so pressed out of measure that he even despaired of life, writing to the Philippians these precious words as he faced certain death (he just did not know when):

"For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain." (Phil. 1:21).

He says, "I do not know which to choose; I desire with all my heart to depart and be with Christ. And yet, to remain on in the flesh is more needful for you". What a dwelling place in Christ, what a reality in Christ, Paul had come into! 

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 3)

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