Fullness of Christ
We have been considering together the standard which the Lord Jesus Christ set for the Christian as given in that last conversation with His disciples on earth. It was to be a life like His life. They were to live as He had lived and to work as He had worked. In other words, they were to live a supernatural life. But how was such a life possible for human, sinful men and women?
In the definition of the Church given in the Epistle to the Ephesians we see the same high standard set.
"The Church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all" (Ephesians 1:22-23).
Think of it! "The church ... the fullness of Christ"! Is that your conception of what it is for you to be a Christian? You, living in your home; you, walking up and down the streets of your town or city, the fullness of Christ! That is what the Word says. "The fullness of him who filleth all in all." Here we are told how it is possible. He fills us with His own fullness.
But, as He set this standard before His disciples on that last night with them, He saw their perplexed look and the sorrow in their faces. If they had not been able to live according to such a standard when He was with them, how could they possibly live such a life when He had gone from them? Then He told them how.
He was going away, but He would send Another like Himself to be not only with them but "in" them.
"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever ... for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you" (John 14:16-17).
The supernatural life could be lived because they were to be indwelt by a supernatural Person whose indwelling presence was for one purpose: to make the life of Christ a living reality within them.
He promised to send this wonderful Comforter, but in order to do so, He had to go away. Yes, He had to go to the Cross where He laid down that precious life in death. He had to go down into the darkness of the tomb, but He could not be kept there. He, who was the Author of life, yea, who was life itself, broke the bonds of death and rose from the tomb. He ascended into heaven and was exalted by the Father to be Lord over the universe and Head over all things to the Church. As the exalted, glorified Lord, He would send back the Holy Spirit who had indwelt, infilled, and empowered Him in His earthly life, to indwell, infill, and empower them.
The Fullness of Christ Is Through personal Sanctification
The day of Pentecost came. The Holy Spirit descended and that little company of believers was baptized with the Holy Spirit and made one in the Body of Christ. Then they were all filled with the Holy Spirit on this birthday of the Church.
"And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4).
By filling them, Christ, the Head of the Church, set the standard for the entire Church and for every Christian all down through the ages. It is not at the end of our Christian life in the twilight of Christian experience we are privileged to be filled with the Spirit as a sign of spiritual maturity. But at the very beginning, yea, on any day after we have been baptized into the Body of Christ through rebirth, we may be filled with the Holy Spirit as the means of becoming fully grown in Christ.
My friends, to be filled with the Spirit is God's standard for every Christian here. Are you filled? The only normal Christians here are those who are filled with the Holy Spirit. We sometimes think this is such an extraordinary spiritual experience that the person filled with the Spirit is abnormal. It is the exact opposite. I put it to you today, is it normal for one who is in Christ and has Christ in him and who is indwelt by the same Spirit that indwelled Christ, to be constantly defeated? Is it normal for that one to be without joy or peace or rest or power? Is it normal for the Christian to be simply bearing "fruit" when he should be bearing "much fruit"?
So I will not wait until the close of my message to press home this question. Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? We can know whether we are filled or not as truly as we can know whether or not we are saved. There are conditions to be fulfilled by us for receiving and conditions for maintaining the fullness of the Spirit which are as clearly stated in the Word as the conditions to be fulfilled for salvation. We may and should know what they are.
We shall think now of how to obtain this fullness. We shall do so by asking and answering questions from the Word of God.
(continued with # 14 - Has Such Fullness Been Provided for Me?")