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Thursday, December 26, 2013

What It Means to be Filled with the Holy Spirit # 56

The Tribulation, the Kingdom and the Patient Endurance Which are in Jesus Christ

So we begin to understand some of what the Holy Spirit meant when He inspired John to write these words to us: "I, John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience [which are in] Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, because of the Word of God and the Testimony of Jesus" (Revelation 1:9). John was "in the Spirit" when he wrote these inspired Words to us, and we must be "in the Spirit" if we are to be fellow partakers with him in the Tribulation, and in the Kingdom and in the Patience [the endurance] which are in Jesus Christ.

John well knew what it meant to be a brother, and fellow partaker in the tribulation, the kingdom and the patient endurance which are in Christ Jesus; he knew because he had actually lived through this with his natural brother James, and with Peter who was his friend, and partner in the fishing business. Luke 5:10 tells us that they were "partners" in the fishing business; and in the book "Jesus the Messiah" by Edersheim, we are told that fishing was a lucrative business in those days. The word "partner" is "koinonos" in the Greek. In using this word to describe the business relationship between these men, before they followed the Lord,we are sure the Holy Spirit was pointing to the relationship that they would have together "in the Spirit"; because it is the same word John used many years later when he wrote: "I, John, your brother, and fellow partaker [sunkoinonos] ..." The Greek preposition, "sun", is added because the redeemed are to be fellow partakers "in the tribulation, and kingdom and perseverance (patient endurance) which are in Jesus... "  Oh, how much Peter, James and John shared together in the Lord.

Together they were fishermen for their livelihood and for the support of their families. Together they answered the call of Jesus to follow Him, and He made them fishers of men. Each one of these three were chosen by the Lord to become one of His twelve apostles. These three watched amazed as the Lord raised the daughter of Jairus from the dead. These three also witnessed the Lord's transfiguration. And when the Lord Jesus went to the garden of Gethsemane with His disciples to pray, He took these three a little further with Him, and He asked them and the others to pray that they "may not enter into temptation"; but instead, as the Lord agonized in prayer, they all fell asleep.

Many believe that Peter, James and John were a part of an inner circle that was closer to the Lord than the rest of the disciples; but we believe it is more likely that they required more dealings in their inner man than the others, because they were more ambitious, impetuous, and strong-willed - their natural man was very strong. It would take the Cross to deal with these three and the other disciples, for after the Cross, the Resurrection, and the Ascension of our Lord, we find them welded and bonded together "in the Spirit." And on the day of Pentecost all the apostles, and the rest of the 120, were filled with the Spirit; and the apostles stood as one new man in Christ Jesus as Peter gave the Word: "and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls" (Acts 2:14-41)

Now Gethsemane, the place of the Lord's agony over the cup He will drink, is the last time that Peter and James and John are recorded as being together until Acts 2, where we find that Herod has put forth his hands to "vex", to afflict with evil, certain of the Church. "Now, at that strategic, significant period [in the growth of the Church and the success of the gospel message], Herod the king laid his hands upon certain of those who belonged to the Church for the purpose of maltreating them. And he put James, the brother of John, out of the way, beheading him with a sword ... he proceeded to seize Peter also ... and ... he put him in prison ..." (Acts 12:1-4).

The Holy Spirit records that Peter and John are together many times after the day of Pentecost, but Peter and James and John are not recorded as being together until Acts twelve. Oh, James is there among the twelve apostles as all of them steadfastly, even under the threat of death, preached and taught and established the Church; but from Gethsemane until Acts twelve, these three are not mentioned together. Then, in Acts 12:1, the Holy Spirit tells us that Herod put forth his hand to afflict evil upon the Church, and these three are brought together again as the Lord, out from the Throne, is working all things after the counsel of His Own Will: - "the strategic, epochal season is imminent" (Revelation 1:3). A time of great tribulation is at hand3 but, remember, it is through "much tribulation" that we enter the kingdom, that we become able to live in the reality of the Throne. Thus James and John and Peter are to become joint-partakers "in the tribulation," and "in the kingdom," and "in the Patient Endurance" which are in Jesus Christ.

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 57)

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