St. Paul Enterprise, October 1, 1915


Providence, R I September 26, 1915 Pastor Russell was here today. He delivered a very impressive discourse from the text, "By one Spirit we are all baptized into one Body." (1 Cor. 12:13) He said in part: [HGL748] The blessings that are ours as Christians are first the possession of the hearing ear when the majority of people have no ears to hear; second, the great favor of God in that He has made all the arrangements by which we who have the hearing ear might receive the begetting and anointing of His holy Spirit. But after we are begotten of the Spirit, although we have still more abundant favor, the issue is with us. It is an individual matter. Each must make sure his own calling and election. God is doing His part in leading, and in covering, making up for all our blemishes, through Christ. The primary thing that God requires of us is loyalty of heart. We had this loyalty of heart at the beginning of our course; by one Spirit we were all baptized into the one Body of Christ, the Church. And it is by keeping this same Spirit that we are to make our calling and election sure.


It is a good thing to be able to say, "I have made a full consecration to God." But that consecration must continue; it is a daily matter. The same Spirit that led you into the baptism must remain with you in the baptism to its completion. "Is not our baptism complete when we have taken the step of entire consecration?" asks one; "was not Jesus' baptism complete when He had been immersed by John in Jordan?" I answer, You remember that when Jesus came to the close of His ministry three and a half years after His baptism in Jordan, He said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened until it be accomplished!" (Luke 12:50) You see His baptism was not fully accomplished, and it was completed the follow ing day; for on the cross He exclaimed, "It is finished!" His baptism was there fully consummated.

So our baptism will be finished only in death. It may be that as we come down nearer to the close of our earthly experience we shall realize that there are dregs in our cup for us to drink, as there were in the Master's cup for Him. It is of his cup that we are to partake. But there should be no alarm. We wish to share the Lord's cup of sufferings, and we are glad that he is letting us have similar experiences to His own. The Master will say to each of us, as He said to St. Paul, "My grace is sufficient for thee; My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Cor. 12:9) We have a sure promise that covers every circumstance and condition. Our baptism into death will not be finished until we expire. Our wills must continue to be immersed into God's will unto the end.


Let us note how fully our Lord Jesus received the Spirit of God. You remember the account is given us in the Gospels that when Jesus came up out of the water, after He had been baptized of John, the holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove, "and the Heavens were opened unto Him." (Matt. 3:16) This means that the higher things were opened to Him, the spiritual things.

As a boy Jesus had lived in Nazareth where He habitually attended the synagogue. Although He had never had any schooling, He was able to read fluently; and so it seems to have been customary for Him to be called upon to serve as a public reader. He would stand up and read the daily Scripture. Not many could read. But being a perfect man, Jesus would have talents and powers above all the others; for He was perfectly balanced. During the time that Jesus was in Nazareth, up to thirty years of age, He was still reader in the synagogue when present. (Luke 4:16) This brought Him into contact with the people. The custom was that one part of the lesson would be chosen from the Law and another part from the Prophets. In this way Jesus gained full knowledge of all the Old Testament.

We have known people of our fallen race who after one reading of a poem could repeat it verbatim. We are sure that our Lord would know every word of the Scriptures from Genesis to Malachi. No wonder that at twelve years of age He was in the Temple questioning the Doctors of the Law! He wished to know the meaning of all He had read. As He asked these questions, they were astonished. Think of a boy of twelve knowing all about the contents of Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, the Psalms and all the Prophets! No wonder they were astonished, just as were the people of His home town when they asked, "How knoweth this man letters, never having learned?"

When Jesus went up from the baptismal waters, and the Heavenly things were opened to Him, this meant, we understand, that He began to see more deeply into these statements of the Old Testament than ever before. Up to this time Jesus was a man a natural man, not a sinful man, however. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners." The Apostle says "that the natural man [even though perfect] receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned." (1 Cor. 2:14) Jesus had known about these things before. As a thoughtful man He had studied over all those matters in the Scriptures, but He could not understand them clearly, because He had not yet been begotten of the holy Spirit. But now, after His anointing of the Spirit, these Heavenly things that had seemed strange and obscure began to open up to Him without measure.

Our Lord, being perfect, could upon His begetting receive the full mea sure of God's mind, God's Spirit. Immediately following His baptism and illumination, His mind being active, He was driven by the Spirit into the wilderness. It was thus His own Spirit that drove Him there. He said to Himself, "My mind is opening: all these hitherto obscure Scriptures are unfolding before Me. I must go away into the wilderness alone to think over these things." And there he had a forty-day Bible study. The Scriptures imply that during that period, while he was thinking of the types of the Law and the prophecies, He did not even get hungry.


The account states that Jesus "afterwards ahungered." He was thoroughly absorbed in Bible Study. We can surmise what Jesus was thinking of during all that time. One of the subjects must have been the Passover'what it meant who it was that was to be passed over. Whom did the lamb typify? Why was not a bone of it broken? What did the bitter herbs eaten with the Passover lamb signify? What did the coming out of Egypt prefigure? What was the significance of the overthrow of Pharaoh and [HGL749] his hosts in the Red Sea? What was the meaning of the giving of the Law at Mount Sinai? What the wilderness journey and the entrance into Canaan? What the fiery serpents in the wilderness and the lifting up of the brazen serpent on a pole?

You and I would not have known had not the holy Spirit through the Apostles shown us these things. So Jesus, until He was Spirit-begotten, knew not the significance of all these wonderful types. Then, coming down to the Psalms and the prophecies, Jesus thought of the Scriptures, "Thou wilt not leave My soul in Sheol, neither wilt Thou Suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption"; "He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth." (Psa. 16:10; Isa. 53:7) Now He began to see the meaning of these Scriptures that He had long wondered about. He saw that He was to be the Lamb dumb before its shearers. He saw that He was to be the Passover Lamb; that He was to let evil men take His life from Him and not interfere, not even ask God to hinder them, simply yielding up His life in harmony with the Father's will. Then He considered the typical Day of Atonement the bullock and the Lord's goat for sacrifice, the scape goat, the burning of the fat, the kidneys, etc., upon the altar, the carrying of the blood within the second veil there, the burning of the carcass outside the camp; He saw that these were all to be fulfilled in Himself and in His followers.


We are only copying Jesus' course here to a small degree when we have Bible study classes and conventions for Bible Study. We can have the holy Spirit only by measure, can understand only by measure, because of our imperfections. But it is the privilege of each to have his vessel filled to its capacity. As you keep it full, you will find your capacity increasing, so that you can contain more.

The Apostle Paul says, "We are all baptized into one Body." Again, of himself, "If by any means I might attain unto His resurrection." (Philip. 3:10, 11) Was there any doubt about St. Paul's attaining unto Christ's resurrection? He realizes the possibility of failure. "Then what chance have I?" some one may ask. We reply, As good a chance as the Apostle. The Lord manages this matter most wonderfully. Our Lord had one hundred points of character, we will say. That represents

perfection. We, blemished by sin, may have only ten, fifteen, twenty, even thirty-five points. That is about as far as we dare go, we think. Humanity has fallen far below the perfection in which Adam was created.

You say, Those who have thirty-five points have the best chance. No they will not have one whit more chance than those who have ten. God makes up in Christ's merit to each one as he needs. The one who has only ten points of character needs that the Lord supply ninety points. The one who has thirty-five points needs sixty-five supplied. Where one has greater need, grace so much more abounds, the Apostle declares. (Rom. 5:19-21) It is just as easy for you and me as for St. Paul. He said, "I count all things but loss and vile refuse that I may win Christ and be found in Him." How could he win Christ? How could He be in Christ?


The thought is this: The word Christ is not merely a personal name. The name Christ is the name of the Office. Jesus is the Head of The Christ: the Church are the members of the body. What St. Paul means is, "If by any means I might attain to membership in The Christ." This clarifies the passage. What are the terms for gaining this membership? The Apostle knew he must give up everything. Had he done it? Yes. What had he to give up? A great deal. He had been a lawyer. He was favored in being a Roman citizen by birth. His family was wealthy. (He used some of his wealth in Rome when he paid for his own hired house.) He had a good education. Yet he said, "I count all this but loss and dross."

Some one might ask, "Do you not often feel sorry, Paul, that you had to give up so much? I wonder that you did not think of how much you were sacrificing when you gave up these opportunities." "I count these but dross, if by any means I may win a place in The Christ, and be found in Him, a member of His Body," he replies.

Then he continues, "That I may attain unto the resurrection out from among the dead" the First Resurrection, the highest resurrection. That was St. Paul's hope. May we have that resurrection? Yes. The Body of Christ are to share the same resurrection that Jesus had. We are to be exalted from the fallen, human condition to a condition far above angels even to the Divine nature. The Apostle tells us the conditions: "That I might know Him, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed unto His death."

Christ's death was a very special death. Other people die because they have to die, because they share Adam's death penalty. The Church class do not die because they share Adam's penalty. We have been redeemed from this. We are dying voluntarily with Jesus. We might have had share in the future Restitution. But we gave up all these earthly interests that we might be included with Christ in the Mystery hidden from the ages that we might share His nature and glory. For this reward we follow in His sacrificial footsteps.


Let us each maintain this one Spirit by which we were all baptized into this one Body. Let us abide in Christ. How may we do this? By cultivating the fruits of the holy Spirit, through study of the Word and prayer. "But," says one, "this matter of having the holy Spirit is so confusing. We have heard people say that the holy Spirit enters into each of us. How can one person enter into another, or into many persons?" We reply, It would show that there was something wrong with your reasoning faculties if you could get anything out of that idea. It is just as the Bible tells us.

The holy Spirit is the mind, disposition, energy of the Father. It is also the mind, energy, disposition of the Son, received from the Father. We are partakers of the same Spirit, if we have been begotten of the Spirit. It is the Lord's animating power in each one of us. It will manifest itself if we have it. The fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, meekness, faith, self-control. [HGL750]


Are the fruits of the Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit the same? No. The early Church received the gifts of the Spirit in addition. The Apostle declared that the gifts would pass away. (1 Cor. 13:8, 13) They did pass away when the Church had become fully established. The fruits remained, and these are far more important. These fruits, if present, are manifest in the life. Meekness is one of them, gentleness another. You find that you are not so rude as you used to be. You do not slam doors so often. You speak more gently. Sometimes you make a slip, but you make amends for it. You say, "Please pardon me, I will try to be more gentle the next time." Every time you tell some one you are sorry you did some thing wrong it cultivates patience and humility. It humbles one to apologize; but each time you thus apologize for a thoughtless word or deed, you are growing in meekness, gentleness and love.

If you have these qualities abounding, "they make you that ye shall be neither idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord." You thus have more of the holy Spirit. The holy Spirit is not a person. No Scripture, properly translated, gives any such thought. We need a supernatural illumination to understand the deep things of God and our relationship to Him. If these spiritual fruits abound in you, "an abundant entrance shall be ministered into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ."

Now, dear friends, I leave the matter with you. We have been baptized with the holy Spirit of God. We received the Spirit when we made our consecration. We were then begotten as New Creatures. It is under this Heavenly influence that we are developing the fruits of the Spirit. This brings us into closer and closer fellowship with God. His Truth is sanctifying us more and more as the days go by. Shortly, if we thus continue on, we shall hear the Master's, "Well done, good and faithful servant. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of the Lord."

Prev   Next