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Consider this elect:  If the price of discipleship is to hate even “his father and mother, his wife and children, his brothers and sisters—yes, even his own life,” as Jesus said, or else “he cannot be My disciple,” then what must we hate to be apprentices of the Holy Spirit?  Jesus said, “And anyone who does not carry his own cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple,” then what must an elect of the Holy Spirit, whom He has set apart for the work He has for him, carry?  When Jesus asked His disciples to lay down and give up their families, houses and fields, even their own lives for Him, He was only asking them to do what He had already done and was about to do.  And when He asked, no, demanded that His disciples should also carry their own cross, He was asking them to do what He was about to do and has done as well.  You see, Jesus never asks anyone to do anything that He has not done or is prepared to do, and neither do His Father and the Holy Spirit for that matter.  This is a family trait, if you like, a pattern of behaviour by which you know that family.  The only reason Jesus asks us to serve is because He came to serve.  And because of His oneness with the Father, you can be assured that it is also the case for the Father and His Spirit, the Holy Spirit.

So then, as you learn to think well and think the best of God in your apprenticeship to control and master the power of thought, remember that in all things the Holy Spirit will ask nothing of you that He has not already being doing and done for Himself.  For the disciples of Christ, as they count the cost of their discipleship and take up the walk with the Lord Jesus, this is what is promised of them:   “I tell you the truth, no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for Me and the Gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age (homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—and with them, persecutions) and in the age to come, eternal life.  But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”  The hundredfold that the disciples are to receive are of this age— so, if disciples receive the hundredfold for their obedience to Jesus, what then do apprentices of the Holy Spirit receive?

And what is the cost of apprenticeship?  For that answer, look at what it cost the Holy Spirit.  As surely as Jesus’ ministry cost Him suffering and even His life, so too the Holy Spirit’s ministry has cost Him.  God does nothing without first paying the cost Himself; that is His nature and His character.

You and I know that which God prophesied through the prophet Joel He has fulfilled, however belatedly on the day of Pentecost, as recorded in Acts 2 when the Holy Spirit came upon the church as tongues of fire.  However, the word of God did not say the Holy Spirit would be poured on all disciples and believers of Jesus, whose sins have been washed away by their repentance and faith in Christ, but that, “In the last days,” God says, “I will pour out My Spirit on all people,” so that on that first Pentecost day after the ascension, the Holy Spirit was poured on all the people of the Earth, and baptised into the gathered disciples and believers in that upper room.  The proof of that outpouring was the crowd that was gathered outside ready to hear the message— and the proof of the baptism was the church coming out of the house speaking the message in tongues. 

So what price did the Holy Spirit pay on that day as He was poured out on all flesh?  He lost His holiness in the sense that He was no longer set apart, set aside, to be in the Father and Son and Their people only, but on all peoples, even those who do not belong to the Father, Israel, and to Jesus, the church.  He remains the Holy Spirit, yes, but in truth, He is no longer set aside, but is common to all men, all of whom are sinners, some of whom are repentant and others not.  Certainly, under these circumstances, the word ‘holy’ in this context is not holiness from the avoidance of touching unclean things, for the Holy Spirit Himself has lost His holiness as one understands religious holiness and exclusiveness.  However, the Spirit Himself retains His holiness because He remains within His own mind, heart, soul and might, entirely devoted to the glory and welfare of the Father and Jesus who sent Him.  He is and remains the Spirit of Truth because He always speaks only for the glory of He who sent Him, and He remains the Spirit of Holiness because Jesus Christ is the only Man whom the Holy Spirit made alive through whom Jesus went and preached to the spirits held in prison from the days of Noah, and then raised Him from the dead to declare Jesus by power to be the Son of God.  Although Jesus was not the first man to be raised from the dead, for both Elijah and Elisha raised a dead boy, and Elisha’s bones raised a dead man, Jesus alone was permitted through the Spirit to preach in prison and then be raised.  If the raising of a dead man declares that person to be the Son of God, then there is nothing holy about Jesus’ resurrection.  It is in the exclusive resurrection of Jesus Christ that the Spirit of God retained His holiness, a holiness not sullied or set aside even after He was poured upon all people.  A holiness then that is recognisable by a holy people, for as Jesus said, “The world cannot accept Him… nor knows Him…” and since He is not even recognised or accepted, then to the world He is not the Holy Spirit.  Even now, then, His holiness is testified of because it is a holy people that know and accept Him.  The holiness of the people that confirms the holiness of the Holy Spirit are those who are set apart for Jesus and Jesus alone.  Yet to the world, He is not accepted nor do they know Him.

Likewise then, the cost of apprenticeship for the elect is their holiness as man defines holiness, with their religious rules that define sin and their decrees as to how those sins are to be avoided and punished for.  To the rest of the world and the church that is of the world, an elect’s life will not be able to meet their standard and definition of holiness, just like Jesus’ life was not able to meet the standards and definition of the Pharisees and Sadducees of His day.  Jesus did many things that the teachers of the law disapproved of including healing on the Sabbath and associating with ‘sinners’.  To them, He was a blasphemer, and they said, “This Man is not from God, for He does not keep the Sabbath…  We know this Man is a sinner,” and even, “demon-possessed.”  However, Jesus’ holiness was never based on men’s standards, but rather, by this one standard of God— He always only ever did what God did and said what God said out of love for God in perfect obedience, even if it meant death on the cross.  The Holy Spirit declared Jesus with power to be the Son of God because of Jesus’ exclusiveness in His obedience to God.

If the early disciples of Jesus would be rejected by the Jews from whom they were called, for the entire early church was made up only of Jews until the Gentiles were brought in, so then, the elect of the Holy Spirit have been given the task by the Holy Spirit that will ensure that they will be persecuted and rejected also, firstly by the church and then by the world.  To prove this, let us look at the two witnesses of Revelation 11, two men who are prophets who shut up the sky so that it will not rain during the time they are prophesying; and they have the power to turn the waters into blood and to strike the Earth with every kind of plague as often as they want.

Do they behave in any way like the licensed and ordained ministers of the church as the world knows and expects the ordained and duly licensed qualified ministers to behave?  You see, the world expects the duly licensed, qualified and ordained ministers of the church to lead prayers for rain, to end the drought, to lead protest movements to protect the environment, and certainly, even if they could heal the sick, they are not ever expected to strike cities with plagues!  As such, these two witnesses, also called olive trees and lampstands, are not members of the church conventional but of the church that the world does not know and cannot accept.  That is why when they are killed the world will refuse them burial and celebrate by sending each other gifts.  Barnabas and Saul were raised and set aside by the Holy Spirit not to just preach to the Gentiles, but having preached to the Gentiles, to have the insight and mindset to see what James the Younger was proposing was wrong.  They were to have been able to stand up and oppose James the Younger to his face in Acts 15.  They didn’t, and by hard experience, Paul came to realise later their mistakes as he finally had to oppose Peter to his face and watch his mentor, Barnabas, led astray into hypocrisy by men from James.

Had Barnabas and Saul stood up that day to oppose James the Younger after all the greetings and recognition they had received for their work amongst the Gentiles, they would have become most unpopular, perhaps even considered heretics by the church of Acts 15.  Indeed, Paul was such a firebrand and a threat to the acceptability and popularity of the church amongst the Jews that when he was sent up again by the Holy Spirit, the elders and James immediately neutralised him by having Paul agree that he would take part in an Old Testament ritual.  A chapter earlier (Acts 20) it was the Holy Spirit who compelled Paul, but now in Acts 21 it was the church who compelled Paul.  When Paul listened to the church he was imprisoned, something the Holy Spirit knew beforehand he would do, so He spoke through Agabus, “In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.”  The rest is history, and we are here today without Jesus reigning in Jerusalem because of that history.

So then, the cost of apprenticeship is evident.  It is the loss of holiness, as men define holiness, as you are trained to live a life of power that is so foreign to the church that indeed, you will be considered sinners, demon-possessed, blasphemers of the Holy Spirit and the very sons of Satan.  Your holiness will be this:  That the Lord knows who belongs to Him because we have proof that we have obeyed and used our ears to listen and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches.  Our proof is this:  With all who hear, we say, “Come,” and not do we just say it, but we take captive all our thoughts so that with all our soul, heart, mind and might, we think of all conceivable means to fulfil the Scriptures so that Jesus can come, and our prayers and every action are directed at hastening that arrival, even if it means staying alive until He arrives.  And since it is your thoughts that are known only to the Holy Spirit, and men can only know you by your words and actions, then elect, you now know and understand why it is the Holy Spirit Himself who will declare you holy by His power and not the church by their commentaries, observations and discernment.

Consider the commentaries, observations and discernments made by believers and even disciples about what is and what isn’t God, and you will be reminded of the Pharisees of John 9 who investigated the healing of the man born blind.  Men who have never themselves been able to heal the eyes of a man born blind, judging the authenticity of the work of the One who opened the eyes.  When you see it you weep for the absolute stupidity of such comments.  No, only the One who can open blind eyes can authenticate the work of another who opens blind eyes.  Although the Creator is the best Judge of what is His and what is not, but His students will likewise be able to recognise whether they serve the same Master and were taught by the same Master.

The days are coming when there will be three prophets walking the world stage.  One will be known for his signs, wonders and miracles, even calling down fire from Heaven, and the other two will be known for their ferocity, devouring anyone who opposes them with fire from their mouths and the disasters they cause.  To one the world will flock along with many in the churches, and from the other two they will flee and rejoice when they hear of their demise at the hands of the one who is exalted by the first.  You know where to stand because you have been forewarned, but always remember, the rest of the elders and the church do not see as you see, for they have never seen what you have seen, never done what you have done, and their destination is not what you have destined for yourself.  Indeed, learn the lesson of Moses, even though Israel cried out for deliverance, no sooner did Moses appear that they rejected him, and as soon as they were free they cursed him for bringing them out of Egypt to die.

What will it cost you?  Apprentices, it will cost you your holiness and your acceptance by those you are sent to, for though you will remain with them, they will not know you.  Just as your Lord has never been received, accepted and acknowledged as He was meant to be, but has had to spend the last 2000 years poured upon all flesh and has had to put up with all manner of ignorance, so likewise you will have to.  Thus, those who pick up the thought of the Spirit, the one desire of the Spirit and the bride, and join unceasingly with Them in chorus and say, “Amen, come, Lord Jesus,” even as they cleave their hands to the plough and bend their backs to lift up the Son of Man until He arrives, will likewise receive the reward of apprenticeship.

For as surely as Jesus clearly made known the cost and the reward of discipleship, so also the cost of apprenticeship is made known, and the reward as well.  To those who would give up their holiness and risk even their very soul to gain this world for Christ, as Jesus asked, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” the answer is nothing.  But what does one gain who forfeits his very soul for God’s glory on Earth— the answer is satisfaction.

The reward of one who completes his apprenticeship with the Holy Spirit is the satisfaction of knowing you have done all you can do, and that there is nothing you have held back, even your very soul to gain glory for God who elected and sent you.  You will have no need of acknowledgement by Jesus before the Father and His angels, or rewards of mansions in Heaven or on Earth, for our reward is the reward of the Holy Spirit Himself who laid down His holiness to be poured on all flesh until God’s will is complete.  Your reward is the satisfaction of Jesus arriving and putting His feet on the Mount of Olives.  Your reward is the satisfaction of seeing the martyrs avenged and each and everyone receiving their crown and throne to reign with Jesus for the Millennium.  Your reward is the satisfaction of watching Earth restored to what it has always been meant for, and even New Jerusalem is not so much your reward, but your satisfaction of seeing Jesus, the beloved Son of God, receive His bride and watch Them move on into life eternal.  Satisfaction of a work well done is the reward for those who would pay the price and risk all they have gained— once more— for Christ and His Father.  Amen!

 

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