You look at Israel’s history. While in the wilderness for forty years, the one thing that was the issue being fought out was the Lordship of God: they were fighting with that matter of absolute submission and subjection to Him in their own hearts, their own minds, their own wills. For forty years that battle went on; and it was not until the Jordan made the great divide between that kind of thing and the coming of the Captain of the Lord’s host into His place; it was not until then that they moved on into the great fullness which God had intended for them. The inheritance was altogether frustrated while the battle of lordship went on. The inheritance was entered upon as soon as that lordship was established. Lordship is the key to fullness.
In the New Testament, it is just the same. Here you have it in the case of the Apostles, the twelve. You can see their defeat and their weakness and their failure and their poverty until Christ becomes Lord, absolute Lord; the Holy Ghost making Him Lord in them as He was Lord in Heaven and then they come into fullness! Pentecost – “Jesus Christ is Lord” – and then fullness!
Take Peter. You remember, Peter had to have a special battle over this. Fullness is a progressive thing. We do not enter upon it all at once, and every fresh measure of that fullness is preceded by some fresh conflict as to the Lordship of Christ, and Peter had several. Peter in Joppa on the housetop had a vision, a sheet let down from Heaven in which were all manner of four-footed creatures, reptiles, unclean beasts, and the voice saying, “Rise, Peter; kill and eat.” Peter said, ‘Not so, Lord; nothing unclean has ever passed my lips.’ And the thing was done thrice, the Lord was insistent; and Peter was wondering what the vision meant, when the messengers of Cornelius arrived from Caesarea. And what was his note there? Well, his note was: “He is Lord of all”. What happened? Peter entered into something bigger than he had ever had before; that is, he found a bigger Christ than he had known before. In recounting what happened, he says: ‘Who was I to withstand God?’
‘Who was I? The Lord took this thing in hand and showed Himself far bigger than myself and my tradition – He simply lifted me right out of my old bondages and limitations and landed me out of my depths altogether!’ It was all upon that one inward triumph, the Lordship of Jesus Christ.
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