John 13: 1-9, 12-15, 34-35; 14: 1-9, 15-20, 25-26; 15: 10-11; 16: 7-13; 20: 17

RT  Paul writes in the epistle to the Ephesians that through Christ “we have … access by one Spirit to the Father”, chap 2: 18.  It is quoted almost every Lord’s day and it was thinking about that verse that led me to this section of scripture.  It is a wondrous favour that has been conferred upon us that we are brought into a living system of things, so that we may have access to the Father, where grace is expressed in all its fullness. 

         This section of scripture reminded me of the passage of the ark going through Jordan; it says the ark stood firm in the midst of the Jordan until all Israel had passed over, Josh 3:17.  And this section of scripture would help us, dear brethren, to pass over.  Things here occupy so much of our attention, and bring so many sorrows, but I am assured of this that if we knew and lived more in divine favour our sorrows would be far, far less.  There was a time in the history of most here, where we tried to put things right here through regulation, but we come to learn that things will only be right here as we know our place there, in the Father’s presence.  I think that is a thing to take to our hearts, that there is a fixed position and we will never work things out here unless we are working from a fixed position.  I would like to meet Naphtali; it says about Naphtali he was “satisfied with favour”, Deut 33: 23.  Can you say that?  He was satisfied with favour, and the next thing is that he is “full of the blessing of Jehovah”. 

         The Lord begins in this section about leading us to the Father by washing our feet.  He says, “Unless I wash thee, thou hast not part with me”, and “Do ye know what I have done to you?”  I would ask every one of us, dear brethren, to ask that question of yourself as we proceed; do you know what Christ has done to you?  You say, ’Well, He has saved me from my sins’, but much more than that is in His mind; it was to rest on these disciples that He had washed their feet.  He would remove every speck of dust from their feet, anything that would hinder from their having part with Him: “Do ye know what I have done to you?”.  That was to free us, not from sinful things exactly, but from things that would hinder us having part with Him in the Father’s presence.

         The other scriptures will lead us on as to how it is to be worked out, through the grace of Christ and in the power of the Spirit, to come to the Father.  There is a great range in these passages that we have read, but I think if we could just begin with: “Do ye know what I have done to you?”.  I remember an address in this city on sonship by Mr McCallum, and he said at the beginning, ’We often speak about laying hold of sonship, but I want to speak tonight of sonship laying hold of you’, and that is a very blessed matter.  Does the sense of divine favour in “what I have done to you” lay hold of us?  If it did there are many places we would not go, there are many things we would not do, because we have come into divine favour.  When the King of Sodom tempted Abraham with very great things he said, ’You cannot add anything to me; I know what God has done to me’, Gen 14: 17-24.  The priest met him there with bread and wine; Abraham says, ’What more can I want?’.  What can the world add to you?  Can it satisfy your longings if Christ has touched your heart?  There is only one thing that will satisfy your longings, and that is being in the Father’s presence and in the joy of His love.  I trust as the reading proceeds we will keep that in mind because that is what He goes on to in the passage we have read, “to my Father and your Father, and to my God and your God”.  Such blessed words had never been heard by human ears, but there they are: “my Father and your Father … my God and your God”.

         We begin with feet washing, a very gentle thing, but the Lord says it is to continue.  Maybe the greatest hindrance about feet washing is that I do not feel the need for my feet being washed.  Maybe I think I am quite a good Christian, my sins are forgiven, I am quite satisfied with my arrangements that I have, a good job, nice family.  I might well settle in that, but that is where you need feet washing to come into the sense of “what I have done to you”, and that is to lead us into divine favour.  I trust the brethren will open this up.

NJH  I was thinking of your reference to the ark as introducing a fixed position, and in John’s gospel the Lord starts from the fixed position.  But here He is now relating His own to that fixed position through the feet washing; is that right?

RT  I enjoyed that touch before I came to the meeting, the thought of the ark going into the Jordan and standing there, Josh 3: 17.  But that was not the object, that was the way; “I am the way”, that was the ark in the Jordan but it was until they all had passed over, and this reading I trust will help us to be more ready to pass over.  They would have come to Jerusalem far quicker, and David would have been there, Solomon would have been there in all his glory far quicker, if they had realised quicker what we now see in “what I have done to you”.

NJH  So the feet washing would remove the wilderness and its effects, would it not?

RT  Yes, it makes us comfortable in the divine presence.  Dear brethren, are we all comfortable in the presence of Jesus?  Are we all comfortable with the Spirit being with us and in us, are we all comfortable in the Father’s presence?  I do not say these things to hinder us; these are practical exercises to bring us into the enjoyment of “my Father and your Father … my God and your God”. 

         Well, the Lord begins here.  I do not want to go into the details; many questions will come up: how does it happen? where does it happen?  Well, it happens very simply!  I think Anna was a feet washer.  Anna “spoke of him to all those who waited for redemption in Jerusalem”, Luke 2: 38; speaking of Jesus is a great part of feet washing.  We could do with it in our houses, dear brethren.  You may ask, “Where does it happen?  Some say it is in the meeting, some say it is there or here, but it can happen in our houses as we speak about Jesus.  We are lifted up from our sorrows and domestic problems when we come to think about Christ, and come into divine favour.

JDG  I think what you said about feeling the need for feet washing is necessary.  I think that myself: we cannot avoid in some way the path we are going through, to be affected by the circumstances around us, but with the relief of refreshment, you get a touch of Christ.

RT  Well, give us some of your experience.

JDG  I think we have experienced it in our lifetimes.  It was a great day when I realised that I needed it, and it was a great day when I realised it was in view of having part with Him in the Father’s presence.

RT  I think that is a great thing.   We are not sensitive enough.  We get accustomed to reading the newspapers, we get accustomed to handling things at work, maybe we have to handle these things, but there is a lot of defilement from every quarter.  Satan is very, very active and that brings up the need for feet washing.  I think what you say is right: do we feel the need of it?  Coming to the meeting; I remember a brother in Kirkcaldy told us the singing of the first hymn brings us into touch with eternal life.  I think that is very fine.  It may come through a hymn being sung, it may come through meeting the brethren, greeting one another in the name of the Lord Jesus.  We get freed from things that may have disturbed us in our minds and even in our affections, as Christ comes onto our view with some sense of what He has done.  I think these disciples would often say, ‘You know, He washed my feet’.  How descending the love of Jesus.

NJH  It is the Lord’s objective that is presented in feet washing, is it not?  What is done personally by Him here, or by a saint, is that right?  What I was thinking is that He gives the objective and that objective remains, it is Christ’s objective, not any advantage for us in feet-washing another, but presenting Christ to them; is that right?

RT  Well, I think it is all part of His service to make us at home in the Father’s presence, to enjoy sonship.

RJC  This is one of the ‘oughts’ of John’s writings; “ye also ought to wash one another’s feet”.  There is a certain desire to have the brethren free and in the divine presence, for their own blessing but for the divine pleasure too, do you think?

RT  I think that if we are exercised about it we will get it, and it is available.  If I am not ready, another is ready to bring in a touch of divine favour that lifts me above the annoying things, things that may be gritty, and may annoy me and disturb me, to set me at rest.

JCG  In Ephesians the blessing is “taken … into favour in the Beloved”, chap 1: 6.  In chapter 2, do we realise that as we are raised and seated with Him in the heavenlies, verse 6?

RT  We will come to that, I hope, but that is what the Father is doing.  In this reading I am thinking about what the brethren are doing, what Christ is doing, and what the Spirit is doing.  And I trust we will get help to touch what you are saying, what the Father is doing.  And He does it as through Christ, by one Spirit.  The whole divine economy is active, dear brethren, to bring us to be at rest and at home in the enjoyment of divine favour.

JCG  We are accustomed to making way for the Holy Spirit in relation to moving over the Jordan, and into the heavenly blessing, but are you stressing that we need to be in touch with the Lord in relation to it, and in relation to everyday matters?

RTI  Is that not what He says: “Let not your heart be troubled”?  That was feet washing, you may say, “ye believe on God … In my Father’s house ...”; there is the Lord directing us away from all the sorrows, assembly sorrows, a lot of burdens that are protracted unnecessarily through not enjoying divine favour, and here they are all settled, “In my Father’s house”. 

         In that bright home of love divine,

                 The Father’s house on high,

                           (Hymn 144).

What a sense of that the Lord is bringing to them.  He says, “Let not your heart be troubled … In my Father’s house ...”; He says ’There is something there that sorrows can never touch’:

         Where deceiver ne’er can enter,

                  Sin-soiled feet have never trod;

                          (Hymn 206).

The Lord is telling them that He is going there, but He was not going alone; He is taking us in with Him and in divine thoughts we are seated in the Father’s house enjoying His favour; but then the circumstances of life press on us, and I think that is where the Lord’s service comes in, and the Spirit’s service.

RFW  There would be an immense difference between this world and the Father, would there not?  The Lord was to depart out of this world to the Father.

RT  Yes, it is so beautiful, is it not?  You get a sense of His dignity.  I have often thought about all that was pressing on His spirit in this section.  He is finished with the world in one sense, but think of what was pressing on His spirit as to Gethsemane and the cross; but nearest His heart were these dear disciples, and He was telling them of where He was going.  It was not to be an unknown place; He says, “I go to prepare you a place … that where I am ye also may be”.  Wonderful grace that He should communicate to us, that while He was leaving He was not forgetting.

JAB  What does having “part with me” mean? 

RT  “My Father and your Father … my God and your God”; He had never said those words before.  He is guiding them gently along to hear words they had never heard before, that they will have part with Him before the Father.  What would you say?

JAB  It involved nearness to Him, “with me”, but it is more than that, is it somehow sharing in our experiences the joy that you are speaking about?  It may be a different context but Peter says, “he has given to us the great and precious promises, that through these ye may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust”, 2 Pet 1: 4.  That is the context, the background, you have been speaking about, that there is something of the divine nature that we can have part in as knowing Christ in this way; is that right?

RT  That verse was in my mind; that ”ye may become partakers of the divine nature”: what a favour!  That is sonship in its fulness.  It is being at home and at rest in the Father’s house and that is what He has done to us.  “That … ye may become” is now, dear brethren, in these circumstances, so that we turn naturally to the Father.  The divine nature would be that there is something working in me by the Spirit, and by the service of Christ our great high Priest toward us, that we may remember that, that we “become partakers of the divine nature”; what a favour!

GAB  It says, “as I have done to you”; when this service is rendered does it not bring Christ before the soul?  It is being done in the same way as He did it.

RT  Yes, that is where we learn it.  We learn everything from Christ; anything that is of any profit that is going through.  And then He speaks of the foundation of it - maybe we have not said enough about it, but the foundation of it all is that we love one another “as I have done to you”.  We all know each other naturally far too well, and people get down, they speak about how depressed they have got, how far   away they have gone, what things they have done, as if we would not do them, but that is not this.  This is a question of “as I have done to you”, as we have received divine forgiveness, divine favour, divine blessing, we are to be communicators of that as knowing what Christ has done to us.

TDB  The Lord Jesus sets out throughout the section what He knows and He desires that they should come into something of what He knows.

RT  Well, this is ‘knowing by experience’.  We have all known how our sins have overwhelmed us, we have all known what it was to have our sins forgiven; He did that, but the same grace has touched our hearts as our brother has reminded us, that we may “escape the corruption that is in the world” having become partakers of the divine nature.  You cannot have it without knowing it, and you are not a believer in Christ in the joy of salvation unless you know it, consciously; and what we know becomes a regulating feature in the way we move here in our pathway through divine grace.

DBR  Our brother raised the matter of “part with me”; it is a very precious thought of being “with me”.  It is not only that we have been blessed by Him but we have been blessed with Him.  I wondered if it would be a great exercise with each one of us to be conscious of our link with Christ, and our place with Christ.  You were saying earlier that we will not really function here until we know our place there; there is a great deal of importance in that, do you think?

RT  Absolutely!  And we grow into it gradually, I suppose.  I have often quoted the brother who came to see that he was a saint in purpose before he was a sinner in practice, and the practice never altered the purpose.  These meetings are to stimulate us in knowing that we have a place in divine favour, a cloudless favour that will never be dimmed, but the joy of it now comes through our links with Christ and the Spirit to bring us into the conscious sense and enjoyment of the Father’s love.  Maybe we will have another reading, and we will speak about the Father.

DBR  It is a wonderful thing to appreciate that He took our place when no one else could take it, but it was all in view of sharing with Him in His place, is that the idea?

RT  Very good; that is chapter 13 before chapter 14!  The great end of the feet washing is that we might know that we have a place in the Father’s house, in Him.  It brings us back, dear brethren, to this, we cannot get away from it: “ye have love amongst yourselves”.  If you want to know what that is read 1 Corinthians 13, and beloved Mr A J Gardiner used to say repeatedly, ’When you read Corinthians 13, instead of “love” in verses 4 to 7, put ,‘I’: ’I have long patience, I am kind, I am not emulous of others, I am not puffed up, I am not seeking my own things’, and that tests you as to how much love you have.  Love is the basis, and that is what the Lord expresses in chapter 13, condescending love, but now in John 14 we have got ascending love, but we must know the one before we know the other, and here it is; it says, “Let not your heart be troubled”.

JSp  Would this bear on “he that sanctifies and those sanctified”, Heb 2: 11?  There is the special place of Christ, He is the Sanctifier, and we are brought in as those sanctified, “all of one”.

RT  Yes, to be at rest!  It is to bring us there to the Father, is it not?  It says, “will ... sing thy praises”, v12.  We are free from these limitations and the service of Christ is going on today, to free us from those limitations that we may know and enjoy the favour of being with Him in the Father’s house.  It says, “I go to prepare you a place”; we could well understand Him going there, since He deserved to be there in the right of His Person, as well as what He did, but here He says, “I go to prepare you a place”.  Now in chapter 14 we know our place there, know what it is that He has prepared that place, and then He says, “and if I go.... I am coming again and will receive you to myself, that where I am ye also may be”.  What an expression of divine love!

NJH  So “part with me” must be the basis of collective movement, is that right?

RT  Yes, but it is done individually; go on.

NJH  We come into it individually, but it is the basis of moving together in the divine service.

RT  I think that chapters 14, 15, 16 and 17 are bringing us collectively together; it is bringing us in.  Chapter 13 is basic, and love among ourselves, dear brethren, is basic to us entering together.  He has gone there before us, “I go to prepare you a place ...... that where I am ye also may be”. 

DBR  Do you think that what you referred to as to Joshua, the ark going through Jordan, and the people completely passing over would open up real concern for one another, and love for one another, that would desire all to be involved in this great movement towards the Father?  You see love amongst yourselves in that way.

RT  Yes; so maybe it needs a little water, a touch of the towel, to stimulate one another into this favour.  They used to say a good rub of the towel helps the circulation, and so it does.  The Corinthian epistles are full of it; full of the water and the towel.  Paul did not adjust Corinth through his apostolic authority; he adjusted Corinth through his love for them and his thoughts about them as divine property.  He brought in throughout Corinthians - I am always impressed with it - touches that are Ephesian in character.  “Ye have been washed, but ye have been sanctified” (1 Cor 6: 11); He “has been made to us wisdom from God, and righteousness, and holiness, and redemption”, 1 Cor 1:30.  These are features that you would never expect in the Corinthian setting, but there they are; he brings divine light and divine favour into their circumstances, so that they might know what He has done to them.

QAP  Ephesians 5 refers to “the washing of water by the word”, (v 26), and the nourishing and cherishing, (v 29); does the personal service of the Lord Jesus continue, as well as His example to us to serve one another?

RT  Yes, He is carrying it on, but that is “washing of water by the word”.  He goes much further there; it is nourishing and cherishing; that is what we will get as our feet are washed, as we have love working among ourselves.  Nourishing and cherishing is what He is doing in these chapters.  He is nourishing and cherishing them that they might be at home with the Father.

RGr  Do you think that the way that the Lord appeals even to Laodicea would bear on this?  He says “if any one hear my voice and open the door, I will come in unto him and sup with him”, which I suppose is chapter 13, but go on to “he with me”, Rev 3: 20.  There is nothing less than that in His mind, do you think?

RT  Well, that is right.  If we miss our feet washing He may have to be a bit more severe the next time.  I suppose that is Laodicea; He had to be a bit more severe to them.  They had missed their feet washing, they had missed some of the meetings, missed singing the hymns together with the brethren, missed speaking about Christ in the home; maybe these things had got a little bit dulled, and now He says, ’You are puffed up’.  It is very near to us, is it not?  You can get puffed up and forget about the feet washing, forget about His love, His great desire to have us where He is, but if it laid hold of us, “I go to prepare you a place ..... I am coming again and shall receive you to myself, that where I am ye also may be”.  That is the whole result of our wilderness pathway, to be where Christ now is, and to be at home in His presence.

PAG  Is one of the things that the Lord has done to us to show us the Father?  I was just wondering if the way that the Lord loved His own was really a demonstration of the Father’s love in practice.

RT  Yes; I was impressed in reading through this that as the Lord brings us in in chapter 14, some of which we read, He refers to the Spirit.  He is going away and He is coming again, but He says that the meantime will be filled out in the Spirit’s grace, and He proceeds as we have seen in some on these verses.  The Spirit is sent by Christ.  He has asked for the Spirit to be with us; the Spirit  goes forth from with the Father (John 15: 26), and He comes Himself.  Another divine Person has come to maintain us until we reach the Father’s house in its fulness, would you say?

PAG  So the demonstration of divine affections is in the way in which divine Persons have moved to make them known.  Is it a great thing to think that divine Persons actually serve us?

RT  Yes, and a demonstration of it is in the saints.  It says that He will come and will bring demonstration to the world, that is a public thing.  But the demonstration of the Spirit here, and the demonstration of Christ being in glory with my name on His breast, is that the Holy Spirit is here with you and in you.

DBR  In chapter 14 Philip says to Him, “Lord, shew us the Father and it suffices us”.  What would you say about that?

         I wondered if Philip had some understanding so that he says “it suffices us”, as if he was reaching forward to something.  Each of us would be tested by what you are bringing in, but do you think that we should have some sense of what is available so that we are sufficed with it?

RT  I think that is just what the Lord says.  He says, “Am I so long a time with you, and thou hast not known me”; that would come home to us would it not?  Have we learnt that if we have seen Christ we have seen the Father?  Think of these things that He did: He said Himself, it was the Father that did them, chap 14: 10.  So companionship with Jesus, dear brethren, will soon bring us to realise who the Father is.  But in answer to the question here, He says, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father unless by me”.  The Lord puts us through His hands to bring us into the practical enjoyment of ‘sonship laying hold of us’, does He not?

JCG  Do you think that what precedes that, “ye believe on God, believe also on me”; the strengthening of our faith, underlies what the Lord is revealing?  Our strength of faith would help us to fasten on to what the Lord’s words are.

RT  Well, tell us how to strengthen our faith.

JCG  It is communion with Him particularly, what would you say?

RT  Well, we would not keep away from the meetings.  Is that not a great strengthening to our faith?  Prayer meeting, other meetings; I know the importance of that strengthening our faith.  I may feel the overwhelming burdens, but I see another brother who has overcome, and he can speak to me about Christ.  So strengthening our faith is very important but it is in a Person.  That is what the Lord is saying here; He says, “I am the way”.  They wanted some signs; we often want some scriptures and so on.  We do not understand things, what is the scripture for them: well, the Lord says, “I am the way”.  “I”, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”.  He directs them, not to the details and not to the obstacles, but He directs them to Himself.  It is a Person that is the way, the truth and the life.

JDG  He says, “the Father himself has affection for you, because ye have had affection for me”, chap 16: 27.  So there was Himself, and then there was the Father Himself.  He had the Father’s name when He was here.

RT  In this section the whole wealth of the Father’s love and affection is coming out in Christ, and that is where we learn it, is it not?  We learn the Father in Jesus.

JDG  He had fulfilled that completely and then He commits them all into the Father’s hand in His prayer.

RT  Yes, He does.  We will read that, I trust, later, but here He is directing them.

  The door is wide open, dear brethren, because He went in with the saints on His breast.  He did not go in alone as He had a right to do, but He went in and He took the saints with Him to our place above.  Without the enjoyment of it, dear brethren, our way here will be a wilderness journey with sorrows after sorrows, but the way through the wilderness was seen in Caleb, that he had the land in his heart, Josh 14: 7.  And that is what the Lord is really bringing to these persons; He is showing them the way in: “No one comes to the Father unless by me”.  It is through Christ by one Spirit we have access to the Father, Eph 2: 18.

DBR  Is it the inwardness of Christianity?  I was thinking about verse 20: “In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”.  I wondered if passing over we are brought into the inwards of Christianity.

RT  Three times over in these chapter He speaks about “in that day”, chap 14: 20, 16: 23, 26.  The fullness of everything has opened up because Christ went into heaven with the saints on His breast.  That has opened up heaven as it had never been before.  He is not there alone, but He has carried us in His affections into that place of favour and now the Holy Spirit has come, another divine Person, to maintain us with the power; the power is in the Spirit to enjoy that place of favour that Christ has opened up for us in the Father’s house.

JAB  What does the Lord mean when He says “because I live ye also shall live”?  You referred earlier to His words, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”, and we sometimes think of that as a grand statement of truth.  But is that to become our experience too, that because the Lord Jesus is living, we can live and have that character of life.

RT  A sceptic asked a brother, ’What would happen if you woke up some morning and found it was all a myth?’.  He replied, ’I would fall to pieces’.  “Because I live”; He lives: I live.  The brother added, ’I was speaking to Him this morning’.  Someone was trying to say it was all a fable, but there was a man that in simple experience had been speaking to Jesus that morning; how could anybody say it was a myth?  “Because I live ye also shall live”.

JAB  He lives for us, does He not?  It has already been referred to, He is serving us.  He always lives to intercede for us, Heb 7: 25.  He lives to appear before the face of God for us, Heb 9: 24.  It is wonderful!

RT  He died for us, but He lives for us.  I think that is a fundamental thing to have in our hearts, that He lives for us.  Therefore we view Him as our great high Priest.  He has gone in with the saints on His breast, and this passage of scripture was written by one who was leaning on the bosom of Jesus, chap 13: 25.  I think if we leaned more on the bosom of Jesus we would very soon see our name on that breastplate, and that is what is going to regulate us, and dignify us, and give us power through the Spirit’s grace to be here in the enjoyment of our place above.

JDG  It says there, “I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”.  That was the verse that liberated JND, I often think about that.

RT  Tell us about it.

JDG  I do not know if I can say much, but that is what delivered him.  He realised the liberty; I suppose there is sonship there, us being in Christ and I in you.  Can you help us as to it?

RT  I am glad of what you say about Mr Darby, that it brought him into the liberty that he was given in the divine economy of the Father, the Son and the Spirit all active, and very soon we will be in new bodies.  And so it is to affect us in our pathway here.

JDG  It just always appealed to me to search out the depths of it, what it was that touched him; it liberated him from all around, penitence, and everything else, and set him free in the divine presence.

RT  Well, it is by the Spirit that is enjoyed, is it not?  Another divine Person has come to make the reality of that true in a practical way in my heart and in my life, “ye in me, and I in you”.

JCG  If we experienced increasingly ’Christ in us’, would it help us to understand His coming to us in relation to the supper?  The state that we have, us enjoying Christ in us, would you say?

RT  Well, you will never enjoy “Christ in you” unless you enjoy you “in Christ”. 

JCG  Help us to understand the difference.  Is “in Christ” that I have a standing before God in Him; but then am I working practically to display these features: that is, Christ in me?

RT  And how did I get into that place?  He took me in!  He forgave my sins, He gives me help day by day in  the exercises that come up, Satan tempting me at every quarter, but I have a place in Christ, that nothing, dear brethren, - nothing - can disturb.  It is a settled place of favour in Christ.  Then if I dwell on that the Holy Spirit is here that there may be an expression of Christ in me.  I think that is the great work of the Holy Spirit, to form Christ in our affections.

DCB  Mr Stoney brings in the thought in his ministry of union with Christ personally, relating to the verse here, “In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”, vol 2 p170.  Would you help us on that thought?

RT  I think the Lord is referring to the Spirit’s day, is He not, that a divine Person has come?  There were forty days when in heaven there was the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The Lord was there and the Spirit came from that atmosphere, of what Christ had accomplished.  What days they must have been in heaven, Christ having accomplished all that work!  And from that place of divine favour the Spirit has come bringing that favour to be in us.  It says of the Spirit He will be “with you”, and it says He will be “in you”.  And He is in us as we make more room for Him, make room for Him to occupy us not with ourselves, with our sins, but with the place that we have in divine affections.

RGr  Do you think the experience that Rebecca had would bear on this?  There came a point in her history when it was said to her, “Wilt thou go with this man?” (Gen 24: 58): that related to the Spirit.  The Spirit is often represented as an influence like wind, or water, or rivers, but do we have to get a substantial impression of who the Spirit is, and His greatness, and entrust ourselves to Him?

RT  Yes, indeed.   The Lord is conveying that here too, is He not?  He says, “I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you”.  I suppose that would be by the Spirit, would it?  The orphan position is felt, but it is filled up by the Spirit maintaining us in the joy of our heavenly portion.  So the Lord goes on to say, “These things I have said to you ... but the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name ...”.  That is a very interesting verse, “whom the Father will send”.  There is the Father’s affections; He saw us here, poor feeble creatures, and the Father sent the Spirit.  I think we have read the scriptures that cover it all.  The Lord sends Him, the Father sends Him, and He comes Himself.  A divine Person, the Holy Spirit of God, put Himself in a position through His affection for us, where the Father would send Him in Christ’s name, and Christ would send Him as thinking about us.

RGr  Do you think then that “part with me” would involve an understanding of the relationships that divine Persons have with each other?

RT  Indeed, and They are One.  One God, the Father of all, one Lord, one Spirit, and it is all expressed today in that the Spirit comes here as a Comforter.  He says “the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name”; now, think of what Christ had been to these men during those three and a half years.  What Christ had been to them!  He was everything to them, but He says that the Spirit will come “in my name”.  The Father sends Him, “in my name”.

PAG  The Spirit is referred to as the Holy Spirit of promise (Eph 1: 13), and it says in Acts “having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this which ye behold and hear”, chap 2: 33.  Would that suggest to us that the pouring out of the Holy Spirit is part of the purpose of God?

RT  Oh yes, it must have been.  God was never taken aback by public breakdown.  The Lord here is looking at the sin question being forever gone!  It had not been met yet, but He is looking here at a day.  “In that day”; He says that three times, that is the Spirit’s day.  He will bring the whole wealth of heaven to bear upon us in our wilderness path that we may not be overwhelmed by it, do you think?

PAG  Yes, and I think what you say about God not being taken aback is important.  God is proceeding with what He always had in mind, and He always had in mind that the Father should receive from sons what was really worked out by divine affection, do you think?

RT  Well, the breakdown happened because I lost the enjoyment of my place in divine purpose.  That is something that has never been interfered with.  That is Naphtali, as I said; “Satisfied with favour”.  He was not seeking a great name here; in principle he says, ’You can add nothing to me, I have got all I need and enjoy in the presence of Christ’.  So that the Spirit comes to be all that they need: the place that Christ had filled in their hearts and in their lives, the Holy Spirit has come to do, that they may come into this good land.  It says “he shall teach you all things, and will bring to your remembrance all the things which I have said to you”.  When things come up we say, ’Where is the scripture for it?’.  But - what is the Spirit saying?  The Spirit will never operate outside the area of Scripture - I know that - but what we want to get is, “What is the Spirit saying?”.  What is the voice from heaven saying?  Scripture will substantiate it, scriptures are like the banks of the truth, but the truth is in divine Persons: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life”, and that is true, and the Spirit is the Spirit of truth.  It is not flowing out of the books (it is there, we thank God for it), but it is flowing out of our living, conscious relationships with a divine Person, the Holy Spirit of God.

         I was impressed that the Lord was going away, and He speaks about Himself in the Father’s house, but most of the time from this He is speaking about the Spirit, that there is a divine Person here maintaining things to the Father’s pleasure, maintaining the saints too in the joy of their place in divine favour.

NJH  He says, “It is profitable for you that I go away”.  This had never taken place before, the Spirit coming personally, another divine Person.  And while the way the truth and the life was in Christ the power of entering into that way and truth and life was in the Spirit; is that right?

RT  It is an added touch, is it not?  The Lord had been here but now there is an added touch.  The Comforter is sent of the Father, He has brought the Father’s things within our reach, within our hearts, and He has brought the glory of Christ, having come in Christ’s name, there is not only what Christ was here, but He brings in the name that Christ has above, the Son of the Father’s love.  The Spirit has brought all that to bear on our hearts: a regulating feature in our pathways here.

JSp  He “bears witness with our spirit, that we are children of God”, Rom 8:16.  How close He has come, into my very soul, showing me of these things.

RT  We could never have known “my Father and your Father ...my God and your God” without the Spirit’s work in our hearts, and He has brought it, has He not?  That is very sweet to think of.  Divine Persons have thought about everything and they have voluntarily moved into the position of Father, Son and Holy Spirit that the saints of this dispensation might be enriched and edified, to soon take on bodies of glory and be at home to be eternally with Him.

NMcK  In John 14, the Lord goes to prepare our place, there is a place there for us, and He has gone in there to take it for us, but does the feet washing and the Spirit mean that we are to be prepared for that place?

RT  I think that is right: the Spirit has come, the Lord went into to prepare the place, the Spirit has come out to prepare us for the place.  It is very important to lay hold of the place; it is in the Father’s house.  It is not a name in this world, it is not anything here that man can give; the place we have in divine affections is out of this world, but it is in the Father’s house.

DBR  Do you pray often to the Spirit?

RT  Well, more than I used to.  And I would say the Father means more to me today than ever He did.  And I am very conscious of being on Christ’s shoulder, one of His own.  It is a simple thing, dear brethren, a very simple thing, but the Lord leads us through the exercises of this life that we may come to know Him better, a Comforter, a Saviour, a Friend, a Father.  To think of the names that divine Persons have taken, names of love; Father, the Comforter, Saviour, Shepherd.  What names! The very names themselves convey to us the greatness and grandeur of divine thoughts about us; may we be the more ready, dear brethren, to be exercised to have our feet clean, to be able to walk with clean feet and unfettered hearts into that realm of divine favour that is already prepared for us for Christ’s name’s sake.

DBR  It says, “for he abides with you”; the Lord left, He had to leave, but the Spirit abides with us.  It seems to me that it would appeal to the youngest believer here that we could turn at any time to the Holy Spirit.

RT  “That he may be with you”, that is objective; but “shall be in you”, that is subjective, is it not?  And it will be His last touch will it not, at the rapture; it will be “on account of his Spirit which dwells in you”, Rom 8: 11.  Beautiful touch that is: He will be here with us all the time, and He will go with us at the rapture.  He will be with us eternally: there will never be a time in the Father’s house without the Spirit being with us!  We will be in bodies of glory, but divine Persons will be there in all their grace and love towards us so that we are really at home in it.

Glasgow

5th October 2013