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C021 Sifting, Shaking & Testing of the Remnant

Power promised to the remnant upon receiving the blessing of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 1:6-8  “When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?  And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.  But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Luke 24:49  “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.”

Disciples to receive the same through the gift of the Spirit

DA 821:2 “Through the gift of the Holy Spirit the disciples were to receive a marvelous power.  Their testimony was to be confirmed by signs and wonders.  Miracles would be wrought, not only by the apostles, but by those who received their message.  Jesus said, “In My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.” Mark 16:17-18.”

The Call of the Twelve

The disciples called to become fishers of men.  The gospel commission was given to them.

Mat 4:17-20  “From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.  And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brethren, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers.  And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.  And they straightway left their nets, and followed him.”

Mat 10:5-9  “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not:  But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.  Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.  Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses,”

The call and the success of the Seventy:

Luke 10:1  “After these things the Lord appointed other seventy also, and sent them two and two before his face into every city and place, whither he himself would come.”

Luke 10:16-20  “He that heareth you heareth me; and he that despiseth you despiseth me; and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me.  And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.  And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

(This danger of boasting is a danger similar to the Jews who trusted in their temple, or the young ruler with his riches, or the self satisfied Laodicean with possessions.)

The Shaking of the Seventy – One year before crucifixion, at the 3rd Passover.

The feeding of the multitude was a practical demonstration of Christ’s power for physical sustenance – 12 baskets full.  This was a promise to the 12 disciples.

John 6:9-13  “There is a lad here, which hath five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many?  And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place.  So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.  And Jesus took the loaves; and when he had given thanks, he distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would.  When they were filled, he said unto his disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost.  Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above unto them that had eaten.”

Why some sought Christ – for loaves and fishers.  The gospel net draws good and bad fish:

John 6:26-27  “Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.  Labour not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you: for him hath God the Father sealed.”

Spiritual food is required to sustain spiritual life – Christ is the supplier:

John 6:48-54  “I am that bread of life.  Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.  This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof, and not die.  I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.  The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can this man give us his flesh to eat?  Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.  Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day.”

John 6:63  “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

The Seventy were tested and shaken out.  Unbelief.  When they returned successful – Christ warned them to prepare for this testing.  Their names could be blotted out of the book.

John 6:60 “Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this, said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?”

John 6:64-66  “But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him.  And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.  From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.”

Rejoice because your Names are Written in the Book

Luke 10:17-20  “And the seventy returned again with joy, saying, Lord, even the devils are subject unto us through thy name.  And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.  Behold, I give unto you power to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy: and nothing shall by any means hurt you.  Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven.”

Rev 3:5  “He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.”

DA 393 “The news spread swiftly that by His own confession Jesus of Nazareth was turned against Him, as, the year before, it had been in Judea.  Alas for Israel!  They rejected their Saviour, because they longed for a conqueror who would give them temporal power.  They wanted the meat which perishes, and not that which endures unto everlasting life.

   “With a yearning heart, Jesus saw those who had been His disciples departing from Him, ….  His compassion was unappreciated, His love unrequited, His mercy slighted, His salvation rejected, filled Him with sorrow that was inexpressible.  …..

   “Without attempting to hinder those who were leaving Him, Jesus turned to the twelve and said, “Will ye also go away?”

   “Peter replied by asking, “Lord, to whom shall we go?”  “Thou hast the words of eternal life,”  he added.  “And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.””

DA 394 “When Jesus presented the testing truth that caused so many of His disciples to turn back, He knew what would be the result of His words; but He had a purpose of mercy to fulfill.  He foresaw that in the hour of temptation every one of His beloved disciples would be severely tested.  His agony in Gethsemane, His betrayal and crucifixion, would be to them a most trying ordeal.  Had no previous test been given, many who were actuated by merely selfish motives would have been connected with them.  When their Lord was condemned in the judgment hall; when the multitude who had hailed Him as their king hissed at Him and reviled Him; when the jeering crowd cried, “Crucify Him!” – when their worldly ambitions were disappointed, these self-seeking ones would, by renouncing their allegiance to Jesus, have brought upon the disciples a bitter, heart-burdening sorrow, in addition to their grief and disappointment in the ruin of their fondest hopes.  In that hour of darkness, the example of those who turned from Him might have carried others with them.  But Jesus brought about this crisis while by His personal presence He could still strengthen the faith of His true followers.

   “Compassionate Redeemer, … tenderly smoothed the way for the disciples, prepared them for their crowning trial, and strengthened them for the final test!

Christ’s question to the Twelve – will ye also go away?  They had no better place to go – neither have we, although there may be unfaithful ones amongst us.

John 6:67-71  “Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?  Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life.  And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.  Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?  He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve.”

The Shaking and Sifting of the Twelve – 4th Passover, just before Crucifixion

Christ and His Twelve Disciples at the Fourth and last Passover Supper (at the institution of the Lord’s Supper).  They were not prepared to go with Christ:

John 13:1-8  “Now before the feast of the passover, when Jesus knew that his hour was come that he should depart out of this world unto the Father, having loved his own which were in the world, he loved them unto the end.  And supper being ended, the devil having now put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him;  Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God;  He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.  After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.  Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet?  Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter.  Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.”

John 13:33  “Little children, yet a little while I am with you.  Ye shall seek me: and as I said unto the Jews, Whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you.”

John 13:38  “Jesus answered him, Wilt thou lay down thy life for my sake? Verily, verily, I say unto thee, The cock shall not crow, till thou hast denied me thrice.”

Judas Betrayal

      Judas’ replacement, Acts 1:26; 5T 130:1; DA 719:1,3; DA 645.

The reason why they could not go with Christ.  They had not learned the new commandment.  This experience was brought upon them to sift and test them.

John 13:34  “A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.”

Luke 22:31-38  “And the Lord said, Simon, Simon, behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat:  But I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not: and when thou art converted, strengthen thy brethren.  And he said unto him, Lord, I am ready to go with thee, both into prison, and to death.  And he said, I tell thee, Peter, the cock shall not crow this day, before that thou shalt thrice deny that thou knowest me.  And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.  Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.  For I say unto you, that this that is written must yet be accomplished in me, And he was reckoned among the transgressors: for the things concerning me have an end.  And they said, Lord, behold, here are two swords. And he said unto them, It is enough.”

Mat 26:56  “But all this was done, that the scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. Then all the disciples forsook him, and fled.”

They were not yet prepared for Gethsemane or Calvary.  The church appears about to fall – Sinners in Zion are sifted out ….

Luke 22:24  “And there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest.”

2SM 380:2 “Satan will work his miracles to deceive; he will set up his power as supreme.  The church may appear as about to fall, but it does not fall.  It remains, while the sinners in Zion will be sifted out – the chaff separated from the precious wheat.  This is a terrible ordeal, but nevertheless it must take place.  None but those who have been overcoming by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony will be found with the loyal and true, without spot or stain of sin, without guile in their mouths.  We must be divested of our self-righteousness and arrayed in the righteousness of Christ.”

The Jewish church was spewed out as a body at that time – the Remnant were purged:

Mat 23:37-39  “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.  For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.”

DA 620:1-3 “Divine pity marked the countenance of the Son of God as He cast one lingering look upon the temple and then upon His hearers.  In a voice choked by deep anguish of heart and bitter tears He exclaimed, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, …”  This is the separation struggle.  In the lamentation of Christ the very heart of God is pouring itself forth.  It is the mysterious farewell of the long-suffering love of the Deity.

   “Pharisees and Sadducees were alike silenced.  Jesus summoned His disciples, and prepared to leave the temple, not as one defeated and forced from the presence of his adversaries, but as one whose work was accomplished.  He retired a victor from the contest.

   “The gems of truth that fell from Christ’s lips on that eventful day were treasured in many hearts.  For them new thoughts started into life, new aspirations were awakened, and a new history began.  After the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ, these persons came to the front, and fulfilled their divine commission with a wisdom and zeal corresponding to the greatness of the work. … Mighty were the results flowing from the words of the Saviour to that wondering, awestruck crowd in the temple at Jerusalem.”

Three witnesses for Christ among unbelievers:

DA 770 “Upon the very day of His death, three men, differing widely from one another, had declared their faith, – he who commanded the Roman guard, he who bore the cross of the Saviour, and he who died upon the cross at His side.”

1.  Simon the Cyrenian

Luke 23:26  “And as they led him away, they laid hold upon one Simon, a Cyrenian, coming out of the country, and on him they laid the cross, that he might bear it after Jesus.”

DA 742:2 “At this time a stranger, Simon a Cyrenian, coming in from the country, meets the throng.  He hears the taunts and ribaldry of the crowd; he hears the words contemptuously repeated, Make way for the King of the Jews!  He stops in astonishment at the scene; and as he expresses his compassion, they seize him and place the cross upon his shoulders.

   “Simon had heard of Jesus.  His sons were believers in the Saviour, but he himself was not a disciple.  The bearing of the cross to Calvary was a blessing to Simon, and he was ever after grateful for this providence.  It led him to take upon himself the cross of Christ from choice, and ever cheerfully stand beneath its burden.”

2.  The Thief on the Cross

Luke 23:39‑43  “And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.  But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?  And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.  And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.  And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.”

DA 749-750 “To Jesus in His agony on the cross there came one gleam of comfort.  It was the prayer of the penitent thief.  Both the men who were crucified with Jesus had at first railed upon Him; and one under his suffering only became more desperate and defiant.  But not so with his companion.  This man was not a hardened criminal; he had been led astray by evil associations, but he was less guilty than many of those who stood beside the cross reviling the Saviour.  He had seen and heard Jesus, and had been convicted by His teaching, but he had been turned away from Him by the priests and rulers.  Seeking to stifle conviction, he had plunged deeper and deeper into sin, until he was arrested, tried as a criminal, and condemned to die on the cross.  In the judgment hall and on the way to Calvary he had been in company with Jesus.  He had heard Pilate declare, “I find no fault in Him.” John 19:4.  He had marked His godlike bearing, and His pitying forgiveness of His tormentors.  On the cross he sees the many great religionists shoot out the tongue with scorn, and ridicule the Lord Jesus.  He sees the wagging heads.  He hears the upbraiding speeches taken up by his companion in guilt: “If Thou be Christ, save Thyself and us.”  Among the passers-by he hears many defending Jesus.  He hears them repeat His words, and tell of His works.  The conviction comes back to him that this is the Christ.  Turning to his fellow criminal he says, “Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?”  …..  “And we indeed justly,” he moans; “for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss.”

   “…..  The Holy Spirit illuminates his mind, and little by little the chain of evidence is joined together.  In Jesus, bruised, mocked, and hanging upon the cross, he sees the Lamb of God, ….  Hope is mingled with anguish in his voice as the helpless, dying soul casts himself upon a dying Saviour.  “Lord, remember me,” he cries, “when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.”

   “Quickly the answer came.  Soft and melodious the tone, full of love, compassion, and power the words: Verily I say unto thee today, Thou shalt be with Me in paradise.

   “For long hours of agony, reviling and mockery have fallen upon the ears of Jesus.  As He hangs upon the cross, there floats up to Him still the sound of jeers and curses.  With longing heart He has listened for some expression of faith from His disciples.  He has heard only the mournful words, ….  How grateful then to the Saviour was the utterance of faith and love from the dying thief!

3.  The Roman Centurion

Luke 23:47  “Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.”

DA 770:1-2 “In the closing events of the crucifixion day, fresh evidence was given of the fulfillment of prophecy, and new witness borne to Christ’s divinity.  When the darkness had lifted from the cross, and the Saviour’s dying cry had been uttered, immediately another voice was heard, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God.” Matt. 27:54.

   “These words were said in no whispered tones.  All eyes were turned to see whence they came.  Who had spoken?  It was the centurion, the Roman soldier.  The divine patience of the Saviour, and His sudden death, with the cry of victory upon His lips, had impressed this heathen.  In the bruised, broken body hanging upon the cross, the centurion recognized the form of the Son of God.  He could not refrain from confessing his faith.  Thus again evidence was given that our Redeemer was to see of the travail of His soul.”

The Recovery of the Remnant

The disciples return to their fishing.  Have you caught any fish?  No!  Throw out on the right side.  I called you to fish for men, not for fish.

John 21:1-6  “After these things Jesus showed himself again to the disciples at the sea of Tiberias; and on this wise showed he himself.  There were together Simon Peter, and Thomas called Didymus, and Nathanael of Cana in Galilee, and the sons of Zebedee, and two other of his disciples.  Simon Peter saith unto them, I go a fishing. They say unto him, We also go with thee. They went forth, and entered into a ship immediately; and that night they caught nothing.  But when the morning was now come, Jesus stood on the shore: but the disciples knew not that it was Jesus.  Then Jesus saith unto them, Children, have ye any meat? They answered him, No.  And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes.”

John 21:15-17  “So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.  He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.  He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep.”

DA 811 “Another lesson Christ had to give, relating especially to Peter.  Peter’s denial of his Lord had been in shameful contrast to his former professions of loyalty.  He had dishonored Christ, and had incurred the distrust of his brethren.  They thought he would not be allowed to take his former position among them, and he himself felt that he had forfeited his trust.  Before being called to take up again his apostolic work, he must before them all give evidence of his repentance.  Without this, his sin, though repented of, might have destroyed his influence as a minister of Christ.  The Saviour gave him opportunity to regain the confidence of his brethren, and, so far as possible, to remove the reproach he had brought upon the gospel.

   “Here is given a lesson for all Christ’s followers.  The gospel makes no compromise with evil.  It cannot excuse sin.  Secret sins are to be confessed in secret to God; but, for open sin, open confession is required.  The reproach of the disciple’s sin is cast upon Christ.  it causes Satan to triumph, and wavering souls to stumble.  By giving proof of repentance, the disicple, so far as lies in his power, is to remove this reproach.”

DA 826 “The gospel is to be presented, not as a lifeless theory, but as a living force to change the life.  God desires that the receivers of His grace shall be witnesses to its power.  Those whose course has been most offensive to Him He freely accepts; when they repent, He imparts to them His divine Spirit, places them in the highest positions of trust, and sends them forth into the camp of the disloyal to proclaim His boundless mercy.  He would have His servants bear testimony to the fact that through His grace men may possess Christlikeness of character, and may rejoice in the assurance of His great love.  He would have us bear testimony to the fact that He cannot be satisfied until the human race are reclaimed and reinstated in their holy privileges as His sons and daughters.”

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