Give and Take

John 3:16

Give and take is the enduring message of Calvary: “For God so loved the world that He gave [gives] his one and only Son, that whoever believes in [takes] him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

For three years, Jesus preached a “give and take” gospel. Now He gathers His disciples together and unloads a bombshell! “Where I am going you cannot follow now, but you will follow later” (John 13:36). They were obviously confused by this statement. Why does Christ have to leave? Jesus said: “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever” (John 14:16).

There was a great void between Jesus’ ascension and Pentecost. For a moment the disciples were prophets without power, followers without fellowship, men without a Master.

Why? So they might comprehend the limitation of their own humanity. So they might fully understand the transition from a self-centered life to a Spirit-centered life. So they might grasp the significance of a holy life.

God in the flesh was limited by flesh and blood. He could only be in one place at a time. He could only perform one miracle at a time. He could only relate to one person at a time. But God, through the indwelling presence of His Spirit, is capable of unlimited presence, unlimited miracles, unlimited relationships! This means that all—over five billion of us—can feel His touch anywhere and everywhere.

Unfortunately, for many there is still a great chasm between Calvary and Pentecost, salvation and holiness, self and others. There are many self-absorbed Christians who have not bridged the gap.

The material world advertises, “Take much and give little.” Seminars on manipulation, motivation and meditation preach the message: “Take it any way you can get it, from anyone who will give it.”

The Pentecostal message says, “You must give before you can take.” How much? Everything!

Before Calvary, Jesus said: “Anyone who does not take his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me” (Matthew 10:38). After Pentecost, the Holy Spirit inspired Jesus’ followers to give “to anyone as he had need” (Acts 4:35). Give and take is the herald of holiness. Give and take—for goodness’ sake!

Joe Noland, A Little Greatn

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