For the proclamation of the Gospel and the edification of the Body of Christ
His Friends Must Also Die
Messages concerning the way of the cross, and bearing fruit.
By Eliseo Apablaza
Readings: Rom 8;36; Rom 14:7; 1 Cor 15:31, 36; 2 Cor 4:10-12; 5:14-15; Col 3:3.
As with the previous books, the one you now hold in your hand contains the name of the author only by accident. The real truth, the inspiration, content and form are the fruits of many of God's servants that have given this their valiant support.
The messages that are here transcribed were delivered orally in the intimacy and womb of the local church, to which God is speaking, in these days, with a special tenderness as well as a special force.
The voice of God does not come through or for a man, but through and for the church. Therefore, I must first of all acknowledge the body of Christ in which I am immersed, and defended.
Then, my fellow servants Gonzalo, Roberto, Cesar and Claudio; and the pastors of the church in Temuco: Jose, Rolando, Samuel, and Atelio. Also, Ruben for his beautiful gester, to Rodrigo for his timely promptings. I also value Mario for his detailed attention to the lay-out.I appreciate the "Aguas Vivas" staff, that in an almost anonymous way have made it possible that this book be published: Alica, Virginia, Esmerita, Rocio, Silvia, Jorge and little Diego.
Not only to these already mentioned am I a debtor, but I appreciate my wife Alicia and my children Mical (Alexis and Joaquin), Damaris and Gerson, who have allowed me to steal some of the time that really belongs to them.
I acknowledge above all, and above everyone, my Father in heaven (that loved me, without me deserving it) and his Beloved Son that is at his right hand (that gave himself for me, without me knowing it) and to the Holy Spirit that has come to show us the beauty of Him who eternally does the will and pleasure of the Father.
A few days ago, I had the first time privilege of hearing and being a witness to a preached message given by Bro. Eliseo. His words were based on the biblical account of the death of Lazarus. The synopsis of what was received there is contained in the expression: "His (Jesus') Friends Must also Die." The title of this work.
While I was listening to brother Eliseo, I became aware that this message was no simple preaching, but was a call from God to his people of THIS generation. Two days after hearing this message, I asked the brother if he could come and deliver this message to about twenty pastors that serve the Lord in Santiago, Chile. The subsequent testimony given by the pastor that heard this message was a confirmation to me that this is an urgent call from God to all those that consider themselves to be his friends.
"His Friends Must also Die", is God's call for all those who, like Lazarus, are considered to be Jesus' friends. Jesus' friends compose the most intimate circle. That closeness is what enables them not only to believe in him, but also to suffer (and die) with him.
"His Friends Must also Die", is God's call for us to participate in the death of Christ. He died, so that all who are his children, and have been dispersed, would be one. Now it is necessary that his friends also die. But, this death of Jesus' friends Jesus is only possible through Jesus' own death, and because of the work he does in us.
"His Friends Must also Die", in order to finally see God's purpose for which Christ died be fulfilled: that is to unite all God's people that are dispersed into one. What has, up to this day, hindered this oneness from being a visible and a concrete reality is the resistance of Jesus' friends against forgetting about themselves, renouncing their own private interests and being willing to "suffer" the diversity of the body of Christ. In other words, being willing to die. It is for this reason it is with much joy that I see this word going out to many more, so that, as it is obeyed, God can obtain a generation of conquers, who will also become, the last generation.
Ruben Chacon, July 2001, Santiago de Chile
What does God desire for this present time? What does God want to see accomplished by the present generation of believers (that could very well be the last generation)? How does he plan to fulfill his eternal purpose? With whom? Or, better stated, with what kind of people?
This series of messages based on John's gospel will permit us to recount some of the phases that a Christian will pass through as he pursues to follow in Christ's footsteps.
From the very first encounter; where a new believer asks our Lord, "Where do you dwell?", (chapter 1), up to the purposeful weakening of our ego (chapter 21), the Lord will give successive masterful blows to the strong holds of our soul, so that he might produce in us-through him-a work that is truly spiritual.
This is an itinerary of a life up to death; but it is also the passageway from death to a superior life. It is proof, that on the other side of the cross, there is a glorious resurrection morning. On the other side of the grain of wheat that falls to the ground to die, there is a new life that springs from the ground full of new grains of wheat, full of the life of God.
John's gospel was not only written that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ the son of the living God (John 20:31), even though this is the principal theme given by John. The beautiful and profound pages of this gospel give us many more lessons. Every one of its episodes, every one of the Lord's words quoted here, every one of the people encountered in its pages are perfectly ordered by the wise hand of Him who inspired it all, that we might be shown a way toward death and thereby bearing fruit.
Who of all God's children, that have seen his love, and have been attracted to his blessed son do not want to serve him and also bear much fruit for him? Everyone desires this, no doubt; but not everyone knows that this desire and purpose must first pass through a very painful experience called death. In essence, just as Christ died, those that truly love him -his friends- must also die.
This is not a book for new believers-no, not even for the general public. It is a book for all those that are not satisfied with a nominal Christian faith that is both ritualistic and accommodating to the flesh. Also, and better yet, it is for all those that have endeavored to walk close to the Lord and serve him with diligence, but have found nothing but failure in their good intentions. To all those that having done the best that they could, know in their heart of hearts, that they have not reached the goal.
Perhaps it is those believers that will be more willing to respond to this message. Maybe it is those believers that God is looking for, that he might give them the task-and honor-to collaborate with his great and eternal purposes concerning this present generation.
May the Lord open our eyes and allow us to see! May he awaken our hearts that we may follow him wherever he may lead! Amen.
1. Where Do You Dwell? · Entering into intimacy with Christ
2. Woman, Why Do You Involve Me? · The temptation of popularity
3. Purifying the Temple · The sanctification of the body
4. An Exchange of Waters · The spirit for the soul
5. Those that the Wave Throws Out · The fortune of the unfortunate
6. The Value of the Word · For unbelievers, followers, and disciples
7. Life Against the Grain · Oppositions, questions and controversies
8. The Opposition of Synagogues · An ancient problem revisited
9. His Sheep Hear His Voice · Shepherds and Hired hands
10. His Friends Must Also Die · Lazarus' case
11. The Perfume · An anatomy of wasting
12. The Grain of Wheat · The flesh under sentence
13. The Most Powerful Hand Took the Towel · The sign of our wealth
14. The Perfection of Love · The seal of our discipleship
15. Nothing, Without Him · The problem of remaining
16. The Spirit First · Then us
17. Protected · The enemy wounds from behind
18. Sanctified · The work of "rhema"
19. United · The road toward unity
20. United (2) · Die, to be one
21. How To Die? · The itinerary of the cross
22. The Blow of Grace · The final dialogue between Jesus and Peter.
Unless otherwise stated, all Scripture quotations throughout are taken from the NIV Translation.
Translation Spanish-English: Andrew Webb & Robert Huskey.