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Secret Power: The Secret of Success in Christian Life and Work

Secret Power

The Secret of Success in Christian Life and Work

Contents

Preface

Ch. 1: Power – Its Source

[*Ch. 2: *]Power Upon Us and In Us

Ch. 3: Witnessing in Power

[*Ch. 4: *]Power in Operation

[*Ch. 5: *]Power Hindered

About the Author

Preface

One man may have zeal without knowledge while another may have knowledge without zeal, for even the apostle Paul said, [_For I give testimony that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge _](Romans 10:2). If I could have only one, I would choose the first, but with an open Bible, no one needs to be without knowledge of God’s will and purpose. The object of this book is to help others know the source of true power, so that both their zeal and their knowledge may increase their service in the Master’s work.

Paul says, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable, but I believe one portion has been overlooked, as though it was not practical, but the result is a lack of power in testimony and work. If we desire to work, not as one that beats the air, but for a definite purpose, we must have this power from on high. Without this power, our work will be drudgery. With it, our work is a joyful task, a refreshing service.

May God make this book a blessing to many. This is my prayer.

D. L. Moody

Northfield, Mass., May 1, 1881

Chapter 1

Power – Its Source

In vain do the inhabitants of London go to their conduits for supply, unless the man who has the master key turns the water on. And in vain do we seek to quench our thirst at ordinances, unless God communicates the living water of His Spirit. (Augustus Toplady)

It was the custom of the Roman emperors, at their triumphal entrance, to cast new coins among the multitudes; so doth Christ, in His triumphal ascension into heaven, throw the greatest gifts for the good of men that were ever given. (Thomas Goodwin)

To unconverted persons, a great part of the Bible resembles a letter written in cipher. The blessed Spirit’s office is to act as God’s decipherer, by letting His people into the secret of celestial experience, as the key and clue to those sweet mysteries of grace, which were before as a garden shut up, or as a fountain sealed, or as a book written in an unknown character. (Augustus Toplady)

The greatest, strongest, mightiest plea for the church of God in the world is the existence of the Spirit of God in its midst, and the works of the Spirit of God are the true evidences of Christianity. They say miracles are withdrawn, but the Holy Spirit is the standing miracle of the church of God today. I will not say a word against societies for Christian evidences, nor against those weighty and learned brethren who have defended the outworks of the Christian church. They have done good service, and I wish them every blessing, but as to my own soul, I never was settled in my faith in Christ by Paley’s Evidences, nor by all the evidence ever brought from history or elsewhere; the Holy Spirit has taken the burden off my shoulders and given me peace and liberty. This to me is evidence, and as to the externals which we can quote to others, it was enough for Peter and John that the people saw the lame man healed, and they needed not to speak for themselves. (Charles Spurgeon)

The Source

Without the soul, divinely quickened and inspired, the observances of the grandest ritualism are as worthless as the motions of a galvanized corpse. (Edward Davies)

I quote this sentence because it leads directly to the subject under consideration. What is this quickening and inspiration? What is this power needed? Where is the source? I reply – the Holy Spirit of God. I believe the Apostles’ Creed, and therefore, I believe in the Holy Spirit.

A writer has asked, “What are our souls without His grace? – as dead as the branch in which the sap does not circulate. What is the church without Him? – as parched and barren as the fields without the dew and rain of heaven.”

Lately, many have asked about the subject of the Holy Spirit. In this and other lands, thousands of people have been focusing more on the study of this grand theme. I hope this interest will lead us all to pray for a greater manifestation of His power upon the whole church of God. We have dishonored Him in the past. We’ve been ignorant of His grace and love and presence. True, we have heard of Him and read about Him, but we have little intelligent knowledge of His attributes, His function, and His relationship to us. I fear He has not been an actual presence to many professed Christians, nor is He known to them as a personality of the Godhead.

The first work of the Spirit is to give life – spiritual life. He gives it and He sustains it. If there is no life, there can be no power. Solomon said, [_A living dog is better than a dead lion _](Ecclesiastes 9:4). When the Spirit imparts this life, He does not leave us to droop and die but constantly fans the flame. He is ever with us. Surely, we shouldn’t be ignorant of His power and His work.

Identity and Personality

In 1 John 5:7 we read: For there are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one. The Father is the first person; Christ, the Word, is the second; the Holy Spirit, perfectly fulfilling His own office and work in union with the Father and the Son, is the third. My Bible clearly presents that the One God who demands my love, service, and worship has revealed Himself, and each of the three names of God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – has personality attached to them.

Therefore, we find some things ascribed to God as Father, some to God as Savior, and some to God as Comforter and Teacher. Some say that the Father plans, the Son executes, and the Holy Spirit applies. But I also believe they plan and work together. The distinction of [_persons _]is often noted in Scripture. In Matthew, we find Jesus submitting to baptism, the Spirit descending upon Him, and the Father declaring His approval:

And Jesus, after he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and, behold, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him; and, behold, a voice from the heavens, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. (Matthew 3:16-17)

In John 14:16 we read: I [Jesus] will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter. And in Ephesians 2:18: For through Him [Jesus Christ] we both [Jews and Gentiles] have access by one Spirit unto the Father. In these verses we can see the distinction of persons in the Godhead and their inseparable union. From these and other Scriptures we also learn the identity and actual existence of the Holy Spirit.

If you ask if I fully understand what is revealed in Scripture, I must say no. But my faith bows before the inspired Word, and I unhesitatingly believe the great things of God even when my reason is blinded and my intellect confused.

In addition to teaching us God’s Word, the Holy Spirit in His gracious work in the soul declares His own presence. Through His agency we are born again, and through His indwelling we possess superhuman power. When compared to the existence and presence of the Spirit of God, science, falsely called knowledge, only exposes its own folly to those who have become new creatures in Christ Jesus. The Holy Spirit, who inspired prophets and empowered apostles, continues to enliven, guide, and comfort all true believers. To the actual Christian, the personality of the Holy Spirit is more real than any theory science has to offer, for so-called science is only calculation based on human observation, which is constantly changing its assumptions. But the existence of the Holy Spirit is to the child of God a matter of Scripture revelation and of actual experience.

Some skeptics assert that there is no other vital energy in the world but physical force. But contrary to their assertions, thousands and tens of thousands who can’t possibly be deceived have been quickened into spiritual life by a power neither physical nor mental. Men who were dead in sins – drunkards who lost their will, blasphemers who lost their purity, freethinkers who sank in depravity, infidels who published their shame to the world – have in numberless instances become the subjects of the Spirit’s power and are now walking in the true nobility of Christian manhood, separated by an infinite distance from their former life. Let others reject this imperishable truth at their own peril if they choose. I believe, and am becoming more convinced of this, that divine, miraculous, and creative power resides in the Holy Spirit. Above and beyond all natural law, yet in harmony with it, the Spirit of God presides over creation, management, the divine government, and the building of the church of God. His ministration is the ministration of life more glorious than the ministration of law.

Who [God] also has made us able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter, but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death in the letter engraved in stones was glorious, so that the sons of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance which glory was to fade away, How shall not the ministry of the Spirit be for greater glory? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, much more shall the ministry of righteousness abound in glory. For even that which was so glorious had no glory in this respect, in comparison with the glory that excels. For if that which fades away was glorious, much more shall that which remains be glorious. (2 Corinthians 3:6-11)

And like the Eternal Son, the Eternal Spirit has life in Himself and is working out all things after the counsel of His own will for the everlasting glory of the triune Godhead.

The Holy Spirit has all the qualities belonging to a person: the power to understand, to will, to do, to call, to feel, and to love. This can’t be said of a mere influence. He possesses attributes and qualities which can only be ascribed to a person, as He performs acts and deeds which can’t be performed by a machine, an influence, or a result.

Agent and Instrument

The Holy Spirit is closely identified with the words of the Lord Jesus: The Spirit is he that gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken unto you, they are Spirit and they are life (John 6:63). The gospel proclamation cannot be divorced from the Holy Spirit. Unless He accompanies the Word in power, an attempt in preaching it will be in vain. Human eloquence or persuasiveness of speech are the mere trappings of the dead, if the living Spirit is absent. The prophet may preach to the bones in the valley, but the breath from heaven must cause the slain to live.

First Peter says, [_For the Christ also has once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but made alive in spirit _](1 Peter 3:18).

Here we see that Christ was raised from the grave by this same Spirit, and the power exercised to raise Christ’s dead body must raise our dead souls and quicken them no other power on earth can quicken a dead soul except the same power that raised the body of Jesus Christ out of Joseph’s sepulcher. And if we want that power to quicken our friends who are dead in sin, we must look to God and not to man to do it. If we only look to ministers, if we only look to Christ’s disciples to do this work, we shall be disappointed. But if we look to the Spirit of God and expect that power to come from Him and Him alone, then we shall honor the Spirit, and the Spirit will do His work.

Secret of Efficiency

Many Christians want to be more efficient in the Lord’s service, and with this book on the Holy Spirit, they may see from whom to expect this power. In the teaching of Christ, we find His last words recorded in Matthew 28:19: Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Here we find that the Holy Spirit and the Son are equal with the Father; they are one with Him, teaching them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Christ was handing His commission over to His apostles. He was going to leave them. His work on earth was finished, and He was just about ready to take His seat at the right hand of God, when He spoke to them and said, [_All power is given unto me in heaven and on earth _](Matthew 28:18). All power – this assumes He had authority. If Christ was a mere man, as some people try to make out, it would have been blasphemy for Him to have told the disciples to go and baptize all nations in the name of the Father and in His own name and in that of the Holy Spirit, thereby making Himself equal with the Father.

Jesus states three things here: All power is given unto me . . . Go ye therefore and teach all nations. Teach them what? To observe all things (v. 20). Many people are willing to observe what they like about Christ, but the things that they don’t like they just dismiss and turn away from. But His commission to His disciples was to go to all nations teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And what right has a messenger who has been sent by God to change the message? If I had sent a servant to deliver a message, and the servant thought the message didn’t sound exactly right, maybe a little harsh, and that servant went and changed the message, I would change servants very quickly; he could not serve me any longer. And when a minister or a messenger of Christ begins to change the message because he thinks it is not exactly what it ought to be, he is thinking he is wiser than God. God just dismisses that man.

They haven’t taught all things. They left out some of the things that Christ has commanded us to teach, because those things don’t correspond with man’s reason. We have to take the Word of God as it is, and if we are going to take it, we have no authority to let dark reason be our guide and take out what we like and what we think is appropriate.

It is the work of the Spirit to impress the heart and seal the preached Word. His job is to take of the things of Christ and reveal them unto us.

Some people have the idea that this is the only dispensation of the Holy Spirit, and He didn’t work until Christ was glorified. But Simeon felt the Holy Spirit when he went into the temple. In 2 Peter 1:21 we read: Holy men of God spoke being inspired by the Holy Spirit. We find the same Spirit in Genesis as we see in Revelation. The same Spirit that guided the hand that wrote Exodus also inspired the Epistles, and we find the same Spirit speaking from one end of the Bible to the other. Holy men in all ages have spoken as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

His Personality

I was a Christian a long time before I found out that the Holy Spirit was a person. A great many people don’t seem to understand this, but if we check the Bible and see what Christ said about the Holy Spirit, we find that He always spoke of Him as a person – never as an influence. Some people have an idea that the Holy Spirit is an attribute of God, like mercy – just an influence coming from God. But we find in John 14:16 these words: [And I _][Jesus][ will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.] That [_he _]may abide with us forever. And again in the same chapter Jesus said, [_Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him, or know him; but ye know him; for he dwells with you and shall be in you _](John 14:17). Again, in the twenty-sixth verse of the same chapter: _But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all the things that I have said unto you.

Observe the pronouns he and him. Whenever Christ spoke of the Holy Spirit, He spoke of Him as a person, not a mere influence. If we want to honor the Holy Spirit, let us bear in mind that He is one of the Trinity, a personality of the Godhead.

The Reservoir of Love

In Galatians, love is listed as a fruit of the Spirit. God is love, Christ is love, and we should not be surprised to read about the love of the Spirit. What a blessed attribute this is. I would call it the dome of the temple of the graces. Better still, it is the crown of crowns worn by the triune God. Human love is a natural emotion which flows toward the object of our affections. But divine love is as high above human love as the heavens are above the earth. [The first _][natural] _man is of the earth, earthy, and however pure his love may be, it is weak and imperfect at best (1 Corinthians 15:47). But the love of God is perfect and entire, wanting nothing. As a mighty ocean in its greatness, it dwells with and flows from the Eternal Spirit.

In Romans 5:5 we read: And the hope shall not be ashamed, because the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given to us. Now if we are co-workers with God, we must possess one
thing – love. A man may be a very successful lawyer and have no love for his clients but still represent his clients very well. A man may be a very successful physician and have no love for his patients but still be a very good physician. A man may be a very successful merchant and have no love for his customers but still do a good business and succeed. But no man can be a co-worker with God without love. If our service is mere profession on our part, the quicker we depart from it the better. If a man takes up God’s work as he would take up any profession, the sooner he gets out of it the better.

We cannot work for God without love. It is the only tree that can produce fruit on this sin-cursed earth, which is acceptable to God. If I have no love for God or for my fellow man, I cannot work acceptably. I am like sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. We are told that the love of God is poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. If we have that love in our hearts, we are ready for God’s service; if we do not have it, we are not ready. When we love people, it is easy to reach them; all barriers are broken down and swept away.

When writing to Titus, Paul told him to be sound in faith, in charity, in tolerance [patience] (Titus 2:2). Ever since I can remember, the church has been very intolerant of men being unsound or not well founded in the faith. If a man becomes weak in the faith, they draw their ecclesiastical swords and cut at him; but he may be ever so feeble in love, and they don’t say anything. He may be defective in patience and irritable and fretful all the time, but they never deal with him.

The Bible teaches us that we are not only to be sound in the faith, but also in charity and in patience. I believe God cannot use many of His servants because they are full of irritability and impatience; they are fretting all the time from morning until night. God cannot use them; their mouths are sealed; they cannot speak for Jesus Christ. If they have not love, they cannot work for God. I do not mean love for those who love me; that doesn’t require grace. The rudest Hottentot in the world can do that; the greatest heathen that ever lived can do that; the vilest man that ever walked the earth can do that. It doesn’t take any grace at all. I did that before I became a Christian. Love begets love; hatred begets hatred. If I know a man loves me first, I know my love will be going out to him.

Suppose a man comes to me and says, “Mr. Moody, a certain man told me today that he thought you were the meanest man alive.” Well, if I didn’t have a good deal of the grace of God in my heart, then I know hard feelings would spring up in my heart against that man, and it wouldn’t be long before I would be talking against him. Hatred begets hatred.

But suppose a man comes to me and says, “Mr. Moody, do you know that a man I met today says he thinks a great deal of you?” Though I may never have heard of him, love would spring up in my heart. Love begets love; we all know that. But the grace of God is required to love the man who lies about me, the man who slanders me, or the man who is trying to tear down my character. It takes the grace of God to love that man. We may hate the sin he has committed, but there is a difference between the sin and the sinner. We may hate the sin with a perfect hatred, but we must love the sinner. I cannot otherwise do him any good. The first impulse of a young convert is to love. Do you remember the day you were converted? Wasn’t your heart full of sweet peace and love?

The Right Overflow

One morning after I had first trusted Christ, I came out of my room and thought the old sun shone a good deal brighter than it ever had before. I thought the sun was smiling on me, and I walked out on Boston Common and heard the birds in the trees; I thought they were singing a song for me. Do you know I fell in love with the birds? I never cared for them before, but now it seemed I was in love with all creation. I had no bitter feelings against any man, and I was ready to take all men to my heart.

If a man does not have the love of God poured out in his heart, he has never been regenerated or born again. If we hear a person stand up in a prayer meeting and begin to speak but find fault with everybody, we know that his conversion was not genuine. It is counterfeit and doesn’t have the right ring, because the impulse of a converted soul is to love. His inclination is not to get up, complain about everyone else, and find fault. But it is hard for us to live in the right atmosphere all the time. Someone might come along and treat us wrongly, and perhaps we hate him; we have not focused on the means of grace and fed on the Word of God as we ought. A root of bitterness springs up in our hearts, and perhaps we are not aware of it, but it has reared its ugly head – then we are not qualified to work for God. The love of God is not poured out in our hearts as it ought to be by the Holy Spirit.

But the work of the Holy Spirit is to impart love. Paul could say, The charity [love] of the Christ constrains us (2 Corinthians 5:14). He could not help going from town to town and preaching the gospel. At one time Jeremiah said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name (Jeremiah 20:9). Jeremiah thought he had suffered enough, and the people didn’t like God’s Word.

They lived in a wicked day, as we do now. Infidels were creeping up all around him who said the Word of God was not true. Jeremiah had stood like a wall of fire and confronted them, and he boldly proclaimed that the Word of God was true. At last, they put him in prison, and he said, “I will keep still; it has cost me too much.” But a little while later, he could not keep still. His bones caught fire; he had to speak. [_But he was in my heart as a burning fire and within my bones; I tried to forbear, and I could not _](Jeremiah 20:9).

And when we are so full of the love of God that we are compelled to work for God, then God blesses us. If our work is accomplished by force or requirement, without any true motive, it will come to naught.

Now the question comes up: do we have the love of God poured out in our hearts, and are we holding the truth in love? Some people hold the truth, but in such a cold, stern way that it does no good. Other people want to love everything, so they forsake much of the truth. But we are to hold the truth in love. Even if we lose all, we are to hold the truth, but we are to hold it in love. And if we do that, the Lord will bless us.

Many people try to get this love, but they try to produce it by themselves. But by doing so, they all fail. The love implanted deep in our new nature will be spontaneous. I don’t have to learn to love my children. I cannot but love them. In a meeting, a young lady said she could not love God – that it was very hard for her to love Him.

I asked her, “Is it hard for you to love your mother? Do you have to learn to love your mother?”

And she looked up through her tears and said, “No, I can’t help loving her; it’s spontaneous.”

“Well,” I said, “when the Holy Spirit kindles love in your heart, you cannot help loving God; it will be spontaneous.” When the Spirit of God comes into your heart, it will be easy to serve God.

The fruit of the Spirit in Galatians begins with love. [But the fruit of the Spirit is this: Charity _][love][,] [_joy, peace, tolerance, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law _](Galatians 5:22-23). There are nine graces (fruit) spoken of in this chapter, and of the nine different graces, Paul puts love at the head of the list. Love is the first thing – the first in that precious cluster of fruit. Someone restated it this way: all the other eight can be summed up in the word _love. Joy is love exulting; peace is love in tranquility; tolerance (long-suffering) is love on trial; gentleness is love in society; goodness is love in action; faith is love on the battlefield; meekness is love at school, and temperance is love in training.

So love encompasses all the others. Love is at the top, love is at the bottom, and love embodies all these graces. If all we did was bring forth the fruit of the Spirit, what a world we would have. We would have no need of any policemen; a man could leave his overcoat somewhere without someone stealing it; men would not have any desire to do evil. Paul said, Against such there is no law; we would not need any law. A man who is full of the Spirit doesn’t need to be put under law or have any policemen watch him. We could dismiss all our policemen; the lawyers would have to give up practicing law, and the courts would not have any business.

The Triumphs of Hope

In Romans 15:13 the apostle Paul said, And believing, the God of hope fills you with all joy and peace that ye may abound in hope by the virtue [power] of the Holy Spirit. The next thing then is hope.

I have observed throughout different parts of the country how difficult it is for God to use people who have lost hope. Wherever I found a worker in God’s vineyard who had lost hope, I found a man or woman who was not very useful. Consider these workers. Let your mind think about the past for a moment. Can you remember a man or woman who had lost hope, but whom God used to build His kingdom? I do not believe there are many.

Hope is very important in the church; the work of the Holy Spirit is to impart hope. Let Him come into some churches where no conversions have taken place for a few years, and let Him convert a score of people. Watch and see how hopeful the church becomes at once. He imparts hope; a man filled with the Spirit of God will be very hopeful. He will be looking to the future, and he knows it is bright, because the God of all grace is able to do great things. So it is very important that we have hope.

If a man has lost hope, he is out of communion with God; he doesn’t have the Spirit of God resting upon him for service. He may be a son of God but be disheartened so that God cannot use him.

Some years ago, I was quite discouraged in my work, and I was ready to hang my harp on the willow. I was cast down and depressed for weeks, when one Monday morning a friend who had a very large Bible class came into my study. I used to examine the notes of his Sunday school lessons, which were equal to a sermon. He came to me this morning and said, “Well, what did you preach about yesterday?”

I told him and then said, “What did you preach about?”

He said he preached about Noah. “Did you ever preach about Noah?”

“No, I never preached about Noah.”

“Did you ever study his character?”

“No, I never studied his life particularly.”

“Well,” he said, “he is a most wonderful character. It will do you good. You ought to study that character.”

When he left, I took my Bible and read about Noah. Then it came over me – Noah worked 120 years and never had a convert, but he did not get discouraged. I said, “Well, I shouldn’t be discouraged,” and I closed my Bible, got up, and walked downtown. The cloud had passed.

I went to the noon prayer meeting and heard of a little town in the country where they had taken a hundred young converts into the church. I asked myself, I wonder what Noah would have given if he could have heard that; and yet he worked one hundred and twenty years and didn’t get discouraged.

Right then a man across the aisle got up and said, “My friends, would you pray for me? I think I’m lost.”

I thought to myself, I wonder what Noah would have given to hear that. He never heard a man say, “Would you pray for me? I think I am lost.” Yet he didn’t get discouraged! Oh, children of God, let’s not get discouraged; let’s ask God to forgive us, if we have been discouraged and cast down; let’s ask God to give us hope that we may always be hopeful. It does me good sometimes to meet some people and take hold of their hands because they are so hopeful. But other people throw a gloom over me because they are always cast down and looking at the dark side – at the obstacles and difficulties that are in the way.

The Boon of Liberty

The Spirit of God then gives us liberty. He first imparts love, then He inspires hope, and then gives liberty. That liberty is about the last thing we have in many of our churches today. I am sorry to say we must have a funeral in many churches before much work can be done. We need to bury the formalism so deep that it will never have a resurrection. The last thing to be found in many churches is liberty.

And if the gospel happens to be preached, the people criticize it as they would a theatrical performance. It is exactly the same. Many professed Christians never think of listening to what the man of God has to say.

[_For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but, having itching ears, they shall heap up unto themselves teachers who shall speak to them according to their own lusts, and thus they shall turn away their ears from the truth and shall return unto fables. (2 Timothy 4:3-4) _]

It is hard work to preach to carnally minded critics, but [_where that Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty _](2 Corinthians 3:17).

Often people hear a hundred good things in a sermon, but one thing might strike them as a little out of place. They go home, sit down to lunch, and talk in front of their children and magnify that one wrong thing without a word about the hundred good things that were said. That is what people do who criticize. [_For he that desires to love life and see the good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil and his lips that they speak no guile; let him separate himself from evil and do good; let him seek peace and follow it _](1 Peter 3:10-11).

God does not use men in captivity. The condition of many is like Lazarus when he came out of the sepulcher, bound hand and foot. The bandage was not taken off his mouth, and he could not speak, but he had life. If we say Lazarus was not alive, we would be telling a falsehood, because he was raised from the dead. When we speak to many people and insinuate they are not doing what they could or should be doing, they respond, “I have life. I am a Christian.” Well, we can’t deny it, but they are bound hand and foot.

May God snap these fetters and set His children free that they may have liberty. I believe He comes to set us free and wants us to work for Him and speak for Him. How many people would like to get up in a public prayer meeting to say a few words for Christ, but a cold spirit of criticism is so great in the church that they dare not do it? They do not have the liberty to do it. If they get up, they are so frightened by these critics that they begin to tremble and sit down. They cannot say anything.

Now, that is all wrong. The Spirit of God comes to give liberty, and wherever we see the Lord’s work going on, we see that Spirit of liberty. People won’t be afraid of speaking to one another. And when the meeting is over, they will not get their hats and rush out of the church. Instead, they will shake hands with one another, and they will experience liberty. Many go to the prayer meeting out of a mere cold sense of duty. They think, “I must attend because I feel it is my duty.” They don’t think of it as a glorious privilege to meet and pray together, to be strengthened, and to help someone else in their wilderness journey.

What we need today is love in our hearts. Don’t we want it? Don’t we want hope in our lives? Don’t we want to be hopeful? Don’t we want liberty? Now, all this is the work of the Spirit of God. Let’s pray daily for God to give us love and hope and liberty. We read in Hebrews: [_Having, therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the sanctuary by the blood of Jesus _](Hebrews 10:19). Some margin comments to this passage say, “Having, therefore, liberty to enter into the holiest.” We can go into the holiest, having freedom of access, and plead for this love and liberty and glorious hope that we may not rest until God gives us the power to work for Him.

If I know my own heart today, I would rather die than live as I once did as a mere nominal Christian and not used by God in building up His kingdom. It seems a poor, empty life to live for the sake of self.

Let’s seek to be useful. Let’s seek to be vessels prepared for the Master’s use that God, the Holy Spirit, may shine fully through us. [_He shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and profitable for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work _](2 Timothy 2:21).

I am so weak, dear Lord, I cannot stand

One moment without Thee!

But oh! the tenderness of Thine enfolding,

And oh! the faithfulness of Thine upholding,

And oh! the strength of Thy right hand!

That strength is enough for me!

I am so needy, Lord, and yet I know

All fulness dwells in Thee;

And hour by hour that never-failing treasure

Supplies and fills, in overflowing measure,

My least, my greatest need; and so

Thy grace is enough for me!

It is so sweet to trust Thy word alone:

I do not ask to see

The unveiling of Thy purpose, or the shining

Of future light on mysteries untwining:

Thy promise-roll is all my own—

Thy word is enough for me!

There were strange soul-depths, restless, vast, and broad,

Unfathomed as the sea;

An infinite craving for some infinite stilling;

But now Thy perfect love is perfect filling!

Lord Jesus Christ, my Lord, my God,

Thou, Thou art enough for me!

— (Frances Ridley Havergal, “Enough”)

Soul, then know thy full salvation;

Rise o’er sin and fear and care

Joy to find in every station

Something still to do or bear.

Think what Spirit dwells within thee,

Think what Father’s smiles are thine,

Think that Jesus did to win thee,

Child of heaven, canst thou repine.

Haste thee on from grace to glory,

Armed by faith, and winged by prayer,

Heaven’s eternal day’s before thee,

God’s own hand shall guide thee there.

Soon shall close thy earthly mission,

Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,

Hope shall change to glad fruition,

Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

— (Henry Lyte, “Jesus, I My Cross Have Taken”)

Chapter 2

Power Upon Us and In Us

[_You remember that strange, half-involuntary forty years of Moses in the wilderness of Midian, when he had fled from Egypt. You remember, too, the almost equally strange years of retirement in Arabia by Paul when, if ever, humanly speaking, instant action was needed. And pre-eminently you remember the amazing charge of the ascending Lord to the disciples, “Tarry at Jerusalem.” Speaking after the manner of men, one could not have wondered if out-spoken Peter, or fervid James, had said: “Tarry, Lord! How long? Tarry, Lord! Is there not a perishing world groaning for the ‘good news’? Tarry! did we hear Thee aright, Lord? Was the word not Haste?” Nay; Being assembled together with them, He commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father. (Acts 1:4) _]

— (Alexander Balloch Grosart)

Emptied Then Filled

The Holy Spirit dwelling in us is one thing that is clearly brought out in Scripture, and the Holy Spirit coming upon us for service is another thing. In Scripture, there are only three places we find that are dwelling places for the Holy Spirit.

Last he [Moses] raised up the court round about the tabernacle and the altar and set up the hanging of the court gate. Thus Moses finished the work. Then a cloud covered the tabernacle of the testimony, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter into the tabernacle of the testimony, because the cloud was upon it, and the glory of the LORD had it full. (Exodus 40:33-35)

The moment that Moses finished the work, the moment that the tabernacle was ready, the cloud came, and the Shekinah glory filled it so that Moses was not able to stand before the presence of the Lord. I believe that the moment our hearts are emptied of pride, selfishness, ambition, self-seeking, and everything that is contrary to God’s law, the Holy Spirit will come and fill every corner of our hearts. But if we are full of pride, conceit, ambition, self-seeking, pleasure, and the world, there is no room for the Spirit of God. Many men pray to God to fill their hearts when they are full already but with something else. Before we pray that God would fill us, we should pray for Him to empty us.

An emptying must occur before there can be a filling. When the heart is turned upside down, and everything that is contrary to God is turned out, the Spirit will come, as He did in the tabernacle, and fill us with His glory.

And they sounded the trumpets and sang with one voice, all together as one man praising and thanking the LORD, when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, when they praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endures for ever; and the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD, so that the priests could not stand to minister by reason of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD had filled the house of God. (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)

Praising with One Heart

The very moment that Solomon completed the temple, when all was finished, they praised God with one
heart – the choristers and the singers and the ministers were all one; there was no discord; they all praised God, and the glory of God came and filled the temple as it did the tabernacle. But as we look at the New Testament, we find that instead of coming into tabernacles and temples, the Holy Spirit enters believers who are now the temple. On the day of Pentecost before Peter preached that memorable sermon, they prayed, the Holy Spirit came, and He came in mighty power. We now pray for the Spirit of God to come, and we sing:

Come, Holy Spirit, heavenly Dove,

With all thy quickening powers;

Kindle a flame of sacred love

In these cold hearts of ours.

— (Isaac Watts)

If we understand these words of Isaac Watts, they are perfectly right; but if we are praying for the Spirit to come out of heaven down to earth again, that is wrong, because He is already here. He has not been out of this earth for eighteen hundred years; He has been in the church, and He is in all believers. The believers in the church are the called-out ones; they are called out from the world, and every true believer is a temple for the Holy Spirit to dwell in.

The Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it does not see him, or know him; but ye know him, for he dwells with you and shall be in you. (John 14:17)

Greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world (1 John 4:4). If we have the Spirit dwelling in us, He gives us power over the flesh, the world, and over every enemy. As John said, He dwells with us.

The apostle Paul also taught this truth. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? (1 Corinthians 3:16).

Some men were burying an elderly saint some time ago who had been very poor. Like many of God’s people, he was poor in this world but very rich on the other side of life. These people of God have laid up riches where thieves cannot get them, where swindlers cannot take them away, and where moths cannot corrupt them. So this old man was very rich in the other world, but they were just hastening him off to the grave, wanting to get rid of him, when an old minister who officiated at the grave said, “Tread softly, for you are carrying the temple of the Holy Spirit.” Whenever we see a believer, we are looking at a temple of the Holy Spirit.

[_What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom ye have of God, and that ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) _]

Thus are we taught that there is a divine resident in every child of God.

Scripture clearly teaches that every believer has the Holy Spirit dwelling in him. A believer may quench the Spirit of God, and he may not glorify God as he should, but if he is a believer on the Lord Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit dwells in him. But we need to note another fact. Even though Christian men and women have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, He may not be dwelling within them in power; in other words, God has many sons and daughters without power.

What Is Needed

At least nine-tenths of church members never think of speaking for Christ. If they see a man, perhaps a close relative, rapidly going down the path to ruin, they never think to speak to him about his sinful course or seek to win him to Christ. Now certainly there must be something wrong. But if we talk with them, we find they have faith, and we cannot say they are not children of God. Yet they have no power, and they have no liberty; they don’t have the love that real disciples of Christ should have.

Many people think we need new measures, new churches, new organs, new choirs, and all these new things. That is not what the church of God needs today. It needs the old power that the apostles had; that is what we want, and if we have that in our churches, there will be new life. Then we will have new ministers – the same old ministers renewed with power and filled with the Spirit.

I remember when many toiled in the work of the Lord in Chicago, and it seemed as though the car of salvation didn’t move. A minister began to cry out from the very depths of his heart, “Oh, God, put new ministers in every pulpit!”

On the next Monday I heard two or three men stand up and say, “We had a new minister last Sunday – the same old minister, but he had new power.” I firmly believe that is what we need today all over America. We need new ministers in the pulpit and new people in the pews. We need people quickened by the Spirit of God, and the Spirit coming down and taking possession of the children of God and giving them power.

Then a man filled with the Spirit will know how to use the sword of the Spirit. If a man is not filled with the Spirit, he will never know how to use the Book. We are told that this is the sword of the Spirit, but what good is an army that doesn’t know how to use its weapons?

Suppose a battle was going on, and I was a general with a hundred thousand men – great, able-bodied men, full of life, but none of them could handle a sword, and none of them knew how to use his rifle. What would that army be good for? One thousand well-drilled men with good weapons would rout all one hundred thousand of them.

The reason the church cannot overcome the Enemy is that she doesn’t know how to use the sword of the Spirit. People will get up and try to fight the devil with their experiences, but he doesn’t care for that; he will overcome them every time. People are trying to fight the devil with theories and pet ideas, but he will get the victory over them. We need to draw the sword of the Spirit, which cuts deeper than anything else.

Stand firm, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth and having on the breastplate of righteousness, and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace, above all, taking the shield of faith, with which ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. (Ephesians 6:14-17)

The Greatest Weapon

The sword of the Spirit is the Word of God, and we need to be filled with the Spirit, so we will know how to use the Word. Once a Christian man was using the Word and talking to a skeptic, but the skeptic said, “I don’t believe, sir, in that Book.” But the man went right on and gave him more of the Word. Again, the skeptic remarked, “I don’t believe the Word.” The Christian kept giving him more of the Word, and at last, the man believed.

The Christian brother added, “When I have a good, proven sword, which does the work of execution, I just keep on using it.”

That is what we need. Skeptics and infidels may say they don’t believe in it. Our work is not to make them believe it; that is the work of the Spirit. Our work is to give them the Word of God – not to preach our theories and our ideas about it but to deliver the message as God gives it to us.

We read in the Scriptures of the sword of the Lord and Gideon. Suppose Gideon had gone out against the Midianites without the Word; he would have been defeated.

And he [Gideon] said unto them, Look on me, and do likewise: and, behold, when I come to the outside of the camp, it shall be that, as I do, so shall ye do. When I blow with a trumpet, I and all that are with me, then blow ye the trumpets also on every side of all the camp, and say, The sword of the &Lord&, and of Gideon. So Gideon, and the hundred men that were with him, came unto the outside of the camp in the beginning of the middle watch; and they had but newly set the watch: and they blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers that were in their hands. And the three companies blew the trumpets, and brake the pitchers, and held the lamps in their left hands, and the trumpets in their right hands to blow withal: and they cried, The sword of the &Lord&, and of Gideon. And they stood every man in his place round about the camp; and all the host ran, and cried, and fled. (Judges 7:17-21 KJV)

The Lord used Gideon, and we find all through the Scriptures that God takes up and uses human instruments. We see men being converted with God calling them and also using some human agent to lead them to Himself. He could do it all with His own independent sovereignty, but He has chosen to work through people. [_Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did exhort _][warn] [_you by us; we beseech _][urge] [_you in Christ’s name, be ye reconciled to God _](2 Corinthians 5:20).

Even when Saul of Tarsus had fallen to the earth and arose blind, the Lord Jesus sent Ananias to open Saul’s eyes. He told Ananias, [_Go; for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel _](Acts 9:15). God saved Paul for the express purpose of sending him out with the good news.

A man once said that if you put someone on a mountain peak higher than one of the Alps, God could save him without a human messenger; but that is not His way. His method is the sword of the &Lord&, and of Gideon; the Lord wants us to be part of the work. If we are willing to let the Lord use us, He will.

None of Self

All through the Scriptures when men were filled with the Holy Spirit, they preached Christ and not themselves. They preached Christ and Him crucified, as Paul told the Corinthians, [_but we preach Christ crucified _](1 Corinthians 1:23). Even Luke made this clear:

And his [John the Baptist’s] father Zacharias, was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for He has visited and made redemption for his people And has raised up a horn of saving health [salvation] for us in the house of his servant David as he spoke by the mouth of the saints who from the beginning were his prophets. (Luke 1:67-70)

He is talking about the Word here. If a man is filled with the Spirit, he will magnify the Word; he will preach the Word and not himself. He will give this lost world the Word of the living God.

[_And thou, child [John the Baptist], shalt be called prophet of the Most High, for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, giving knowledge of saving health [salvation] unto his people for the remission of their sins through the bowels of mercy of our God, whereby the dayspring from on high has visited us to give light to those that dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death, to direct our feet into the way of peace. And the child grew and was comforted of the Spirit and was in the deserts until the day of his showing unto Israel. (Luke 1:76-80) _]

Thus, Zacharias praised God in the birth of John.

Even when Elizabeth and Mary met, they praised God and talked of His mighty works as found in the Scriptures. They were both filled with the Holy Spirit and began to talk of their Lord.

For he that is mighty has done great things unto me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is on those that fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones and exalted the humble. (Luke 1:49-52)

We also find that Simeon began to quote the Scriptures, for the Spirit was upon him.

And he [Simeon] came by the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law, then he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said, Lord, now let thy slave depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy saving health [salvation], which thou hast prepared before the face of all the peoples: a light to be revealed unto the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:27-32)

And when Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost and preached that wonderful sermon, he was filled with the Holy Spirit and preached the Word to the multitude, and it was the Word that cut to their hearts – the sword of the Lord and Peter, the same as it was the sword of the Lord and Gideon.

In regard to Stephen, Scripture says, And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke (Acts 6:10). Why? Because he gave them the Word of God. We are told that the Holy Spirit came upon Stephen, and none could resist his word. We also read that Paul was full of the Holy Spirit, and that he preached Christ and Him crucified, and many people were added to the church. Barnabas was full of faith and the Holy Spirit; [_Paul also and Barnabas continued in Antioch, teaching the word of the Lord and announcing the gospel, with many others also _](Acts 15:35). So when a man is full of the Spirit, he preaches, not himself but Christ, as revealed in the Holy Scriptures.

The disciples of Jesus were all filled with the Spirit, and the Word was proclaimed. When the Spirit of God comes upon the church, and we are anointed, the Word will be proclaimed in the streets, in the lanes, and in the alleys. There won’t be a dark cellar, attic, or home where the gospel will not be carried by some loving heart if the Spirit comes upon God’s people in appearance and in power.

Spiritual Irrigation

A man may barely have life but be satisfied; many seem to be in that condition. In the third chapter of John, we see that Nicodemus came to Christ and he heard words of life. We do not know how he received them, but we don’t hear of him standing up confessing Christ boldly or the Spirit coming upon him in great power.

By contrast, in the fourth chapter of John, we see the woman at the well in Samaria, and Christ held out the cup of salvation to her, and she took it and drank. It became in her a fountain of water springing up into eternal life (John 4:14). It came down in a flood into her soul. Someone has said that it came down from the throne of God and like a mighty current carried her back to the throne of God. Water always rises to its level, and if we get the soul filled with water from the throne of God, it will bear us upward to its source.

In the seventh chapter of John is the best example for the Christian life.

[_Jesus stood and cried out, saying, If any man thirsts, let him come unto me and drink. He that believes in me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this he spoke concerning the Spirit). (John 7:37-39) _]

In other words, through believing and trusting in the Lord Jesus, rivers of living water would flow out of them, and this living water was the Spirit.

When I was a boy on a farm in New England, we had a well with an old wooden pump. I had to pump the water from that well every washday, and I pumped it to water the cattle too. Many times I had to pump and pump and pump until my arm got tired. But they have a better way now; they no longer dig down a few feet, brick up the hole, and put the pump in. They drill down through the clay and the sand and the rock and on down until they strike what they call a lower stream. Then it gushes up as an artesian well, which needs no labor, because the water rises spontaneously from the depths beneath.

I think God wants all His children to be a sort of artesian well – not to keep pumping, but to burst forth. Sometimes ministers stand in the pulpit and keep pumping and pumping and pumping. I have had to do it too. I know how it is. Preachers stand in the pulpit and talk and talk and talk, and the people go to sleep; the preachers can’t rouse them. What is the trouble? The living water is not there; they are just pumping when there is no water in the well. We can’t get water out of a dry well; we have to get something in the well, or we can’t get anything out.

With some wooden pumps we had to pour water into them before we could pump any water out, and so it is with many people. We have to pour something in them before we can pump anything out. People wonder why they don’t have any spiritual power. They stand up and talk in meetings but don’t say anything. They claim they have nothing to say, and we find out soon enough that it’s true. They don’t need to state it; they talk because they feel it is a duty – and they say nothing.

When the Spirit of God is on us for service, resting upon us, we are anointed, and then we can do great things. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, says God (Isaiah 44:3). Oh, blessed thought: [_Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied _](Matthew 5:6).

Outflowing Streams

I would like to see someone full of living water – so full that they couldn’t contain it and would have to go out and proclaim the gospel of the grace of God. When a man gets so full that he can’t hold any more, he is ready for God’s service.

When preaching in Chicago, Dr. Gibson remarked in the planning meeting, “Now, how can we find out who is thirsty? I was wondering how we could find out. If a boy should come down the aisle, bringing a good pail full of clear water and a dipper, we would soon find out who was thirsty. We would see thirsty men and women reach out for water. But if he walked down the aisle with an empty bucket, we wouldn’t find out who was thirsty. People would look in and see that there was no water and say nothing. I think that is the reason we are not more blessed in our ministry. We are carrying around empty buckets, and the people see that we have nothing in them, so they don’t come forward.”

Dr. Gibson’s analysis had a good deal of truth in it. People see that we carry around empty buckets, and they won’t come to us until our buckets are filled. They see we have no more than they have. We must have the Spirit of God resting upon us, and then we will have something that gives the victory over the world, the flesh, and the devil. We will have something that gives the victory over our tempers, our conceits, and every other evil. When we can trample these sins under our feet, people will come to us and say, “How did you get it? I need this power; you have something that I haven’t got; I want it.”

Oh, may God show us this truth. Have we been toiling all night? Let us throw the net on the right side; let us ask God to forgive our sins and anoint us with power from on high. But remember, He is not going to give this power to an impatient man; He is not going to give it to a selfish man. He will never give it to an ambitious man whose aim is selfish, until he is first emptied of himself – emptied of pride and all worldly thoughts. Let it be God’s glory and not our own that we seek, and when we get to that point, the Lord will bless us for good. Then the measure of our blessing will be full. Do you know what heaven’s measure is? Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over (Luke 6:38).

If we get our hearts filled with the Word of God, how is Satan going to get in? How is the world going to get in, for heaven’s measure is a good measure, pressed down and shaken together and running over. Do we have this fullness? If not, then we need to seek it and declare by the grace of God we want it, for it is the Father’s good pleasure to give us these things. He wants us to shine down in this world; He wants to lift us up for His work; He wants us to have the power to testify for His Son. He has left us in this world to testify for Him. What did He leave us for? Not to buy and sell and to get gain, but to glorify Christ. How are we going to do His work without the Spirit? That is the question. How are we to do it without the power of God?

Why Some Fail

And when he [Jesus] had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Spirit. (John 20:22)

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

The first passage tells us that Jesus showed them His pierced and wounded hands and breathed upon them and said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit. And I haven’t a doubt they received it then, but not in such mighty power as afterward. He gave it to them then, but not in fullness. If they had been like many today, they might have said, “I have enough now; I am not going to tarry; I am going to work.”

Some people seem to think they are losing time if they wait on God for His power, so away they go and work without consecration; they are working without any anointing; they are working without any power. But after Jesus had said, Receive ye the Holy Spirit and had breathed on them, He said, But tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye are endued with power from on high. Then we read in Acts: [But ye shall receive the virtue _][power][ of the Holy Spirit which shall come upon you_] (Acts 1:8).

The Spirit had certainly been given to them or they could not have believed, taken their stand for God, or gone through what they did. But they endured the scoffs and frowns of their friends. Consider all of what Christ said: Ye shall receive the virtue [power] of the Holy Spirit which shall come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea and in Samaria and unto the uttermost parts of the earth (Acts 1:8).

The Holy Spirit in us is one thing, and the Holy Spirit on us is another. If these Christians had gone out and gone right to preaching without the power, would that scene have taken place on the day of Pentecost? Would Peter have stood up there and beat against the air, while these Jews gnashed their teeth and mocked him? But they tarried in Jerusalem; they waited ten days.

What? We ask. The world is perishing and men are dying! Shall I wait? We need to do what God tells us. Running before we are sent is useless; attempting to do God’s work without God’s power is pointless. A man working without this anointing, without the Holy Spirit upon him, is losing his time after all. So we are not going to lose anything if we tarry until we get this power. That is the object of true service – to wait on God, to tarry until we receive this power for witnessing.

Then on the day of Pentecost, ten days after Jesus Christ was glorified, the Holy Spirit descended in power. Do you think Peter, James, John, and the other apostles doubted anything from that very hour? They never doubted. Some people may question the possibility of having the power of God now. They might doubt that the Holy Spirit would come in a similar manifestation. They might think He will never come again in such power.

Fresh Supply

In Acts chapter 4, we see that the Spirit came a second time to a place where the believers were praying. The earth shook, and they were filled with the Spirit’s power. The fact is, we are leaky vessels, and we have to stay under the fountain all the time to be full of Christ and have a fresh supply.

Many of us make this mistake; we try to do God’s work with the grace God gave us ten years ago. We think if it is necessary, we will go on with the same grace. What we need is a fresh supply, a fresh anointing, and fresh power. If we seek it, and seek it with all our hearts, we will obtain it.

The early converts were taught to look for that power. Philip went to Samaria, and news reached Jerusalem that there was a great work being done in Samaria with many converts:

Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached the Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spoke, hearing and seeing the signs which he did. (Acts 8:5-6)

Then John and Peter went down, prayed for them, and laid their hands on them. The believers in Samaria received the Holy Spirit. I think that is what we ought to be looking for – the Spirit of God to empower us for service – that God may use us mightily in the building up of His church and hastening His glory.

In Acts 19, we read of twelve men at Ephesus who admitted they had not received the Holy Spirit since they had believed. They said, We have not so much as heard whether there is any Holy Spirit (Acts 19:2). I venture to say there are many who, if we ask them, “Have you received the Holy Spirit since you believed?” would reply, “I don’t know what you mean by that.” They would be like the twelve men down at Ephesus who had never understood the peculiar relationship of the Spirit to the sons of God in this dispensation.

The church seems to have laid this knowledge aside, mislaid it somewhere. So Christians are without power. Sometimes even a hundred members in the church don’t add to its power. Something is all wrong. If they were only anointed by the Spirit of God, great power would come along with one hundred saved ones who were added to the church.

Green Fields

When I was out in California, the first time I went from the Sierra Nevada Mountains into the Sacramento Valley, I was surprised to find one farm where everything was green – all the trees and flowers. Everything was blooming and green and beautiful, but just across the hedge everything was dried up. Not a single thing was green, and I could not understand. I made inquiries and found that the man who had everything green irrigated his land. He just poured the water right on the plants and trees. He kept everything green, while the fields that were next to his were as dry as Gideon’s fleece without a drop of dew.

And so it is with many in the church today. They are like these farms in California – a dreary desert, everything parched and desolate with no apparent life in them. They can sit next to a man who is full of the Spirit of God, who is like a green bay tree that is bringing forth fruit. Yet they will not seek a similar blessing. Why this difference? Because God has poured water on the man who was thirsty; that is the difference. One has been seeking this anointing, and he has received it; when we want this more than anything else, God will surely give it to us.

The great question before us then is, do[_ _]we want it? I remember when I first went to England and gave a Bible reading, many ministers were there. I didn’t know anything about English theology, and I was afraid I would preach against their creeds. This hampered me a little, especially on this very subject – the gift of the Holy Spirit for service. I remember a Christian minister there who had his head bowed on his hand, and I thought the good man was ashamed of everything I was saying. Of course, that troubled me. At the close of my address, he took his hat and away he went. I thought, “Well, I shall never see him again.”

At the next meeting I looked all around for him, but he wasn’t there. And at the next meeting I looked again, but he was absent. I thought my teaching must have offended him. But a few days after that, at a large noon prayer meeting, a man stood up, and his face shone as if he had been up in the mountain with God. I looked at him, and to my great joy, it was this brother. He said he was at that Bible reading, and he heard there was such a thing as having fresh power to preach the gospel. He said he made up his mind that if that was for him, he would have it. He went home and looked to the Master and never had such a battle with himself in his life. He asked God to show him the sinfulness of his heart that he knew nothing about. He cried mightily to God that he might be emptied of himself and filled with the Spirit. And he said, “God has answered my prayer.”

I met him in Edinburgh six months later, and he told me he had preached the gospel every night during that time. He had not preached one sermon without some people remaining for conversation, and he had engagements four months ahead to preach the gospel every night in different churches. I think we could have fired a cannonball right through his church and not hit anyone before he got this anointing; but within thirty days, the building was full and aisles crowded. He had his bucket filled full of fresh water, and the people found out and came flocking to him from every direction.

The stream cannot flow higher than the fountain. What we need is power. Another man said, “I have heart disease; I can’t preach more than once a week.” So he had a colleague preach for him and do the visiting. He was an old minister and couldn’t do any visiting. He had heard of this anointing and said, “I would like to be anointed for my burial. I would like to have one more privilege to preach the gospel with power before I leave.” He prayed that God would fill him with the Spirit.

I met him not long after that, and he said, “I have preached on average eight times a week, and I have had conversions all along.” The Spirit had come on him. I don’t believe that man broke down at first from the hard work, but from using the machinery without oil, without lubrication. The hard work doesn’t break ministers down, but the toil of working without power does.

Oh, that God may anoint His people! Not the ministry only, but every disciple. Do not assume pastors are the only laborers who need it. There is not a mother who doesn’t need it in her house to regulate her family, just as much as the minister needs it in the pulpit or the Sunday school teacher in his classroom. We all need it together, so let’s not rest day or night until we possess it. If that is the uppermost thought in our hearts, God will give it to us; we must hunger and thirst for it and say, “God help me, I will not rest until endued with power from on high.”

Master and Servant

Remember the sweet story of Elijah and Elisha. The time had come for Elijah to be taken up, and he said to Elisha, Tarry here [Gilgal], I pray thee; for the LORD has sent me to Bethel.

But Elisha said, As the Lord lives and as thy soul lives, I will not leave thee. And so Elisha kept close to Elijah.

They went to Bethel, and the sons of the prophets came out and said to Elisha, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master?

And Elisha said, Yes, I know it; be silent.

Then Elijah said to Elisha, [Tarry here _][Bethel][, for the LORD has sent me to Jericho._]

But Elisha said, As the Lord lives and as thy soul lives, I will not leave thee. Elisha did not want Elijah to go without him; I can imagine that Elisha put his arm in the arm of Elijah, and they walked together. I can picture those two mighty men walking down to Jericho.

But when they arrived, the sons of the prophets came and said to Elisha, Knowest thou that the LORD will take away thy master?

Yes, I know it; Elisha said, be silent.

And then Elijah said to Elisha, [Tarry I pray thee, here _][Jericho][, for the LORD has sent me to the Jordan._]

But Elisha said, As the LORD lives and as thy soul lives, I will not leave thee. And then Elisha came right up close to Elijah, and as they walked, I can imagine Elisha wanted something. When they came to the Jordan, Elijah took off his mantle and struck the waters. They separated to one side and the other, and the two passed through like giants, dry-shod. The fifty sons of the prophets came to look at them and watch them. They didn’t know if maybe Elijah would be taken up right in their sight.

As they passed over Jordan, Elijah said to Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee. He knew Elisha was after something. Ask what I shall do for thee.

And he said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. I can imagine now that Elijah had given him a chance to ask; he said to himself, “I will ask for enough.”

Elisha already had a good deal of the Spirit, but he told Elijah he wanted a double portion of thy spirit. Elijah said, If thou shalt see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee.

Do you think we could have enticed Elisha away from Elijah at that moment? I can almost picture the two arm in arm, walking along, and as they walked, the chariot of fire came along. Before Elisha knew it, Elijah was caught up, and as he went sweeping towards the throne of heaven, Elisha cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel and the horsemen thereof. And Elisha saw him no more.

He picked up Elijah’s fallen mantle, and returning with his master’s old mantle, he came to the Jordan and cried for Elijah’s God. The waters separated to one side and the other, and he passed through dry-shod. Then the watching prophets lifted up their voices and said, The spirit of Elijah rests on Elisha, and so it was, a double portion of it (2 Kings 2:2-15).

May the Spirit of Elijah be upon us. If we seek for it, we will have it. Oh, may the God of Elijah answer by fire and consume the spirit of worldliness in the churches, burn up the dross, and make us wholehearted Christians. May that Spirit come upon us; let that be our prayer at our family altars and in our closets. Let’s cry to God that we may have a double portion of the Holy Spirit and not be satisfied with this worldly state of living, but let us, like Sampson, shake ourselves and come out from the world, so we may have the power of God.

Then Samson called unto the LORD and said, O Lord GOD, remember me now and strengthen me now only this once, O God, that I may take vengeance at once of the Philistines for my two eyes. Then Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood and on which it was borne up, and leaned upon them, on the one with his right hand and on the other with his left. And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he pushed with all his might, and the house fell upon the cardinals and upon all the people that were in it. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than those which he slew in his life. (Judges 16:28-30)

Chapter 3

Witnessing in Power

A man may as well hew marble without tools, or paint without colors or instruments, or build without materials, as perform any acceptable service without the graces of the Spirit, which are both the materials and the instruments in the work. (Joseph Alleine)

If we do not have the Spirit of God, it were better to shut the churches, to nail up the doors, to put a black cross on them, and say, “God have mercy on us!” If you ministers have not the Spirit of God, you had better not preach, and you people had better stay at home. I think I speak not too strongly when I say that a church in the land without the Spirit of God is rather a curse than a blessing. If you have not the Spirit of God, Christian worker, remember that you stand in somebody else’s way; you are a fruitless tree standing where a fruitful tree might grow. This is solemn work: the Holy Spirit or nothing, and worse than nothing. Death and condemnation to a church that is not yearning after the Spirit, and crying and groaning until the Spirit has wrought mightily in her midst. He is here; He has never gone back since He descended at Pentecost. He is often grieved and vexed, for He is peculiarly jealous and sensitive, and the one sin never forgiven has to do with His blessed person; therefore let us be tender towards Him, walk humbly before Him, wait earnestly on Him and resolve that there should be nothing knowingly continued that would prevent Him from working in our midst and being with us henceforth and forever. Brethren, peace be unto you and your spirit. (Charles Spurgeon)

In the Power of the Spirit

The subject of bearing witness in the power of the Holy Spirit is not sufficiently understood by the church. Until we have more knowledge on this, we labor under a great disadvantage. In the gospel of John we find these words: But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceeds from the Father, he shall testify of me; and ye also shall bear witness because ye have been with me from the beginning (John 15:26-27). Here we learn what the Spirit is going to do, or what Christ said He would do when He came. He would testify of Him (Christ). In the second chapter of Acts, we find that when Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost and testified to what Christ had done, the Holy Spirit came down and bore witness to that fact, and men were convicted by hundreds and by thousands. Man cannot preach effectively by himself; he must have the Spirit of God to give him the ability, and he must study God’s Word in order to testify according to the mind of the Spirit.

What Is the Testimony?

If we hold the gospel of Christ back and do not bring Him to the people, then the Spirit doesn’t have the opportunity to work. But the moment Peter stood up on the day of Pentecost and bore testimony to the fact that God made Jesus, whom they crucified, both Lord and Christ, and He had been raised from the dead and had ascended into heaven, the Spirit came down to bear witness of the person and work of Christ.

Yes, the Spirit came down to bear witness of Christ, and if it was not for the Holy Spirit bearing witness to the facts of the gospel, the church would not have lived during these last eighteen centuries. Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension would probably have been forgotten as soon as His birth, if it had not been for the fact that the Holy Spirit had come. It is very clear that when John the Baptist made his appearance out of the wilderness, people had forgotten all about the birth of Jesus Christ. Just thirty short years. The memory was gone. They had forgotten the story of the shepherds; they had forgotten the wonderful scene that took place in the temple when the Son of God was brought into the temple and the older prophets and prophetesses were there; they had forgotten about the wise men coming to Jerusalem to inquire where He was that was born King of the Jews. That story of His birth seemed to have faded away; they had forgotten all about it, and when John made his appearance out of the wilderness, it came back to their minds. And if it had not been for the Holy Spirit coming to bear witness of Christ, to testify of His death and resurrection, these facts might have been forgotten as well.

Greater Work

The witness of the Spirit is the witness of power. Jesus said, The works that I do he [whoever believes] shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto the Father (John 14:12). I used to stumble over that. I didn’t understand it. I wondered what greater work could any man do than what Christ had done. How could anyone raise a dead man who had been laid away in the sepulcher for days and had already begun to turn back to dust? How could He call him forth with a word? But the longer I live the more I am convinced it is a greater thing to influence a man’s will – a man whose will is set against God. To break that will and bring it into subjection to God’s will is a greater thing. To have power over a living, sinning, God-hating man is greater than being able to quicken the dead.

He who created a world could speak a dead soul into life, but I think the greatest miracle this world has ever seen was the miracle at Pentecost. Here were men who surrounded the apostles, full of prejudice, full of malice, and full of bitterness; their hands, as it were, dripped with the blood of the Son of God. Yet an uneducated man, a man they detested, a man they hated, stood up and preached the gospel, and three thousand of them were immediately convicted and converted and became disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. They were willing to lay down their lives for the Son of God. It may have been on that occasion that Stephen, the first martyr, was converted, and also some of the other men who soon after gave up their lives for Christ as well. This seems to me the greatest miracle this world has ever seen. But Peter did not labor alone. The Spirit of God was with him; hence the marvelous results.

The Jewish law required that there should be two witnesses, so we find that when Peter preached, there was a second witness. Peter testified of Christ, and Christ said when the Holy Spirit came He would testify of Him. And they both bore witness to the truthfulness of our Lord’s incarnation, ministry, death, and resurrection. And the result was a multitude turned as with one heart unto the Lord. Our failure now is that preachers ignore the cross and hide Christ with sapless sermons and superfine language. They don’t present Him to the people in a simple fashion, and I believe that is why the Spirit of God doesn’t work with power in our churches. We need to preach Christ and present Him to a perishing world. The world can get on very well without us, but the world cannot get on without Christ. Therefore, we must testify of Him. I believe the world today hungers and thirsts for this divine, satisfying portion.

Thousands and thousands are sitting in darkness, not knowing this great Light. We need to preach Christ honestly, faithfully, sincerely, and truthfully. We need to hold Him up, not ourselves, and exalt Him, and not our theories. We need to present Christ, not our opinions, and advocate Christ, and not some false doctrine. Then the Holy Spirit will come and bear witness. He will testify that what we say is true. He will confirm the Word with signs following.

This is one of the strongest proofs that our gospel is divine and of divine origin. Not only did Christ teach these things, but when leaving the world, He also said, He shall clarify [glorify] me, and he shall testify of me (John 16:14; 15:26). In the second chapter of Acts in that wonderful sermon that Peter preached, we read these words: Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this same Jesus, whom ye crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts 2:36). And when Peter said this, the people repented, and the Holy Spirit descended upon them and testified of Christ; He bore witness that all this was true. And again Peter said, And with many other words he testified and exhorted, saying, Be saved from this perverse generation (Acts 2:40). With many other words Peter testified, not only these words that have been recorded, but also many other words.

The Sure Guide

In John 16 we read: Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will cause you to know the things which are to come (John 16:13). He will guide us into all truth. Any truth that we need to know, the Spirit of God will guide us into if we let Him. If we yield ourselves to be directed by the Spirit and let Him lead us, He will guide us into all truth. This can save us from many dark hours if we are only willing to let the Spirit of God be our counselor and guide.

Lot never would have gone to Sodom if he had been guided by the Spirit of God. David never would have fallen into sin and had all that trouble with his family if he had been guided by the Spirit of God.

Today we see many Lots and Davids. The churches are full of them. Men and women are in total darkness because they have not been willing to be guided by the Spirit of God. He will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself (John 16:13). He shall speak of the ascended, glorified Christ.

What would we think of a messenger who was entrusted by an absent husband with a message for his wife or mother but only talked about himself and his conceits and ignored both the message and the husband who sent it? We would simply call it outrageous. What about the professed teacher who speaks of himself or some theory, leaving out Christ and His gospel? If we witness according to the Spirit, we must witness of Jesus.

The Holy Spirit is in this dark world to speak of the Absent One, and He takes the things of Christ and brings them to our mind. He testifies of Christ; He guides us into the truth about Him.

Communicating with Spirits

I believe many children of God today turn aside and commit a grievous sin. They may not think it is a sin, but if we examine the Scriptures, we will find that it is a great sin. The Comforter is sent into the world to guide us into all truth, and if He is sent for that purpose, do we need any other guide? Do we need to hide in the darkness and consult with mediums, who profess to call up the spirits of the dead? Do we know what the Word of God pronounces against that fearful sin? This is one of the greatest sins we have to contend with at the present time. It dishonors the Holy Spirit when we summon the dead and confer with them, even if it were possible.

In 1 Chronicles we can read about Saul after he fell into this sin:

So Saul died for his rebellion which he committed against the LORD, even against the word of the LORD, which he did not keep, and also for consulting a spiritist, to enquire of her and not enquire of the LORD; therefore, He slew him and turned the kingdom unto David, the son of Jesse. (1 Chronicles 10:13-14)

God slew Saul for this very sin. Of the two sins that are brought against Saul here, one is that he would not listen to the Word of God, and the second is that he consulted a familiar spirit. He was snared by this great evil and sinned against God.

Saul fell right there, and many of God’s professed children today think there is no harm in consulting a medium who pretends to call on some of the departed for counsel.

But how dishonoring this is to God who sent the Holy Spirit into this world to guide us into all truth. There is not a thing that we need to know, there is not a thing that is important for us to know, there is not a thing that we ought to know that the Spirit of God won’t reveal to us through the Word of God. And if we turn our backs on the Holy Spirit, we dishonor Him and commit a grievous sin.

In the book of Luke, the rich man in the other world wanted to send someone to his father’s house to warn his five brothers. Christ said, If they do not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, even though one rose from the dead (Luke 16:31). Moses and the prophets, the part of the Bible then completed, was enough. But many people now want something besides the Word of God and are turning to these false entities.

Spirits That Peep and Mutter

Another passage reads: And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto spiritists and unto wizards that peep and that mutter; shall the people not seek unto their God? Shall we appeal for the living unto the dead? (Isaiah 8:19). What is that but table rapping and cabinet hiding? If it was a message from God, do you think we would have to go into a dark room and turn off all the lights?

In secret my Master taught nothing; God is not in the secret-message movement. What we want as children of God is to keep ourselves from this evil. And then notice the following verse: To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them (Isaiah 8:20). Let us understand that any man or woman who comes to us with any doctrine that is not according to the law and the testimony is from the Evil One and is an enemy of righteousness. They have no light in them. These people who consult familiar spirits attack the Word of God and don’t believe it. Still, many people say we must hear both sides. But if a man wrote me a slanderous letter about my wife, I don’t think I would have to read it; I would tear it up and throw it to the winds. Do we have to read all the infidel books that are written to hear both sides? Do we have to take up a book that is slanderous to our Lord and Master, who has redeemed us with His blood? Ten thousand times, no, we should not touch it.

Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, listening to spirits of error and doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1). That is pretty plain language, isn’t it? Doctrines of demons. And in hypocrisy shall speak lies; having their conscience seared as with a hot iron (1 Timothy 4:2).

Other passages of Scripture warn against every delusion of Satan. We must remember the Spirit has been sent into the world to guide us into all truth. We don’t want any other guide; He is enough. Some people say, “Is not our conscience a safer guide than the Word and the Spirit?” No, it is not. Some people don’t seem to have any conscience and don’t know what it means. Their education has a good deal to do with their conscience. Some will say that their conscience did not tell them that they had done wrong until after the wrong was done. But what we want is something or someone to tell us a thing is wrong before we do it. Very often a man will go and commit some awful crime, and after it is done, his conscience will wake up and lash and scourge him, but it is too late; the act is done.

The Unerring Guide

I am told by people who have been over the Alps that the guide fastens them to himself if they are going in a dangerous place, and he leads the way. The climbers are safely fastened to the guide.

So should the Christian be linked to his unerring Guide and be safely upheld. Why would a man stray from his guide if he was going through the Mammoth Cave? It would be death to him if he got separated from the guide; he would certainly perish. There are pitfalls in that cave and a bottomless river, and there would be no chance for a man to find his way through that cave without a guide or a light. So there is no chance for us to get through the dark wilderness of this world alone. It is folly for a man or woman to think they can get through this evil world without the light of God’s Word and the guidance of the Divine Spirit. God sent Him to guide us through this great journey, and if we seek to work independently of Him, we shall stumble into the deep darkness of eternity’s night.

But bear in mind the words of the Spirit of God; if we want to be guided, we must study the Word, because the Word is the light of the Spirit. Remember, we read in the book of John:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all the things that I have said unto you. (John 14:26)

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will cause you to know the things which are to come. (John 16:13)

He will cause you to know the things which are to come. Many people seem to think that the Bible is out of date, that it is an old book, and that it has passed its day. They say it was very good for the Dark Ages, and there is some good history in it, but it was not intended for the present time. They say we are living in an enlightened age, and men can get on well without the old Book. We have outgrown it. They think we have no use for it, because it is an old book.

We might as well say that the sun, which has shone so long, is now so old that it is out of date. And whenever a man builds a house, he need not put any windows in it, because we have a newer light and a better light. We have gaslight and this new electric light. These are new, and I would advise people, if they think the Bible is too old and worn out, when they build houses, not to put any windows in them but light them with this new electric light. That would be something new, which is what they are anxious for.

People talk about this Book as if they understood it, but we really don’t know much about it. The press gives us the daily news of what has taken place. This Bible, however, tells us what is about to take place. This is new; we have the news here in this Book. It tells us of the things that will surely come to pass, and that is a great deal newer than anything in the newspapers. It tells us that the Spirit will teach us all things – not only guide us into all truth but also teach us all things. He teaches us how to pray, and I doubt there has ever been a prayer upon this sin-cursed earth that was implored by the Holy Spirit that was not answered. But there is much praying where the Holy Spirit has not made supplication.

In former years I was ambitious to get rich. I used to pray for one hundred thousand dollars; that was my aim. I used to say, “God does not answer my prayer; He does not make me rich.” But I had no entitlement for such a prayer; yet many people pray in that way. They think that they pray, but not according to the Scriptures. Their problem is the Spirit of God has nothing to do with their prayers, and such prayers are not the product of His teaching.

The Spirit is the one who teaches us how to answer our enemies. If a man strikes me, I should not pull out a revolver and shoot him. The Spirit of the Lord doesn’t teach me revenge; He doesn’t teach me that it is necessary to draw the sword and cut a man down in order to defend my rights. Some people say we are cowards if we don’t strike back. Christ tells us to turn the other cheek to him who smites us. I would rather take Christ’s teaching than any other. I don’t think a man gains much by loading himself down with weapons to defend himself. There has been life enough sacrificed in this country to teach men a lesson in this regard. The Word of God is a much better protection than the revolver. We had better take the Word of God to protect us by accepting its teaching and living out its precepts.

An Aid to Memory

We can find great comfort when we remember that another work of the Spirit is to bring the teaching of Jesus to our remembrance. This was our Lord’s promise: He shall teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all the things that I have said unto you (John 14:26).

How striking that is. Many Christians have had that experience. They were testifying and found that while sharing Christ, the Spirit helped them remember some of the sayings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Their mind was soon filled with the Word of God. When we have the Spirit resting upon us, we can speak with authority and power, and the Lord will bless our testimony and our work. I believe the reason God makes use of so few in the church is that few have His power.

He is not going to use our ideas, but we must have the Word of God hid in our hearts. Then the Holy Spirit can inflame us, and we will have a rich, sweet, and fresh testimony. The Lord’s Word will vindicate itself with blessed results. God wants to use us; God wants to make us channels of blessing, but we are in such a condition that He does not use us. That is the trouble; many men have no testimony for the Lord. If they speak, they speak without saying anything, and if they pray, their prayer is powerless; they do not plead in prayer; their prayer is just a few familiar phrases that we’ve heard too often. What we need is to be so full of the Word that the Spirit in us will bring to mind, to our remembrance, the words of the Lord Jesus.

We know that which eye has not seen nor ear heard neither has entered into the heart of man is that which God has prepared for those that love him (1 Corinthians 2:9).

We often hear that quoted in prayer. Many men weave it into their prayers but stop right there. And the moment we talk about heaven, they say, “Oh, we don’t know anything about heaven; it has not entered into the heart of man; eye has not seen; it is all speculation; we have nothing to do with it,” and they say they quote it as it is written: eye has not seen nor ear heard neither has entered into the heart of man is that which God has prepared for them that love him. But note what comes next: but God has revealed this unto us by his Spirit. We see that the Lord has revealed them unto us: [_for the Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God _](1 Corinthians 2:10). That is what the Spirit does.

Long and Short Sight

The Spirit brings to our mind what God has in store for us. I heard a man speaking about Abraham. He said, “Abraham was not tempted by the well-watered plains of Sodom, for Abraham was what we might call a long-sighted man; he had his eyes set on the city which had a foundation – whose builder and maker is God.” But Lot was a shortsighted man, and many people in the church are very shortsighted; they only see things close by that they think are good. Abraham was long-sighted; he had glimpses of the celestial city. Moses left the palaces of Egypt and identified himself with God’s people – poor people who were slaves. But he had something in view in the distance; he could see something God had in store.

Some people are sort of both long-sighted and shortsighted. I have a friend who has one eye that is long-sighted and the other is shortsighted. The church seems to be full of this kind of people. They want one eye for the world and the other for the kingdom of God. Therefore, everything is blurred; one eye is long and the other is short; all is confusion, and they see men; . . . that they walk as trees. The church is filled with these people.

But Stephen was long-sighted; he looked clear into heaven, and they couldn’t convince him, even when he was dying, that Christ had not ascended to heaven. He could have said, “Look, look yonder; see Him over there; He is on the throne, standing at the right hand of God.” Stephen looked clear into heaven because the world had no temptation for him; he had put the world under his feet.

Paul was another of those long-sighted men. He had been caught up and seen things unlawful for him to utter, things grand and glorious. When the Spirit of God is on us, the world looks very empty and has very little hold on us. We begin to let go of it. When the Spirit of God is on us, we will let go of the things of time and lay hold of things eternal. The church needs this today. We need the Spirit to come in mighty power and consume all the vileness there is in us. Oh! That the Spirit of fire may come down and burn everything in us that is contrary to God’s blessed Word and will.

In John we read of the Comforter: [_And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever _](John 14:16). This is the first time He is spoken of as the Comforter. Christ had been their Comforter. God had sent Him to comfort the sorrowing, as was prophesied of Him:

[_The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me because the LORD has anointed me; he has sent me to preach good tidings unto those who are cast down; to bind up the wounds of the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those that are bound. (Isaiah 61:1) _]

You can’t heal the brokenhearted without the Comforter, but the world would not accept the first Comforter, so they rose up and took Him to Calvary and put Him to death. But on the way, He told them the Father would send them another Comforter, and they would not be comfortless: Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom (Luke 12:32). All these sweet passages are brought to the remembrance of God’s people, and they help us rise out of the fog and mist of this world. Oh, what a Comforter the Holy Spirit of God is!

The Faithful Friend

The Holy Spirit tells a man of his faults in order to lead him to a better life. In John we learn he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment (John 16:8). Now, some people don’t like this part of the Spirit’s work. Do you know why? Because He convicts them of sin, and they don’t like that. What they want is someone to speak comforting words and make everything pleasant, keep everything quiet, and tell them there is peace when there is war. They want the Spirit to tell them it is light when it is dark, everything is growing better, and the world is getting on amazingly in goodness. They want to believe it is growing better all the time; that is the kind of preaching they seek. Men think they are a great deal better than their fathers were. That suits human nature, for it is full of pride. Men will strut around and say, “Yes, I believe that; the world is improving. I am a much better man than my father was; he was too strict, one of those old Puritanical men who was so rigid. Oh, we are progressing. We are more liberal; my father wouldn’t think of going out riding on Sunday, but we can; we will trample the laws of God under our feet because we are better than our fathers.”

That is the kind of preaching which some people love, and preachers will tickle such itching ears. When we bring the Word of God to them and when the Spirit drives it home, men will say, “I don’t like that kind of preaching; I will never go to hear that man again.” Sometimes they dislike it so much that they get up and stomp their way out of church before the speaker gets through. But when the Spirit of God is at work, He convicts men of sin. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin and of righteousness and of judgment: of sin [not because men swear and lie and steal and get drunk and murder], because they do not believe in me.

The Climax Sin

Unbelief is the sin of the world. Many people think that unbelief is a type of misfortune, but they do not realize it is the damning sin of the world today; that is what unbelief is, the mother of all sin. No drunkard would stagger down the streets if it were not for unbelief. No harlot would loiter on the streets if it were not for unbelief. No man would become a murderer if it were not for unbelief.

The germ of all sin is unbelief. Don’t think for a moment that unbelief is a misfortune; bear in mind it is an awful sin. May the Holy Spirit convict every reader that unbelief is making God a liar. Many a man has been knocked down on the streets because someone told him he was a liar. Unbelief is giving God the lie; that is the plain English of it. Some people boast of their unbelief; they seem to think it is quite respectable to be an infidel and doubt God’s Word. They vainly boast and say, “I have intellectual difficulties; I can’t believe.” Oh, that the Spirit of God may come and convict men of sin! That is what we need – His convicting power, but I am so thankful that God has not put that into our hands. We do not need to convict men; if we did, I would get discouraged, give up preaching, and go back to business within forty-eight hours. My work is to preach and hold up the cross and testify of Christ, but His work is to convict men of sin and lead them to Christ.

I have noticed that some conversions don’t amount to anything. If a man professes to be converted without conviction of sin, he is one of those stony-ground hearers who don’t bring forth much fruit.

[_Some _][seed] [_fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth; and forthwith they sprang up because they had no deepness of earth; and when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. But he that was planted in stony places, the same is he that hears the word and receives it immediately with joy; yet he has no root in himself but is temporal, for when affliction or persecution arises because of the word, by and by he is offended. _](Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21)

With the first little wave of persecution or the first breath of opposition, the man is back in the world again.

Let us pray, dear Christian reader, that God will carry on a deep and thorough work, that men will be convicted of sin so they cannot rest in unbelief. Let us pray this will be a thorough work in the land. I would rather see a hundred men thoroughly converted, truly born of God, than to see a thousand professed conversions where the Spirit of God has not convicted of sin. Let’s not cry, Peace, peace; when there is no peace. Don’t tell a man who is living in sin that all he has to do is stand up and profess, without any hatred for sin. Let’s ask God first to show every man the plague of his own heart, that the Spirit may convict him of sin. Then the work in our hands will be real and deep and will withstand the fiery trial which will try every man’s labor.

Thus far, we have found that the work of the Spirit is to impart life, implant hope, give liberty, testify of Christ, guide us into all truth, teach us all things, comfort the believers, and convict the world of sin.

Holy Spirit, faithful Guide,

Ever near the Christian’s side;

Gently lead us by the hand,

Pilgrims in a desert land;

Weary souls fore’er rejoice,

While they hear that sweetest voice,

Whisp’ring softly, “Wand’rer, come!

Follow Me, I’ll guide thee home.”

Ever present, truest Friend,

Ever near Thine aid to lend,

Leave us not to doubt and fear,

Groping on in darkness drear;

When the storms are raging sore,

Hearts grow faint, and hopes give o’er.

Whisp’ring softly, “Wand’rer, come!

Follow Me, I’ll guide thee home.”

When our days of toil shall cease,

Waiting still for sweet release,

Nothing left but heav’n and prayer,

Wond’ring if our names were there;

Wading deep the dismal flood,

Pleading naught but Jesus’ blood;

Whisp’ring softly, “Wand’rer, come!

Follow Me, I’ll guide thee home.

— (Marcus Morris Wells)

O Spirit of God, whose voice I hear,

Sweeter than sweetest music, appealing

In tones of tenderness and love;

Whose comforts delight my soul, and

Fills the temple of my heart with joy beyond compare.

I need Thee day by day, and each day’s moment, Lord.

I sigh for greater likeness

To Him who loved me unto death, and loves me still.

’Tis Thine to lead me to Him; ’tis Thine to ope the eye,

To manifest His royal glories to my longing heart;

’Tis Thine the slumbering saint to waken

And discipline this blood-touched ear

To hearken to my heavenly Lover’s voice,

And quickly speed His summons to obey.

O Spirit of the Mighty God, uplift my faith

Till heaven’s precious light shall flood my soul,

And the shining of my face declare

That I have seen the face of God.

— (Author Unknown)

Chapter 4

Power in Operation

“Ye are not your own.” “Your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost.” Is that an unmeaning metaphor, or an over-worded expression? When God enters the soul, heaven enters with Him. The heart is compared to a temple – God never enters without His attendants; repentance cleanses the house – faith provides for the house – watchfulness, like the porter, takes care of it – prayer is a lively messenger, learns what is wanted, and then goes for it – faith tells him where to go, and he never goes in vain. Joy is the musician of this temple, tuning to the praises of God and the Lamb; and this terrestrial temple shall be removed to the celestial world, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised. (Rowland Hill)

Power in Actions

The power we have been considering is the presence of the Holy Spirit. He is omnipotent. Power in operation is the action of the Spirit or the fruit of the Spirit. Let’s consider what Paul writes in Galatians:

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye are led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. But the fruit of the Spirit is this: Charity [love], joy, peace, tolerance [long-suffering], gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. For those that are of the Christ have crucified the flesh with its affections and lusts. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:16-18, 22-26)

A life of perfect peace, perfect joy, and perfect love ought to be the goal of every child of God. This should be our standard, and we should not rest until we’ve attained that position. It is God’s standard, where He wants all His children to be. These nine graces (fruit) mentioned in this chapter in Galatians can be divided in this way: love, peace, and joy are directed to God. God looks for that fruit from each one of His children, and that fruit is acceptable to Him. Without that, we cannot please God. He wants us to possess love, peace, and joy above everything else. The next three – goodness, long-suffering, and gentleness – are directed towards man. We need these in our outward life as we come in contact with other people every day and every hour. The next three – faith, temperance, and meekness – relate to ourselves, our inner qualities. These three divisions help us better understand what God would have for us.

Love, Peace, and Joy

The first three graces that we encounter as we enter the kingdom of God are the ones that allow us to relate to God – love, peace, and joy.

When a man who has been living in sin turns from his sins and turns to God with all his heart, he is met on the threshold of the divine life by these sister graces. The love of God is shed abroad in his heart by the Holy Spirit (Romans 5:5). The peace of God comes at the same time as does the joy of the Lord. We can all test ourselves to see if we have these graces. We cannot make these in our own strength; a great trouble occurs when many try to do that. They try to make love; they try to make peace; they try to make joy. But these graces are not creatures of human planting; to produce them by ourselves is impossible – it requires an act of God. They come from above. God speaks the word and gives the love; God gives the peace; God gives the joy. We possess all of them by receiving Jesus Christ by faith into our hearts, for when Christ comes by faith into the heart, the Spirit enters, and if we have the Spirit, we will have the fruit.

If the whole church of God could live as the Lord would have them live, Christianity would be the mightiest power this world has ever seen. The low standard of Christian life is what causes so much trouble. We have many stunted Christians in the church. Their lives are stunted, and they are like a tree planted in poor soil. The soil is hard and stony, and the roots cannot find the rich, loamy soil needed to grow. Such believers have not grown in these sweet graces. Peter wrote:

Ye also, giving all diligence to the same, show forth virtue in your faith; and in virtue, knowledge; and in knowledge, temperance; and in temperance, patience; and in patience, fear of God [godliness]; and in fear of God, brotherly love; and in brotherly love, charity. For if these things are in you and abound, they shall not let you be idle nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:5-8)

If we have these things in us, we will bring forth fruit that will be acceptable to God. It won’t be just a little every now and then, when we spur ourselves up and work ourselves into a certain state of mind or excited condition to work for a while and then become cold, discouraged, and disheartened. We shall be neither unfruitful nor barren but will bring forth fruit and grow in grace and be filled with the Spirit of God.

What Wins

Many parents ask me how to win their children. They say they have talked with them, and sometimes they have scolded them and lectured them, but clearly failed. The surest way to win our families, our neighbors, and others to Christ is to adorn the doctrine of Jesus Christ in our lives and grow in all these graces. If we have peace, joy, love, gentleness, goodness, and temperance, we shall have a quiet and silent power proceeding from us. We must be temperate not only in what we drink but also in what we eat and in our language.

If we guard our expressions and live in our homes as the Lord would have us – an even, Christian life day by day – we will constrain them to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. But an uneven life, hot today and cold tomorrow, will only repel our children and others. Many are watching God’s people. The very worst thing that can happen is for those we want to win to Christ to see us, at any time, in a cold, backslidden state.

This is not the normal condition of the church; it is not God’s intention to have backsliders. He wants us growing in all these graces. The only true, happy Christian is one that is growing, constantly growing in the love and favor of God, growing in all those delightful graces of the Spirit.

Even the vilest and the most impure acknowledge the power of goodness; they recognize the fruit of the Spirit. It may condemn their lives and cause them to say bitter things, but deep down in their hearts they know that the man or woman who lives that kind of life is superior to them. The world doesn’t satisfy them, and if we can show the world that Jesus Christ does satisfy us in our present life, it will be more powerful than the eloquent words of professional reformers. A man may preach with the eloquence of an angel, but if he doesn’t live what he preaches and exhibit in his home and his business what he professes, his testimony is worthless. The people will recognize the hypocrisy; they will know it’s a sham. Words are empty, if there is nothing to back them up. Our testimony will be poor and worthless, if we do not have a record to prove it consistent with what we profess. We need to pray to God to lift us out of this low, cold, formal state that we have been living in, so we may live in the atmosphere of God continually. The Lord will settle the light of His countenance upon us, and we will shine in this world, reflecting His grace and glory.

The first of the graces spoken of in Galatians and the last mentioned in Peter is charity or love. We cannot serve God or work for Him unless we have love. That is the key which unlocks the human heart. I must prove to a man that I come to him out of pure love in order to influence him. Likewise, a mother must show that it is pure love, not a selfish love, but for the glory of God, that prompts her to advise her boy to lead a different life before her influence will be felt by that boy, so he will think about the matter. True love touches the heart quicker than anything else.

Power of Love

Love is the badge that Christ gave His disciples. Some put on one sort of badge and some another. Some put on a strange kind of dress, so they’d be known as Christians, and some wear a crucifix so they’d be known as Christians. But love is the only badge by which the disciples of our Lord Jesus Christ are known. By this shall everyone know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another (John 13:35).

Therefore, though a man stand before an audience and speak with the eloquence of a Demosthenes or the greatest living orator, if there is no love to support his words, it is like sounding brass and a tinkling cymbal. I would recommend all Christians read the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, abiding in it day and night, not spending only a night or a day but just spend your time there – summer and winter, twelve months of the year. Then the power of Christ and Christianity will be felt as it never has been in the history of the world. See what this chapter says:

Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. (1 Corinthians 13:1-2)

Many people pray for faith. They want extraordinary faith; they want remarkable faith. They forget that love exceeds faith. The charity spoken of in the above verses is love, the fruit of the Spirit, the great motive power of life. What the church of God needs today is love – more love for God and more love for our fellow man. If we love God more, we will love our fellow man more. I used to wish I had lived in the days of the prophets and maybe to have been one of them – to prophesy and see the beauties of heaven and describe them to men. But as I understand the Scriptures now, I’d rather live in the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians and have this love that Paul is speaking of, the love of God, burning in my soul like an unquenchable flame, so I might reach men and win them for Christ.

A man may have wonderful knowledge and be able to unravel the mysteries of the Bible and yet be as cold as an icicle. He may glisten like the snow in the sun. Sometimes we wonder why it is that certain ministers have such wonderful magnetism, a marvelous command of language, and preach with mental strength, but have had few conversions. If the truth were known, we’d probably find no divine love to support their words, no pure love in their sermons.

A man may preach like an angel, Paul says, with the tongues of men and of angels, but if he doesn’t have love, it amounts to nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor – a man may be very charitable and give away all his goods, but if the love of God is not prompting the gift, it will not be acceptable to God. And though I give my body to be burned and have not charity – have not love – it profits me nothing (1 Corinthians 13:3). A man may go to the stake for his principles; he may go to the stake for what he believes, but if it is not love for God which motivates him, it will not be acceptable to God.

Love’s Wonderful Effects

[Charity _][love] _suffers long and is benign [kind]; charity envies not; charity does nothing without due reason, is not puffed up, is not injurious [behave unseemly], seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil. (1 Corinthians 13:4-5)

That’s the work of love. It is not easily provoked. But if a man has no love for God in his heart, he can easily become offended. Perhaps in the church some members don’t treat him just right, or some men don’t bow to him on the street; he will take offense, and that is the last we see of him. Love is long-suffering. If I love the Lord Jesus Christ, these little things are not going to separate me from His people. They are like the dust in the balance. Nor will the cold, formal treatment of hypocrites in the church quench that love I have in my heart for Him. If this love is in our hearts, and the fire is burning on the altar, we will not be finding fault all the time with other people and criticizing what they have done.

Critics Beware

Love will rebuke evil, but will not rejoice in it. Love will be impatient with sin, but patient with the sinner. The habit of always finding fault is damaging to spiritual life; it is about the lowest and meanest position that a man can take. I never saw a man who was aiming to do his best work without the possibility of there being room for improvement. I never did anything in my life, I never addressed an audience without thinking I could have done better. I have often admonished myself for not doing better. But to sit down and find fault with other people when we are doing nothing ourselves and not lifting our hands to save someone is all wrong and the opposite of holy, patient, divine love.

Love exhibits self-control and patience. We want to remove this spirit of criticism and faultfinding from the church and out of our hearts. We want to let each one live as if we had to answer for ourselves, and not for the community, at the last day. If we live according to the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, we will not be finding fault with other people all the time. [Charity _][love][ suffers long and is benign_] [kind] (1 Corinthians 13:4). Love forgets itself and doesn’t dwell on itself.

The woman who came to Christ with that alabaster box probably did not think of herself. Little did she know what an act she performed. It was just her love for the Master. She forgot the surroundings, she forgot everything else that was there; she broke that box and poured the ointment upon Him and filled the house with its odor. The act, as a memorial, has come down through eighteen hundred years. The perfume of that box is in the world today. That ointment was worth forty or fifty dollars – no small amount for a poor woman in those days. Judas sold the Son of God for about fifteen or twenty dollars. But what this woman gave to Christ was everything that she had, and she became so occupied with Jesus Christ that she didn’t think about what people were going to say.

So when we act with a single eye for the glory of our Lord, not finding fault with everything about us, but doing what we can in the power of this love, then our deeds for God will speak, and the world will acknowledge that we have been with Jesus, and this glorious love has been shed abroad in our hearts.

If we don’t love the church of God, I am afraid it won’t do us much good. If we don’t love the blessed Bible, it will not do us much good. What we need is to love Christ, to love His Word, and to love the church of God. When we love and are living in that Spirit, we will not be in the spirit of finding fault and working mischief.

After Love, What?

After love comes peace. I have mentioned earlier that many people are trying to make peace. But God has already done that; all we have to do is enter into it. Peace is a condition, and instead of trying to make peace and work for peace, we want to cease from that and sweetly enter into peace.

If I discover a man in the cellar, complaining that there is no light, and it is cold and damp, I say, “My friend, come up out of the cellar. The sun is warm up here; it’s a beautiful spring day; it’s warm, cheerful, and light. Come up and enjoy it.”

He might reply, “Oh no, sir, I am trying to see if I can make light down here. I am trying to work myself into a warm feeling.” And he would work away for a whole week. I can imagine my readers smiling, but we might be smiling at our own picture. This is the condition of many whom I meet; they are doing this very thing – they are trying to work themselves into peace and joyful feelings.

Peace is a condition into which we enter; it is a state. Instead of trying to make peace, let’s believe what God’s Word declares – that peace has already been made by the blood of the cross.

[_But now in Christ Jesus ye who at another time were far off are made near by the blood of the Christ. For he is our peace, who of both has made one, breaking down the middle wall of separation, abolishing in his flesh the enmity, which was the law of commandments in the order of rites, to edify in himself the two in one new man, making peace, and to reconcile both with God by the cross in one body, having slain the enmity thereby; and he came and preached peace unto you who were afar off and to those that were near. _](Ephesians 2:13-17)

Christ has made peace for us, and He desires us to believe it and enter into it. The only thing that can now keep us from peace is sin. The way of the wicked he [God] turns upside down (Psalm 146:9). There is no peace for the wicked, said the LORD (Isaiah 48:22). But the wicked are like the sea in tempest, that cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. There is no peace, saith my God, for the wicked (Isaiah 57:20-21).

But peace with God by faith in Jesus Christ, peace through the knowledge of forgiven sin, is like a rock. The waters dash and surge past, but it abides. When we find peace, it will not be in our innate goodness; it comes from outside ourselves but enters into us. In John we read: These things I have spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace (John 16:33). In me ye might have peace. Jesus Christ is the author of peace. He procured peace. His gospel is the gospel of peace. Behold, I bring you a gospel of great joy, which shall be to all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour (Luke 2:10-11). And then came that chorus from heaven: Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will in man (Luke 2:14). He brought peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world (John 16:33).

How true that in the world we have tribulation. Are we in tribulation? Are we in trouble? Are we in sorrow? Remember, this is our lot. Paul had tribulation, and others shared in grief. We will not be exempt from trials, but within, peace may reign undisturbed. If sorrow is our lot, peace is our legacy. Jesus gives peace, and we know there is a great deal of difference between His peace and our peace. Anyone can disturb our peace, but they can’t disturb His peace. That is the kind of peace He has left us. Nothing can offend those who trust in Christ.

Not Easily Offended

In the 119th psalm we find that those who love thy law have great peace, and nothing shall cause them to stumble [offend them] (Psalm 119:165). The study of God’s Word will secure peace. Christians who are rooted and grounded in the Word of God have great peace, but those who don’t study their Bible or know their Bible are easily offended when some little trouble or persecution comes, and their peace is disturbed. Just a little breath of opposition, and their peace is all gone.

Sometimes I am amazed to see how little it takes to drive all peace and comfort from some people. Some slandering tongue will readily blast it. But if we have the peace of God, the world cannot take that from us. It cannot give it; it cannot destroy it. We have to get it from above; Christ gives this peace. Those who love thy law have great peace, and nothing shall cause them to stumble. Christ said, blessed is he who is not offended in me (Matthew 11:6). A Bible-taught Christian, who has the Bible well marked and feeds daily upon the Word with prayerful meditation, will not be easily offended.

Such are the people who grow and work all the time. But the people who never open their Bibles or study the Scriptures become offended and wonder why they have such a hard time. They say that Christianity is not what we claimed it to be. The real trouble is that they have not done as the Lord has told them to do. They have neglected the Word of God. If they had studied the Word of God, they would not be in that condition. If they had studied the Word of God, they would not have wandered away from God, living on the husks of the world. But they have neglected to care for the new life; they haven’t fed it, and the poor soul starves, sinks into weakness and decay, and is easily offended.

I met a man who confessed his soul had fed on nothing for forty years. “Well,” said I, “that is pretty hard for the soul – giving it nothing to feed on!” That man is like thousands and tens of thousands today; their poor souls are starving. We take good care of this body that we inhabit for a day and then leave; we feed it three times a day, and we clothe it and take care of it. By and by, it is going into the grave to be eaten up by the worms. But the inner man that is to live on forever is lean and starved.

Sweet Words

And the Lord spoke unto Moses, saying, Speak unto Aaron and unto his sons, saying, Thus shall ye bless the sons of Israel, saying unto them, The LORD bless thee and keep thee; the LORD make his face shine upon thee and have mercy on thee; the LORD lift up his face upon thee, and place peace in thee. (Numbers 6:22-26)

These are about as sweet verses as we find in the Old Testament. I marked them years ago in my Bible, and many times I have turned over and read them. The LORD lift up his face upon thee, and place peace in thee. They remind us of the loving words of Jesus to His troubled disciples: Peace, be still. The Jewish salutation used to be given as a man went into a house – Peace be to this house (Luke 10:5), and as he left the house, the host would say, Go in peace (Luke 7:50).

Then again in John, Jesus said, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid (John 14:27). This is the precious legacy of Jesus to all His followers. Every man, every woman, every child who believes in Him may share in this blessing. Christ has willed it to them, and His peace is theirs.

This then is our Lord’s purpose and promise – My peace I give unto you. I give it, and I am not going to take it away again; I am going to leave it with you. Not as the world gives, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. Sometimes men make their wills and deed away their property, but some sharp, shrewd lawyers get that will and break it all to pieces. They might go into court and break the will, and the jury can set the will aside and disperse the money through another channel.

However, the will that Christ has made, neither devil nor man can break it. He has promised to give us peace, and thousands of witnesses can say, “I have my part of that legacy. I have peace; I came to Him for peace, and I got it; I came to Him in darkness; I came to Him in trouble and sorrow; I was passing under a deep cloud of affliction, and I came to Him and He said, ‘Peace, be still.’ And from that hour peace reigned in my soul.”

Yes, many have proved the invitation true: Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28). They found rest when they came. He is the author of rest, He is the author of peace, and no power can break that will. Unbelief may question it, but Jesus Christ rose to execute His own will, and man cannot contest it. Infidels and skeptics may tell us that it is all a myth and there isn’t any truth in it, but the glorious tidings are always repeated, on earth peace, good will in man, and the poor and needy, the sad and sorrowful, are made partakers of it (Luke 2:14).

We need not wait for peace any longer. All we have to do is enter into it today. We do not need to try to make peace – that is a false idea; we cannot make it. Peace is already made by Jesus Christ, and is now declared unto us.

Peace Declared

When France and England were at war, a French whaling vessel had gone off on a long voyage. On their way back, the crew was short of water. Because they were near an English port, they wanted to stop to get water, but they were afraid they would be taken prisoner if they went into that port. Some people in the port saw them and their signal of distress, so they sent word to them that they need not be afraid; the war was over, and peace had been declared. But they couldn’t make those sailors believe it; and the sailors didn’t dare to go into port, although they were out of water. At last, they determined to go in and surrender up their cargo and their lives to their enemies rather than perish at sea without water. When they landed, they found out that peace had been declared, and what they had been told was true.

Likewise, many people don’t believe the good news that peace has been made. Jesus Christ made peace on the cross. He satisfied the claims of the law, and this law, which condemns us, has been fulfilled by Jesus Christ. He has made peace, and now He wants us to believe it and enjoy it. There is nothing to hinder us from doing it, if we will. We can enter into that blessing now, and have perfect peace. The promise is: Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusts in thee. Trust ye in the LORD for ever, for in JAH, the LORD is the strength of the ages (Isaiah 26:3-4).

As long as our thoughts stay on ourselves, we will never have peace. Some people think more of themselves than of all the rest of the world. It is self in the morning, self at noon, and self at night. It is self when they wake up and self when they go to bed. They are always looking at themselves and thinking about themselves, instead of looking unto Jesus (Hebrews 12:2).

Faith is an outward look. Faith does not look within; it looks without. It is not what I think, nor what I feel, nor what I have done, but it is what Jesus Christ is and has done that is important. So we should trust in Him who is our strength and whose strength will never fail. After Christ rose from the grave, John tells us He met His disciples three times and said unto them, Peace be unto you. There is peace for the conscience through His blood and peace for the heart in His love.

Secret of Joy

Love is power, and peace is power, but another fruit of the Spirit is also power – the grace of joy. Every Christian has the privilege to walk in the light, as God is in the light, and to have that peace which will flow unceasingly as we keep busy about His work. And it is our privilege to be full of the joy of the Lord. When Philip went down to Samaria and preached, great joy filled the city. Why? Because they believed the good news. And that is the natural order, joy in believing. When we believe the good news, joy comes into our souls.

We also know that our Lord sent the seventy out, and they preached salvation in the name of Jesus Christ. A great many were blessed, and the seventy returned with great joy. When they came back, they said even the devils were subject to them through His name. The Lord seemed to correct them in one thing though, when He said, Notwithstanding, rejoice not in this, that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in the heavens (Luke 10:20). That is assurance! They now had something to rejoice in. God doesn’t ask us to rejoice over nothing, but He gives us some basis for our joy.

What would we think of a man or woman who seemed very happy today and full of joy but couldn’t tell us what made them so? Suppose I should meet a man on the street, and he was so full of joy that he would take both my hands and say, “Bless the Lord, I am so full of joy!”

“What makes you so full of joy?”

“Well, I don’t know.”

“You don’t know?”

“No, I don’t; but I am so joyful that I just want to get out of the flesh.”

“What makes you feel so joyful?”

“Well, I don’t know.”

Would we not think such a person unreasonable? But there are many people who feel, who want to feel, that they are Christians before they are Christians. They want the Christian’s experience before they become Christians. They want to have the joy of the Lord before they receive Jesus Christ. But this is not the gospel order. Jesus brings joy when He comes, and we cannot have joy apart from Him. There is no joy away from Him; He is the author of it, and we find our joy in Him. [_With our eyes fixed on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who having been offered joy, endured the cross, despising the shame and was seated at the right hand of the throne of God _](Hebrews 12:2).

Joy Is Unselfish

We can experience three kinds of joy. First is the joy of one’s own salvation. When I first tasted that, it was the most delicious joy I had ever known, and I thought I could never get anything greater. But I found something more joyful than that, namely, the joy of the salvation of others. Oh, the privilege, the blessed privilege, to be used by God to win a soul to Christ and see a man or woman led out of bondage by some act of ours toward them. To think that God should condescend to allow us to be co-workers with Him brings great joy. It is the highest honor we can wear. This joy of seeing others saved surpasses the joy of our own salvation. And John said, I have no greater joy than this, to hear that my sons [disciples] [_walk in the truth _](3 John 4). Every person who has been the means of leading souls to Christ understands what that means. Walk in the truth and you will have joy all the while.

I think a difference exists between happiness and joy. Happiness is caused by things which happen around me, and circumstances can damage it, but joy flows right on through trouble. Joy flows from within, through the dark, into the night, and all day long. Joy flows through persecution and opposition; it flows right along, for it is an unceasing fountain bubbling up in the heart, a secret spring which the world can’t see and doesn’t know anything about. But the Lord gives His people perpetual joy when they walk in obedience to Him.

This joy is fed by the divine Word. Jeremiah said, Thy words were found, and I ate them; and thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart: for thy name was called upon me, O LORD God of the hosts (Jeremiah 15:16).

He ate the words, and what was the result? He said they were the joy and rejoicing of his heart. Now we should look for joy in the Word and not in the world; we should look for the joy which the Scriptures furnish. Then we should go work in the vineyard, because a joy that doesn’t send me out to someone, compel me to go and help the poor drunkard, prompt me to visit the widow and the fatherless, or cause me to go into the mission Sunday school or other Christian work, is not worth having. It is not from above. A joy that does not constrain me to go and work for the Master is purely sentiment and not real joy.

Joy in Persecution

Luke wrote:

Blessed are ye when men shall hate you and when they shall separate you from their company and shall reproach you and cast out your name as evil for the sake of the Son of man. Rejoice ye in that day and leap for joy; for, behold, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers treated the prophets in the same manner. (Luke 6:22-23)

Christians do not receive their reward on earth. We must oppose the current of the world. We may be unpopular, and we may oppose many of our personal friends if we live godly in Christ Jesus. At the same time, if we are persecuted for the Master’s sake, we will have this joy bubbling up that comes into our hearts all the while, a joy that is unceasing and flows right on in. The world cannot choke that fountain. If we have Christ in our hearts, by and by, the reward will come.

The longer I live the more I am convinced that godly men and women are not appreciated in our day, but their work will live after them. Their influence on others’ lives will produce a greater work after they are gone than when they were living. Daniel is doing a thousand times more today than when he was living in Babylon. Abraham is doing more today than he did on the plain with his tent and altar. All these centuries he has been living, so we read, Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them (Revelation 14:13).

Let us set the streams running that will flow after we are gone. If we have persecution and opposition today, let’s press forward, and our reward will be great by and by. Oh! Think of this: the Lord Jesus, the Maker of heaven and earth, who created the world, says, great is your reward. He calls it great. If some friend should say it is great, it might be very small, but when the Lord, the great and mighty God, says it is great, what must it be? Oh! The reward that is in store for those who serve Him! We have this joy, if we serve Him.

A man or woman who is downcast is not fit to work for God, because their faces give them away. The joy of the LORD is your strength (Nehemiah 8:10). What we need today is a joyful church, which will make inroads upon the works of Satan. We will see the gospel going into dark lanes, dark alleys, and dark attics and cellars. We will see the drunkards reached and the gamblers and the harlots come pressing into the kingdom of God. But carrying a sad countenance with frowns and wrinkles on our brows slows the growth of Christianity. Oh, may believers retain great joy everywhere, that we may shout for joy and rejoice in God day and night. Let us pray for a joyful church and that the Lord may make us joyful. When we have joy, we will have success. If we don’t have the reward we think we should have here, let’s remember the rewarding time will come hereafter.

Someone said, if we had asked men in Abraham’s day who their great man was, they would have said Enoch and not Abraham. If we had asked in Moses’ day who their great man was, they would not have said it was Moses. He was nothing. They would have responded that it was Abraham. If we had asked in the days of Elijah or Daniel, they wouldn’t have said Daniel or Elijah; they were nothing. They would have said Moses. And in the days of Jesus Christ, if we had asked about John the Baptist or the apostles, we would have heard they were mean and contemptible in the sight of the world and were looked upon with scorn and reproach. But they became mighty. Likewise, we will not be appreciated in our day, but we are to toil on and work on, possessing this joy all the while. And if we lack joy, let us cry, Restore unto me the joy of Thy saving health [salvation], and thy spirit of liberty shall uphold me. Then I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee (Psalm 51:12-13).

John also said, These things I have spoken unto you that my joy may abide in you and that your joy might be fulfilled (John 15:11). And later he said, And ye now therefore have sorrow; but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and no one shall take your joy from you (John 16:22).

I am so thankful that the world cannot rob me of my joy. I have a treasure that the world cannot take from me. The power of man or devil cannot deprive me of what I have – the joy of the Lord. No one shall take your joy from you.

In the second century, they brought a martyr before a king, and the king wanted him to recant and give up Christ and Christianity, but the man refused the proposition. The king said, “If you don’t do it, I will banish you.”

The man smiled and answered, “You can’t banish me from Christ, for He says He will never leave me nor forsake me.”

The king got angry and said, “Well, I will confiscate your property and take it all from you.”

And the man replied, “My treasures are laid up on high; you cannot get them.”

The king became angrier and said, “I will kill you.”

“Why,” the man answered, “I have been dead for forty years. I have been dead with Christ, dead to the world, and my life is hid with Christ in God. You cannot touch it.” And so we can also rejoice, because we are on resurrection ground, having risen with Christ. Let persecution and opposition come; we can rejoice continually. Remember that our reward is great, reserved for us unto the day when He who is our life shall appear, and we shall appear with Him in glory.

The Spirit, oh, sinner,

In mercy doth move,

Thy heart, so long hardened,

Of sin to reprove;

Resist not the Spirit,

Nor longer delay;

God’s gracious entreaties,

May end with today.

Oh, child of the kingdom,

From sin service cease:

Be filled with the Spirit,

With comfort and peace.

Oh, grieve not the Spirit,

Thy Teacher is He,

That Jesus, Thy Saviour,

May glorified be.

Defiled is the temple,

Its beauty laid low,

On God’s holy altar

The embers faint glow.

By love yet rekindled,

A flame may be fanned;

Oh, quench not the Spirit,

The Lord is at hand.

— (Philip P. Bliss)

Chapter 5

Power Hindered

The strokes of the “sword of the Spirit” alight only on the conscience, and its edge is anointed with a balm to heal every wound it may inflict. (Dr. J. Harris)

Every vain thought, and every idle word, and every wicked deed, is like so many drops to quench the Spirit of God. Some quench it with the business of this world; some quench it with the lusts of the flesh; some quench it with cares of the mind; some quench it with long delays, that is, not plying the motion when it cometh, but crossing the good thoughts with bad thoughts, and doing a thing when the Spirit saith, Do it not. . . . the Spirit is often grieved before it be quenched. (Henry Smith)

In times when vile men held the high places of the land, a roll of drums was employed to drown the martyr’s voice, lest the testimony of truth from the scaffold should reach the ears of the people; an illustration of how men deal with their own consciences, and seek to put to silence its truth-telling voice. (William Arnot)

The Unpardonable Sin

We are told that Israel limited the Holy One of Israel. They vexed and grieved the Holy Spirit and rebelled against His authority, but there is a special sin against Him which we need to consider. The first description is in Matthew:

Then was brought unto him one possessed with a demon, blind, and dumb, and he healed him, insomuch that the blind and dumb both spoke and saw. And all the people were amazed and said, Is not this the son of David? But when the Pharisees heard it, they said, This fellow does not cast out demons but by Beelzebub the prince of the demons. And Jesus knew their thoughts and said unto them, Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself shall not remain; and if Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom remain? And if I by Beelzebub cast out demons, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. But if I cast out the demons by the Spirit of God, then certainly the kingdom of God is come unto you. Or else how can one enter into the strong man’s house and spoil his goods except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house. He that is not with me is against me, and he that does not gather not with me scatters abroad. Therefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him, but whosoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this age, neither in the age to come. (Matthew 12:22-32)

Mark refers to the same account:

And when his friends and family heard of it, they went out to lay hold on him; for they said, He [Christ] is beside himself. But the scribes who had come down from Jerusalem said that he had Beelzebub and that by the prince of the devils cast he out devils. (Mark 3:21-22)

The word Beelzebub means the “Lord of Filth.” They charged the Lord Jesus with being possessed not only with an evil spirit but also with a filthy spirit.

And he called them unto him and said unto them in parables, How can Satan cast out Satan? If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot remain. And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot remain. And if Satan rises up against himself and is divided, he cannot remain, but has an end. No man can enter into a strong man’s house and spoil his goods except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house. Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men and whatever blasphemies with which they shall blaspheme, but whosoever shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit shall never have forgiveness but is obligated to eternal judgment. (Mark 3:23-29)

If it stopped there, we would be left perhaps in darkness, and we would not exactly understand what the sin against the Holy Spirit is, but the next verse of this same chapter of Mark throws light upon the whole matter. We don’t need to be in darkness another minute if we really want light, for the verse says, because they said, He has an unclean spirit (Mark 3:30).

I have met many atheists, skeptics, deists, and infidels, both in this country and abroad, but I never in my life met a man or woman who ever said that Jesus Christ was possessed of an unclean devil. Have you? I doubt you ever met such a person. I have heard men say bitter things against Christ, but I never heard any man stand up and say that he thought Jesus Christ was possessed with the devil and that he cast out devils by the power of the devil. I don’t believe any man or woman has any right to say they have committed the unpardonable sin unless they have maliciously, willfully, and deliberately said that they believe that Jesus Christ had a devil in Him, that He was under the power of the devil, and that He cast out devils by the power of the devil. Someone may have said there is such a thing as grieving the Spirit of God and resisting the Spirit of God until He has taken flight and left. Then you might have said, “That is the unpardonable sin.” But was it?

What It Is Not

It is possible to resist the Spirit of God and to resist until the Spirit of God departs. But if the Spirit of God has withdrawn from people, they will not be troubled about their sins. The very fact that they are troubled shows that the Spirit of God has not left them. If a man is troubled about his sins, it is due to the work of the Spirit, for Satan never told him he was a sinner. Satan makes us believe that we are pretty good, that we are good enough without God, safe without Christ, and that we don’t need salvation. But when a man wakes up to the fact that he is lost, that he is a sinner, the Spirit is working on him. If the Spirit of God had left him, he would not be in that state. Just the desire men and women have to be Christians is a sign that the Spirit of God is drawing them.

If resisting the Spirit of God is an unpardonable sin, then we have all committed it, and we have no hope. I do not believe there is a minister or a worker in Christ’s vineyard who has not at some time in his life resisted the Holy Spirit or rejected the Spirit of God. To resist the Holy Spirit is one thing, and to commit that awful sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit is another thing. We need to compare the Scriptures to understand. Some people say, “I have such blasphemous thoughts; there are some awful thoughts that come into my mind against God,” and they think that is the unpardonable sin. We are not to blame for having bad thoughts come into our minds. If we harbor them, then we are to blame. But if the devil comes and darts an evil thought into my mind, and I say, “Lord, help me,” sin is not charged to me. Who has not had evil thoughts come into his mind, flash into his heart, and been called to fight them?

One old person of God said, “You are not to blame for the birds that fly over your head, but if you allow them to come down and make a nest in your hair, then you are to blame. You are to blame if you don’t fight them off.” And so it is with these evil thoughts that come flashing into our minds; we have to fight them; we are not to harbor them; we are not to entertain them. If I have evil thoughts and desires come into my mind, it is no sign that I have committed the unpardonable sin. If I love these thoughts and harbor them, if I think evil of God and think Jesus Christ a blasphemer, I am responsible for such gross iniquity. But if I charge Him with being the prince of devils, then I am committing the unpardonable sin.

The Faithful Friend

Let’s consider the sin of grieving the Spirit. Resisting the Holy Spirit is one thing; grieving Him is another. Stephen charged the unbelieving Jews in Acts: [_Ye do always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do ye _](Acts 7:51). The world has resisted the Spirit of God in all ages. That is the history of the world. The world is resisting the Holy Spirit today.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend (Proverbs 27:6). As a friend, the Divine Spirit reveals to this poor world its faults, and the world hates Him for it. He shows them the plague of their hearts. He convinces or convicts them of sin; therefore, they fight the Spirit of God. I believe there are many men resisting the Holy Spirit; I believe there are many men fighting against the Spirit of God today.

In Ephesians we read:

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with which ye are sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamour and evil speaking be taken away from you, with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another even as God has forgiven you in Christ. (Ephesians 4:30-32)

Notice how that was written to the church at Ephesus. Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God with which ye are sealed for the day of redemption. I believe the church all over Christendom is guilty of grieving the Holy Spirit today, and many believers in different churches wonder why the work of God is not revived.

The Church Grieves the Spirit

Things in the church grieve the Spirit of God; it may be a division in the church, or it may be some unsound doctrine. In all of my travels in different countries, I have never known the Spirit of God to work where the Lord’s people were divided. Unity is the one thing we must have if we want the Holy Spirit of God to work in our midst. If a church is divided, the members should immediately seek unity. [_Walk worthy of the vocation with which ye are called, with all humility and meekness, with tolerance, forbearing one another in love, being diligent to guard the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace _](Ephesians 4:1-3). Let the believers come together and get the difficulty out of the way.

If the minister of a church cannot unite the people or those who were dissatisfied will not conform, it would be better for that minister to retire. Many ministers in this country are losing their opportunity; they have lost months and years and have not seen any fruit. And they will not see any fruit, because they have a divided church. Such a church cannot grow in divine things. The Spirit of God doesn’t work where there is division, and what we need today is the Spirit of unity among God’s children, so the Lord may work.

Worldly Amusements

Another thing that grieves the Spirit is the miserable policy of introducing questionable entertainment. We have the lotteries in many churches. If a man wants to gamble, he doesn’t have to go to some gambling den; he can stay in the church. And there are fairs – bazaars, as they call them – where they have raffles and grab bags. If a man wants to see a drama, he doesn’t need to go to the theater, for many of our churches have been turned into theaters; he can stay right in the church and witness the acting. I believe all these things grieve the Spirit of God. I believe when we bring the church down to the level of the world to reach the world, we are losing our opportunities and grieving the Spirit of God.

But some say if we take that standard and lift it up high, we will drive away many members from our churches. I believe it, and I think the quicker they are gone the better. The world has come into the church like a flood. How often do we find an ungodly choir employed to do the singing for the whole congregation? The idea that we need an ungodly man to sing praises to God! I heard of a church where they had an unconverted choir, and the minister saw something about the choir that he didn’t like. He spoke to the choir director, but he replied, “You attend to your end of the church, and I will attend to mine.” We cannot expect the Spirit of God to work in a church in such a state as that.

Unconverted Choirs

Paul tells us not to speak in an unknown tongue in the church, and if we have choirs who are singing in an unknown tongue, why is that not as great an abomination? I have been in churches where they have had a choir that would rise and sing and sing, and it seemed they sang for five or ten minutes, and I could not understand one solitary word they had sung. And all the while, the people looked around unmoved and emotionless. Perhaps a select few who are very fond of fine music want to bring the opera right into the church, so they have opera music in the church, and the other people, who are drowsy and sleepy, don’t take part in the singing.

Sometimes churches hire ungodly men, unconverted men, to provide organ or piano music. These men might bring the Sunday paper and sit back in the organ loft, but the moment the minister begins his sermon, they take out their papers and read them while the minister is preaching. The organist, provided he does not go out for a walk or fall asleep, will read his paper or a novel while the minister is preaching. The minister then wonders why God doesn’t revive His work; he wonders why he is losing his connection with the congregation; he wonders why people don’t come crowding into the church. Why are people running after the world instead of coming into the church?

The trouble is that we have lowered the standard, and we have grieved the Spirit of God. One movement of God’s power is worth more than all our artificial power, but the church of God needs to get down in the dust of humiliation and confession of sin and be separated from the world. Then we will experience power with God and with man.

What Is Success?

The gospel has not lost its power; it is just as powerful today as it has ever been. We don’t need any new doctrine. Today’s gospel is the same as the old gospel with the old power, the Holy Spirit power. The churches need to confess their sins, put them away, and raise the standard instead of lowering it. Then they can pray to God to lift us all up into a higher and holier life, and the fear of the Lord will come upon the people around us.

Only when Jacob put away strange gods and set his face toward Bethel did the fear of God fall upon the nations around the area. And when the churches turn to God, and we cease grieving the Spirit, so He might work through us, we will have conversions all the time. Believers will be added to the church daily. It is sad when we see how desolate Christendom is and how little spiritual life and spiritual power there is in the church of God today. Many of the church members do not even want this Holy Spirit power. They don’t desire it; they want intellectual power. They want to hire some popular man and a choir who will draw crowds, not caring whether anyone is saved. With them that is not the question. They only want to fill the pews, have good society, fashionable people, and dancing. These people are found at the theater one night and the next night at the opera. They don’t like the prayer meetings; they abhor them. If the minister would simply lecture and entertain, they’d be content.

I said to a man one time, “How are you getting on at your church?”

“Oh, splendid.”

“Many conversions?”

“Well, well, on that side we are not getting on so well. But,” he said, “we rented all our pews and are able to pay all our running expenses; we are getting on splendidly.”

That is what the godless call “getting on splendidly,” because they rent the pews, pay the minister, and pay all the running expenses. Conversions? That is a strange thing to them.

A man was being shown through one of the cathedrals of Europe one time. He had come from the countryside, and one of the men belonging to the cathedral was showing him around, when he inquired, “Do you have many conversions here?”

“Many what?”

“Many conversions here?”

“Ah, man, this is not a Wesleyan chapel.” The idea of conversions was foreign to that church! And we can go into many churches in this country and ask if they have many conversions, and they would not know what it meant, because they are so far from the Lord. They are not looking for conversions and don’t expect them.

Shipwrecks

Imagine how many young converts have been shipwrecked by such churches. Instead of being a harbor of delight to them, they have proved to be false lights, luring them to destruction. Isn’t it time for us to get down on our faces before God and cry to Him to forgive us for our sins? The quicker we own up to it the better.

We might be invited to a party with church members, but what will the conversation be? Oh, I got so sick of such parties that I quit going years ago. I would not think of spending a night that way again; it is a waste of time with hardly a chance to say a word for the Master. If we talk about a personal Christ, our company becomes offended; they don’t like it. They want us to talk about the world, a popular minister, a popular church, a good organ, a good choir, and they say, “Oh, we have a grand organ and a superb choir.” All that suits them, but it doesn’t warm the Christian heart. When we speak of a risen Christ and a personal Savior, our friends don’t like it. The world has come into the church and taken possession of it, and we need to wake up and ask God to forgive us for grieving the Spirit.

We need to search our hearts and inquire, “Have I done anything to grieve the Spirit of God?” If we have, may God show it to us today; if we have done anything to grieve the Spirit of God, we need to know it today and get down on our faces before God and ask Him to forgive us and help us change. I have lived long enough to know that if I cannot have the power of the Spirit of God on me to help me work for Him, I would rather die than live just for the sake of living. How many are there in the church today who have been members for fifteen or twenty years but have never done a solitary thing for Jesus Christ? They cannot lay their hands upon one solitary soul who has been blessed through their influence; they cannot point to one single person who has ever been lifted up by them.

Quench Not

In 1 Thessalonians we are told to quench not the Spirit (1 Thessalonians 5:19). I am confident the cares of the world are coming in and quenching the Spirit for many people. They say, “I don’t care for the world.” Perhaps they don’t care for the pleasures of the world as much as the cares of this life, but they have let the cares come in and quench the Spirit of God.

Anything that comes between me and God, between my soul and God, quenches the Spirit. It may be my family. We may say, “Is there any danger of my loving my family too much?” Not if we love God more; but God must have the first place. If I love my family more than God, then I am quenching the Spirit of God within me. If I love wealth, if I love fame, if I love honor, if I love position, if I love pleasure, or if I love self more than I love God who created and saved me, then I am committing a sin. I am not only grieving the Spirit of God, but also quenching Him and robbing my soul of His power.

Emblems of the Spirit

I would also like to call attention to the emblems of the Holy Spirit. An emblem is something that represents or symbolizes an object by reminding us of the object. The balance is a symbol of justice, a crown is a symbol of royalty, and a scepter is a symbol of power. We find in Exodus that water is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. In the smitten rock in the wilderness, the work of the Trinity is illustrated.

Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb, and thou shall smite the rock, and water shall come out of it that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel. (Exodus 17:6)

Paul declared in 1 Corinthians that the rock was Christ. It represented Christ. [They drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them; and that rock was the Christ _](1 Corinthians 10:4). God said, _I will stand before thee there upon the rock, and as Moses smote the rock, the water came out, which was a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It flowed out along through the camp, and they drank the water.

Now water is cleansing; it is fertilizing; it is refreshing; it is abundant, and it is freely given. Likewise, the Spirit of God is the same: cleansing, fertilizing, refreshing, reviving, and He was freely given when the smitten Christ was glorified.

Fire is also a symbol of the Spirit; it is purifying, illuminating, and searching. We talk about searching our hearts, but we cannot do it. What we want is to have God search them. Oh, that God may search us and bring out the hidden things, the secret things that cluster there and bring them to light. As King David prayed, [_Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my thoughts and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way eternal _](Psalm 139:23-24).

The wind is another symbol. It is independent, powerful, sensible in its effects, and reviving; how the Spirit of God revives when He comes to all the drooping members of the church is not known. Jesus referred to the Spirit being as the wind when he told Nicodemus [_the wind blows where it desires, and thou hearest the sound of it, but canst not tell from where it comes or where it goes; so is every one that is born of the Spirit _](John 3:8). And even on the day of Pentecost we read: [_And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance _](Acts 2:2-4).

So we see the water and the fire and the wind as symbols of the Spirit, but the dove also represents the Spirit – the gentle dove that we see at the baptism of Jesus: [_And Jesus, after he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water; and, behold, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and lighting upon him _](Matthew 3:16).

We read of the wrath of God; we read of the wrath of the Lamb; but nowhere do we read of the wrath of the Holy Spirit – the gentle, innocent, meek, and loving one – the Spirit that wants to take possession of our hearts. And He comes as a voice – speaking, guiding, warning, and teaching. He comes as the seal – impressing, securing, and making us His own. [Hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your saving health _][salvation][;] [_in whom also after ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of the promise _](Ephesians 1:13). May we know Him in all His wealth of blessing. This is my prayer for myself – and for you. May we heed the words of the grand apostle: _And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, that your faith should not be founded in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).

About the Author

Dwight Lyman Moody was born on February 5, 1837, in Northfield, Massachusetts. His father died when Dwight was only four years old, leaving his mother with nine children to care for. When Dwight was seventeen years old, he left for Boston to work as a salesman. A year later, he was led to Jesus Christ by Edward Kimball, Moody’s Sunday school teacher. Moody soon left for Chicago and began teaching a Sunday school class of his own. By the time he was twenty-three, he had become a successful shoe salesman, earing $5,000 in only eight months, which was a lot of money for the middle of the nineteenth century. Having decided to follow Jesus, though, he left his career to engage in Christian work for only $300 a year.

D. L. Moody was not an ordained minister, but was an effective evangelist. He was once told by Henry Varley, a British evangelist, “Moody, the world has yet to see what God will do with a man fully consecrated to Him.”

Moody later said, “By God’s help, I aim to be that man.”

It is estimated that during his lifetime, without the help of television or radio, Moody traveled more than one million miles, preached to more than one million people, and personally dealt with over seven hundred and fifty thousand individuals.

D. L. Moody died on December 22, 1899.

Moody once said, “Some day you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all – out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal; a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint, a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. I was born of the flesh in 1837. I was born of the Spirit in 1856. That which is born of the flesh may die. That which is born of the Spirit will live forever.”

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[_Secret Power _]– Dwight L. Moody

Updated Edition Copyright © 2017

First edition published 1881 by Fleming H. Revell Company, Chicago, New York, & Toronto

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Scripture quotations are taken from the Jubilee Bible, copyright © 2000, 2001, 2010, 2013 by Life Sentence Publishing, Inc. Used by permission of Life Sentence Publishing, Inc., Abbotsford, Wisconsin. All rights reserved.

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RELIGION / Christian Life / Spiritual Growth

Paperback ISBN: 978-1-62245-436-5

eBook ISBN: 978-1-62245-437-2

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Secret Power: The Secret of Success in Christian Life and Work

Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believes in me, the works that I do he shall do also; and greater works than these shall he do because I go unto my Father. (John 14:12) No other power on earth can quicken a dead soul except the same power that raised the body of Jesus Christ out of Joseph’s sepulcher. And if we want that power to quicken our friends who are dead in sin, we must look to God and not to man to do it. If we only look to ministers, if we only look to Christ’s disciples to do this work, we shall be disappointed. But if we look to the Spirit of God and expect that power to come from Him and Him alone, then we shall honor the Spirit, and the Spirit will do His work. May God show us this truth. Have we been toiling all night? Let us throw our net on the right side; let us ask God to forgive our sins and anoint us with power from on high. But remember, He is not going to give this power to an impatient man; He is not going to give it to a selfish man. He will never give it to an ambitious man whose aim is selfish, until he is first emptied of himself – emptied of pride and all worldly thoughts. Let it be God’s glory and not our own that we seek, and when we get to that point, the Lord will bless us for good. Then the measure of our blessing will be full. Do you know what heaven’s measure is? Good measure, pressed down, and shaken together and running over (Luke 6:38).

  • ISBN: 9781622454365
  • Author: Aneko Press
  • Published: 2017-08-01 19:20:17
  • Words: 31753
Secret Power: The Secret of Success in Christian Life and Work Secret Power: The Secret of Success in Christian Life and Work