Monday, February 22, 2010

Help To Appropriate This Blessing

In the book of Acts, we often read about the laying on of hands and prayer. Even Paul--whose conversion was through the direct intervention of God--had to receive the power of the Spirit through the laying on of hands and prayer (Acts 9.17).

This implies that there must be a power of the Spirit among ministers that makes them a channel of faith and courage to others. The weak often require help to receive the blessing for themselves. But those who already have this blessing, along with those who desire to have it, must always understand and acknowledge their absolute dependence on the Lord and expect all from Him alone.

The gift of the Spirit is imparted by God alone, and every fresh outpouring of the Spirit comes from above. Consequently, it is essential that there be frequent personal encounters with God. The ministers God uses to communicate this blessing, as well as those who receive it, must regularly meet with God in an intimate relationship. Remember that every good gift comes from above. Faith in this truth gives us the courage to expect with full confidence and gladness that the full Pentecostal blessing may be searched for and that a life fully under the leading of the Holy Spirit is within our reach.

The proclamation and appropriation of this blessing will restore the Christian community to the primary Pentecostal power.

On the day of Pentecost, speaking with "other tongues" and prophesying was the result of being filled with the Spirit. Now here at Ephesus, twenty years later, that same miracle is again witnessed as a visible token and pledge of the other gifts of the Spirit. We may may depend on this, that where the reception of the Holy Spirit and the possibility of being filled filled with Him are proclaimed and appropriated, the life of the Pentecostal community will be restored in all its fresh power!

An increasing acknowledgement the Church's lack of power exists today. In spite of the widespread preaching of the gospel of grace, the full power of salvation has been lost. As result, the Church exists today with little conflict between worldliness and unbelief.

This complaint is justified. If it was expressed strongly enough, maybe God's children would cast themselves on the great truths of the Word of God! When faith in the full Pentecostal blessing is once again found in the Church, the members will find their strength and be able to fulfill God's will for their lives.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Can We Worship With Sincerity?

It is the great work of gospel ministry to lead believers to the Holy Spirit.

It was Jesus' great aim--after educating and training his disciples for three years--to lead them to the point of waiting for the promised Holy Spirit to be sent down from heaven. This was the main focus of Peter on the day of Pentecost, when, after summoning those drawn in their hearts to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins, he assured them that they would receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 2.38).

This was also Paul's aim when he asked fellow Christians if they understood that they were to be temples of the Holy Spirit. He then reminded them that they needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5.18).

Yes, the primary need of the Christian life is to receive the Holy Spirit and live in the consciousness of it. A minister must not only occasionally preach on the Holy Spirit, but instead he should make it a chief focus, teaching that there can be no true worship except through the indwelling and unceasing operation of the Holy Spirit!

In order to lead believers to the Holy Spirit, the incompleteness of their life and Christian walk must be pointed out to them.

This was Paul's intention in asking, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" Only those who are thirsty will drink water with eagerness, and only those who are sick will desire a physician. In the same way, it is only when believers are prepared to acknowledge the incomplete and defective character of their spiritual condition that they will eagerly accept the message of the full blessing of Pentecost.

Many Christians believe that the only thing lacking in their Christian life is more eagerness or strength, and if only they can obtain these benefits, they will become all that they are meant to be. But this makes the preaching of the full salvation of little importance to them. It is only when they discover that they have not been standing in a right attitude toward the Holy Spirit (that thus far they have only known his preparatory work, but not the fullness of his indwelling) that they will be open to and desire something higher.

In order for this discovery to be made, it is essential that every individual be personally asked, "Have you fully received the Holy Spirit since you have believed?" When their answer comes as a deeply felt and utterly sincere concern, then the time of revival is not far off.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

"Where Do We Stand?

There are disciples of Christ who know little or nothing about the conscious indwelling of the Holy Spirit.

It is vitally important that we understand this statement. The more fully we understand its truth, the better we will understand the condition of the modern Church and be able to discover where we really stand.

The condition I am referring to becomes clear when we consider what happened at Samaria. Philip the evangelist had preached there and many were led to belief in Jesus and baptized into His name. And there was great joy in the city. When the apostles heard this news, they sent down Peter and John who then prayed that these new converts would receive the Holy Spirit (Acts 8.16-17). This gift was different from the working of the Spirit that led them to conversion, faith and joy in Jesus as Savior. It was something higher, because now the Holy Spirit was imparted by Jesus in heaven to dwell in, consecrate, and fill their hearts and lives!

If this new experience had not been given, the Samaritan disciples would have still been Christians, but they would have remained weak and incomplete. But now in our own days, there are still many weak Christians who know nothing of the gift of the Holy Spirit. While their lives can display much that is good and admirable, the life of such Christians is still hampered by weakness, stumbling and disappointment because they have never been brought into vitalizing contact with the power of the Holy Spirit. Such poor souls have not received the Holy Spirit as the Pentecostal gift to be possessed, kept, and filled by Him.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Do Not Rest Prematurely

In order to have a healthy Christian life, it is indispensable that we be certain that we have received the Holy Spirit to dwell in us.

If this was otherwise, Paul would not have bothered to ask, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" These men were obviously recognized as believers (but it's worth pointing out that Satan and demons are also "believers"), but this position was not enough for them. Jesus' disciples were also true believers, yet He commanded them to not rest or be satisfied until they had received the Holy Spirit from Himself in heaven. Paul, too, had seen Jesus' glory and it led to his conversion. But even in his case, the work God required to be done in him was not yet complete. Ananias still had to lay hands on him before he received the Holy Spirit. And it was only after this that Paul was ready to become a witness for Christ.

All of these facts teach us that there are two ways that the Spirit works in us. The first is His preparational work in us, where He acts in us but does not yet take His rightful place in our hearts and lives. The second is the higher and more advanced phase of His working when we receive Him as an indwelling Person who assumes responsibility for our whole inner being. This is the necessary ideal for a full Christian life.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

How It Is To Be Taught

"And it happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the inland country and came to Ephesus. There he found some disciples. And he said to them, 'Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?' " (Acts 19.1-2a)

It was about twenty years after the initial outpouring of the Holy Spirit that this incident took place. While journeying through Ephesus, Paul found some disciples within the Christian church who were lacking something in their belief or experience. So he asked them the question, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit?" They had been baptized by John the Baptist, in hope of their coming Savior, but they still had no concept of the outpouring of the Spirit or the significance of it. Their region of the country had not yet been penetrated by the full pentecostal preaching of Jesus their Savior.

At once, Paul took them and carefully explained the the full Gospel of our glorified Lord who had received the Spirit from the Father, and had sent Him down to this world so that every believer might also receive Him. Hearing this good news from Paul, the excitedly accepted it and were baptized in the name of Jesus, who baptizes with the Holy Spirit. Then, when Paul had laid hands on them, they received the Holy Spirit and obtained a share in the Pentecostal miracle and spoke in other tongues (languages).

Through these chapters, it is my desire to bring all children of God the message that there are two levels to the Christian life. The first is that we experience mildly something of the operations of the Holy Spirit, as many did under the old covenant, but we do not yet receive Him as the Pentecostal Spirit. The second is a more abundant life, in which the Spirit's indwelling of us is fully known and experienced! When Christians truly understand the distinction between these two conditions, they will be able to find God's will for them.

Therefore, it is possible for the believer--still humbly acknowledging his own sinfulness--to dare to hope that Christian community will once again be restored to its Pentecostal power. So now, with our eyes fixed on this, let us ponder the lessons we can learn from this incident at Ephesus.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

He Will Surely Come

We have a very poor concept of the unspiritual and sinful state of the church today, and unless we take the time to devote our hearts and thoughts to the facts of the matter, God's promise will not be able to make any deep impression on us. I previously listed certain aspects of my message to begin to show you that this blessing is the one single thing needed; and in order to possess it, we must say goodbye to everything else we hold dear. But because we are not used to the presence and operation of the Spirit, it can take a long time before the truth of the fullness of the Spirit's power can envelope us and our lives.

Every day should be a Pentecostal season in the Church! No Christian can fully live according to God's will without this blessing. I can not emphasize strongly enough the need for each individual to search for spiritual excellence, by calling on God in confidence that He will answer.

When we read the book of Acts, we see that the filling of the Spirit and His mighty operation was always precipitated by prayer. For example, look at what happened in Antioch. The Christians were fully engaged in fasting and prayer, and were thus prepared to receive the revelation that they must separate Paul and Barnabas. And then, it was only after MORE fasting and praying that they were sent forth by the Holy Spirit (Acts 12.2-3). They understood that the blessing they sought could only come from above.

Now, to obtain this blessing ourselves, we, in like manner, must liberate ourselves as far as possible from the demands of this earthly life. Let us never become weary and discouraged, but rather ask that the Holy Spirit will take His rightful place and assume full control over us and our lives. In addition, let us pray that He will once again have His rightful place in the church, be held in honor by all, and reveal to us the glory of our Lord Jesus. To the soul that diligently searches and prays according to His Word, God's answer will surely come.

There is nothing that searches and cleanses the heart like true prayer. It teaches us to ask such questions as: Do I really desire what I pray for? Am I willing to give up everything in order to make room for what God has prepared for me? Is the prayer of my lips really the prayer of my life?

Am I willing to wait on Him, in quiet trust, until He gives me this supernatural gift--His own Spirit?

Let us pray continually, humbly requesting and crying out as representatives of His Church. We can certainly depend on Him to hear us.

Believer, you know that the Lord God often hides Himself. He desires to be trusted. But He is always very near to us even without out knowing it. He is a God who knows His own time. But though he delays showing Himself, wait for Him. He will surely come. (see Habakkuk 2.3)


This book has a simple, but solemn message. The one single thing the church needs in its search for spiritual excellence, is to be filled with the Spirit of God.

To most clearly present my message and point my readers towards its blessings, I am going to emphasize certain points here at the outset.
  1. God's will for every single one of His children, is that they live completely and consistently under the control of the Holy Spirit.
  2. Without the filling of the Spirit, it is impossible for a Christian or the church to live and work as God desires.
  3. Unfortunately, Christians rarely search for or make use of this blessing.
  4. God wants to give this blessing to us, and in faith we can expect it with the greatest confidence.
  5. Often, our self-will and temptations of the world fill the place that Christ should occupy in us.
  6. We can not be filled with the Holy Spirit until we are ready to humbly give ourselves to be led by our Lord Jesus--until we are ready to forsake and sacrifice everything for this pearl of great price.