Published in the Pentecostal Evangel, June 16, 1923.
The most important thing, the one thing that counts, is to see that we are filled with the Holy Spirit, filled to overflowing. Anything less than this is displeasing to God. We are commanded by God to be filled with the Spirit, and in the measure you fall of this you are that far short of the plan of God. The Lord would have us moving on from faith to faith, from glory to glory, from fulness to overflowing. It is not good for us to be ever thinking of the past tense, but we should be moving on to the place where we dare believe God. He has declared that after the Holy Ghost is come upon us we shall have power. I believe there is an avalanche of power from God to be apprehended if we will but catch the vision.
Paul wrote at one time, “I will now come to visions and revelations.” God has put us in a place where He expects us to have His latest revelation, the revelation of that marvelous fact, CHRIST IN US, and what this really means. We can apprehend Christ fully only as we are filled and overflowing with the Spirit of God. Our only safeguard from dropping back into our natural mind from which we can never get anything, is to be filled and yet filled again with the Spirit of God and to be taken on to visions and revelations on a new line. The reason why I emphasize the importance of the fulness of the Holy Ghost is that I want to get you beyond all human plans and thoughts into the fulness of vision, into the full revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Do you want rest? It is in Jesus. Do you want to be saved from everything the devil is bringing up in these last times? Receive and continue in the fulness of the Holy Ghost, and He will be ever revealing to you that all you need for all times is in Christ Jesus your Lord.
I desire to emphasize the importance of the Spirit’s ministration and of the manifestation of the Spirit which is given to every man to profit withal. As you yield to the Spirit of the Lord He has power over your intellect, over your heart, and over your voice. The Holy Spirit has power to unveil Christ and to project the vision of Christ upon the canvas of your mind, and then He uses your tongue to glorify and magnify Him in a way that you could never do apart from the Spirit’s power.
Never say that when you are filled with the Holy Ghost you are “obliged” to do this or that. When people say that they are “obliged” to do this or that I know it is not the Spirit of God, but their own spirit moving them on to do that which is unseemly and unprofitable. Lots of people spoil meetings because they scream. If you want to do that kind of thing you had better get into some cellar. That is not to edification. I believe that, when the Spirit of God is upon you and moving you to speak as He gives utterance, it will always be to edification. But don’t spoil the prayer meeting because when you ought to stop you go on. Who spolls the prayer meeting? The man who starts in the Spirit and finishes in the flesh. Nothing is more lovely than prayer, but a prayer meeting is killed if you will go on and on in your own spirit when the Spirit of God is through with you. You say as you come from some meetings, “That was a lovely message if the preacher only had stopped half an hour before he did.” Learn to cease immediately [once] the unction of the Spirit lifts. The Holy Ghost is jealous. Your body is the temple, the office of the Holy Ghost, but He does not fill the temple for human glorification, but only for the glory of God. You have no license to continue beyond a “Thus saith the Lord.”
There is another side to this. God would have the assembly as free as possible, and you must not put your hand upon the working of the Spirit or it will surely bring trouble. You must be prepared to allow a certain amount of extravagance in young and newly baptized souls. You must remember that when you were brought into this life of the Spirit you had as many extravagances as anybody, but you have now become somewhat sobered down. It is a pity that some do get sobered down, for they are not where they were in the early days. We have to look to God for wisdom that we do not interfere or dampen the Spirit or quench the power of God when He is manifested in our meetings. If you want to have an assembly full of life you must have an assembly full of manifestation. Nobody will come if there is no manifestation. We need to look to God for special grace that we do not move back to looking at things from a natural viewpoint.
The preacher, after he loses his unction, should inwardly repent and get right with God and get the unction back. We are no good without the unction of the Spirit of God. If you are filled with the grace of God you will not be judging everybody in the assembly, you win rather be trusting everybody, you will not be frightened at what is being done, you will have a heart to believe an things, and to believe that though there may be some extravagances, the Spirit of God will take control of things and will see that the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is exalted, glorified, and revealed to hungry hearts that desire to know Him. The Lord would have us wise unto that which is good and simple concerning evll, free from distrust, entering into a divine likeness to Jesus, that dares believe that God Almighty will surely watch over all. Hallelujah!
The Holy Ghost is the One who magnifies the Lord Jesus Christ, the One who gives illumination of Him. If you are filled with the Holy Ghost, it is impossible to keep your tongue still. Talk about a dumb baptized soul! It is not to be found in the Scriptures or outside of the Scriptures. We are filled with the Spirit in order that we may magnify the Lord, and there should be no meeting in which the saints do not glorify, magnify, praise, and worship the Lord in Spirit and in truth.
I would like to give one word of caution, for fallure often comes through our not recognizing the fact that we are always in the body. We will need our bodies as long as we live. But our body is to he used and controlled by the Spirit of God. We are to present our bodies, holy and acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. Every member of our body must be so sanctified that it works in harmony with the Spirit of God. Our very eyes must be sanctified. God hates the winking of the eye. From the day that I read in the Proverbs what God had to say about the winking of the eye (Proverbs 6.13 and 10.10) I have never winked. I desire that my eyes may be so sanctified that they can always be used for the Lord. The Spirit of God will bring within us a compassion for souls that will be seen in our very eyes.
God has never changed the order of things that, first, there comes the natural, and then the spiritual. For instance, when it is on your heart to pray, you begin in the natural and your second word will probably be under the power of the Spirit. You begin and God will end. It is the same in giving forth utterances under the Spirit’s power. You feel the moving of the Spirit within and you begin to speak and the Spirit of God will give forth utterance. Thousands have missed wonderful blessings because they have not had faith to move out and begin in the natural, in faith that the Lord would take them into the realm of the supernatural. When you receive the Holy Ghost you receive God’s gift, in whom are all the gifts of the Spirit. Paul counsels Timothy to stir up the gift that was within. You have power to stir up God’s executive within you. The way you stir up the gift within you is by beginning in faith, and then He gives forth what is needed for the occasion. You would never begin unless you were full of God. When we yield to timidity and fear we simply yield to Satan. Satan whispers, “It is all self.” He is a liar. I have learned this: If the Spirit of God is stirring me up, I have no hesitation in beginning to speak in tongues, and the Spirit of God gives me utterance and gives me the interpretation. I find that every time I yield to the Lord on this line I get a divine touch, I get a leading thought from the Spirit of God, and the meeting is moved up on the line of faith.
You attend a meeting in faith, believing that the Lord is going to meet you there. But perhaps the evangelist is not in harmony with God. The people in the assembly are not getting what God wants. The Lord knows it. He knows His people are hungry. What happens? He will take perhaps the smallest vessel and put His power upon them. As they yield to the Spirit they break forth in a tongue. Another yields to the Spirit and there comes forth the interpretation. The Lord’s church has to be fed, and the Lord will take this means of speaking to His people. Pentecostal people cannot be satisfied with the natural message. They are in touch with heavenly things and cannot be satisfied with anything less. They feel when there is something lacking in a meeting, and they look to God and He supplies that which is lacking.
When a man is filled with the Spirit he has no conception of what he has. We are so limited in our conception of what we have received. The only way we can know the power that has been given is through the ministration and manifestation of the Spirit of God. Do you think that Peter and John knew what they had when they went up to the temple to pray? They were limited in thought, and limited in their expression. The nearer we get to God the more conscious we are of the poverty of the human, and we cry with Isaiah, “I am undone, I am unclean.” But the Lord will bring the precious blood and the flaming coals for cleansing and refining and send us out to labor for Him empowered by His Spirit.
God has sent forth this outpouring that we may all be brought into a revelation of our sonship—that we are sons of God, men of power, that we are to be like the Lord Jesus Christ, that we are to have the powers of sonship, the power to lay hold of that which is weak and to quicken it. The Baptism of the Spirit is to make us sons of God with power. We will be conscious of our human limits, but we will not limit the Holy One who has come to dwell within. We must believe that since the Holy Ghost has come upon us we are indeed sons of God with power. Never say that “you can’t.” All things are possible to them that believe. Launch out into the deep and believe that God has His all for you, and that you can do all things through Him who strengthens you.
Peter and John knew that they had been in the upper room, they had felt the glory, they had been given divine utterances. They had seen conviction on the people. They knew that they had come into a wonderful thing. They knew that what they had would be ever increasing and that it would be ever needful to cry, “Enlarge the vessel that the Holy Ghost may have more room within.” They knew that all the old things were moved away and they had entered into an increasing and ever increasing knowledge of God, and that it was their Master’s wish that they should be filled with the Spirit of God and with power every day and every hour. The secret of power is the unveiling of Christ, the all-powerful One within, the revelation of God who comes to abide within us. As they looked upon the crippled man at the Beautiful Gate they were filled with compassion. They were prompted by the Spirit to stop and speak with him. They said to the lame man, “Look on us.” It was God’s plan that the man should open his eyes with expectation. Peter said, “Of silver and gold we have none. But we have something and we will give it to you. We don’t know what it is, but we give it to you. It is all in the name of Jesus.” And then began the ministry of God. You begin in faith and you see what will happen. It is bidden from us at the beginning, but as we have faith in God He will come forth. The coming forth of the power is not of us but of God. There is no limit to what He will do. It is all in a nutshell as you believe God. And so Peter said, “Such as I have I give to thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk.” And the man who had been in that way for forty years stood up, and began to leap, and entered into the temple walking and leaping and praising God.
“For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom.” I want you to keep in mind the importance of never expecting the gifts of the Spirit apart from the power of the Spirit. In coveting the best gifts, covet to be so full of God and His glory that the gifts in manifestation will always glorify Him. We do not know all and we cannot know all that can be brought forth in the manifestation of the word of wisdom. One word of wisdom from God, one flashlight on the Word of God, is sufficient to save us from a thousand pitfalls. People have bullt without a word from God, they have bought things without a word from God, and they have been ensnared. They have lacked that word of wisdom which will bring them into God’s plan for their lives. I have been in many places where I have needed a word of wisdom from God and this has heen vouchsafed.
I will give you one instance. There is one thing I am very grateful to the Lord for, and that is that He has given me grace not to have a desire for money. The love of money is a great hindrance to many; and many a man is crippled in his ministry because he lets his heart run after financial matters. I was walking out one day when I met a godly man who lived opposite me and he said, “My wife and I have been talking together about selling our house and we feel constrained to sell it to you.” As we talked together he persuaded me to buy his place, and before we said good-by I told him that I would take it. We always make big mistakes when we are in a hurry. I told my wife what I had promised, and she said, “How will you manage it?” I told her that I had managed things so far, but I did not know how I was going to get through this. I somehow knew that I was out of divine order. But when a fellow gets out of divine order it seems that the last person he goes to is God. I was relying on an architect to help me, but that scheme fell through. I turned to my relations and I certainly had a wet shirt as one after another turned me down. I tried my friends and managed no better. My wife said to me, “Thou hast never been to God yet.” What could I do?
I have a certain place in our house where I go to pray. I have been there very often. As I went I said, “Lord, if You will get me out of this scrape, I will never trouble Thee on this line again.” As I waited on the Lord He just gave me one word. It seemed a ridiculous thing, but it was the wisest counsel. There is divine wisdom in every word He speaks. I came down to my wife, saying, “What do you think? The Lord has told me to go to Brother Webster.” I said, “It seems very ridiculous, for he is one of the poorest men I know.” He was the poorest man I knew, but he was also the richest man I knew, for he knew God. My wife said, “Do what God says, and it will be right.”
I went off at once to see him, and he said as he greeted me, “Smith, what brings you so early?” I answered, “The word of God.” I said to him, “About three weeks ago I promised to buy a house of a man, and I am short 100 pounds.* I have tried to get this money, but somehow I seem to have missed God.” “How is it,” he asked, “that you have come to me only now?” I answered, “Because I went to the Lord about it only last night.” “Well,” he said, “it is a strange thing; three weeks ago I had 100 pounds. For years I have heen putting money into a co-operative system and three weeks ago I had to go and draw 100 pounds out. I hid it under the mattress. Come with me and you shall have it. Take it. I hope it will bring as great a blessing to you as it has been a trouble to me.” I had had a word from God, and all my troubles were cnded. This has been multiplied in a hundred ways since that time. If I had been walking along filled with the Holy Ghost, I would not have bought that house and would not have had all that strain. I believe the Lord wants to loose us from things of earth. But I am ever grateful for that word from God. There have been times in my life when I have been in a great crisis and under a great weight of intercession. I have gone to the meeting without the knowledge of what I would say, but somehow or other God would vouchsafe the coming forth under the power of the Spirit of some word of wisdom, just what some souls in that meeting needed. As we look to God His mind will he made known, and His revelation and His word of wisdom will be forthcoming.