Published in the Pentecostal Evangel, May 27, 1944.
We have a remarkable word in Matthew 3:11, “I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but He that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” This was the word of one who was filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother’s womb, who was so filled with the power of the Spirit of God that they came from east and west and from north and south to the banks of the Jordan to hear him.
You have seen water baptism, and you know what it means. This later baptism taught by this wilderness preacher means that we shall be so immersed, covered and flooded with the blessed Holy Ghost, that He fills our whole body.
Now turn to John 7:37-39: “In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto Me, and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spake He of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
Jesus saw that the people who had come to the feast, expecting blessing, were going back dissatisfied. He had come to help the needy, to bring satisfaction to the unsatisfied. He does not want any of us to be thirsty, famished, naked, full of discord, full of disorder, full of evil, full of carnality, full of sensuality. And so He sends out in His own blessed way the old prophetic cry: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat.”
The Master can give you that which will satisfy. He has in Himself just what you need at this hour. He knows your greatest need. You need the blessed Holy Ghost, not merely to satisfy your thirst, but to satisfy the needs of thirsty ones everywhere; for as the blessed Holy Spirit flows through you like rivers of living water, these floods will break what needs to be broken, they will bring to death that which should be brought to death, but they will bring life and fruitage where there is none.
What do you have? A well of water? That is good as far at it goes. But Christ wants to see a plentiful supply of the river of the Holy Ghost flowing through you. Here, on this last day of the feast, we find Him preparing them for the Pentecostal fullness that was to come, the fullness that He should shed forth from the glory after His ascension.
Note the condition necessary—“He that believeth on Me” This is the root of the matter. Believe on Him. Believing on Him will bring forth this river of blessedness. Abraham believed God, and we are all blessed through faithful Abraham. As we believe God, many will be blessed through our faith. Abraham was an extraordinary man of faith. He believed God in the face of everything. God wants to bring us to the place of believing, where, despite all contradictions around, we are strong in faith, giving God glory. As we fully believe God, He will be glorified, and we will prove a blessing to the whole world as was our father Abraham.
Turn to John 14. Here we see the promise that ignorant and unlearned fishermen were to be clothed with the Spirit, anointed with power from on high, and endued with the Spirit of wisdom and knowledge. As He imparts divine wisdom, you will not act foolishly. The Spirit of God will give you a sound mind, and He will impart to you the divine nature.
How could these weak and helpless fishermen, poor and needy, ignorant and unlearned, do the works of Christ and greater works than He had done? They were incapable. None of us is able. But our emptiness has to be clothed with divine fullness, and our helplessness has to be filled with the power of His helpfulness. Paul knew this when he gloried in all that brought him down in weakness, for flowing into his weakness came a mighty deluge of divine power.
Christ knew that His going away would leave His disciples like a family of orphans. But He told them it was expedient, it was best, for after His return to the Father He would send the Comforter, and He Himself would come to indwell them. “Ye in Me, and I in you.”
Christ said, “And I will pray the Father, and He shall send you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth.” What a fitting name for the One who was coming to them at the time they were bereft—Comforter. After Christ had left them there was a great need, but that need was met on the day of Pentecost when the Comforter came.
You will always find that in the moment of need the Holy Spirit is a comforter. When my dear wife was lying dead, the doctors could do nothing. They said to me, “She’s gone; we cannot help you.” My heart was so moved that I said, “O God, I cannot spare her!” I went up to her and said, “Oh, come back, come back, and speak to me! Come back, come back!” The Spirit of the Lord moved, and she came back and smiled again. But then the Holy Ghost said to me, “She’s mine. Her work is done. She is mine.”
Oh, that comforting word! No one else could have spoken it. The Comforter came. From that moment my dear wife passed out. And in this day the Comforter has a word for every bereaved one.
Christ further said, “But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” How true this is. From time to time He takes of the words of Christ and makes them life to us. And, empowered with this blessed Comforter, the words that we spake under the anointing are spirit and life.
There are some who come to our meetings who, when you ask them whether they are seekers, reply, “Oh, I am ready for anything.” I tell them, “You will never get anything.” It’s necessary to have the purpose that the Psalmist had when he said, “One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after.” When the Lord reveals to you that you must be filled with the Holy Ghost, seek that one thing until God gives you that gift.
I spoke to two young men in a meeting one day. They were preachers. They had received their degrees. I said to them, “Young men, what about it?”
“Oh,” they said, “we do not believe in receiving the Holy Ghost in the same way as you people do.”
I said to them, “You are dressed up like preachers, and it is a pity having to have the dress without the Presence.”
“Well, we do not believe it the way you do,” they said.
“But look,” I said, “the apostles believed it that way. Wouldn’t you like to be like the apostles? You have read how they received at the beginning, haven’t you?”
Always remember this, that the Baptism will always be as at the beginning. It has not changed. If you want a real Baptism, expect it just the same way as they had it at the beginning.
These preachers asked, “What had they at the beginning?”
I quoted from the tenth chapter of Acts where it says, “On the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God.” The Jews knew that these Gentiles had the same kind of experience as they themselves had at the beginning on the day of Pentecost. The experience has not changed, it is stiIl the same as at the beginning.
When these two young men realized that Peter and John and the rest of the disciples had received the mighty enduement at the beginning, and that it was for them, they walked up to the front where folk were tarrying. They were finely dressed, but in about half an hour they looked different. They had been prostrated. I had not caused them to do it. But they had been so lost and so controlled by the power of God, and were so filled with the glory of God, that they just rolled over, and their fine clothes were soiled—but their faces wete radiant. What caused the change? They had received what the hundred and twenty received at the beginning.
These young preachers had been ordained by men. Now they received an ordination that was better. The Lord had ordained them that they should go and bring forth much fruit. The person that receives this ordination goes forth with fresh feet—his feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; he goes forth with a fresh voice—it speaks as the Spirit gives utterance; he goes forth with a fresh mind—a mind illuminated by the power of God; he goes forth with a fresh vision, and sees all things new.
When I was in Switzerland, a woman came to me and said, “Now that I am healed and have been delivered from that terrible carnal oppression that bound and fettered me, I feel that I have a new mind. I should like to receive the Holy Ghost; but when I hear these people at the altar making so much noise, I feel like running away.”
Shortly after this we were in another place in Switzerland where there was a great hotel joined to the building where we were ministering. At the close of one of the morning services, the power of God fell. That is the only way I can describe it—the power of God fell. This poor, timid creature, who could not bear to hear any noise, screamed so loud that all the waiters in this big hotel came out, with their aprons on and their trays, to see what was up. Nothing especially was “up,” something had come down, and it so altered the situation that this woman could stand anythIng after that.
When you receive the Baptism, remember the words in 1 John 2:20, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One.” God grant that we may not forget that. Many people, instead of standing on the rock of faith to believe that they have received this unction, say, “Oh, if I could only feel the unction!”
Brother, your feeling robs you of your greatest unction. Your feelings are often on the line of discouragement. You have to get away from the walk by sense, for God has said, “The just shall live by his faith.” Believe what God says, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One,” an unction from above. All thoughts of holiness, all thoughts of purity, all thoughts of power are from above.
Frequently I see a condition of emergency. Here is a woman, dying; here is a man who has lost all the powers of his faculties; here is a person apparently in death. God does not want me to be filled with anxiety. What does He want me to do? To believe only. After you have received, only believe. Dare to believe the One who has declared, “I will do it.” Christ says, “Verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.” God declares, “Ye have an unction.” Believe God, and you will see this happen. What you say will come to pass. Speak the word, and the bound shall be free, the sick shall be healed. “He shall have whatsoever he saith.” “Ye have an unction.” The unction has come, the unction abides, the unction is with us.
But what about it, if you have not lived in the place where the unction can be increased? What is the matter? There is something between you and the Holy One—some uncleanness, some impurity, some desire that is not of Him; something that has come in the way? Then the Spirit is grieved. Has the unction left? No. When He comes in, He comes to abide. Make confession of your sin, of your failure, and once more the precious blood of Jesus Christ will cleanse, and the grieved Spirit will once more manifest Himself.
John further says, “The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you.” We have an anointing, the same anointing which Jesus Christ Himself received. For “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power; who went about doing good.” The same anointing is for us.
It means much to have a continuous faith for tho manifestation of the anointing. At the death of Lazarus, when it seemed that Mary and Martha and all around them had lost faith, Jesus turned to the Father and said, “Father, I thank Thee that Thou hast heard Me. And I knew that Thou hearest Me always.” Before that supreme faith that counted on God, that counted on His anointing, death had to give up Lazarus.
Through a constant felIowship with the Father, through bold faith in the Son, through a mighty unction of the blessed Holy Spirit, there will come a right of way for God to be enthroned in our hearts, purifying us so thoroughly that there is no room for anything but the divine Presence within. And through the manifestation of this Presence, the works of Christ and greater works shall be accomplished for the glory of our Triune God.