by Smith Wigglesworth.
Or “The ‘Go Ye’ of the Holy Ghost.”
Let me read to you from the first chapter of the Acts of the Apostles. [Ac 1] The word of God is wonderful and I believe that God wants to fill us with his word. He wants us to be so filled with it that no matter where we are, the word will be lived out in us. The word is power, the word is life, the word of God is faith, the word is Jesus and the word of God is everlasting life to him that believeth. “He that [hath] my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life.” [Jn 5.24] And we need to be careful in reading the word; I believe it is too precious to rush over; we have need to “rightly [divide] the word of truth.” [2Ti 2.15] I want to speak to you tonight of the power given by God. Oh the power of the Holy Ghost! the power that quickens, the revealing power, the travailing power! The power that lives and moves! the power that brings about exactly what Jesus said, “When you receive… ye shall have power.” [Ac 1.8, para.] I love to think that Jesus wanted all his people to have power, that he wanted all men to be overcomers. It is the joy God brings within a human life that transforms it by his word and brings it into the place where it knows it is above all, and brings to naught the things that are, because God is in the word. Nothing but this power will do it. Power over sin, power over sickness, power over the devil, power over all the powers of the devil! I know that Jesus revealed by his word these truths—“after that ye shall have power.” [Ac 1.8, para.] I think there is nothing more beautiful to look at than to look at the Jordan in our experiences. The moment that Jesus was baptized in the Holy Ghost there was a manifestation that never appeared in the world before or since. Right there by the Jordan was the Son of God, directly on the Son was the Holy Ghost in the form of a dove, and in the heavens above was the voice of God. [Lk 3.22] It is beautiful to think of how the Trinity is interested in humanity.
Why have we power when the Holy Ghost comes? Because the Holy Ghost reveals Jesus; and Jesus, being the word of God, in that word there is all power. In order to understand what it means to have all power there are two things necessary; one is to have ears to hear and the other is to have hearts to receive it. I am sure that everyone should know this truth that God sent the devil out of heaven because he was weak; if he had been strong he would not have sent him out. You never find anything that is impure get purer, but always viler, and Satan when he was cast out became weaker, viler, and more impure. Every born saint of God, filled with the Spirit, has a real revelation of that truth, “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.” [1Jn 4.4] I say this with as much audacity as I please. I know evil spirits are in abundance and in multitudes; Jesus cast them out as legion. Satan and his angels were cast out of heaven and it seems to me that he had power to make evil spirits, but these are never as strong as Satan himself. Because of purity, holiness and righteousness, they that are strong shall become more and more righteous, and equally so, Satan and his emissaries become viler and viler. But the believer because of the Spirit that is in him has the power to cast out the evil spirits. It must be so; God wants us to have this power in us; we must be able to destroy Satan’s power wherever we go.
When I received the Holy Ghost all the people thought that I had gone wrong, but we have to live to prove things. It is a strange fact but the people of this world seem to be in a dilemma and don’t know what to do. One day as I came into the house my wife said, “Which way did you come?” I answered that I had come in by the back way. “Oh,” she said. “if you had come in by the front you would have seen a man there in a terrible state. There is a crowd of people around him and he is in terrible straits.” Then the doorbell rang and she said, “There he is again. What will we do?” I said, “Just be quiet and still.” I rushed to the door and just as I was opening it the Spirit said, “This is what I baptized you for.” I was very careful then in opening the door, and then I heard the man crying outside, “Oh I have committed the unpardonable sin; I am lost, I am lost.” I asked him to come in and when he got inside he said again in awful distress, “I am lost, I am lost.” Then the Spirit came upon me and I commanded the lying spirit to come out of the man in the name of Jesus. Suddenly he lifted up his arms and said, “I never did it.” The moment that the lying spirit was out he was able to speak the truth. I then realized the power in the baptism of the Holy Spirit. It was the Spirit that said, “This is what I baptized you for,” and I believe we ought to be in the place where we will always be able to understand the mind of the Spirit amidst all the other voices in the world.
After the Holy Ghost has come upon you, you have power. I believe a great mistake is made in these days by people tarrying and tarrying after they have received. After you have received it is, “Go ye.” Not “sit still,” but “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel.” [Mk 16.15] We shall make serious havoc of the whole thing if we turn back again and crawl into a corner seeking something we already have. I want you to see that God depends upon us in these last days. There is no room for anyone to boast, and the man who goes about saying, “Look at me for I am somebody,” is of no value whatever. God is done with that man altogether; he will have a people to glorify him. He is doing what he can with that which he has, but we are so unwilling to move in the plan of God that He has to grind us many times to get us where he can use us.
Jesus was so filled with the Holy Ghost that he stood in the place where he was always ready. He was always in the attitude where he brought victory out of every opportunity. The power of the Holy Spirit is within us but it can be manifested only as we go in obedience to that opportunity which we have before us. I believe if you wait until you think you have power after you have received the Holy Ghost you will never know you have it. Don’t you know that the child of God who is in possession of the baptism is inhabited by the power of the Spirit? You will remember one time when they tried to throw Jesus from the brow of the hill, [Lk 4.29] that he pressed through the midst of them and as soon as he got through he healed the man with the blind eyes. Pressing through the crowd which was trying to kill him, he showed forth his power. Some people might think that Jesus should have run away altogether but he stopped to heal. This thought has comforted me over and over again.
One day as I was waiting for a car I stepped into a shoemaker’s shop. I had not been there long when I saw a man with a green shade over his eyes, crying pitifully and in great agony. It was heartrending and the shoemaker told me that the inflammation was burning out his eyes. I jumped up and went to the man and said, “You devil, come out of this man in the name of Jesus.” Instantly the man said, “It is all gone, I can see now.” That is the only scriptural way, to begin to work at once, and preach afterwards. You will find as the days go by that the miracles and healings will be manifested. Because the Master was touched with the feeling of the infirmities of the multitudes they instantly gathered around him to hear what He had to say concerning the word of God. However, I would rather see one man saved than ten thousand people healed. If you ask me why, I would call to your attention the word which says, “There was a [rich man and he] fared sumptuously every day.” [Lk 16.19] Now we don’t hear of this man having any diseases but it says, “In hell he lift up his eyes.” [Lk 16.23] We also read that there was a poor man full of sores [Lk 16.20] and “he lifted up his eyes in heaven,” so we see that a man can die practically in good health but be lost, and a man can die in disease and be saved; so it is more important to be saved than anything else.
But Jesus was sent to bear the infirmities and the afflictions of the people and to destroy the works of the devil. He said that the thief (which is the devil) cometh to steal and to kill and to destroy, but “I am come that [ye] might have life, and […] have it more abundantly.” [Jn 10.10] I maintain that God wishes all his people to have the life more abundant; that if we understood sin as we ought to understand it and realized that there is no sickness without disobedience, we Pentecostal people would never say we were sick because then others would know we had been sinning. You will say that is rather strong, but we have the remedy in the word of God! Jesus paid the full price and the full redemption for every need, and where sin abounded, grace can come in and much more abound, [Ro 5.20] and dispel all the sickness.
When I was traveling from England to Australia on January 6th I witnessed for Jesus, and it was not long before I had plenty of room to myself. If you want a whole seat to yourself just begin to preach Jesus. However, some people listened and began to be much affected. One of the young men said to me, “I have never heard these truths before. You have so moved me that I must have a good conversation with you.” The young man told me that his wife was a great believer in Christian Science but was very sick now, and although she had tried everything she had been unable to get relief; she was having a doctor. But the doctor gave her no hope whatever, and in her dilemma and facing the realities of death, she asked that she might have an appointment with the man in second class who was preaching, because, she said, “the things he says makes us feel he is real.” So they made an appointment and when I got to her I felt it would be unwise to say anything about Christian Science, so I just said, “You are in bad shape.” She said, “Yes, they give me no hope.” I said, “I will not speak to you about anything but will just lay my hands upon you in the name of Jesus, and when I do you will be healed.” That woke her up and she began to think seriously. For three days she was lamenting over the things she might have to give up. “Will I have to give up the cigarettes?” “No,” I said. “Will I have to give up the dance?” and again I replied “No.” “Well, we have a little drinking sometimes and then we play cards also. Will I have to give—?” “No,” I said, “you will not have to give up anything. Only let us see Jesus.” And right then she got such a vision of her crucified savior, and Jesus was made so real to her that she at once told her friends that she could not play cards any more, could not drink or dance any more, and she said she would have to go back to England to preach against this awful thing, Christian Science. Oh, what a revelation Jesus gave her! Now if I had refused to go when called for, saying that I first had to go to my cabin and pray about it, the Lord might have let that opportunity slip by. After you have received the Holy Ghost you have power; you don't have to wait.
The other day we were going through a very thickly populated part of San Francisco when we noticed a large crowd gathered. I saw it from the window of the car and said I had to get out, which I did. There in the midst was a boy in the agonies of death. As I threw my arms around the boy I asked what the trouble was and he answered that he had cramps. In the name of Jesus I commanded the devils to come out of him and at once he jumped up, and not even taking time to thank me, ran off perfectly healed. We are God’s own children, quickened by his Spirit and he has given us power over an the powers of darkness; Christ in us the open evidence of eternal glory, Christ in us the life, the truth and the way.
We have a wonderful salvation that fits everybody. I believe that a baptized person has no conception of the power God has given him until he uses that which he has. I maintain that Peter and John had no idea of the greatness of the power they had, but they began to speculate. They said, “Well, as far as money goes, we have none of that, but we do have something; we don’t exactly know what it is, but we will try it on you. In the name of Jesus of Nazareth, rise up and walk,” [Ac 3.6, para] and it worked. In order to make yourself realize what you have in your possession you will have to try it and I can assure you it will work all right. I said one time to a man that the Acts of the Apostles would never have been written if the Apostles had not acted, and the Holy Spirit is still continuing his acts through us. May God help us to have some acts. There is nothing like Pentecost and if you have never been baptized you are making a big mistake by waiting. Don’t you know that the only purpose for which God saved you was that you might be a savior of others? And for you to think that you have to remain stationary and just get to heaven is a great mistake. The baptism is to make you a witness for Jesus. Thank God the hardest way is the best way; you never hear anything about the person who is always having an easy time. The preachers always tell of how Moses crossed the Red Sea when he was at wits’ end. I cannot find the record of anyone in the scriptures whom God used who was not first tried. So if you never have any trials it is because you are not worth them.
God wants us to have power. When I was traveling in Sweden at a certain station early in the morning a little lady and her daughter got into the train. I saw at once that the lady was in dreadful agony and asked my interpreter to inquire as to the trouble. With tears running down her face she told how her daughter was taking her to the hospital to have her legs amputated. Everything that was possible had been done for her. I told her Jesus could heal. Just then the train stopped and a crowd of people entered until there was hardly standing room, but friends, we never get into a place that is too awkward for God, though it seemed to me that the devil had sent these people in at that time to hinder. However, when the train began to move along I got down, although it was terribly crowded, and putting my hands upon the woman’s leg I prayed for her in the name of Jesus. At once she said to her daughter, “I am healed. It is all different now; I felt the power go down my leg,” and she began to walk about. Then the train stopped at the next station and this woman got out and walked up and down the platform; saying, “I am healed. I am healed.” Jesus was the firstfruits, and God has chosen us in Christ and has revealed his Son in us that we might manifest him in power. God gives us power over the devil and when we say the devil we mean everything that is wicked and not of God. Some people say we can afford to do without the baptism of the Spirit but I say we cannot. I believe any person who thinks there is a stop between Calvary and the glory has made a big mistake.