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Tonight we’re going to speak about the Holy Spirit, a tremendous and a glorious theme. I obviously cannot deal with it in any great depth in one message. The Holy Spirit is perhaps the most difficult person of the Godhead for the human mind to understand. In the universe we find things that are personal and things that are not personal, or impersonal, or non-personal. Things that are personal you would use the pronouns he or she. Things that are non-personal you’d normally use the pronoun it. That’s a simple way of explaining what we mean. The Holy Spirit combines both. This is one of the important but difficult things to grasp.
Personally I don’t think there’s anything in the universe which God created that doesn’t in some way reflect an aspect of God Himself. And since we find in the universe both personal and non-personal, I believe this could be taken as evidence that there are aspects of God which are personal and there are aspects of God which are non-personal. I think this comes out distinctively when we study the Holy Spirit. In other words I believe it is legitimate to say of the Holy Spirit both it and he. Some people stumble over the it and some stumble over the he.
Throughout the Scriptures there are many pictures given of the Holy Spirit from the world that we’re familiar with. And many of these pictures are non-personal. They’re things that are not personal. For instance, the Holy Spirit is typified by wind, by fire, by rain, by dew, by oil—to take only five things. Every one of those things is not what we would call a person. Every one of them we would describe with the pronoun it, and I believe that accurately represents a part of the truth about the Holy Spirit, but not the whole truth.
Particularly as we move on into the New Testament we find a special emphasis being laid upon the word he bringing into focus the fact that the Holy Spirit is legitimately a person. Now it’s strange but some groups of Christians find it hard to accept the it and some actually don’t accept the he. And usually in our small way we want to tie God down to one or other of two alternatives. And in most cases God is not willing to be tied down. We want to say to God “Either he or it.” God says, “No, both. You’ll have to enlarge your mind. I’m not reducing Myself to fit in with the limitations of your mind.”
So now we’re going to look at a passage in Psalm 139, which I believe serves as a kind of introduction to the Holy Spirit. “The Spirit of God” is mentioned although not in the opening verses. This is a tremendous statement that comes from the lips of David concerning two things for which theologians and people like that use rather long complicated words. They talk about God’s omnipresence and God’s omniscience. Now if you didn’t swallow a dictionary when you were young you may want that interpreted. God’s omnipresence means that “God is everywhere.” There’s nowhere in the universe that you can say God is not here. God’s omniscience means “God knows everything.” There is nothing happening in the universe that God doesn’t know about. He knows everything about each one of you personally. In fact, Jesus told us He actually knows the number of hairs on our heads and that’s just one aspect of His total omniscience. And these verses that I’m going to read, Psalm 139 verse 1–12, bring out these two aspects of God: His omnipresence and His omniscience. And they do it in very vivid and beautiful language.
“O LORD, thou hast searched me, and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest [the Hebrew says ‘winnowest’; modern translations say ‘thou scrutinizes’] my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways. For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O LORD, thou knowest it altogether. [Before I ever speak a word, David says, You know what I am going to say.] Thou has beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. [I suppose every one of us would have to say the same. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it’s too high for me. But it’s real.] Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”
That verse I believe is the key to understanding how God is everywhere and knows everything. It’s through His Holy Spirit. And Hebrew poetry tends to put the two halves of one verse saying the same thing in different words. So when it says, “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?”—“thy spirit” and “thy presence” are balanced one against another. It’s through the Holy Spirit that the Lord is present everywhere.
If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell [or Sheol or Hades], behold, thou art there.
What I like about the King James translation is that when words are put in by the translators, they’re printed in italics. You probably know that. And you’ll notice that in verse 8 the last two words are in italics. It’s very vivid. I don’t think there’s any way to put it exactly into English.
“But if I ascend up into heaven, thou, behold, art there [that’s said]: but if I make my bed in Hades, behold, thou [it doesn’t actually say ‘art there’].”
Heaven is God’s residence. Hades, He’s there in a way. It’s a very subtle difference, but if you look at it, it doesn’t say God is in Hades. It says, “Behold thou ... I can’t get away from You even in Hades but heaven thou art there.”
“If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.”
As I made my way just before Christmas over to New Zealand and then to Australia, which is a journey from here of about twelve thousand miles—and is, in a biblical sense, right to the uttermost part of the earth seeing that the east coast of New Zealand is the furthest inhabited part of the earth from Jerusalem—those words became very vivid to me. “If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea ...” even if I make that tremendously long journey which is what—about twenty-six hours continuous traveling even by jet, “even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.” And I was very conscious of that as I was in New Zealand and Australia that God was there just in the same way that He was in Florida or in anywhere else.
“If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night [is as bright] as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”
That’s a tremendously vivid picture of the total omnipresence and omniscience of the Lord and it is through His Holy Spirit that these things are true. It’s by His Spirit that He’s present; it’s by His Spirit that He knows everything. There’s one verse in Jeremiah 23 which says the same thing in just one simple verse. Jeremiah 23, verse 24:
“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.”
So, in a certain sense, the Lord fills heaven and earth. There is just no place you can say He isn’t here, He doesn’t know what’s going on. That’s a picture of the Holy Spirit and in a certain sense it’s primarily the Holy Spirit not as a person, but just as a presence.
Now let’s look at just a quick outline of the manifestations or operations of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. This is just a quick review. We’re not going to dwell on that. But the Holy Spirit is introduced to us in the first two verses of the Bible. Genesis chapter 1 verse 1 and 2:
“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void...”
The Hebrew says tohu va bohu, which means “in a mixed-up state.” Whatever else you can interpret it, it’s a kind of one of those phrases that the sound expresses it. In the remote days when I learned Russian, I discovered that the Russian for upside down is ?sheverit neaverit?. Well, that’s a phrase like tohu va bohu. It means it’s all ?sheverit neaverit.? It really says you just can’t know much about it. And then the second half of the verse says:
“And the spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.”
Or “was moving.” The word that’s used for move is used for a bird hovering. So the Spirit of God hovered or moved like a bird upon the face of the waters there in the midst of chaos and darkness. And then the next verse indicates God’s word went forth.
“And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.”
Creation is by the union of the Spirit of God and the word of God. These two things brought the entire created universe into being. This is stated in Psalm 33. Psalm 33 verse 6:
“By the word of the LORD were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth.”
But where the English translation says breath, the Hebrew says Spirit—ruach. So it’s by the word and by the Spirit of the Lord the universe was brought into being. The force behind all creation is God’s word and God’s Spirit united. Everything we’ve ever seen or will see springs from that creative source: the word and the Spirit of God. We need to remember that, because I believe it’s true that whenever the word and the Spirit of God are united in our experience or in our lives, again the total creative power of God is available to us. It took God nothing more than His word and His Spirit to bring the universe into being. As you sit here tonight, the word comes to you and the Spirit of God moves upon you, anything can happen. There’s no limit. The entire creative ability of God is here when His word is here and His Spirit, if we know how to expose ourselves and receive what God desires to do.
Then we go on into the book of Exodus. We’re just taking this quick glimpse through the Old Testament of various operations and manifestations of the Holy Spirit. Exodus 31 verses 2 and 3. Exodus 31:2 and 3:
“See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: and I have filled him with the spirit of God [that’s the Holy Spirit—Bezaleel was filled with the Spirit of God], in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship [or craftsmanship], to devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, and in cutting of stones, to set them ... [and so on].”
I’m very happy myself that this manifestation of the fullness of the Holy Spirit in Bezaleel was so very practical. One of the things I like about the Holy Spirit is He’s always practical. Anything that is not practical, in my opinion, is not truly spiritual. And so Bezaleel wasn’t filled with the Spirit of God in order to dream dreams or to have some philosophic abstract concept, but he was filled with the Spirit of God in order to be a very clever workman in gold, silver, precious stones. And I think somehow a little of that inheritance has remained with the Jewish people. It’s an interesting fact that the state of Israel is now number one in the world in handling of diamonds. They’ve overtaken Holland, passed them. I think that’s just a little bit of Bezaleel’s inheritance still working out in history.
But there was a man whom God filled with the Holy Spirit, and I think you’ll find that whenever God filled a man with the Holy Spirit He did it for a purpose. There was something He intended to accomplish through that man by His Spirit.
And then we look on to Deuteronomy 34 verse 9. This refers to Joshua when he was taking over the leadership of Israel from Moses. Deuteronomy 34 verse 9:
“And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom [that’s one of the manifestations of the Holy Spirit—the spirit of wisdom]; for Moses had laid his hands upon him: and the children of Israel hearkened unto him, and did as the LORD commanded Moses.”
You’ll notice how Joshua came to be full of the spirit of wisdom. What happened? Moses laid his hands on him. I want to point on to you that laying on of hands should not be an empty ritual. It should be an actual impartation of something from one man to another. And I suppose one of the greatest privileges that God gives us is to impart spiritual gifts. Paul said to the Romans, he said, “I long to see you that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift.” In a certain sense some spiritual gifts can be transferrable. So here was the man who was going to take over the very responsible and difficult job of succeeding Moses. How would you have liked to have succeeded Moses? But God made provision. Joshua was full of the spirit of wisdom because Moses laid his hands upon Joshua before the Lord took Moses away.
Let me go on to the book of Judges, chapter 6. Judges chapter 6 verse 34.
“But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet; and Abiezer was gathered after him.”
The Hebrew says “the Spirit of the LORD clothed Gideon.” It’s a beautiful picture of being enveloped in the Holy Spirit like a mantle wrapped around about him. I believe this is true of every one of the men who became the deliverers of Israel recorded in the book of Judges. Every one of them was able to do what he did only by the Holy Spirit. Apart from the Holy Spirit they were just ordinary men. We often think, for instance, of Samson as a great, big giant of a man with bulging muscles. I don’t believe that was necessarily true at all. His strength was purely supernatural. Because no matter how big your muscles are, you couldn’t do the things that Samson did with natural strength.
So we see, in a sense, how practical the Holy Spirit is. I want to emphasize that right from the beginning. We’re not talking about something so super-spiritual that it relates to another world. We’re talking about something that is very, very useful in this world. It says in the verse we looked at:
“But the Spirit of the LORD came upon Gideon, and he blew a trumpet...”
I once heard Charles Simpson say, “Before you blow the trumpet, you’d better be sure the Spirit of the Lord has come upon you.” Because we read later, in the book of Samuel, that Saul, the king, blew the trumpet but the Spirit of the Lord wasn’t upon him. And when the Philistines came out against him, he trembled. He’d made the claims, but he didn’t have the qualifications. So don’t blow your trumpet until the Spirit comes on you. But when the Spirit comes on you and you blow the trumpet you’ll be a winner. No matter who comes against you, you’ll come out of the battle victorious. Numbers aren’t important. First Samuel 14:6 it says,
“... there is no restraint to the LORD to save by many or by few.”
Somebody else said, “One plus God is a majority.”
Then we look at David’s testimony in 2 Samuel chapter 23, just read the first two verses:
“Now these be the last words of David. [I think it means they were the last inspired words of David.] David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.”
David did not attribute the Psalms that he wrote to his own genius, to his own literary ability. But he said, “I got it by the Holy Spirit. He gave me the words.” And one of the beautiful secrets about anything the Holy Spirit gives is it never dies and it’s unsearchable. I suppose I’ve read most of the Psalms probably two hundred times. And I sit in my bed in the morning and read them as I’m doing at the present time, I read them and I think, “I never read that verse before. I didn’t even know it was there.” And I’ve read my Bible consistently for about thirty-six years and it is more fresh and more surprising and more wonderful to me today than it was when I started. Because it’s not the product of natural reason or genius or talent or cleverness or artistic ability, but it comes from the inexhaustible source of the Spirit of God.
So that was David’s testimony. And when David sinned and came to a terrible a place before God of being guilty even as the leader of God’s people, his prayer is found in Psalm 51 verse 11. Psalm 51:11:
“Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”
David knew the one thing he could not afford was to lose the presence of the Holy Spirit in his life. There was a magazine many, many years ago that was published in South Africa call The Standard
Bearer. Probably none of you ever saw it. It was a Pentecostal magazine. It was a very high-classed magazine and I once remember getting a copy of it in my hands somewhere in the 1940s and there was a picture of something, a scene or a waterfall or something like that, but there was a little sentence written at the bottom that I have never forgotten and it said this: “Life’s greatest tragedy is to lose the presence of God and not even know you’ve lost it.” And I really thought to myself at that time, “God, may that never happen to me. May the Holy Spirit never leave me and I not be even aware that He’s gone.” And so many of us could echo the prayer of David tonight.
“Cast me not away from thy presence [no matter what happens]; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”
Shall we say those words together? “Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”
And now we go onto the Prophets, and though we could look at them in the Old Testament, I want to look at a verse in the New Testament which sums up the ministry of all the Prophets. That’s the second epistle of Peter chapter 1. Second Peter chapter 1, verse 21, the last verse of the chapter:
“For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man [or ‘never at anytime’ one of the modern translations says. Prophecy is never the expression merely of human will.]: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy [Spirit].”
The Greek says “as they were borne along by the Holy Spirit.” So all true prophecy is a product of the Holy Spirit. I like the phrase being borne along by because it suggests there’s a flow and if you can get into the flow it’s easy to flow with it. But you can’t flow with it if you’re not in it. One thing about the Holy Spirit in my experience is He’s never jerky! He’s compared to oil, and of all the things that flow smoothly, oil is probably the smoothest. Some people’s lives consist of a series of jerks and stops. But I don’t believe that’s really moving in the Spirit of God.
So as we’ve glanced through the Old Testament we’ve seen right from creation onwards, the Holy Spirit is there. He was responsible for creation. He was responsible for the ministry of Moses, Bezaleel, Joshua, Gideon, David, and all the prophets. Anything God ever does in the earth is done through the instrumentality of the Holy Spirit.
Now I want to look at the opening of the New Testament, the New Covenant in Jesus Christ. As we come to the preparation of the advent of the Messiah, we find what I would call an increased emphasis on the Holy Spirit. There was one remarkable family that God, in a certain sense, set apart to prepare the way for the Messiah. A very privileged and honored family, the family of Zacharias, his wife Elisabeth and their son who was John the Baptist. And it’s interesting me that in the first chapter of Luke we are specifically told that every one of those persons was filled with the Holy Spirit. It seems to me that when the Messiah is coming, the emphasis on the operation of the Holy Spirit is increased. After all, the word Messiah—Mashiach in Hebrew, Christos in Greek—means “the Anointed.” In other words, He’s the One on whom the Holy Spirit will rest. We don’t have a Messiah if we don’t have the Holy Spirit. There is no Jesus Christ apart from the Holy Spirit. His very title Christ or Messiah indicates the presence and operation of the Holy Spirit.
Look in Luke chapter 1 verse 15. Part of what the angel told Zacharias as he was in the temple and had this vision, and, as a result of his unbelief, became temporarily dumb. Speaking about the child that was to be born, in verse 15 it says:
“For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy [Spirit], even from his mother’s womb.”
So, when that little baby was born he was already filled with the Holy Spirit. And that continued throughout his life which was not lengthy. He died a young man. As a matter of fact, few people filled with the Holy Spirit ever lived out their days in the natural. As I look in the New Testament—there are eight persons of whom it’s said individually they were “filled with the Holy Spirit.” Five died as martyrs. So if you’re asking to be filled with the Holy Spirit, just weigh the consequences before you press in on that. All right.
Now we look at Luke chapter 1 verse 41 and 42. Elisabeth now carrying the unborn baby, John the Baptist, in her womb goes to greet her cousin Mary, who is to be the mother of the Lord Jesus Christ. And Mary greets Elisabeth and then we read this:
“And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb [that Spirit-filled baby, even in the womb, recognized the mother of the Messiah]; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy [Spirit]: and she spake out with a loud voice...”
That’s frequently one of the results of being filled with the Holy Spirit. In almost every place where it speaks about people being filled with the Holy Spirit in the New Testament, the next thing that’s said is that “they spoke” or “they prophesied” or they did something that came out of their mouth. And the first word she said was:
“Blessed art thou among women...”
Then we look on to what happened immediately after the birth of John the Baptist when he was to be circumcised, Luke chapter 1 verse 67:
“And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy [Spirit], and prophesied, saying, Blessed be the Lord God ...”
There’s a certain similarity. Each parent was filled with the Holy Spirit. Each prophesied and each prophecy began with the word “Blessed.” So that was, as it were, the starting point for the actual coming of the Messiah.
And then we go to John chapter 1 and we read the words with which John the Baptist introduced the Messiah, the Christ. Beginning in verse 31, John is speaking about Jesus, the Messiah, he says:
“And I knew him not [he knew Him as his cousin, but he didn’t know Him as the Messiah]: I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. [The whole purpose for of John’s ministry was to introduce, prepare the way for Jesus.] And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit [capital S, the Holy Spirit] descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy [Spirit]. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”
I think that’s significant. John the Baptist was sent to prepare the way for Jesus. And he had to do one specific thing. He had to baptize people in water. And I think not merely were his words prophetic, but his acts were prophetic too. And I think what he was saying, in effect, was, “What I am doing and you can see me doing it in water, the One who comes after me will do it in the Holy Spirit.” And so Jesus is introduced to Israel primarily “the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.” And this introduction is found in all four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. This is how God intended Jesus to be presented to Israel: “The One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.” Not primarily the Savior, not primarily the Lamb of God, but the One who baptizes in the Holy Spirit. The main emphasis of the introduction was on that fact about Jesus which, strangely enough, most of the church for many centuries has hardly given any attention to whatever. The main aspect of Jesus’ ministry emphasized by John, has been ignored by about ninety percent of the church for many centuries.
Now I want to look to the actual teaching of Jesus in relation to the Holy Spirit. All the passages we look at will be found in John’s gospel. As Jesus began to draw near to the close of His ministry He began systematically to teach His disciples and prepare them for the fact that He was going to leave them. But that when He left them another Person would come to take His place. And it’s at this point in the teaching of Jesus that the fact that the Holy Spirit is a Person is most strongly emphasized. The essence of what Jesus is saying is: There’s to be an exchange of persons. “I, the Son of God, as a Person, am going away. In My place another Person will come, the Holy Spirit.” Let’s look at some of the passages. John chapter 7 beginning at verse 37:
“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.”
Now the next verse is in parenthesis. It’s not part of what Jesus said, it’s a comment of the writer of the Gospel. It tells us what Jesus really meant.
“But this spake he of the Spirit [capital S, the Holy Spirit], which they that believe on him should receive...”
Notice that in that passage Jesus was not talking about sinners being converted. He was talking about believers receiving the Holy Spirit. This is the divine comment included in Scripture. It’s not correct to apply that passage in John 7:34–38 to conversion of sinners. It speaks about believers receiving the Holy Spirit. It’s something that was yet in the future. And we’re told why it was in the future in the next part of verse 39:
“... for the Holy Spirit was not yet given...”
You’ll notice that the word given is in italics. If you’ve got a Bible in front of you, it’s supplied by the translator. The Greek actually says, “The Holy Spirit was not yet.” Obviously that doesn’t mean the Holy Spirit wasn’t yet in existence, but it means He was not yet, and you have to decide more or less what you’re going to say. I think one word you could use is available. The Holy Spirit was not yet available. Why? Because Jesus was not yet glorified. This shows us clearly that what Jesus is talking about there could not happen until He had returned to heaven and been glorified once again at the right hand of the Father. So, though the promise is given there in John chapter 7, its fulfillment, we will see, does not come until Acts chapter 2. It could not come until Jesus had been glorified. Now looking on in John 14 verses 15 to 18. Jesus is now taking farewell of His disciples and He says:
“If ye love me, keep my commandments. [And if you do that, He says,] I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he shall abide with you forever...”
Let’s pause and look at those for a moment. Jesus says, “I’m going to ask the Father to meet your need. When I go away, He’ll give you another Comforter.” What does the word another mean or indicate? There are two Greek words for another. One means “different in number,” the other means “different in kind.” The word that’s used here is “different in number”—another person, but also a divine person—not different in kind, but different in number. One divine person is going, but Jesus is going to ask the Father to send another divine person in His place, and that Person is the Comforter, the Encourager, and then He’s called in the next verse “the Spirit of truth.”
“... even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him...”
Again, we’re not talking about something that sinners receive. As Jesus said, “The world can’t receive this.” This is something that born again children of God can receive, but sinners can’t because they’re not in contact with Him. They don’t see Him, they don’t know Him, they don’t understand Him, He’s not real to them.
“... but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you.”
The word comfortless in Greek is “orphans.” “I will not leave you as orphans without anybody to care for you or comfort you or provide for you. So when I go another Person will come. He’ll be your Comforter, your Encourager.”
Let me say one thing. The Holy Spirit never discourages the children of God. You need to bear that in mind. Any kind of influence that discourages you is not from the Holy Spirit. If you sin, He’ll reprove you specifically and tell you what to do, but He will never discourage you. Many people have discouraging influences in their lives and they think it’s the Holy Spirit, but it isn’t. He’s the Comforter. The Encourager, not the discourager. Bear that in mind.
So without the Holy Spirit we Christians would be like orphans. We’d have no one to provide for us, no one to care for us, no one to teach us, but through the Holy Spirit we don’t have to be orphans if we accept Jesus’ provision for us.
And then He says one more thing in verse 16:
“... and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever...”
There’s a point in that “forever.” Jesus as a Person had been with His disciples only three and a half years. Now He’s leaving them just when they’re really getting to know Him. But He says the next Person who comes will never leave you. When He comes, He’ll come to stay forever. That’s the Holy Spirit.
Then we look on in the same chapter, John 14 verses 25 and 26:
“These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy [Spirit], 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.”
I’m impressed by the confidence that Jesus had in the Holy Spirit. I think we need to have an equal confidence. Sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we think we’ve got to do the whole job and if we won’t do it, it won’t get done. Jesus said, “I’ve done what I can do. When the Holy Spirit comes He’ll finish the job off.” I really think that’s a mark of humility. I’ve learned in my experience (or I’m learning), what God expects me to do and what I’m to leave to the Holy Spirit to do. And I find if I think I’ve got to do it all it’s usually a failure. So Jesus said, “I’ve taken you as far as you’re able to come now. I can’t give you any more because you can’t receive. It would be wasting words on you.” As I say, pouring water into a bottle with a cork on it. That’s waste of words. He said, “I’m leaving you, but it will be all right, because when the Holy Spirit comes I’ve got absolute confidence in Him. He’ll finish the job off.”
I really think that if you are in any kind of discipleship program you need to bear that in mind. You can do so much. The Holy Spirit will have to do the rest. The people who try to do it all get in God’s way. Jesus never got in the way of the Lord. He knew when to leave. My late wife always used to say, “Always leave when you’re on the peak. Never wait until the thing fizzles out to go.” That’s very good advice. Some people only leave when there’s no alternative, you know? The whole thing has fallen apart so they say, “Well, God’s calling me elsewhere.” There’s a real art in knowing when to leave. It’s being sensitive to the Holy Spirit. So Jesus says, “I’ve done what I can, but there’s another Teacher coming. And He’s going to do two things. He’s going to teach you what I haven’t yet taught you, and He’s going to bring all things to your remembrance what I have taught you.” Those are two of His great ministries: the Teacher and the Remembrancer. See, the record of the New Testament does not depend merely on the fallibility of human memory. The Holy Spirit came to make sure they got the record absolutely correct. He brought all things to their remembrance. So we can rely on it because it’s a Spirit-inspired record.
Also the Holy Spirit gave them understanding of many things that otherwise they might not have even recorded, because they wouldn’t have seen the significance of it. You try and describe any event that happened even a year ago in your life. Let’s say there were six people all present at the same event. You get them all to sit down and write their account of what happened. You’d hardly know some of them were describing the same thing! It’s not easy, but the disciples did not have to depend merely on human ability. They were promised that the Holy Spirit would bring all things to their remembrance.
Then we go on to John 16. Jesus continues the process of instruction and preparation of His disciples.
John 16 beginning at verse 5:
“But now I go my way to him that sent me [that’s the Father]; and none of you asketh me, Whither goest thou? [See, I’m going away.] But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your heart.”
They just couldn’t grasp anything but the awful fact that Jesus was leaving. Then He says something very significant. I want you to grasp it.
Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. There again is that principle of the exchange of persons. Jesus said, “As long as I’m here the Comforter won’t come. But if I leave, then I’ll be free to send the Comforter to take My place.” And He said, “It’s expedient for you. It’s in your best interests.” In other words, I interpret it this way. Jesus said, “You’ll be better off with Me in heaven and the Holy Spirit on earth than you are now with Me on earth and the Holy Spirit in heaven.” And it’s very obvious that that proved true, because the moment the Holy Spirit came the disciples had an entirely different understanding of the whole life and ministry and teaching of Jesus. Up to that moment, they were extremely slow to appreciate even the basic truths that Jesus was teaching. The moment the Holy Spirit came, they had a totally different grasp. So it was expedient for them that Jesus should go and the Holy Spirit should come.
Many times we hear Christians say, “Well, wouldn’t it be wonderful if we were like the apostles were in the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry, if we were as close to Jesus as that and we had that amount of teaching from Him?” But that’s not what the Scripture teaches. The Scripture teaches that we are better off now with Jesus as a Person in heaven and the Holy Spirit with us on earth, than the disciples were during the period that Jesus was on earth and the Holy Spirit had not yet come. He said, “It’s expedient for you that I go and make this exchange.” He also indicated that the exchange had to take place. The Holy Spirit couldn’t come while He was personally present on earth.
Then we look on once more in John 16 verses 12 through 15:
“I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...”
Again Jesus says, “I’ve taken you as far as I can take you. From now on it’s going to have to be the Holy Spirit. And here in verse 15 we have one of the clearest indications of the personality of the Holy Spirit. For it says, “When he, the Spirit of truth, has come ...” You’ll notice the pronoun is he not it. In the Greek language the word for Spirit is neuter. The word is pneuma. The Greek language has three genders: masculine (he), feminine (she), neuter (it). Now the word for Spirit, grammatically, is neuter. So the pronoun to be used that would be grammatically correct would be it. But Jesus, or the writer of the gospel, deliberately breaks the rules of grammar to use the masculine pronoun he, not the neuter pronoun it. That’s as emphatic a way as it’s possible to have of saying the Holy Spirit is a he not just an it.
“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 shew you things to come.”
The Holy Spirit never glorifies Himself. The Holy Spirit never focuses on Himself. He focuses on Jesus, He glorifies Jesus, but He reveals to us the counsels of the Godhead in heaven. So when we have the Holy Spirit, we can say, reverently: we have a private line to heaven. And we can be informed of what is going on in the counsels of the Godhead. Verse 14:
“He shall glorify me...”
Notice that. Anything that does not essentially glorify Jesus is not a work of the Holy Spirit. That’s one good way to check. Everything the Holy Spirit does is ultimately directed to glorifying Jesus. And then it says:
“... he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”
The next fact revealed here is that the Holy Spirit is the Administrator of our inheritance. Everything that the Father has belongs to the Son, and everything the Son has belongs to the Father. And Romans 8 tells us that we’re “heirs of God and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.” We can legally share the whole inheritance with Jesus Christ. But the important thing to remember is it’s the Holy Spirit that administers the inheritance.
You know that when a will is made there’s an executor, normally. And if you want to get what’s in the will you have to handle, deal with, the executor. If you bypass the executor you don’t get anything in the will. I’ve just been adjusting my will and I had to determine who my executors would be. It’s rather an important decision. And we need to bear in mind that legally in our inheritance the Holy Spirit is the executor; He’s the administrator. He takes everything that belongs to the Father and the Son, reveals it, imparts it to us. But if you’re not friendly with the Holy Spirit you’re going to be living like an orphan when you should be living like the child of a King. Not because the inheritance isn’t there, but because you aren’t related to the one that administers it.
This is very vividly illustrated in Genesis chapter 24 in the story of Abraham obtaining a bride for his son, Isaac, which is a little parable we can’t go into. But in the types of Scripture, Abraham is a picture of God the Father, Isaac is the type of Jesus Christ the Son, the bride is the type of the Church, Rebekah, and there’s one more person in the story, that’s the nameless servant. And the nameless servant is the Holy Spirit’s self-portrait of Himself. Typically enough, He remains unnamed. That’s characteristic of Him. But if you read the story for yourself you’ll find that it states specifically everything that Abraham and Isaac owned was under the control of the servant. The servant administered the entire inheritance. And what Jesus is saying here is, “I’ve made the Holy Spirit my executor. If you want the inheritance, see the executor.”
That’s why some Christians have got so much in theory, so little in experience. They’ve read the will but they haven’t got acquainted with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the administrator of the total inheritance of the Godhead. Everything the Father has belongs to the Son, everything the Son has belongs to the Father, and the Holy Spirit is the revelator and administrator of all of it. That’s why Christianity can never be reduced merely to a kind of theology. That’s the will, the theology. But you can hold the will in your hand forever and have nothing of the inheritance. Having the inheritance depends on relating to the executor. The more friendly you are with the Holy Spirit the more you’ll enjoy of your inheritance.
All right now, we’re going to go on to the brief period between the resurrection and the ascension of Jesus Christ. Turn to John chapter 20 and read from verse 19 to verse 22. This is the first appearance of Jesus after His resurrection to His disciples in a group. He had already appeared to Mary Magdalene, to others of the women, to Peter, but this is the first time He appears to the disciples in a group. It says:
“Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Pease be unto you. And when he had so said, he shewed unto them his hands and his side. ”
To prove to them conclusively that He was the very same Person who had hung on the cross. The visible marks of His crucifixion were still there on His body. Though His body had been wonderfully transformed, it still retained those marks as indisputable evidence of the fact that He was the very Person whom they had seen crucified and die on the cross. And then in the middle of verse 20:
“Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.”
I’m sure tremendous indescribable joy filled their hearts when they really grasped the fact that He was alive.
“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so sent I you. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost [or the Holy Spirit]...”
We need to look at that 22nd verse for a moment. It says “He breathed on them.” The word that’s used in the Greek is used in secular Greek of a flute player breathing into the mouth of his flute to produce music. And a person who’s playing a flute or any similar instrument does not stand at a distance and blow at it. He brings it right up to his mouth and fits his mouth to the mouthpiece and blows into it.
Now I cannot prove this, and I’m not attempting to, but to me the implication is that Jesus did not stand and breathe at the disciples in a group but He came to each one individually, put His mouth right up against his mouth and breathed into him. I believe that myself, because I believe this is the new creation, and it is a kind of replay of the first creation where man was first created in the Garden. The Lord God stooped down, put His lips against those lips of clay and breathed into him the breath of life. If this be acceptable, we have here the first act of the new creation, the resurrected Christ breathing into the lips of His disciples not just life, but resurrection life. I believe there’s a great difference. This was life that had triumphed over death. This was eternal life. Indestructible life. Life that neither sin nor death nor Satan nor anything else could ever conquer or overcome. It was totally victorious life that He breathed into them, His own life. And He said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” But in the Greek the definite article the is not there. And bear in mind that the word Spirit also means “breath” or “wind.” So you can legitimately translate it “receive holy breath.” And I believe His action went with His words. He breathed into them holy breath, divine resurrection life breath. They were regenerated, created anew. This is the moment when the new creation took place for the first time. Now as I say, I don’t attempt to prove that, but to me it has become vivid.
It says in the 10th chapter of Romans that in order to be saved with New Testament salvation you have to do two things: you have to confess Jesus as Lord and you have to believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead. Without that, you can have the kind of salvation they had in the Old Testament which is an anticipation of what Christ was to purchase. But you cannot have the actual thing. And this I believe is the first time the disciples in heart believed that God had raised Jesus from the death.
At this time, I believe, they were saved with what we would call New Testament salvation. They were regenerated, recreated and saved. And they received the Holy Spirit not primarily as a person, but as breath, as divine resurrection eternal life. But the promises that Jesus had given in John’s gospel all the way through that we’ve traced, were not fulfilled then. That’s very important to understand. Because forty days later Jesus still referred to those promises as being in the future. What we have on this resurrection Sunday, I believe, is the resurrected Christ and the inbreathed Spirit. But if you’ll turn to Acts the first chapter, forty days later, the day that Jesus ascended He said to them in verse 5:
“For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with Holy [Spirit] not many days hence.”
In other words, being baptized with the Holy Spirit was still future. And in Luke 24:49 He said:
“And, behold, I [am] send[ing] the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until [you receive it].”
In other words, the promise was not fulfilled on the Resurrection Sunday. Even when Jesus ascended, forty days later the promise was still in the future. And then in Acts 1:8, He says: But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy [Spirit] is come upon you: ...
So it was still future. The “not many days” the Scripture reveals were ten days. Ten days later, on Pentecost Sunday, they had the experience that Jesus had been promising all through John’s gospel.
Now we’ll look at that experience as it’s described in Acts chapter 2. And almost all commentators on the New Testament, whether they’re Catholic or Protestant or Baptist or Pentecostal, almost all agree that the Day of Pentecost was the fulfillment of those promises that Jesus gave in John. Let’s see what happened. Acts chapter 2 verses 1 through 4:
“And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. [You notice the it. Here we have both personal and non-personal. The total manifestation of the Holy Spirit.] 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 with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them [to speak].”
A little later Peter said “This is that…” Those words show us what we’re dealing with. This is the promise. “This is that.” What do we see in that description in the first four verses of Acts chapter 2? My analytical mind sees three things. First, an immersion or a baptism; second, an infilling; and third, an outflow. I believe that’s the package deal. I believe “This is that.” I believe you can take away from it and still have something but you don’t have that. I believe the baptism is an immersion.
There’s two kinds of immersion. There’s the swimming pool immersion and the Niagara Falls immersion. Baptism by immersion is going down into and coming up out of. That’s the swimming pool immersion. But I remember once standing and looking at Niagara Falls as that great volume of water cascaded over the cliff. I thought to myself, “You wouldn’t be under that water for half a second without being totally immersed.” The baptism of the Holy Spirit is what I call a Niagara Falls immersion. It comes down over from above. It envelops and surrounds. Every place in the first fifteen chapters of the book of Acts where it talks about the Holy Spirit coming on people, it’s always language that applies coming on them from above, came down over them.
So there was an immersion. The Spirit of God came down from heaven over them and it filled the whole house. Well, if it filled the whole house, every one of them was individually immersed in the presence of the Holy Spirit. That is absolutely inescapable.
Secondly it says “They were all filled.” It not merely surrounded them, it came into them. They were internally filled. And having been filled it says, “They began to speak…” That’s the outflow. Scriptural outflow because in Matthew 12:34 it says:
“... out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
Or “when the heart is filled to overflowing, the overflow takes place through the mouth in speech.” I’m going to say that again because it is a very important statement. “When the heart is filled to overflowing the overflow takes place through the mouth in speech.” It’s very specific. “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh.”
So they were all filled. What was the next thing that happened? They began to speak. When did they know they were filled? When they overflowed. Because up to that moment there was no way they could measure just how high it had come. But when it overflowed, they had been filled.
Now I believe that that is the scriptural pattern. My experience is if we teach people that, that’s what they get. If you take away and teach less, people tend to get less. But I see no reason to reduce what God has presented us with. The immersion, the infilling, the outflow. Out of the mouth in speech. Anybody here tonight that’s never had that experience, if through this teaching you become convinced in your heart that that’s the experience, you can receive it tonight. The moment you believe it will happen, it will happen. But if you believe it will happen some other way, it may happen some other way.
If you’re a Catholic—I don’t know whether there are any Catholics here tonight—let me just point out for your encouragement. That was the way the apostle Peter received it, and that was the way the Virgin Mary received it. So you know you can’t have two better Catholic patterns than Peter and Mary. They both got it that way, so why should you settle for anything less? Even St. Simeon or anybody else, why go for that?
All right. What’s the explanation? We’ll just look on to one final Scripture in Acts chapter 2 verses 32 and 33. People didn’t understand what was happening. Some of us have had the same experience.
I think I must relate this. I’m going to pause for a moment. Some of you’ve heard my testimony way back when some of you were not even thought about. In the year 1941 as a soldier in the British Army the Lord miraculously visited me in the middle of the night in a barrack room, revealed Jesus to me, and about ten days later baptized me in the Holy Spirit. And for the first time in my experience I began to speak in an unknown tongue in that barrack room. I shared the room with one other soldier. The night I was converted he woke up to find me lying on my back in the middle of the floor. He walked around me at a distance shaking his head and saying, “I don’t know what to do with you. I suppose it’s no good pouring water over you.”
The night God baptized me in the Holy Spirit he was out at a dance. And after I had been speaking in tongues for about ten minutes and still wasn’t very sure what it was all about, I heard his footsteps in the corridor and I knew he was coming back. So I thought to myself, “He already thinks me strange. If he comes in and finds me speaking this strange language without any explanation, he’ll think me stranger still.” So I decided I’d explain to him what had happened. I’ve never really known how I expected to explain something I didn’t understand myself. But anyhow when I started to talk to him I couldn’t speak English. So I explained in the unknown language. Sure enough, he thought me stranger still. Fortunately he was an agnostic. If he’d been a Baptist I’d have had a terrible time. His attitude was, “Everybody’s got a right to do his own thing,” and if that’s his thing, let him do it. Which was pretty tolerant.
Well, then the Army sent me out to North Africa to the desert and I ended up in charge of a squad of stretcher-bearers who never bore any stretchers. It was a rather strange group of men. There were eight stretcher-bearers plus me, the corporal, who traveled on a three-ton truck with two drivers. So there was ten men plus me, eleven men. We lived together, slept together, ate together and did everything together compulsorily with no options for months in the desert without even seeing a road, living mainly on Army biscuits and brackish water. We became kind of notorious. I don’t why, what it was about us, but we became known as “Prince’s Pioneers.” And everywhere we went in bivouac somebody planted a little flag that said “Prince’s Pioneers.” But I thought, “Now I know the Lord. I ought to do something for these boys.” So I decided to hold a Bible class. I had no, I wasn’t embarrassed by any previous experience. So I thought, “Well, where do you start?” I thought, “Well, let’s skip the Old Testament and start at the beginning of the New.” So we started at Matthew chapter 1 and I don’t know whether I held it every week or what, I don’t remember. Well, my friend, whose name was Donald, the one who’d been there, being one of the stretcher-bearers, came to the Bible class regularly. Then I’d just gotten as far in expounding Matthew as chapter 7 verses 13 and 14 which said, “Straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to life, few there be that find it,” and so on. And before the class in which I was going to teach that particular Scripture, my friend came to me and said in his very la-de-da British accent, he said, “I’m sorry, old chap, but I’m not going to come to your Bible class any longer.” So I said, “Oh, why not?” And he looked me right in the eye and he said, “Because I know if I do I shall be converted.” Rather remarkable and a very, very dangerous attitude to take.
Well, we were together about another year or so and then we got separated. I got out of the Army in Palestine, became a missionary, went back to London, became a Pentecostal pastor, and then one day in London in an underground station in the rush hour in the height of the crowd I looked over and I saw my friend. And we each recognized one another simultaneously, we plowed our way through the crowd, we met, shared our news. He told me he was married, had two sons and lived a little way outside London and invited my wife and me to come and visit him. So we did. We discovered his wife was on the verge of having a nervous breakdown; we led her to the Lord and she never had a breakdown.
Well, then I began to tell my friend again about what God was doing and the Word of God. I got a letter from him. He said, “Whatever you’re doing, please stop it.” In other words, he knew I was praying for him and he said, “Please, don’t pray.” Well, just this last two or three weeks I received a letter from him. He phoned various Assembly of God pastors in Britain to find my address, and this is what he says in his letter. He said, “I’ve had a consistent battle for many years with depression. It has rendered my life almost ineffective.” And in essence he says, “Can you help me?”
You see, it’s very dangerous to turn the Lord down. Very, very dangerous. Now I’m going to do everything I can to help him, but had he accepted what God was offering in 1941, all that would never have happened to him. So let me just say to you tonight. You may be just sitting here and wondering if this is for real and whether you need it. I will tell you two things. First of all, it’s for real; second, you need it. And if you turn it down you’re doing a very dangerous, foolish thing. He didn’t understand it. I didn’t understand it. But I got it and he missed it. And my life has gone up, by the grace of God, and his has gone down. To grieve the Holy Spirit can lead to life’s greatest tragedies.
All right. I had a little more in my outline but the Holy Spirit, I think, is telling me that’s enough. I just want to explain to you very briefly now, practically, how you can receive what I’m talking about. That is, how you can be baptized in the Holy Spirit; receive the Holy Spirit as a believer. I’m not talking about being converted. If you’re not converted, be converted and receive the package deal, but I’m talking about primarily believers receiving the Holy Spirit. I want to tell you, shortly and simply, how you may do it.
John chapter 7 verses 37, 38, 39. We’ve already read them. We’ll go back. This is the simplest way that I know to describe how to receive the Holy Spirit.
“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 Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)”
In Acts we read how the Holy Spirit was given because Jesus had been glorified. And I didn’t read the passage because I began to tell you about my friend but in Acts 2:32–34 it says,
“This Jesus ... being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received [from] the Father the promise of the Holy [Spirit], he hath [poured out] this, which ye now see and hear.”
That’s the culmination of all those promises. When Jesus was glorified in heaven He received from the Father the promise of the Spirit, poured it out on the waiting disciples. So that’s what we’re talking about now. Receiving the same experience that the disciples received on the Day of Pentecost. And Jesus, in these verses, describes how to receive it. And I was to explain it to you as simply as I can. There is no one here tonight who need go away without this experience if you don’t already have it. You can get it here tonight if you will meet the simply requirements of the Lord in faith. Jesus said, “If any man thirst.” That’s the first requirement is to be thirsty; in other words: to feel your need of God, to need more of God than you presently have. You don’t have to be a Bible student. You don’t have to be a member of a church. You don’t have to leave a church, or join a church, or quote Scripture, or pay tithes. You have to be thirsty. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is for those who are thirsty. If you are not thirsty, come back when you are, because it’s a waste of your time to seek it. But it doesn’t mean you have to be a theologian or expert in Scripture or very spiritual. It just means that you have to know you need more of God than you have.
One of the things I got familiar with in the desert was thirst, because we were habitually short of water and it was hot and dusty. And I discovered that when you are thirsty you want only one thing— that’s to drink. You’re not interested in food, you’re not interested in pleasure, you’re not interested in sleep. You want to drink. That’s what it is to be thirsty. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is for those who are thirsty.
Secondly, Jesus said, “Come unto Me.” That’s very simple. There’s only one baptizer in the Holy Spirit. It’s the Lord Jesus Christ. No man can do it. That’s His distinctive ministry. This is “He who baptizes in the Holy Spirit.” If you want the baptism you have to come to the Baptizer. There’s no way to get it without. But Jesus also said, “Him that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out.” So if you come He will receive you.
Now the third thing is the place where people have trouble. He said, “and drink.” Drink means that “by a voluntary act you receive within you.” There’s saying: “You can take a horse to the water, but can’t make it drink.” Drinking only happens of a person’s own volition. No one else can drink for you. You cannot drink with your mouth closed. And no one yet ever received the baptism of the Holy Spirit with their mouth closed. You have to open your mouth and drink in, not visible water, but the Spirit of God. You say, “It looks silly.” Well, who cares what it looks like? And if you do care, come back when you don’t. But I have yet seen a person do that without receiving the Holy Spirit. I cannot recall one person. Those are the three things you have to do. Be thirsty, come to Jesus, and drink. Now when you do your part, God starts to do His. Jesus said, “You take a drink inside you and it becomes rivers.” Isn’t that a remarkable transformation? And a person who was just a thirsty man, becomes a channel of rivers of water. And then it says, “Out of your belly shall flow these rivers of living water.”
When I was baptized in the Holy Spirit there was one thing I was very conscious of. It embarrassed me. It was the fact that it started in my belly. I could put my hand exactly where it began. And I thought at the time that the belly was a rather sort of secular thing and it was not the place for anything spiritual to begin. But Jesus said, “Out of his belly…” Out of the innermost part of your body, somewhere inside you and if I had time I think I could convince you that there’s a special area of your body created by God for that specific purpose, to be the temple of the Holy Spirit. Out of that area there will flow the rivers of living water. This is the outflow. Remember what we said. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth does what? Speaketh. They were all filled with the Holy Ghost and they began to speak. Supernatural infilling; supernatural outflow. They spoke languages they didn’t know. The Holy Spirit gave them the words but they did the speaking.
Now listen to me. When you come to this point, experience shows me there will be two problems. Number one you tend to say, “Well, I want God to do it all.” That’s not scriptural. It says, “They began to speak, the Holy Spirit gave them the words.” They did the speaking; the Holy Spirit gave the language. The Holy Spirit will not do the speaking. If you wait for that, you’ll wait forever.
I met one man who had tarried twenty-five years for the baptism. Naturally, it was in a Pentecostal church. When I began to say to him, “If you will begin to speak, the Holy Spirit will give you the words.” “Oh, no.” he said. “I want God to do it all.” “Well” I said, “You want something that God doesn’t want. God wants you to do your part and He’ll do His. But God will not do your part for you.” So there he is. I suppose if he’s still alive he’s still tarrying. That was about fourteen years ago.
All right. Problem number one. Maybe you’re conditioned to believe that this is so powerful and supernatural that you do nothing until it explodes and you can’t help it. That’s not right. You speak. When you do, the Holy Spirit, who’s a gentleman, who doesn’t force you, won’t compel you, will give you the words.
Then the second problem comes when you start. This doesn’t happen to everybody but it happens to more than half the people. There’s a little voice somewhere saying inaudibly, “Now, that’s not real. You’re doing it yourself.” Anybody ever had that experience; just put your hand up. All right. You see. Now I want to tell you the right answer. Your answer is, “You’re quite right, Satan, and I know it’s you who’s talking. I am doing it myself. I’m doing the speaking. The Holy Spirit is giving me the words.”
Well, then there’s one more thing Satan may say. Well, he may say, “Well, it sounds very silly. How do you know you’ve got the right thing?” Don’t answer him, “Because I feel terrific.” Because tomorrow morning you may feel less terrific and then you may wonder whether you really got the right thing. The answer to the question, How do I know I got the right thing? is this: In Luke Jesus promised, “If you ask the Father for the Holy Spirit, He will not give you anything else. If you ask for bread you’ll not get a stone. If you ask for a fish, you’ll not get a snake. If you ask for an egg, you’ll not get a scorpion.” If you ask for the right thing, you will never get the wrong thing if you come to God the Father through Jesus Christ the Son. So your guarantee is not how you feel. Your guarantee is God has said, “If you go the right way, you’ll get the right thing.” It’s not a matter of feeling; it’s a matter of faith in the Word of God.
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