Archive for the ‘Holy Spirit’ Category

Holy Spirit Essential

Sunday, February 13th, 2011

I came across a wonderful article by F. B Meyer on why the Holy Spirit is essential to effective, life-changing preaching. Here are few representative paragraphs. To read all of the article that was first published in 1900, go to the article page on path2prayer.com. You will find many helpful resources for pastors at the “Pastor Sermon, Prayer and Teaching Resources page at path2prayer.com

The Holy Spirit Essential

That the Holy Spirit is essential to effective Gospel preaching is attested by the fact that even our Lord did not essay to preach the Gospel to the poor, liberty to captives, the opening of the prison to them that were bound, or to announce the acceptable year of the Lord, until He had stood beneath the opened heaven and been anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power. It was only as He returned in the power of that Spirit from the scene of His temptation that He undertook the burden of ministry, saying: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, and he hath anointed me to preach.”

The utter dependence of the Gospel ministry on the Holy Spirit is still further attested by the arrest placed by our Lord on the proclamation of the Gospel until the apostles had been endued with the Holy Spirit. “Tarry,” He said, “in Jerusalem until ye be endued with the Spirit from on high.” …

Surely there is enough here to make us pause! If our Master awaited the special anointing of the Holy Spirit before He took up the work of His forerunner, and if He solemnly charged His Church to await a similar equipment, is there not a function of the Holy Spirit in the equipment and endowment of the preacher of the Gospel which is altogether additional to His work in regeneration and sanctification? As there are distinct offices in the Son, so that at different times in our experience we regard Him as Priest, Prophet, or King, are there not equally distinct offices in the Holy Spirit, as Regenerator, Sanctifier, and the Anointing Power for the holy office of ministering to men the good tidings of the Gospel?

Thus much to establish the contention that the anointing of the Holy Spirit on the preacher was expressly insisted on in the earliest days, and the most solemn inquiry is suggested as to how far the preachers of our time are admonished in this direction. Are our young ministers advised to postpone the opening of their heaven-given commission until they have obtained by faith and prayer their portion in the gift of the divine Savior, who gives the manifestation of His Spirit to each of His servants to profit withal, so that prophecy (i.e., the utterance of the divine message) is wrought in them by that one and self-same Spirit who divides to every man severally as He will?

Power in Proportion to Earnest Seeking

This Scriptural teaching is abundantly confirmed by the testimony of the ministers of Christ in every age of church history. In the case of some there have been distinct epochs, when they have become acquainted for the first time with the vast increase of spiritual power which was within their reach by the definite search after and appropriation of the anointing of the divine Spirit, and witness has been borne by those who knew them that there had come to them a new refinement of spirit, a brokenness of heart, a tenderness of appeal, a power in wielding the sword of the Spirit, and in producing the profoundest sense of conviction of sin. It is only necessary to read the diaries of a Jonathan Edwards, a Brainerd, a Baxter, a Christmas Evans, a Burns, or a McCheyne, to be convinced that it was in the proportion that such men of God sought and obtained the special anointing of the Spirit that they produced those effects on vast audiences of men, which are totally unlike anything resulting from the appeals of the mere thinker or orator, because they touch the life of the spirit, causing it to seek reconciliation with God, and to open to the reception of the divine nature. Probably the reason is not far to seek. The ultimate goal of Gospel preaching is not the emotional or the intellectual, but the spiritual; not the psychical, but the pneumatical; not the faculty by which we are conscious of ourselves and the universe around us, but that by which we may become conscious of God and the Unseen, and may receive the germ of the Eternal and the divine. If that be granted, it is certain that only spirit can effect spirit. Just as a light-reflector must be impinged by light, rather than by sound, or as the graphophone will register only the waves of sound and not of light, so the spiritual in man can be touched and influenced by the spiritual only. The spiritual may operate through the intellectual or through the emotional, through the imagination or the conscience, but it is always the final and only source of power over the spiritual nature of those whom the preacher is called on to address. …

It is when the spirit of the servant of God is infilled with the Spirit of the risen and exalted Savior that it becomes resistless. It is no longer he that speaks, but the Spirit of the Father, and the Son speaks in him. He is conscious of agonizing, according to the energy of another, which energizes in him mightily. We go back to the Book of Judges for an even more complete illustration of our meaning, where we learn that the Spirit of the Lord “clothed Himself with Gideon,” so that He became the motive and energy of his lifework. Oh, that each servant of God might be permitted to experience that interfusion of the divine Spirit with the human, through which his nature might be raised to its maximum of efficiency!—F. B. Meyer

Read the rest of this wonderful article by F. B. Meyer at path2prayer.com. This would be a good article to direct your pastor to.

Preparing for the Holy Spirit

Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

“Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD?
Or who may stand in His holy place?
He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
Who has not lifted up his soul to an idol,
Nor sworn deceitfully.
He shall receive blessing from the LORD,
And righteousness from the God of his salvation.—Ps. 24:3-5

In my library are many books on preparing for the Holy Spirit. Some, like James McConkey’s Three-Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit, are wonderful. There is probably no subject more important and yet one which is so little understood in many ways.

God sent me something which clarifies the subject from my friend James Ash who is working for God as a mission pilot in Guyana. I hope you will read, ponder and pray, for his thoughts are right on target.

Here is an excerpt:

“Around midnight that night, while we were sleeping, without warning the sky opened up and dumped on us for about an hour solid, giving us almost 1000 gallons of fresh rain water. If you’ve ever heard the sound of heavy rain on zinc, you know that it is absolutely deafening. It was like music to my ears!

As we were lying in bed listening to rain drops thundering on zinc, the Lord spoke quietly to my mind about the Latter Rain.

Just before Jesus returns to this earth, God is going to send a spiritual rain shower to drench this earth (Joel 2:28,29). Only those who have been cleansed from sin, emptied of self, connected to the word, and standing upright, will be able to receive the Holy Spirit when it is poured out.”

Read the rest of his note at the Mission Guyana page at path2prayer.com.

There are also many quotes on the need and work of the Holy Spirit at path2prayer.com.

Thirsty No More…

Saturday, September 26th, 2009

Hudson Taylor was greatly used of God to bring the gospel to China. Raised in a pastor’s home, he sought to have a relationship with God, but gave up during his teen years because it seemed too hard. Then, at a time when his mother was specifically praying for his salvation, he read a tract in his father’s study where he came across the words: “the finished work of Christ.” As a result of reading those words, he gave his heart to Jesus and God began doing a great work in His heart. He soon felt a call to serve God in China, and began preparing by studying to be a medical doctor and learning to live in complete dependence on God there in London. If you want to read more about this I recommend his book Retrospect which you can find as a pdf at my web site.

Taylor was a pioneer in more ways than one. Not only was he one of the first missionaries to go to China, he was also the first Western Missionary to adopt the Chinese style of dress. He was convinced that the best way to reach the Chinese people was to be as much like them as possible so long as one didn’t compromise and sin. There was a blessed response, and many Chinese were won to the Lord Jesus. Hudson Taylor began recruiting volunteers and they came by the hundreds.

In spite of all this work for God, Taylor was a struggling Christian, and bemoaned his constant seeming defeats. Then things changed, and he found that receiving Jesus brought a new victory and joy into his life. As a result his prayers took on a new life. He had a new joy in reading the Bible. He also experienced a new freedom from care and peace that he had not known previously. He began to live a life on the highest plane. It is out of that experience that His preaching took a new joyful and optimistic tone. The excerpt I share on receiving the Holy Spirit comes from a talk He gave in Detroit Michigan at a great missionary conference in 1894. I am sure you will be blessed in reading.

Hudson Taylor: Learning that “Shall” Means “Shall”!:

“A full equipment is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. And how simply it is to be attained! You know where to go. That poor Samaritan woman did not know in whose presence she was. The Master said to her, “If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him and He would have given thee living water.” And she did ask, very ignorantly indeed, not knowing what she asked. He knew, and He gave her that which she so ignorantly asked. He said to her, before He had fully blessed her, a word that is recorded for your instruction and mine, “Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again.” Oh, how true it is; all the waters of earth, how thirsty they leave us, or how soon we become thirsty again! “But,” continued our Master, there is something better, “whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst” — shall never thirst!

“It may have been the end of 1868 or the beginning of 1869 when I discovered that “shall” means “ shall,” and that “never “ means “ never,” and that “thirst” means “ thirst.” I can’t tell you how delighted I was, for I was so thirsty [for spiritual power and fulfillment] at the time. And so hungry and thirsty was I as the Spirit of God threw his own Divine light on those words, that I saw that “shall” means “shall,” and “never” means “never,” and “thirst” means “ thirst.” I leaped from my seat; I could not sit still. How I did praise God that the thirsty days were all past! Well, you know, it is only a little over twenty years since then, and they haven’t come back since; and twenty thousand years hence, when you and I meet up there, I shall have the same story to tell you. He has promised it to me and I believe it.

“But don’t misread His Word. He does not say whosoever drank shall never thirst; but whosoever drinketh. It is in the present tense. We are not, with the appetite taken away, to stop drinking: “Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” Isn’t it glorious to feel that every one of you may just take that living water now and drink now and thirst no more; and to find you have got the well, and that you haven’t to go and seek it — so different from the old pumping I used to try, and that was so ineffective? You cannot give people that which you yourself don’t possess. What is the use of going over the beds with an empty watering-can? But when the Lord fills it and keeps it full and gives you delight to drink day by day, it just overflows! Go amongst your beautiful hills and see a waterfall, and put a great barrel under the waterfall, and it will soon be full and it will overflow, and as much water will overflow from that barrel as comes down from above. Take that great barrel away and put a little bucket there. The bucket will soon be just as full as the barrel, and when it overflows it will overflow just as much. I am the little bucket; it is easily filled and the flowing is so easy; there is no toil, there is no labor.”

Read more about Hudson Taylor at path2prayer.com

Speaking of Prevailing Prayer

Thursday, August 16th, 2007

Charles Finney (1792-1875) is a man worth knowing. Trained as a lawyer, but experiencing the Lord Jesus in a powerful way, he went on to become a revivalist of few equals, and worked mainly in the Eastern part of the US and England. People who read his Lectures on Revival-given extemporaneously on a weekly basis in 1834-were deeply moved with his idea that revivals were NOT merely the sovereign work of God, but could be brought to any place at any time if the proper “means” were used.

Jonathan Goforth read Finney’s lectures and his autobiography, began using the “means,” and became a much blessed revivalist in China. James Fraser also read the lectures, followed the same course and obtained similar same results.

Finney was a careful student of the Bible and believed it was true. He was just as convinced that the Bible’s conditions were to be CAREFULLY followed, and EXPECTED the desired results would come! In our day, we claim the promises, but are not as careful in following the stated conditions-often bringing shame and failure.

A friend shared with me some things Finney said on prayer and the Holy Spirit.

“I answer, what is here taught as to prayer must be taken in connection with what is taught elsewhere. For example, what is here said of asking must be taken in connection with what is said of praying in faith—with what is said by James of asking and not receiving because men ask amiss, that they may consume it upon their lusts. If any of you were to frame a will or a promissory note, binding yourself or your administrators to pay over certain moneys, on certain specified conditions, you would not think it necessary to state the conditions more than once. Having stated them distinctly once, you would go on to state in detail the promise; but you would not expect any body to separate the promise from the condition, and then claim the promise without having fulfilled the condition, and even perhaps accuse you of falsehood because you did not fulfil the promise when the conditions had not been met.

Now, the fact is that we find, scattered throughout the Bible, various revealed conditions of prayer. Whoever would pray acceptably must surely fulfil not merely a part, but all of these conditions. Yet in practice, the church, to a great extent, have overlooked, or at least has failed to meet these conditions. For example, they often pray for the Holy Spirit for selfish reasons. This is fearfully common. The real motives are selfish. Yet they come before God and urge their request often and long,—perhaps with great importunity; yet they are selfish in their very prayers, and God cannot hear. They are not in their inmost souls ready to do or to suffer all God’s holy will. God calls some of his children through long seasons of extremest suffering, obviously as a means of purifying their hearts; yet many pray for pure hearts and for the Spirit to purify their hearts, who would rebel at once if God should answer their prayers by means of such a course of providence. Or, God may see it necessary to crucify your love of reputation, and for this end may subject you to a course of trial which will blow your reputation to the winds of heaven. Are you ready to hail the blessings of a subdued, unselfish heart, even though it be given by means of such discipline?

Often your motive in asking for the Spirit is merely personal comfort and consolation—as if you would live all your spiritual life on sweet-meats. Others ask for it really as a matter of self-glorification. They would like to have their names emblazoned in the papers. It would be so gratifying to be held up as a miracle of grace—as a most remarkable Christian. Alas, how many in various forms of it, are only offering selfish prayers! Even a minister might pray for the Holy Spirit from only sinister motives. He might wish to have it said that he is very spiritual, or a man of great spiritual power in his preaching or his praying; or he might wish to avoid that hard study to which a man who has not the Spirit must submit, since the Spirit does not teach him, nor give him unction. He might almost wish to be inspired, so easy would this gift make his preaching and his study. He might suppose that he really longed to be filled with the Spirit, while really he is only asking amiss, to consume it on some unhallowed desire. A student may pray for the Spirit to help him study, and yet only his ambition or his indolence may have inspired that prayer. Let it never be forgotten, we must sympathize with God’s reasons for our having the Spirit, as we would hope to pray acceptably. There is nothing mysterious about this matter. The great end of all God’s spiritual administrations towards us in providence or grace is to divest us of selfishness, and to bring our hearts into harmony with his in the spirit of real love.” Charles Finney

Perhaps we should take Finney seriously and follow the Bible conditions for success MORE seriously!

Read more on revival at path2prayer.com

Revival & Experiencing the Fullness of the Spirit

Saturday, June 30th, 2007

I am speaking on revival and the reception of the Holy Spirit these days in Christchurch New Zealand. Of course revival is all about the Holy Spirit and a return to God that changes everything-and people pray and do many things to receive the Holy Spirit. In the Moravian’s case, in a moment, “all self-love, all self-will, and all disobedience disappeared” when the Holy Spirit came on August 13, 1727! Wow. I want that new experience for myself. I hope you do too. But how do we obtain it? We find the following very insightful thoughts in James McConkey’s 3-Fold Secret of the Holy Spirit (available on path2prayer.com). What do you think?

““The question is have you YIELDED? Bought with a price, and not your own, have you taken your hands off your own life and consecrated it wholly, unflinchingly, eternally to the Lord Jesus Christyour, to be His loving bond-slave forever? It is not now a question of His fullness; that is limitless. It is a question of YOUR receptiveness, your surrender. Is He worthy of trust, of absolute trust? Then how child-like will you trust Him? How absolutely will you yield to Him? With what self-abandonment will you throw yourself upon Him? How far up toward the height of His perfect surrender will you climb? He will meet you where you meet Him. The only limit to His fullness is that which you impose in the limitation of your surrender. The more absolutely, sweepingly, irrevocably you yield yourself, time, talents, possessions, plans, hopes, aspirations, purposes, yea all to Jesus Christ, vouching yourself His loving bond-slave to do and suffer His will, the more you shall know the blessed fullness of His Spirit. You may have all the fullness you will make room for. James McConkey

I hope you will join me in seeking the fullness of the Spirit!