John The Baptist and the Fire of God
We are going to look into the Gospel as recorded by Luke and the third chapter.
I suppose most of us can quote John 3:16 without looking at it. How many of us can quote Luke 3:16? Its the other side of the coin, it should be as well known. Well, here it is in the good King James version.
Luke 3 verse 16: "John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost" and in this version, "and with fire:" but the original says: "Holy Ghost fire." Because God is a consuming fire. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of fire. And Jesus said, "Ive come to bring fire on earth." There is no escaping fire. This is a kind of a cliché of mine, but I still get a lift out of saying it, I believe that tonight the world is going to hell fire because the church has lost Holy Ghost fire, its as simple as that.
Between Malachi and Mathew youve got
Four hundred years of blackness without any prophetic light.
Four hundred years of stillness without any prophetic voice.
And then suddenly, dramatically, unexpectedly this strange man, John the Baptist, came streaking across a sky that was totally black. The Word says he was a "burning and a shining light." Jesus, the greatest character in history, says, "There was no man comparable to John Baptist." Not Isaiah not Jeremiah not any of those towering saints. He is a very, very remarkable character.
John the Baptist appears in the wilderness. It was not only
a wilderness geographically,
it was a wilderness morally,
it was a wilderness politically,
it was a wilderness religiously.
You see, you go back in the Scripture and you read about Ezrah and Nehemiah. They established a governership over Israel made of a hundred and twenty priests and rulers. These priests and elders ruled over Israel. Four hundred and fifty years they dominated that nation. I say: this was a jungle, theologically.
In 170 BC there was a man with the strange name of Antiochus Epiphanes. You need to look up his name and his relatives. He took over Jerusalem, he polluted the temple, he made the Jews sacrifice to idols, he built a statue of Jupiter where the the altar of the burnt offering should have been. He burnt the Scriptures publicly. He prohibited the worship of Jehovah. And all this horrendous stuff went on. In 37 BC came Herod the Great. He betrayed the nation to the Romans, he fostered immorality, he massacred the noble people, he built that magnificent temple that was standing.
Now with this horrendous background of murder and rape and debauchery and suffering and agony, John Baptist steps on the stage. A remarkable character.
You see, today we try to organize. We
try to get a bunch of people together. God never did that. God
takes individual men. He takes Moses to the backside of the
desert. John the Baptist was in the wilderness until the day of
his showing forth.
Jesus, the Son of God who had left the Glory, spent thirty years in training
John Baptist thirty years in training.
The apostle Paul at least thirty years.
Moses at least forty years;
and we want to go to Bible School six months and come out like a super prophet! Its the time factor that kills most of us. Tell me how much time you spend alone with God and I will tell you how spiritual you are.
Not how many meetings you go to.
Not how many gifts you have.
Not how many sermons you preach.
Not how many records youve made.
Tell me what time you spend alone with God...
and Ill tell you how spiritual you are.
The Word here tells me about this remarkable man, John the Baptist, that he was in the wilderness until the day of his showing forth. Going forth at the command of God Himself, of course.
He was in the wilderness, of all places. It says he had his dwelling among wild beasts, ferocious things. The remarkable thing to me, as I read this again today, is this: he had no role model. Elisha had Elijah. Joshua had Moses as a role model. Timothy had Paul as a super model in front of him. And right through the Scripture you find these men that have lived with some giant and theyve become like him. But this man has no model before him. What did he do wandering on the rocks? "He ate wild honey," it says. And he was with wild beasts and he was a wild man.
Luke chapter 3 gives you a kind of run down on the awesomness
of this mans ministry. Look this first verse.
" the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Ceasar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip the tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests,"
Thats about as refreshing as a mouth full of sand, isnt
it? What in the world do you do with it? Except it gives you a
framework. "Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests,"
thats illegal. They could only have one high priest and
they got two. Then came "John the son of Zacharias in the
wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan
preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins."
Boy, thats a dirty thing to preach these days. Who preaches
repentance? There is an old hymn that says, Repentance is
"to leave the sins Ive done before,
and show that I in earnest grieve,
by doing them no more."
Repentance is more than saying, "Im sorry." Repentance is mental. Its something in my mind, Im going this way and I turn that way.
When Im going this way Im saying,
"God is in the wrong and I am in the right."
When I turn around I say,
"God is in the right, if He sends me to hell He is in the right."
That is repentance. Its not just repenting for the sin Ive done, its repenting about the motive that made me do the sin. Its going past the fruit to the root because if the root of corruption is there, there is going to be fruit coming out that is wrong. Romans 6 talks about having your fruit unto Holiness and its talking there to regenerate people, not people that claim to be filled by the Holy Ghost.
John goes out, stands and ministers there. And they come to him. He is a success any way you count it. Geographically - they come from the North and South and East and West. He is a success socially. They came from all levels of society. . He said to the multitude that came to be baptized, "you generation of vipers." Isnt that pleasant? Do you know anybody whod dare stand up in the First Baptist or the Last Baptist Church tomorrow morning and say, "You generation of vipers. Im sick of talking to you." Uh? They would sure take a love offering for him, wouldnt they? To get him out of town! "Oh generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?" He was not only condemning their sin, he was saying, "there is a gate, and when you get through it, it is eternal wrath from God."
We have forgotten about the wrath of God. A friend saw a
bumper sticker and you know what it said on it? "Jesus is
coming and He is as mad as hell." Sacrilege? No. II
Thessalonians 1 says, He is coming in flaming fire in judgment on
this world. In other words, Hes as mad as hell. May be it
is a bad way of putting it, but its the truth. You see, we
are all looking for "gentle Jesus meek and mild." The
attitude of the average Christian today is relax and be raptured.
But He is coming with flaming vengeance on this world. There is a
time when His Spirits forbearance runs out. There is going
to be a day of the vengeance of God. And when God gets angry youve
no idea what it is. Like a thousand volcanoes exploding. He has
appointed a day in which He is going to judge the world
and the poor blind world doesnt know much about it,
and the poor blind church doesnt think much about it now.
Let me look at this in Exodus 32. "Moses took the tabernacle, and pitched it without the camp, afar off from the camp, and called it the Tabernacle of the congregation. And it came to pass, that every one which sought the Lord went out unto the tabernacle of the congregation, which was without the camp. And it came to pass, when Moses went out unto the tabernacle, that all the people rose up, and stood every man at his tent door, and looked after Moses, until he was gone into the tabernacle. And it came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle the cloudy pillar descended." It was a pillar of fire by night and a pillar of cloud by day.
If you were in London going past where the queen lives and
somebody says, "The queen is at home," you would wonder
how does he know. Well, because when she is at home the flag is
flying, when she is not at home its not there. I believe
the sign of Gods presence in a sanctuary is the pillar of
fire. Its the living vibration of an Eternal God who
stands in the midst and does something you cant explain.
God is beyond definition. I cannot explain Him. I can experience
Him. I know when He touches me as I am alone in the night, two or
three oclock in the morning. I know when His Living
Presence comes into my office in a special wave of anointing.
But notice He did not come until they went outside the camp!!
There are very, very, few occasions when God Almighty has
revived dead denominations. The men who stirred their generations
had to go outside the camp. Doesnt it say in Hebrews 13:12
He went outside the camp?! Thats fine, but when it comes to verse 13
you go outside the camp and bear His reproach. Maybe before long God will bring a cleavage somewhere in this city, I hope He does. And you will have to get outside of the camp. You will have to leave your group, and you will have to go join a people who have the anointing of God. They may be poor, and have no stained glass window, and beautiful choir...
I am impressed with this, you may not be, but I am. Verse 9: "It came to pass, as Moses entered into the tabernacle, the cloudy pillar descended, and stood at the door of the tabernacle.... And all the people saw the cloudy pillar." Wouldnt it be wonderful...? Imagine if you could answer your child as one of those Israeli mothers would. Her little boy wakes up at night and says,
"Mommy, sometimes I think of those days we were in Egypt, I think about that terrible journey we made and I wonder whats going to happen." She puts her arms around him and says, "Darling, you see that? That pillar of fire over there? Thats the holy place. Our Holy God brands it with His presence of fire."
Doesnt it say in Hebrews that God makes His Angels ministering Spirits, and His ministers flames of fire? Weve got snowmen in the pulpits with icicles hanging all around. If ever the fire comes therell be some melting!
I say again, this man John Baptist has no pattern before him. I believe this man walked up and down amongst the wild beasts, and there he is, he doesnt eat much. Some big flies, you know, a bit bigger than these horrible things that eat my garden up, grasshoppers. Big, big things, he caught them, put them on a rock and roasted them. Three times a day he had locust burgers. Nothing else to eat except locusts and wild honey. And yet the people come near to hear him. Ill say it again, for my comfort if not yours: You never have to advertise a fire. Whether its spiritual or a physical fire. The most self advertising thing in this world is a fire.
I remember getting home between one and two oclocka
morning in England.
I said to my wife, "Sweetheart, one of the big mills in town is on fire, lets go. Its nearly two oclock, therell be nobody there." Everyone in the city woke up with the same idea, so they all went. We couldnt get within three blocks of the place. I said, "Sweetheart, well go round..." We went around in our little car, you know, those tiny little things. Well, we got half way down the street it was so fierce we could not even stand there, the fire was so terrible in its majesty. This huge mill burning.
I wonder how many of us have really seen a man who is on fire for God.
When the Holy Ghost came in the upper room, how did He come?
Did He come as a dove? -- When Jesus received His baptism the
Spirit came as a dove upon Him. There was nothing in Him to
purify. He comes to us in fire because we need purification.
I remember a night in Gillingham, east of London. We rented a church. Ill tell you who came, if youve read "Gods Smuggler," he talks in there about a man called Uncle Hoppy. Well, Uncle Hoppy "hopped" in the meeting that day.
He came in the most broken down automobile Ive ever seen.
He was nuts,
pardon the phrase, but he was sanctified nuts. He came in clothes that were almost
worn out. He bought all his clothes at the Salvation Army. This old car
came wheezing up the street, rheumatism in all the wheels and asthma in
the motor. It was sobbing and groaning as it came up the hill... but he was giving
thousands of dollars away to missions!
He stayed with us for a half night of prayer.
Ill never forget that night of prayer. There were surgings of blessings. There were times when God so came in power, I was afraid to open my eyes. We started praying at nine oclock. Between one and two in the morning we were going out. There was an old lady at the back, sitting in a wheel-chair; a white-haired lady. "Oh, brother," she said, (she didnt know any of our names,) "Wasnt it wonderful!" I said, "It was." "One of the best... Ive been in many prayer meetings, this was one of the greatest, most powerful. Wasnt it wonderful?" I said, "Sure, I said that." "Did you feel anything different about one oclock?" I said, "Yes, I felt a hand or something came I felt a quickening in my spirit." "It was just then." "Just then what?" "You didnt see it?" "No, no, I was with my head down praying." She said, "A tongue of fire came down on the head of the first, went to the next, went to the next, went to the next, right to the end. It was awesome." No wonder everyone of us felt a wonderful insurge of the Life of God... Or the power of God, define it as you will.
You see, there is a great deal of difference between revival and evangelism. I am so sick to death, I hardly read any reports of meetings that come to me. Everybody is getting half of America saved. If you add all the lists of people saved, everybody in America, the whole population has been saved and filled with the Holy Ghost about six times over in the last ten years. And yet we are as dumb and as dead and as damned as we were when we started off.
You want to know what preaching is? Study this third chapter
in the Gospel of Luke, and when youve read that read the
twenty-sixth chapter of the Acts of the Apostles where Paul is
standing before a heathen king in a pagan court and says, "God
called me to preach." And He summarizes what preaching is:
its to open the eyes of the blind,
to turn them from darkness to light,
from the power of Satan unto God,
that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among them that are sanctified.
People come to the altar, yes, but meet them at the door and
ask what happened. "Oh, ah, ah, ah, ah. I confessed my sins."
There is not one evangelist in fifty in America today preaching
salvation. They are preaching forgiveness. "Just come and
get forgiven." That is not salvation. Jesus came to do more
than forgive us our sins.
He came for something more,
He came to rescue us from hell,
He came to rescue us from sin and sinning.
Not just our past sin, but to stop this damnable business that makes God so sad. "He that is born of God does not" N-O-T "does not commit sin." You say its impossible not to sin. It is possible for us not to sin.
What happened when Peter preached on the day of
Pentecost? What does it say? They were pricked in their hearts.
After that Stephen preached. And when he preached the same thing
happened. Peter on the day of Pentecost says to the men he had
ran away from: "You crucified the Lord of Glory. You killed
Him." Stephen says, "You murdered the son of God."
That is preaching. When Nathan the prophet went to David, he didnt say, "You know, some of you are guilty." Did he? He said, "Thou art the man!"
Oh, people say, "Id love to go to a Holy Ghost church." Would you? Will you love to hear somebody say, "Hey fellow, listen, last night you committed adultery. You embezzled some money this week. Youve got a spirit of hatred which God says is as bad as committing murder?" Again, Jesus came not to save us just from sins, but from sinning. When they heard these men, they were pricked in their hearts.
I go back into the third chapter, verse 7, he says, "Oh, generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth fruit meat for repentance." And quit saying "we have Abraham to our father." Isnt this nice. He called them vipers and now he says, "God can do as much through stones as through Abraham. Dont boast of Abraham; if God wants Hell turn those stones into children to worship Him." Thats pretty much exhausting their theology, isnt it? In verse 9 he says, "The ax is laid unto the root of the trees, every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, " He didnt ask them! They were so conscious of guilt, they felt as though they had some serpent or scorpion stinging them. They didnt dare look back because of their sins. They didnt dare look forward because of judgment. They didnt dare look round about them, somebody might come pouncing on them. And so they cried out.
This is revival!
Its not singing some sentimental chorus, then giving the
invitation: "Would you like to come? Jesus is waiting,
wringing His hands in heaven, He would be so upset if you dont
come." Jesus doesnt care a hill of beans whether you
come or not. Hes done everything He can do for you. You
have to do the rest. He is not going to whip you into submission.
He is not going to demand, though you sing, "Love so
amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all." Its
on your side to do it. But notice who they were.
Verse 10 The people asked him, "What shall we do?"
Verse 12, "Then came also the publicans to be baptized, and said unto him,
Master, what shall we do?"
Verse 14 the soldiers, they were Romans, they lived in a pagan society,
theyd never seen a man on fire for God. Theyd never seen a priest
who didnt care a bit about his trimmings.
Remember how this man was born. His father Zacharias went into the temple and as he got there to the altar, there was an angel on the right side And he says to him, "Fear not your wife is going to bear a son." And God does a miracle to raise that child up. Zacharias did this once in his life only. There is a line behind him of at least two thousand priests, all waiting for the one time in their life when theyll go in long white garment and enter into the Holy Place. Which is awesome. When he gets in there, theres a marvelous person by the name of Gabriel: "Fear not. I have a message from God for you."
If you havent had it, if you walk with God, one day you
will go to a meeting and youll think God Almighty is
talking to nobody in that congregation but you. Why is He
singling me out?
Because you have the ears to hear which you didnt have before.
Because you have a hunger for God you never had before.
Youve heard me say this and I say it again, I am scared
that when I get to the judgment seat and there are a billion
people looking on me that God will say to me, "Son I had
many things to tell you, but you couldnt bear them. You
werent grown up enough."
-- A man leaves his son millions of dollars. He puts a caution in the will, he says,
"You cant spend a dime of this until you are twenty years of age.
This money is all tied up until you have enough sense to use it." --
I believe Almighty God is saying that to the Church today. Weve toiled, rather weve trifled with gifts of the Spirit. We are far more interested in the gifts of the Spirit than with the Holy Spirit Himself. And God has treasures beyond our comprehension.
So John moved the people. They say, "What shall we do?" The publicans cry out. They are a bunch arent they? Stony-hearted rascals. And yet with the conviction of the Spirit they cry out, "What shall we do?" And John gives the answer in verse 16, he says, "I indeed baptize you with water, but One cometh after me, I am not even worthy to carry His shoes. He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with Fire." Or with Holy Ghost Fire.
We talk about the baptism of the Spirit - its really the baptism of Jesus. Theres nothing you can get this side of eternity that didnt come through Jesus Christ. My dear old principal used to call the coming of the Holy Ghost upon us, "The coronation gift of Jesus."
"His fan is in His hand. He will thoroughly purge His floor. But He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. And many other things did he " I wonder what they were. I wish Hed left a list, dont you?
Here is a man with no financial backing.
He has no program.
He has the favor of nobody.
He has the Roman army against him.
He has the religious army of the Jews against him.
He has the Pharisees against him.
He has the Sadducees against him.
He has no money (he doesnt need it) and
he doesnt have a miracle ministry -- It says very clearly: "John did no miracle" -- Nobody ran after him pleading: "Have mercy on my son he is a lunatic." Nobody cried, "Unclean, unclean, unclean" or "open my eyes," or "Im deaf," or something. Nobody said that.
He never unstopped deaf ears.
He never opened blind eyes.
He never cured a withered leg or withered arm.
He didnt raise a dead man -
He raised a dead nation. SINGLE-HANDEDLY.
God has had this man in the school of silence. Hes been talking to God and walking with God and weeping before God. Hes lived with Jeremiah. Hes lived with the prophets. He knew what Isaiah said that one day a man should come in the wilderness crying, "Prepare ye the way of the Lord. Make straight in the desert a highway for our God." Isaiah 35 says that highway shall be called the way of holiness, and that a wayfaring man, though fool, need not err therein.
"He shall baptize you with Holy Ghost and with Fire." God always works with the minority. Youve got a wonderful list in I Corinthians 15 of people who saw Jesus in His resurrection power. And then it ties the knot at the end of the cotton and it says He was seen of 500 brethren at once. And I am convince in my spirit it was those 500 to whom He says, "Tarry til ye be endued with power." How many went? 120! 380 of them never bothered. Its always like that. God uses a minority.
Theres only a few
people want to go outside the camp.
Theres only a few people that want to die with Him.
The only freedom that lepers had was to walk outside the camp. It was a place where all the sewage of the city went. It was a place where they threw dead bodies and dead animals. It was a stink hole. And the Holiest man that ever lived went outside the camp that you may go inside of it! And Yet you have to whip some people to church almost. If I went to the church they go to Id want whipping too. Isnt it tragedy, almost blasphemy to go to a meeting and you say, "Oh, boy that meeting was cold"? "The meeting was so dead." How can you have the living Christ in a dead meeting. Or put it the other way, How can you have a dead meeting if the living Christ is there? How can you go out? After all, our business is to know about eternity, is to talk about a time when there is no bonds and no other stuff materialistic, its all vanished. We are going to a Kingdom that knows nothing of these material things, and yet, we are so slack and so careless about the eternal things.
William Booth, the founder of the Salvation army., just about
got kicked out of the Methodist church. That day he walked
outside and put his arm around his wifes shoulder, and
said, "Darling we are going to raise up an army."
"From where?" "Well take all the cast off,
or drop outs from the churches, well go to the gutter."
And he wrote a wonderful hymn:
Thou Christ of burning cleansing flame, send the fire. (We ought to learn that.)
Thy blood bought gift today we claim, send the fire.
Look down and see this waiting host, give us the promised Holy Ghost.
We want another Pentecost, (I am not sure if we do, but we need it.)
To make our weak hearts
strong and brave, send the fire.
To live a dying world to save, send the fire.
Oh, see us on Thine alter lay our lives, our all this very day
To crown the offering, now we pray, sent the fire.
Again, "make our weak hearts strong and brave." The only way you can get dross out of gold is put it in a crucible. Today they put it in an induction crucible. You press the button, the heat comes up, the gold sinks to the bottom of the crucible, and a man sits there with a sieve and he takes the scum off the top and throws it out and throws it out. He is there half an hour, then he quits. "Are you tired?" "No." "Why do you quit?" "Its pure." "How do you know?" "Because I can see my reflection in it."
Doesnt Malachi say, "When He comes, He is a
purifier of Silver?" Who shall abide the day of His coming?
Dear God! We talk about one year revival. If we have Holy Ghost
Revival, maybe you wont sleep for the first ten days of it.
God will do such a refining, such a purifying, maybe not on your
husband or your wife, on you. Fifty years ago the most
popular chorus was,
"Let the beauty of Jesus be seen in me,
All His wonderful passion and purity,
Oh, Thou Spirit Divine, all my nature refine,
Til the beauty of Jesus is seen in me,"
The refiner sits there,
He has me in the furnace and He heats it, and He heats it,
and He heats it - and it feels like hell sometimes.
He throws out what He doesnt like: my pride, my ambition, my secret lust,
my temper, my unforgiving spirit, my stubbornness (we dont think
much of that, but stubbornness is as the sin of witchcraft in the Word of God.)
He purifies until He looks in me and sees His reflection. He wont be satisfied with less. He doesnt come to make me a great preacher, or a great writer, or a great singer, or a great organizer. He comes because He wants to reflect His beauty in my life. Gentleness and meekness and holiness.
The self-life goes out.
Self-interest goes out.
Self-glory goes out.
Self-seeking goes out.
Self-righteousness goes out.
Do you think its easy? We have lived with it so long that we like ourselves. And God long ago stopped liking us. And the Scripture talks about the Word of God being a mirror. You know, when revival comes He holds the mirror up and you see yourself.
Remember the old story of Cromwell? An artist begged could he
paint him, and Cromwell had a great big wart on his chin. And the
artist painted him minus the wart. When he went in he said,
"What do you think?" Cromwell answered, "Paint me
wart and all! Its part of me." "Lord paint me,
but dont show me my wart. Dont show me I am basically
selfish, full of self-interest and full of self-seeking,
I am full of pride,
I am full of anger,
I am full of bitterness,
I have an unforgiving...
dont show me that I am as ugly as the devil." The smart boys today tell you that your trouble is that your self image is so poor, you have such a poor image of yourself. No, your trouble is that youve too good an image of yourself! "Paint me wart and all."
He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost. William Booth put up his slogan, "Blood and Fire." Studebaker, the carriage and auto-maker, stood in New Castle, Pennsylvania one day, in the late 1890s. He was saying good-bye to a young man who was the most brilliant university orator in America. His name was Brengle. Studebaker shook hands with him and said, "Brengle, I wish I was as sure of becoming the president of the United States as I am that youll become the Archbishop of Canterbury." Studebaker and this fellow had been buddies in college. Studebaker, poor soul, all he did was become a millionaire. This young man with his oratory, went and laid it at the feet of Jesus.
He got to London and to the Salvation Army head quarters tired
out; it took four weeks to get there by boat.
"Well, who are you?" William Booth asked. "I am Doctor Brengle." "Doctor Brengle?"
They didnt need doctors; their theology wasnt sick.
"What have you come for?" "I heard the Holy Ghost is here. Ive crossed the Atlantic, I want to be filled with the Holy Ghost. I dont depend on my theology, my learning. I have a lot of scholarship,
but I need Fire,
I need Fire,
I need Fire!"
William Booth said, "Youll get it.
Tomorrow morning at five o-clock, youll polish the shoes of fifty students."
And none of them had one leg. A hundred big high-top boots! And not spray polish. But Dr. Brengle later said, "It is there God taught me a lesson of patience."
They did not open the door and say, "We were waiting for a talented man like you to teach on the book of the Revelation. Wed like you to lead the prayer meeting tomorrow morning." They said, "Stick your nose down there." Brengle did. And he waited on God and God filled him with the Holy Ghost.
Later, a deaf person was asked after one of Brengles meetings why she had come to the altar if she didnt hear the message. She answered, "Because I could see what I never have seen in a preacher in all my life." "What was it?" "I saw the beauty of Jesus in him while he was preaching. I dont know what he was saying, but I knew there was something in him I did not have!"
Come on parent, are you living so your children will want something that is in your life, something that is beautiful? Something that they cant see in school, that they cant see in a magazine? And they cant see in church, maybe?
My mother was a role model for me,
my daddy was a role model. The best thing he ever did, he took me to a prayer meeting when I was fourteen years of age. And I remember that night, it comes to me often, often, often.
See, weve got the idea that the only reason you have to be filled with the Holy Ghost is you are going to be a missionary. The greatest break down in America is not in brothels tonight, and it is not in abortion, the greatest break down in America is in the home.
Its not what YOU have to bring to God. Its what GOD can give you. We dont have men like we used to have. When Whitefield came from England the population of Boston was 12 thousand and he drew 14 thousand a night without black-topped roads, without restaurants. One man says, "I put my wife on the back of the old mare and I got up, the snow was so deep we struggled up hills and valleys, and finally I got off and just led the horse. And I was soaking wet. There were no pews no shelter, I stood there in the snow and I heard a man who was blazing with God! I never realized till I moved that my trousers were almost stiff with frost, they were wet through and then they were stiff in the frost. We went home. The poor old mare was tired out the next day when we got home, but we turned round and we went back again." Why did they go all that way? Preachers dont have to do that now. You just get enough money and you get a TV program and poor swell-headed guys think they are turning the world upside-down. And we are as far lost down the pit as we were before we started.
God isnt looking for organizing. He is looking for agonizing. And he talks about praying in the Holy Ghost. And I want to learn more of that. Its beyond praying in tongues. And I am not knocking tongues.
What weve had in the last 25 years with
all the Pentecostal churches we havent moved this nation
for God. How is it that 120 turned the world upside-down? Theyd
no money, they hadnt the screen, they couldnt throw
what they were saying into a million homes.
I am sure in my own heart, what God is looking for is to take total possession
of some men in their spirit, their soul, their mind, their will.
I went a little college, Cliff College. It only had one
revival, I wasnt there. A friend of mine, he was up in
years in 1932, and 33. Hed been in World War One. He was a
drunkard, a blasphemer, and everything else. A very precious,
gorgeous lady lead him to Christ and he fell in love with her,
and they fixed a day for their wedding. One day they went to an
old Holiness meeting and they were singing, a hymn, but when he
came to the stanza:
"Here I give my all to Thee,
Friends and time and earthly store,
Soul and body Thine to be
Only Thine for forevermore."
And he sang it. "Here am I to give my friends." He thought, "She is the only friend I have in the world; we are going to be married in three months. Ive a house stored with new furniture." And the Lord said, "You want to be filled with the Holy Ghost, it will cost you everything. Postpone your wedding for three years. Give Me all your time. Your earthly store is all the furniture you have for the future, sell it and use it to pay to go to Cliff College."
He went to Cliff College. There were about thirty-five students there, as there were when I went there, thirty-five men. He woke up one morning about two o-clock with a craving for God. Dan Philips, was his name. He came down in his pajamas into the lecture hall , between one and two o-clock in the morning and started crying to God. And he just roared: "Lord, Im a preacher. Lord I win souls, but my heart is not full of Holiness, its not full of love, its not full of the power of the Spirit, its not full of humility, its not full of gentleness, its not even full of peace. Send the fire down to this heart of mine." And he cried for about half an hour, and every man in the college left his bed and they were all there in that room in their pajamas crying to God. And the Spirit of the living God came on them. And the Holy Ghost swept through the College for weeks.
He didnt think when he yielded his life, and his future wife, and all he had in Manchester, the result would be that a whole college revived. We had some of the most brilliant preachers, Samuel Chadwick was there, Joe Brice was there, some of the outstanding preachers of England were there, but it wasnt through their preaching. It was when a man obeyed God, and tossed the bedclothes on one side and went down in the room that was cold and said, "God I need just the fire of the Holy Ghost, not for tonight, but for all my life. I want to refill my life continually with the Spirit."
It is not enough to be filled with His Holy Sprit ten years
ago. I dont care where you were baptized.
The question isnt were you filled ten years ago but are you filled tonight?
Are you filled with God tonight?
Are you filled with love tonight?
Are you filled with power tonight?
Are you filled with passion for the lost?
Come on, in Gods name. God is going to bypass us.
You may scream if youve gifts, you dont scream for the fruit. Its not easy. God will wreck your career. Hell wreck your life style. But if He does If you let Him If He can use you to pour out His revival through, one day the pillar of fire is going to come, and you know what? We wont need to advertise. There will be such a meekness, such a sweetness, such a holiness, such a gentleness, such a loving kindness the fruit of the Spirit.
We are going to sing Mr. Hatchs hymn a brilliant English preacher, he had a packed church, he had stacks of money, he was the favorite preacher in town. "But one night," he said, "I went into my office, and said, Lord I am not satisfied with popularity, I am not satisfied with the favor of men, I am not satisfied, with my eloquence. Breath on me breath of God." And he snatched a piece of paper and he wrote this hymn we are going to sing now.
Maybe you want to meet God in some new way. If you do, why dont you kneel at your chair while we sing and let others sing it. Kneel somewhere and say, Lord I want something tonight that Ive never had in my life. I want the destruction of my self-life, my self-interest, my temper, my pride, my fear of man, my fear of the future, my fear of what the relatives will think of me, destroy it.
All hell is looking into this meeting at this moment. All angels are looking in. And Jesus is waiting to see the fruit of the travail of His soul.
Copyright (C) 1997 by Leonard Ravenhill
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