CHAIRMAN'S ADDRESS AT OPENING OF 16th BIENNIAL CONFERENCE, HELD AT BEULAH HEIGHTS, MELBOURNE, 18th-24th MARCH, 1965
Reading: Col. 1:25-29.
My Beloved Brethren in Christ,
May this Conference result in real value to the Pentecostal Movement in Australia, by the wise decisions, by the sweet fellowship, and by a renewal of our vision and definition of our aims. What are our aims? Paul tells us that they are two-fold (Col. 1:28). First, EVANGELISATION, "To fully preach the Word of God, preaching, warning, teaching every man.. ." and secondly, TO ESTABLISH THE SAINTS IN CHRIST, "that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus." For this purpose, says the Apostle, "I also labour, striving according to His working, which worketh in me mightily." "I labour, striving," or as the Amplified Version puts it, "I labour unto weariness." (Williams: "I am toiling and struggling.") The Greek word, "Striving", depicts combatants in an arena in deadly struggle. And that was Paul's attitude in Christ's service. Study the Acts; carefully read his letters to the churches, and see how very true this description was. What a man! What an inspiration! Fiery, persistent, untiring, triumphant—right to the end! Oh, what a challenge to us in these days of ease, comfort, self-pleasing; in these days of little sweat and lukewarm conviction! How sorely Paul's spirit is needed in the Church these days. Spiritual darkness with moral collapse covers the earth. The smoke of hell is' clouding Scriptural issues . and blurring divinely-appointed lines of demarcation. "For we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers. . ." Oh, how we need that God-inspired confidence that Paul had, that fiery zeal that compels concentration of all our powers, that calm settled certainty of success that mumurs triumphantly, "With Him we cannot fail!"
The Apostle's striving had a two-fold objective. Firstly—the development of his own spiritual life and character (1 Cor. 9:26-27; Phil. 3:8-14). Christ's ministers must be dedicated, sanctified men, who know their God, and who declare what they themselves experience and practice. Specialists of the Kingdom!
Paul's second objective was, to present every man perfect in Christ." Leading the saints, by the Holy Ghost, into a vital, living experience with their risen Saviour! Teaching them to love Him, live in Him, and glorify Him in thought, words and deed. And Paul did this! Survey the record. A trail of churches and a multitude of precious saints of God!
What was Paul's secret? Here it is—listen, "I also labour, striving according to His working which worketh in me mightily."
The Holy Spirit was the power of His enablement! And praise God, the same mighty Spirit is for us today! With Him we are invincible— without Him—useless! Oh, let this truth sink in, my brother. He is the answer — and He alone! Is the door of your being open to Him? Only DESIRE and PURITY can open that door. Paul's DESIRE was like ravenous hunger, like insatiable thirst (Phil. 3)—and what an inflow of God he had. And it all flowed out in ministry! Brethren, behold Paul's secret-make it yours! We have the same God, the same inflow. Why not the same outflow? I'll tell you why—there is too much wastage.
I am told that 80% of the fuel burned on an open fire goes up the chimney—wasted. It is said that electric light bulbs dissipate the bulk of their electrical energy in useless heat— wasted. But what of the spiritual wastage in the Pentecostal Movement! We know something, surely, of the mighty rushing wind of God's presence—and yet so often, the air
around us is heavy and stagnant and corrupt! We talk and preach of the fire of God—and yet we are so cold! Such a cataract of the river of the Waters of Life streams around us from the Throne of God and the Lamb, yet we are surrounded by parched lips, seared and worthless crops, and multitudes perishing of thirst! Wastage! Wastage! Wastage!
Oh, my precious brethren, let us get back to the Fountain; to the Holy Fire, to the Breath of God—the mighty rushing Wind—and take in. Take in until we are saturated. Open the doors of desire and purity and let the inflow be as great as Paul enjoyed. And then let it all flow out—in Holy Ghost ministry. And we may, by His grace. For He has declared—"I am the Lord that changeth not." God bless you!