As I begin to pen this chapter my mind goes back to the time when my wife and I were invited to conduct services at the splendid Assembly at Niagara Falls. Ontario, Canada. We also campaigned at a large church in Buffalo, New York State, on the United States, side of the famous Niagara Falls. While we were in Canada we were introduced by our host pastor to the Director of the Niagara Falls Hydro Electric Corporation. He greeted us as visitors from Australia, and presented us with complimentary passes for an escorted tour over the great enterprise that has harnessed the mighty forces of the river and the falls to produce the power that lights and provides energy for much of the whole nation. We felt that we were V.I.P.'s. They provided us with water-proof coverings, and we descended by lifts behind and beneath the Falls. We traversed the galleries of solid rock until we stood to gaze at the 12 feet of flashing water as it thundered past to the river below. We ventured on to the "Maid of the Mist" launch which tossed and bounced its way through the violent eddies and currents until we were showered with the spray. The mist was caught by the rays of the sun covering the whole scene with a rainbow iridescence.
And to think that man could utilise that huge force and cause that roaring giant torrent with a strength far beyond the human, to be induced into a gentle channel of life-giving benefit and usefulness. Just wonderful! In the quiet of the Control Room we
watched the illuminated panel with its dials and switches, directing the flow of energy into the service of the nation.
I am filled with awe as I think and meditate on the Almightiness of the Holy Spirit The Holy Spirit hovers over the Body of Christ just as Elisha overshadowed the inanimate body of the youth in his day (2 Kings 4:34 and 35). He put his mouth upon his mouth to impart his breath; his eyes upon his eyes to restore his vision; his hands upon his hands to give him action. A miracle occurred and the body became warm. The child revived and sneezed seven times as the life coursed through his body. This is a picture illustrating what we are seeing today in the Body of Christ. From the life of God we are coming to life and the sporadic outpourings are like the sneezes that are Heaven's tokens of life. This new life is shaking the Church from the old deadness into a resurrection that will unite all who are awakened and at one with the Holy Ghost Himself.
The Holy Spirit is the Author of this the greatest and the final revival of the Church era.
Do bear with me as I declare and share my delight and fellowship with the Holy Spirit.
No-one could ever visualise that within a mere couple of decades the Christian Church would awaken to the realisation that an upheaval of world-wide proportions was taking place. It is much too wide-spread to be ignored or explained away, as the Apostle said, "This thing is not in a corner." Acts 26:26. As it happened in the Early Church, so it is being repeated in the Church of today, only, of course, in greater and more extensive acceptance. It will be recognised without question that the activities described so fully in the Acts of the Apostles were inspired by the Holy Ghost Who certainly was the Author of the formation of the Early Church in its primitive power. He who directed the fortunes of the Church the Apostles was consulted and obeyed and acknowledged as He opened the doors to the Gentiles. This in itself was something beyond imagination, for to unite the Jewish believers aid the Gentile believers into one Church, could
only have been accomplished by the Holy Spirit at the express will of the Lord Jesus and according to the Scriptures.
Let me give an introduction to the Person of the Holy Spirit Who is the Executive of the Triune God. He never speaks or attracts attention to Himself, despite the fact that He is co-equal with both Father and Son in the God-head. He is the Divine Operator Who moves to fulfil the counsel of Eternal Deity.
I relate to the Holy Spirit as I appreciate Him for although He is a Spirit, He also is the greatest Person on earth. He is the best Friend that Jesus ever had. Jesus said, "They hated Me without a cause but when the Comforter is to come; He will testify of Me." Let us look into the glorious characteristics of the Divine Spirit.
Firstly, in the creation of this world we rend in Gen. 1:2 "The earth was without form and void; and darkesss was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the deep." He brought cosmos out of the chaos so to Him we owe this present world in which we live. He gave the Saviour to humanity for the Saviour Christ was conceived of the Holy Ghost in the mysterious Virgin Birth. He was instrumental in the covenant which God made with all the world at Calvary, for Jesus was escorted to the Cross, with its suffering and humiliation, by the Eternal Spirit. He is the Author of Heaven's revelation to mankind which is the written Word of God. It was He Who hand-picked and inspired writers of various occupations and generations to write at His dictation. He aln> has preserved the Word of God through the times of animosity; and apostasy which have threatened to exterminate the precious Word of God which He so justifiably confirms with His impressionn. He is the Divine Poet and Artist in the legend of God and the charm of the Gospel. What gracious names He has coined for our Beloved Christ. He has lavished Him with descriptive names as 'Rose of Sharon', 'Lily of the Valley', 'Morning Star', 'Fairest of Ten Thousand', 'The Altogether Lovely', and what I myself fancy as my favourite title The Dayspring from on High'.
I am convinced that it will be only in Eternity that we will fully appreciate the mind and interpretation of the Holy Spirit, Who will never alter as He shares His Divine intelligence, world without end. What a Guide He is now in life and what future glories will He impart in the endless revelation of the Everlasting unfolding of God's thrilling mysteries.
The Holy Spirit is intent that all of us should bestow our love and attention and devotion to Christ; He Himself is unseen because He holds a torch that focuses on the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He Himself is hidden from the beam.
In John's Gospel, Chapter 14, He is presented with the name of Comforter or Paraclete — One alongside to help us. He is the Spirit of Truth Who Always refers to the infallible Word of God. It is said of Him, "Whom the world cannot receive", for He alone is Christ's gift to those Churches which have been separated from the world. The Comforter is the complete consolation and compensation for all who love the Lord Jesus sufficiently to follow Him and forsake the world and all that it stands for. The life in the Spirit is more than all the World, the Flesh and the Devil can offer in comparison.
Again, it is stated that for those seeding true knowledge, the Spirit is the Teacher Who will teach us all things. He is so graciously committed to remind us of those things told us by the Master, Jesus the Lord, which we are prone to forget.
Further on in John's Gospel, in chapter 16, it is reported that He will testify of Jesus. He will reprove the whole world of sin. In other places it is written, "Which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." The Spirit witnesses and assures our spirit that we are the children of God. The Spirit is forever active to impress on us that Calvary's covenant frees all from the bondage of sin and sickness in a double cure. It was at Calvary where Satan's head was bruised and crushed by the bruising of the Divine Heel. As the heel is the lowest part of the body so it was that Jesus in His humanity was seen at the lowest part of
His deity, yet even so He was sufficient to eliminate the power of the Satanic serpent.
We must remember that the Holy Spirit will not stagnate. If we cease to flow on and move with Him we will soon find ourselves isolated. He has said that He would guide us into all truth, so we must keep in step with Him. "The things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God." (1 Cor. 2:11). John being an intimate in the councils of God tells us in chapter 16, verse 13: "Whatsoever He shall hear that shall He speak". When Jesus was on Earth He always waited to receive the Spirit's revelation and prompting before He acted. Among His repeated sayings was, "My time has not yet come." How often we rush in where angels fear to tread, instead of awaiting the leading and direction of the Spirit. Jesus, while acting as a man, was submissive, knowing that of Himself He could or would do nothing.
When we are receptive to the Holy Spirit, we are favoured and protected by the sublime timing of God. We receive intimation of events still to transpire, and insofar as we have His calling, He gives us spiritual ability with gifts co-related to our calling in the Body of Christ. If we can absorb these facts we must feel grateful and obedient to the Lord, the Eternal Spirit.
As the champion of the Lord Jesus Christ, He alone is the One who takes the historical Christ of the Bible and presents Him to every individual as the personal Christ, who alone is the way, the truth and the life. He reconciles us to God. He is the innkeeper in the parable of the good Samaritan, and the faithful caretaker of Christ's Church, while our Saviour is away at the Father's right hand. His prospect is to reproduce Christ in every individual born-again believer. He is the Conveyor of every spiritual effect, desire and operation.
By REMORSE He brings anguish to the guilty soul of the sinner.
By REPENTANCE He imparts faith and pardon from and toward the unseen God.
By REGENERATION He brings the awakening of the spiritual birth of sonship.
By REVELATION He introduces the wonders of the new creation.
By REPRODUCTION He causes growth into the stature of Christ's likeness.
By REVIVAL and RENEWAL He maintains the ebb and flow of the spiritual life.
When Christ baptises one with the Holy Ghost the Spirit comes to abide with us forever for He makes our body His temple. He declares, "I will live in them I will walk in them and they shall be My people." He, being a person announces His entrance into His temple by His utterance in a spiritual tongue; an unknown tongue to the receiver of the wonderful experience. Of course, this infilling is only to the extent that we have the yielded capacity to receive Him. Our capacity to receive Him is limited. Jesus alone had the Spirit within Himself without measure.
I want to emphasise a very important fact. Once we have received the Spirit we do not again ask to be filled with the Spirit, but we must constantly let the Spirit animate and flow through in continual intercourse with God in prayer; singing and making melody within ourselves to the Lord. It is not of faith to ask God to do what He has asked us to do — to stir up the gift that is within us, and to be filled with the Spirit which is expected of us. However, while we have the inward experience of the baptism, we still need the Person of the Holy Spirit. He is always available, being alongside to help us and to confirm the word which we preach with His confirmed endorsement.
In Luke chapter 11, Jesus gives the instruction to ask the Father for the Holy Spirit, not the infilling or the baptism (as no one received that blessing until Jesus had died and returned to Heaven), but the Person Himself. The Spirit Himself is not limited to our capacity, but is the All-powerful, Almighty Spirit of God, Who is both in us, and, more importantly, with us.
The Holy Spirit as the Finger of God is pointing unerringly to His intention in this our day. He is RICH with the rare precious oil, the Oil of Gladness. Oil for the lamps to light the virgins' path through the darkness of this period. He is REFRESHING with the water springing within us and flowing from the innermost being. He is REVIVING with the joyful exuberance like the stimulant of wine. He is REFINING with a fire to burn up the useless chaff. His baptism is one of fire. He is RESISTLESS as the wind that bloweth where it will. He and He alone is the author of this world-shaking Charismatic awakening as He is stirring the Church and blowing on the embers that first kindled the warm and fiery zeal which signalised the origin of every Christian denomination. He is removing the racism between Jew and Greek, the doctrinal differences, be it circumcision or uncircumcision, the cultural barriers separating intellectual Scythian and uncouth Barbarian, and by Charismatic Christian fellowship is removing the demarcation between the free boss and the bound worker. You will agree that this revival has made Christ the All Who is in us all. The Holy Ghost is preparing the Universal Church of Jesus Christ tor its great consummation, when it will be translated from Earth to meet Christ, the Heavenly Bridegroom as He comes to claim His Bride. The Bride will have been united and prepared by the Holy Ghost to be without spot or blemish, a glorious Church.
The Charismatic tide is rising in every part of the globe. It is gradually deepening. Like the waters described by Ezekiel in the 47th Chapter, the water firstly is ankle-deep, as we learn to walk in the Spirit. We go deeper as we wade knee deep in the Spirit's service and prayer life. Further still until our loins are covered; we are now ready to participate in the consecration of the emotional life and a deep revelation of God's will.
For the truly adventurous who are completely out and out for God, there are the deep waters, the waters which go over our head. In such conditions our own strength will not save us. In these depths, we can find no footing of our own; we must be utterly dependent on God. Each of us must discover our own Spiritual level.
I feel that I am coming out of a sleep of hibernation like Rip Van Winkle. Is what is happening real? To reach out a hand in the Charismatic gatherings and feel the grasp of a Catholic Christian is like something out of a dream. I am taken back to the bitter rivalry of my youth, when we hurried from school to fight with the lads from the Catholic school. With boyish venom we took delight in rubbing tar in each other's hair. In a brief gesture by the Holy Spirit, the gulf has been bridged and the rift to a great extent has been healed. This is the Lord's doing, and is marvellous in our eyes.
As a pioneering Pentecostal partaker in today's Holy Spirit Charismatic operation, I would like to make a few comments. Wherever the Spirit has been received in Christian circles, an extra-ordinary phenomenon has taken place, regardless of whether the experience was received in a denominational setting or in mixed fellowship groups, the baptism of the Spirit and the effect of this experience has created a liberty expressed in joy and praise, and an atmosphere that can encourage an outburst of emotional affection previously unknown in church circles. The Pentecostals had exactly the same demonstrations in the early days but with these things so wonderful, they were persecuted, ostracised and despised whereas today so many are entering the Charismatic worship that it has become popular.
To channel the eagerness that abounds, it is timely that teaching seminars are providing the good sound ministry which is necessary to bring restraint without nullifying the brightness of the vision, or dampening the atmosphere of joyous power. I am anticipating a marked difference in the character of believers as the joy that exists leads to a closer walk with God. It is written that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is with fire. This fire is to burn up the superfluous chaff so that the real grain of spiritual food might be available. The doctrines and traditions which have been acquired by every fundamental body and which are not based on the Word of God is the chaff to which the Holy Spirit will give attention.