The Church Without the Holy Spirit
The greatest need of this hour is a new Biblical baptism in the Holy Ghost. I am by no means speaking of what is happening in the hyper Charismatic churches. The Holy Ghost does not minister in Christ’s body to knock people down, but rather to pick them up. When He touches a human life, He does not make them less intelligent, but more intelligent. He does not reveal Himself to cause people to lose control or become a spastic, emotional basket case. He reveals Himself in the human life to lift up, to give spiritual wisdom and self-control, to mature the person in the graces of Jesus Christ, and to empower the human life with the very character of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Why has the activity of the Holy Ghost become associated with wild emotions, drunkenness, barking like dogs, and an incredible list of other wild and subjective human emotions? The answer is simple. It is a lot easier to pursue emotions than spiritual maturity. Satan tried his best to sidestep Jesus Christ from the lofty path to redemption by suggesting a sideshow at the pinnacle of the temple. The Pentecostal revival of the last one hundred (+ or -) years has extended an incredible influence for the kingdom, but the sideshow mentality has created great hindrance, especially in the many current circles. Benny Hinn, Paul and Jan Crouch, Kenneth Hagin, and many other worldwide ministries are absolutely nothing but a sideshow, diverting attention from genuine Pentecostal provisions for the church.
We should not think it strange that the master imitator would do everything in his capacity to divert the church world away from the omnipotent powers in the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Book of Acts is not outdated. In fact, it is the model for His New Testament church. A church that has denied this model has no right to the claims of other New Testament books. The writer of Acts, Apostle Luke, wrote this treatise as a continuation of his Gospel book, which we call "The Gospel According to Luke." Listen to his introduction to the Book of Acts. "The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen." (Acts 1:1-2).
It is impossible to read this introduction without seeing that the four Gospel books were just the beginning. They record, "…all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until…" He was crucified and resurrected and now the church is His extension to continue what He began. Both the Gospels and the Epistles leave no question to this fact. Jesus said, "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. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: Of sin, because they believe not on me; Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet 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: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." (John 16:7-14).
Whatever part of church history you research, you will never find a New Testament revival without discovering the manifestations of the Gifts of the Holy Ghost. Let me list a little of my own research just to show this point:
I want to quote something from the writings of John Wesley. This is what he says concerning the decease of signs and gifts. "Because the love of many, almost all Christians so-called, waxed cold. That was the real cause why the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost were no longer to be found in the Christian Church."
In a German work, Souer’s History of the Christian Church, vol. 3, p. 406, the following is found: "Dr. Martin Luther a prophet, evangelist, speaker in tongues and interpreter, in one person, endowed with all the gifts of the Holy Spirit."
Regarding Dwight L. Moody, here are a few quotations from page 402, Trails and Trumpets of Faith by Rev. D.D. Boyd, a Baptist minister. This man was a very intimate friend of the famous evangelist.
"When I, a YMCA Member, got to the rooms of the Young Men’s Christian Association (Victoria Hall, London), I found the meeting ‘on fire.’ The young men were speaking with tongues, prophesying. What on earth did it mean? Only that Moody had been addressing them that afternoon! ‘What manner of man is this?’ thought I, but still I did not give him my hand . . . Many of the clergy were so opposed to the movement that they turned their backs upon our poor innocent Young Men’s Christian Association for the part we took in the work; but, afterwards, when the floodgates of divine grace were opened, Sunderland (near London) was taken by storm."
Some years ago, Dr. F. B. Meyer visited Estonia, one of the Baltic provinces of Russia, where he found some simple peasant congregations of Baptists. He wrote to the London Christians about the wonderful work of the Holy Ghost that he had witnessed among them. He stated: "It is very remarkable at a time when the Lutheran Church of this land has lost its evangelistic fervor, and is inclined to substitute forms and rites for the living power of Christ, that God raised up a devoted nobleman, Baron Uxhall, to preach the gospel in all its simplicity, and is renewing among the peasantry those marvelous manifestations which attended the first preaching of the Gospel when God bore witness to the message of salvation with signs and wonders and gifts of the Holy Ghost. To come across a movement like this is intensely interesting. The gift of tongues is heard quite often in the meetings, especially in the villages, but also in the towns. Here at Reval, the pastor of the Baptist Church tells me that they often break out in his meetings. When they are interpreted they are found to mean, ‘Jesus is coming soon; Jesus is near. Be ready; be not idle.’ When they are heard, unbelievers who may be in the audience are greatly awed."
Charles Finney said in his autobiography, "When I received the Holy Ghost Baptism, it was like waves of glory going through and through me. I literally bellowed out the unutterable gushes of my heart. If this continues I will surely die, but I had no fear of death." This man was a great Presbyterian preacher. (Booklet, "A Sovereign Move of God," by Joseph R. Chambers, D.D., D.S.L., p. 10.)
John Wesley (Methodist), Charles Finney (Presbyterian), D.L. Moody (Baptist), and others right on back to the great revival group that defied the Catholic system even before the Reformation were all accompanied by outpourings of the Holy Spirit with signs and miracles. In every case, Satan tried to turn the event into a sideshow. Sometimes he succeeded.
Believers: Temples of His Spirit
Nothing that has happened in the negative can destroy the truth revealed in Holy Scripture. Those who speak as though the gifts of the Spirit have ceased have absolutely no Bible to stand on. One verse in I Corinthians 13 gives them a little ammunition, but their argument fails miserably. Apostle Paul stated, "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away." (I Corinthians 13:9-10).
This is interpreted as suggesting that when the Canon of Scripture was finished "that which is perfect’ had come. I do believe the Word of God, as we have it, is complete and infallible, which most of those using this argument, do not believe, but that is not the intent. The Son of God is indeed coming and He is absolutely perfect and that alone is the subject of Paul’s words. Both truth and history proves this fact.
Apostle Paul gave the saints great instructions as to the manifestations of the "Gifts of the Spirit" in the church. When the Scripture is meticulously followed, there is an incredible beauty in Spiritual activity. The divine work of God’s Spirit changes the mundane of church life into dynamic authority and power. The Scriptures left no room for this to regress into a sideshow. "If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. Let all things be done decently and in order." (I Corinthians 14:37-40).
The apostle warned that the divine life of the Holy Spirit never leaves room for individuals to act out of control. In fact, the Spirit as the third member of the Godhead never operates except as a guest in our midst. We are not robots that He moves like figures on a chessboard. I hear people say that the Spirit took control and they moved by some strange forces at work in them. The human spirit may indeed take control of someone’s actions and the spirits of evil are looking for such an opportunity, but God’s Holy Spirit never, ever acts in such a fashion. "And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets." (I Corinthians 14:32).
Our bodies, set apart by His redemption and sanctification are elected and chosen to be the "temples of His activity." The great and glorious Lord of His church has ordained that He would reveal Himself in us. While the very breath of life is His activity, He uses His saints to be His ambassadors. When the eunuch was passing through the desert on his way back to Ethiopia, the Lord of His Church moved Phillip from a citywide revival to baptize one repentant sinner. Then, the Spirit caught him away and set him down at Azotus. Surely, the Spirit could have saved the eunuch but that is not God’s model. He used a temple voice to speak and temple hands to baptize.
The New Testament is filled with Holy Ghost baptized saints turning the world "upside down." He has committed unto us the "ministry of reconciliation." Our bodies are to be the skin-tents of the New Testament tabernacle. Rather than one tabernacle in the middle of the camp, we are many tabernacles speaking all over His world. Every one of those tabernacles is to be as glorious and even more so than the one in the Camp of Israel in the wilderness. Read carefully what His Spirit says, "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God." (II Corinthians 5:18-20).
Our Father is resting the entire kingdom of His Son Jesus Christ on us. We can do nothing without Him. He will not do anything in His Kingdom without us. That is His model. He has ordained His saints to be His temple. If the Old Testament ministry was glorious and it was, the New Testament ministry is far greater. Listen to how Apostle Paul described the difference. "Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. If the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech." (II Corinthians 3:6-12).
Please note that this is a spiritual ministry, not of the flesh, but of the Spirit. "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God." (II Corinthians 3:5). Only when men are filled with His Holy Ghost are they going to see the supernatural of God at work.
Temple Hands & Voices
The New Testament is breathtaking. Nobody could dare doubt that a Book of Acts experience is powerful and beautiful. Look at Acts chapter 3 when two disciples just out of the Upper Room arrived at the Jewish temple for prayer. A lame man meets them at the temple entrance. He had never been on the inside because it was forbidden. God had to send His new temple (Holy Ghost filled saints) to meet him on the outside. Here’s the story, "And a certain man lame from his mother’s womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms of them that entered into the temple; Who seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple asked an alms. And Peter, fastening his eyes upon him with John, said, Look on us. And he gave heed unto them, expecting to receive something of them. Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood, and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking, and leaping, and praising God." (Acts 3:2-8).
This is the model for the New Testament. Not some cathedral where pious saints meet in a starchy high church or a sideshow, where the highly emotional do religious calisthenics. I have watched these sideshows, where the emotional get blasted and the sick watch from the sidelines. Most of the sheep involved in either of these settings are not to blame. It is us: pastors, evangelists, radio ministers, writers, and religious leaders. Our voices, our hands, indeed our entire bodies are to be His tabernacle or temple when the Spirit of God is mightily at work.
Notice the Spirit-filled hands of Peter in Acts chapter three, "And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up: and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength." (Acts 3:7). This model continues all through the Book of Acts. "And by the hands of the apostles were many signs and wonders wrought among the people; (and they were all with one accord in Solomon’s porch. And of the rest durst no man join himself to them: but the people magnified them. And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.) Insomuch that they brought forth the sick into the streets, and laid them on beds and couches, that at the least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow some of them. There came also a multitude out of the cities round about unto Jerusalem, bringing sick folks, and them which were vexed with unclean spirits: and they were healed every one." (Acts 5:12-16).
There was no showmanship involved. These men were common men that desired no glory, but what was operating in their lives. Not just their hands were temple hands, but their voices were temple voices. "And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people." (Acts 6:7-8).
The miracles were Christ-centered and Christ glorifying. The people were not chasing their religious idol, but were hungry to know the resurrected Christ.
The Holy Ghost Given by Laying on of Hands
This Baptism of the Holy Ghost was for every believer, but was not automatic with repentance and salvation. The house of Cornelius received salvation and this baptism during the first sermon they ever heard. The anointed voice of Apostle Peter was sounding in this home when the entire congregation, as one person, was saved and filled. "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word. And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?" (Acts 10:44-47). Their godly preparation has readied them for the fullness of Christ.
Yet, earlier at the city of Samaria, the city had turned to God and repented with great joy, but no one received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Why the difference? Because the Lord meets all men and women where they are and according to his or her needs. After Samaria had received the words of Phillip and were gloriously converted, the apostles came down from Jerusalem. "Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John: Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost. And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money, Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost." (Acts 8:14-19).
The church world is desperate for a fresh baptism of the Spirit. Our nation and the world are in an apostate condition. It is not too late. In fact, the greatest outpouring of the Holy Ghost ever is about to happen. The latter rain of the Holy Ghost is yet future and will not occur until Israel is converted at the conclusion of the Seven Years of Tribulation. The early reign of the Holy Ghost began at Pentecost and will conclude at the Rapture. Both the Prophet Joel and Apostle Luke confirmed this timing. (Read our booklet on "The Latter Rain.") To deny the Holy Ghost Baptism available presently is to deny the Latter Rain soon to start in Jerusalem and to spread all over the Millennium Kingdom of Jesus Christ.
The church world is in a mess and the only answer is a sovereign move of the Holy Ghost. When the Biblical order of the Spirit’s work is understood, the church has nothing to fear. Fanaticism does not have to be tolerated. Indeed, it must not be. Always remember that there will always be an imitation. When Moses presented his supernatural rod, the witchdoctor had a substitute. The genuine manifestation in Moses’ rod, which turned into a serpent, immediately consumed the false manifestation of the magicians. The reason churches are afraid of the false is because they have forsaken the real. Wait on God in total surrender and He will guide you into all truth.