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Text Sermons : ~Other Speakers S-Z : Smith Wigglesworth : Paul’s vision and the baptism of the Holy Ghost

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“Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” Acts 26:19.
I want to speak of Pentecost and the fullness of the Spirit, and of what God is able to do with any man who is yielded to Him. We need to kindle in one another a holier zeal than we have ever possessed before. No man can meet the need of to-day but the man filled with God. God has promised to fill us. You may be filled with the mighty power of God, and yet in a way not realize it; be used by a power apart from yourself, a power that keeps you from self-exbihition. Just as the sun by its mighty power brings certain resources to nature, so I believe the power of God in the human soul is capable, as we exercise living faith, of bringing about things which otherwise could never he accomplished.
Paul’s conversion. If you will read the twenty-sixth chapter of Acts you will see Paul testifying to his conversion, to the commission given him to go to the Gentiles to turn them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan to God, and to the fact that he “was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision.” In Acts 9, we read that for three days after this vision Paul was blind. I believe that in those days he was brought to a state of broken-heartedness. And then God had him. It is a wonderful thing when God gets you. You are not much good for anything until God gets you. When God gets you, you are loosened, you are free, but you act only as He wills for you to act. And when you act only for Him and are living in the Spirit, some things that are worth while will be accomplished all the time.
I believe that in those three days Paul was brought to a place of weeping, contrition, heart-meltedness, yieldedness. It is when we are brought to a place of real repentance, of broken-heartedness, of contrition, that it is possible for God’s likeness to be stamped on us. It is then that the water of life begins to fill us, and as we are open to the floods of the Spirit which come in the Baptism in the Holy Ghost, we will find that the Holy Ghost will not only fertilize our own life but rivers of life will flow from us, rivers that will touch many others. No one can tell what a river can do when it is set flowing by God. The ever deepening river that Ezekiel speaks of, brought abundance of life everywhere it flowed. So it is with the life in the Holy Ghost.
Many opportunities. A life in the Holy Ghost is one of selflessness. You will remember that our Lord Jesus after He was filled with the Spirit refused to make bread for Himself at the suggestion of Satan, but we find that He reached a place where He could make bread for thousands. And when I come to the place where I refuse to live for my own selfish interests, then God will do something for me, and by His grace, I will gladly do anything for Him that He may desire me to do.
In his helplessness and brokenness, Paul cried: “Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?” That cry reached to heaven, and as a result there came to him a holy man touched with the same fire and zeal that filled his Master and he laid his hands upon Paul and said, “Receive thy sight and be filled with the Holy Ghost.” And with that word of power a celestial glory came into the life of Paul. That was for Paul the beginning of a life in the Holy Ghost. It is evident from Paul’s testimony that God gave him a vision, a vision to which he was not disobedient. There should always be a vision in the Baptism in the Spirit. Be sure and get the vision of God’s plan and purpose for your life. But visions are no good except we make them real, except we claim them as they come and make them our own, and the purpose of our life is to carry out what the Spirit reveals by vision.
Many people lack the power because they do not keep the vision, because they do not allow the fire which has come, to continue to burn. There must be a continuous burning on the altar. Holy Ghost power in a man is meant to be an increasing force, an enlargement. When Ezekiel saw the vision of the river that came out from the threshold under the altar, that river did not grow smaller and smaller, but larger and larger. That is God’s plan always. God has never anything of a diminishing type.
Changed into another man. The Lord took particular care of Paul and did not rush him through the business. He gave him time to study the Word. He gave him time to get a revelation of His wonderful grace. There are some people who think that everything ought to be done in a tremendous hurry. With God it is not so. God takes plenty of time, and He has a wonderful way of developing things as He goes along. Trust Him as He takes time to work in you to will and to do His own pleasure.
A man baptized in the Holy Ghost is no longer a natural man; he is transformed by the Spirit and changed into another man. Joshua and Caleb as they were filled with faith, were different from all the men around them, and so they encouraged all the others by saying, “God who has taken us into the land and let us see it, will surely give us the land.” They had got the vision of God’s plan and purpose and they were true to the vision. Is God the Holy Ghost arranging things for you, or, are you arranging things according to your own plan? Catch the heavenly vision and enter into a place of rest where you can stand still and see the salvation of the Lord.
Reliance on God. A man who is dependent upon the Holy Ghost ceases from confidence in his own ability. He will rely only upon the omnipotent power of the Most High. The man who lives in the Spirit will always keep in touch with his Master, in the passing crowds or wherever he may be. He should have no room for anything that steps lower than the unction that was on his Master, or for anything that hinders him from being about his Master’s business. If you are filled with the Holy Ghost you will long for the spiritual food that you find in the Word of God and you will have no resources but those that are heavenly. You have been “planted” with Christ and have “risen with Him,” and you are “seated with Him in heavenly places”; your language is the heavenly language, your source of inspiration is the will of the Lord; God is enthroned in your whole life and you see things from above and not from below.
The revelation of Jesus to my soul by the Holy Ghost brings me to the place where I am willing, if need be, to die on what the Word says. The three Hebrew children said to the king, “We are not careful to awwer thee in this matter,” and when a man of God is quickened by the Spirit, he does not fear the threatenings of men. The furnace seven times heated is of no consequence to the man who has heard the voice of God; the lions’ den has no terrors for the man who opens his windows and talks to the Father. The people who live in the unction of the Spirit are taken out of the world in the sense that they are kept in the the world without being defiled by the evil of the world.
A life of revelation. The Lord said to Paul, “I have appeared to thee to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee.” Paul was given the vision as far as he could take it in, then the Lord said, “There are other things in which I shall again appear unto thee.” Did He ever appear unto Paul after that? Certainly He did. At a later date Paul said, “When it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by His grace, to reveal His Son in me, that I might preach Him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood.” There is no man who can be clothed with the Spirit and catch the fire and zeal of the Master every day and many times a day, without ceasing in every way to be connected with the “arm of flesh” which would draw him aside from the power of God. Many men have lost the glory because they have been taken up with the natural. If we are going to accomplish in the Spirit the things that God has purposed for us, we must never turn again to the flesh. If we are Spirit-filled, God has brought us into relationship with Himself, and now He is all in all to us. Nehemiah stood before the king, and when the king, seeing his countenance sad, said to him, “For what dost thou make request?” he immediately communed with the God of heaven. If we keep in continuous communion with the Lord of heaven we should be ready for every emergency.
Eager for the vision. When Paul was preaching to the saints in Troas (Acts 20) the holy, radiant glory that was filling Paul’s soul was so great that the people became eager for it, so that until midnight they drank in at the fountain of his life, and as the rivers of water were pouring forth from him a young man fell down from the third loft. Paul went down and embraced him and the life of the Lord given to Paul was imparted to the young man and he was brought back to life. There was always an equipment for every emergency, a blessed, holy equipment given by God. It is wonderful to think that we, too, can be partakers of the divine nature just as Paul was and can enter into the fellowship of the Lord Jesus Christ even as he did, for the same Holy Ghost that was imparted to Paul, our Lord is willing to impart to us.
Fellowship with Jesus. It was a necessity that Jesus live with His disciples for three years and walk in and out among them and show forth His glory from day to day. The Lord had continually day by day to bring Himself into their vision, into their mind, into their very nature. He had to press Himself into their life, to make them a success after He had ascended to heaven. He had to show them how wonderfully and gracefully and peacefully He could move the crowds. He had to bring Himself so into the minds and hearts of the disciples as to convince them that He was really and truly the Son of God. They could never accomplish what they had to accomplish until he had proved that to them. They could only manifest Him to others when He had imparted His life into the very core of their nature. He told them that it was expedient that He go away. After His death and resurrection the Holy Spirit would come and He Himself would come unto them and manifest His life and power through them. Just as He was clothed with the Spirit Himself, He wanted them to be clothed with the Spirit. And there was a wonderful continuance of His ministry through these yielded men when they were filled with the Spirit. And to-day there will be a mighty continuance of the glorious ministry of our risen Lord through men and women filled with the Spirit who refuse to live for their own purposes and plans, who are eager to fulfill the vision given them by our ascended Lord.
What is the baptism? Some people have a wrong notion concerning the Baptism in the Holy Ghost. The Baptism is nothing less than the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity coming down from the Glory, the Executive Spirit of the Triune God, indwelling your body, revealing the truth to you, causing your bowels to yearn with compassion for the lost, just as Jesus yearned, to travail as He travailed, to mourn as He mourned, to groan as He groaned. Oh, that God might bring from our hearts the cry for a deluge of the Spirit so that we may be prepared for Him to fulfill all His purposes in us and for us. What a blessing it is when you are at wits-end corner to be able to throw yourself on the omnipotent power of God, and what a wonderful transformation He can bring in a tnoment.
Last week I went into a house where they were very much distressed. A young woman was there who, they told me, had not been able to drink for six years. Her body had gone down, but the Lord had inspired her with faith and she said to her father, “O Father, I ought to have relief to-day. Somehow I feel this whole trouble ought to go to-day.” I knew what it was. It was a demon in the throat. I believe that the devil is at the bottom of practically every evil in human lives. It was a serious thing to see that beautiful young woman, who, because of this one thing in her life, was so disorganized in her mind and body. I knew it was the power of Satan. How did I know? Because it attacked her at a vital point, and the thing had preyed on her mind and she was filled with fear so that she said, “I dare not drink, for if I do I shall choke.”
Deliverance to the captives. I asked the father and mother to go out of the room and then I said to the young woman, “You will be free and drink as much as you want when I have done with you if you will only believe. As sure as you are there you will drink as much as you want.” I said further, “Our brethren are going out in the streets to preach to-night and I shall be among them, and in our preaching we will say definitely, ‘Every one that will believe on the Lord Jesus Christ can be saved.’ We will also tell them that everyone that believes can be healed. The Word of God shows us plainly that the Son of God bore our sins and our sicknesses at Calvary. They will emphasize it over and over again. It is just as true to say, ‘Himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses,’ as it is to say, ‘He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities.’ ” So I said to her, “Now do you believe?” She said, “Yes, I believe that in the name of Jesus you can cast the evil power out.” I then laid my hands on her in the name of Jesus. “It is done, you drink.”
She went out laughingly and drew the first glass of water and drank. She cried out, “Mother! Father! Brother! I have drunk one glass!” There was joy in the house. What did it? It was the living faith of the Son of God. Oh, if we only knew how rich we are, and how near we are to the Fountain of life. “All things are possible to him that believeth.” Aeneas, who had kept his bed for eight years, was told by Peter, “Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, make thy bed,” and he arose immediately. What did it? A life clothed with the Spirit.
An enlarged ministry. When I was baptized in the Holy Ghost there was the unfolding of a new era of my life and I passed into that and rejoiced in the fact of it, and others with me. But the moment I reached that, God has been ready with another ministry for me. Jesus said in substance, “If you honor Me here, I will honor you yonder.” Whatever it may be that you are working at for God here, He is working out a far greater and a divine glory for you. You have no need to be constantly talking of what you are going to appear like in glory. The chief thing is that you realize in yourself a deeper manifestation of the power of God to-day than yesterday, and that you hare something more clear to-day of the mind of the Spirit than you had the day before: that nothing comes between you and God to cloud your mind. You are to have more of a vision of the glory of God to-day than yesterday, and to be living in such a state of bliss that it is heavenly to live. Paul got to the place where the Holy Ghost could enlarge him more and more. I find that if I continually keep my mind upon God He unfolds things to me; and if I obediently walk before God and keep my heart pure and clean and holy and right, He will always be lifting me higher than I have ever expected to be.
Present your bodies. In Romans 12:1, Paul speaks about a certain place being reached. He speaks about an altar upon which he has laid himself. When he had experienced the mercies of the Lord he could do no other than make a presentation of his body on the altar. It was to be always on the altar, never to be taken off. And he beseeches us to be in this place of continual sacrifice. It is at this place the Holy Ghost will bring forth things new and old for us. Paul so lived in the Spirit that He brought His mind to Paul’s mind so that the apostle could write and speak as the oracle of the Holy Ghost, things that portrayed the mind of God, and as we read these things to-day they come to us as the river flowing from the throne of God Himself.
God wants us, also, to be oracles through whom He can cause the water of life to flow. How does it come? It comes when we are in a place low enough for God to pour in, pour in, pour in. God wants to do the same for us as He did for Paul. Shall we stop short of what He says we ought to be? Shall we cease to come into line with the Mind that is always thinking for our best? Shall we cease to humble ourselves before Him, who took the way of the cross for us? Shall we withhold ourselves from Him, who could weep over the doomed city, from the Lord Jesus Christ, who “trod the winepress alone”? Shall we cease to give Him our all? To what profit will it be if we hold back anything from Him who gives us a thousand times more than ever He asks from us? In Hebrews 2, He says He is going to bring many sons to glory. It means that He is going to clothe them with His glory. Let that be your vision. If you have lost the vision, He is tender to those who cry to Him. He never turns away from the broken heart, and those that seek Him with a whole heart will always find Him.
Great grace. The people in the days of the apostles took joyfully the spoiling of their goods, and I know there is a like measure of grace given to the man who says, “I will go all the way with Jesus.” What is that measure of grace? It is the grace which enables us to press forward to the goal that God will have us reach. We should heed those words, “Let no man take thy crown.” We have only touched the very fringe of this outpouring of the Spirit. We must go in for all that God has for us. If we do not fall into line with the will of God there will be somebody else who will. God is able to raise up men who will carry out His behests. At the triumphal entry when the multitude cried out in praise, and the Pharisees objected, Jesus said, “If these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.”
I have a Jesus like that, who can speak the word and the thing is done. I have a Jesus indwelling me and vitalizing me with a faith that believes that all His promises are true; I have a Jesus within me who has never let me get faint-hearted. Let us press on in faith along the line of God’s will, and the outpouring which we have longed to see will come. Cheer up, hold on, never let go the vision. Be sure it is as much for you as for anybody else, and God will surely bring it to pass. All blessings come from above: therefore, keep your eyes on Jesus. Never weary. He will be with you to strengthen you in the way. Hallelujah!

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