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The Person And Work Of The Holy Spirit by R. A. Torrey


When our Lord was talking to His disciples on the night before His crucifixion of the Comforter who after His departure was to come to take His place, He said, |But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, He shall bear witness of Me: and ye also bear witness, because ye have been with Me from the beginning| (John xv.26, 27, R. V.), and the Apostle Peter and the other disciples when they were strictly commanded by the Jewish Council not to teach in the name of Jesus said, |We are witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost| (Acts v.32). It is clear from these words of Jesus Christ and the Apostles that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to bear witness concerning Jesus Christ. We find the Holy Spirit's testimony to Jesus Christ in the Scriptures, but beside this the Holy Spirit bears witness directly to the individual heart concerning Jesus Christ. He takes His own Scriptures and interprets them to us and makes them clear to us. All truth is from the Spirit, for He is |the Spirit of truth,| but it is especially His work to bear witness to Him who is the truth, that is Jesus Christ (John xiv.6). It is only through the testimony of the Holy Spirit directly to our hearts that we ever come to a true, living knowledge of Jesus Christ (cf.1 Cor. xii.3). No amount of mere reading the written Word (in the Bible) and no amount of listening to man's testimony will ever bring us to a living knowledge of Christ. It is only when the Holy Spirit Himself takes the written Word, or takes the testimony of our fellow man, and interprets it directly to our hearts that we really come to see and know Jesus as He is. On the day of Pentecost, Peter gave all his hearers the testimony of the Scriptures regarding Christ and also gave them his own testimony; he told them what he and the other Apostles knew by personal observation regarding His resurrection, but unless the Holy Spirit Himself had taken the Scriptures which Peter had brought together and taken the testimony of Peter and the other disciples, the 3,000 would not on that day have seen Jesus as He really was and received Him and been baptized in His name. The Holy Spirit added His testimony to that of Peter and that of the written Word. Mr. Moody used to say in his terse and graphic way that when Peter said, |Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ (Acts ii.36), the Holy Spirit said, 'Amen' and the people saw and believed.| And it is certain that unless the Holy Spirit had come that day and through Peter and the other Apostles borne His direct testimony to the hearts of their hearers, there would have been no saving vision of Jesus on the part of the people. If you wish men to get a true view of Jesus Christ, such a view of Him that they may believe and be saved, it is not enough that you give them the Scriptures concerning Him; it is not enough that you give them your own testimony, you must seek for them the testimony of the Holy Spirit and put yourself into such relations with God that the Holy Spirit may bear His testimony through you. Neither your testimony, nor even that of the written Word alone will effect this, though it is your testimony, or that of the Word that the Holy Spirit uses. But unless your testimony and that of the Word is taken up by the Holy Spirit and He Himself testifies, they will not believe. This explains something which every experienced worker must have noticed. We sit down beside an inquirer and open our Bibles and give him those Scriptures which clearly reveal Jesus as his atoning Saviour on the cross, a Saviour from the guilt of sin, and as his risen Saviour, a Saviour from the power of sin. It is just the truth the man needs to see and believe in order to be saved, but he does not see it. We go over these Scriptures which to us are as plain as day again and again, and the inquirer sits there in blank darkness; he sees nothing, he grasps nothing. Sometimes we almost wonder if the inquirer is stupid that he cannot see it. No, he is not stupid, except with that spiritual blindness that possesses every mind unenlightened by the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. ii.14). We go over it again and still he does not see it. We go over it again and his face lightens up and he exclaims, |I see it. I see it,| and he sees Jesus and believes and is saved and knows he is saved there on the spot. What has happened? Simply this, the Holy Spirit has borne His testimony and what was dark as midnight before is as clear as day now. This explains also why it is that one who has been long in darkness concerning Jesus Christ so quickly comes to see the truth when he surrenders his will to God and seeks light from Him. When he surrenders his will to God, he has put himself into that attitude towards God where the Holy Spirit can do His work (Acts v.32). Jesus says in John vii.17, R. V., |If any man willeth to do His will, he shall know of the teaching, whether it be of God, or whether I speak from Myself.| When a man wills to do the will of God, then the conditions are provided on which the Holy Spirit works and He illuminates the mind to see the truth about Jesus and to see that His teaching is the very Word of God. John writes in John xx.31, |But these are written (these things in the Gospel of John) that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through His name.| John wrote his Gospel for this purpose, that men might see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God, through what he records, and that they might believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God, and that thus believing they might have life through His name. The best book in the world to put into the hands of one who desires to know about Jesus and to be saved is the Gospel of John. And yet many a man has read the Gospel of John over and over and over again and not seen and believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. But let the same man surrender his will absolutely to God and ask God for light as he reads the Gospel and promise God that he will take his stand on everything in the Gospel that He shows him to be true and before the man has finished the Gospel he will see clearly that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and will believe and have eternal life. Why? Because he has put himself into the place where the Holy Spirit can take the things written in the Gospel and interpret them and bear His testimony. I have seen this tested and proven time and time again all around the world. Men have come to me and said to me that they did not believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and many have gone farther and said they were agnostics and did not even know whether there was a personal God. Then I have told them to read the Gospel of John, that in that Gospel John presented the evidence that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Oftentimes they have told me they have read it over and over again, and yet were not convinced that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God. Then I have said to them, |You have not read it the right way,| and I have got them to surrender their will to God (or in case where they were not sure there was a God, have got them to take their stand upon the right to follow it wherever it might carry them). Then I have had them agree to read the Gospel of John slowly and thoughtfully, and each time before they read to look up to God, if there were any God, to help them to understand what they were to read and to promise Him that they would take their stand upon whatever He showed them to be true, and follow it wherever it would carry them. And in every instance before they had finished the Gospel they had come to see that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God, and have believed and been saved. They had put themselves in that position where the Holy Spirit could bear His testimony to Jesus Christ and He had done it and through His testimony they saw and believed.

If you wish men to see the truth about Christ, do not depend upon your own powers of expression and persuasion, but cast yourself upon the Holy Spirit and seek for them His testimony and see to it that they put themselves in the place where the Holy Spirit can testify. This is the cure for both skepticism and ignorance concerning Christ. If you yourself are not clear concerning the truth about Jesus Christ, seek for yourself the testimony of the Holy Spirit regarding Christ. Read the Scriptures, read especially the Gospel of John but do not depend upon the mere reading of the Word, but before you read it, put yourself in such an attitude towards God by the absolute surrender of your will to Him that the Holy Spirit may bear His testimony in your heart concerning Jesus Christ. What we all most need is a clear and full vision of Jesus Christ and this comes through the testimony of the Holy Spirit. One night a number of our students came back from the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago and said to me, |We had a wonderful meeting at the mission to-night. There were many drunkards and outcasts at the front who accepted Christ.| The next day I met Mr. Harry Monroe, the superintendent of the mission, on the street, and I said, |Harry, the boys say you had a wonderful meeting at the mission last night.| |Would you like to know how it came about?| he replied. |Yes.| |Well,| he said, |I simply held up Jesus Christ and it pleased the Holy Spirit to illumine the face of Jesus Christ, and men saw and believed.| It was a unique way of putting it but it was an expressive way and true to the essential facts in the case. It is our part to hold up Jesus Christ, and then look to the Holy Spirit to illumine His face or to take the truth about Him and make it clear to the hearts of our hearers and He will do it and men will see and believe. Of course, we need to be so walking towards God that the Holy Spirit may take us as the instruments through whom He will bear His testimony.

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Promoting Genuine Biblical Revival.
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