[b]The Baptism of the Holy Ghost[/b]
By John G. Lake
February 23, 1921
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is the greatest event in Christian history. Greater than the Crucifixion, of greater import than the Resurrection, greater than the Ascension, greater than the glorification. It was the end and finality of Crucifixion and Resurrection, Ascension and glorification.
If Jesus Christ had been crucified, and there had been no resurrection, His death would have been without avail, in so far as the salvation of mankind is concerned. Or if He had risen from the grave in resurrection, and failed to reach the throne of God, and receive from the Father the Gift of the Holy Ghost, the purpose for which He died, and for which He arose, would have been missed.
It is because there was no failure. It is because Jesus went to the ultimate, to the very Throne and heart of God, and secured right out of the heavenly treasury of the Eternal Soul, the Almighty Spirit, and poured it forth upon the world in divine baptism that we are here tonight.
Birthday of Christianity
The day of Pentecost was the birthday of Christianity. Christianity never existed until the Holy Ghost came from heaven. The ministry of Jesus in the world was His own divine preparation of the world for His ultimate and final ministry. His ultimate and final ministry was to be BY THE SPIRIT.
The ministry of Jesus during His earth life was localized by His humanity. Localized again in that His message was only given to Israel. But the descent of the Holy Ghost brought to the souls of men a UNIVERSAL ministry of Jesus to every man, right from the heart of God. Heavenly contact with the eternal God in power, set their nature all aflame for God and with God, exalted their natures into God, and made the recipient GOD-LIKE. Man became God-like!
There is no subject in all the Word of God that seems to me should be approached with so much holy reverence, as the subject of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Beloved, my heart bleeds every day of my life when I hear the flippancy with which Christians discuss the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
When Moses entered into the presence of God at the burning bush, God said, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground" [Exodus 3:51. How much more so when the individual comes into the presence of God, looking for the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, and remembers that in order to obtain this gift, Jesus Christ lived in the world, bled on the cross, entered into the darkness of death and hell and the grave, grappled with and strangled that accursed power, came forth again, and finally ascended to heaven in order to secure it for you and me. If there is anything under heaven that ought to command our reverence, our Holy reverence, our reverence beyond anything else in the world, it surely is the subject of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
My! Sometimes my soul is jarred when I hear people flippantly say: "Have you got your baptism?" Supposing that Jesus was on the cross, and we were privileged tonight to look into His face at this hour, I wonder what the feeling of our soul would be? Supposing we were to follow tonight behind the weeping company that bore His dead body and laid it in the tomb, what would our feelings be? Supposing we were to meet Him in the garden, as Mary did, in the glory of His resurrection or supposing that God in His goodness would let us look into that scene of scenes at the Throne of God, when the heavens lifted up their gates, and the Lord of Glory came in. Oh, if we could, beloved, we would have a better comprehension of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost
I love that dear old word "Ghost." The Anglo-Saxon is "Ghost" a spiritual guest, heavenly visitor, spiritual presence, the Angel One. And that Angel One that comes to you and me, comes right out of the heart of the Eternal God, breathed through the soul of Jesus Christ! When it came upon a man originally, as it did upon the hundred and twenty at Jerusalem, no one went around saying: "Brother, have you got your baptism?" They were walking with their shoes off, with uncovered heads and uncovered hearts before the Eternal God!
I believe that the first essential in a real Holy Ghost church and a real Holy Ghost work, is to begin to surround the Baptism of the Holy Ghost with that due reverence of God with which an experience so sacred, and that cost such an awful price, should be surrounded.
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost is peculiar to the Lord Jesus Christ. "I indeed," said John, "baptize you with water unto repentance: but HE. .. shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" [Matthew 3:11-12]. Jesus Christ, the Glorified, must lay His hands on you and on me and bestow upon us all His own nature, the outflow of God, the substance of His soul, the quality of His mind, the very being of God Himself. "Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you? [1 Corinthians 6:19]." A temple of God, a house of God in which God lives!
A Habitation of God
Sometimes I have tried to get it clear before my soul that God LIVES IN ME. I have tried to note the incoming influence and power of that pure, sweet, living Spirit of the Eternal God. I have tried to realize His presence in my spirit, in my soul, in my hands, in my feet, in my person and being--a habitation of God, a habitation of God! God equipping the soul to minister Himself, God, to the world. God equipping the soul of man that he may live forever in harmony of mind with God. God furnishing to the soul of man the POWER of His personality, by which man is made as God. For all the God-like qualities of your heart is due to the fact that God by the Spirit dwells in you. What is it that you look for in another? It is God. You look into the eyes of another to see God. If you fail to see God in the other life, your heart is troubled. You were looking for God.
I am not interested in the form or the figure or the name of an individual. I am interested in seeing God. Is God there? Is God in that man? Is God in that woman? Is it God that speaks? Is it God that moves? Are you seeing God?
You May Have God
The Baptism of the Holy Ghost was the incoming of God in personality, in order that the man, through this force, might be moved by God. God lives in him, God speaks through him, God is the impulse of his soul, God has his dwelling place in him.
YOU may have God! That is the wonder of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is not a work of grace, it is God possessing you. Oh, your heart may have been as sinful as the heart of man ever was sinful. But Christ comes to your soul. That spirit of darkness that possessed you goes, and in its stead, a new Spirit comes in, the Spirit of Christ. YOU have become a new creature, a saved man, a God-filled man.
Sin manifests itself in three ways, in thought, in acts, in nature. Salvation is a complete transformation. God takes possession of man, changes his thoughts, and in consequence his acts change, his nature is new. A Christian is not a reformed man. A Christian is a man renewed, remade by the Spirit of God. A Christian is a man indwelt by God-the house of God, the tabernacle of the Most High! Man, indwelt by God, becomes the hands, and the heart, and the feet, and the mind of Jesus Christ. God descends into man, man ascends into God! That is the purpose and power of the Baptism in the Holy Ghost. A soul is saved. How does Jesus reach them? Through your hands, through your heart, through your faith. When God baptizes you in the Holy Ghost, He gives you the biggest gift that heaven or earth ever possessed. He gives you Himself! He joins you by the one Spirit to Himself forever.
The requirement is a surrendered heart, a surrendered mind, a surrendered life. From the day that a man becomes a child of God, baptized in the Holy Ghost, it was God's intention through Jesus Christ that that man should be a revelation of Jesus, not of himself any more. From that time on the Christian should be a revelation of Jesus.
If you were looking to know whether a man was baptized in the Holy Ghost or not, what would you look for? You would look for God in him. You would look for a revelation of the personality of God. God moving in him, God speaking in him, God speaking through him, God using his hands, God using his feet, a mind in harmony with God, a soul in touch with heaven, a spirit united and unified with and in Jesus Christ.
God's Great Purpose Not Comprehended
It is not in my heart to discourage any man, or to make you disbelieve for one minute in the trueness of your own baptism in the Holy Ghost. I believe that God by the Spirit has baptized many in the Holy Ghost. Hundreds and hundreds of people have been baptized in the Holy Ghost during the life of this Church in the last six years. But beloved, we have not comprehended the greatness of God's intent. Not that we have not received the Spirit, but our lives have not been sufficiently surrendered to God. We must keep on ascending right to the throne, right into the heart of God, right into the soul of the Glorified.
The Holy Ghost Not A Gift of Power But of God Himself
The common teaching that my heart these days is endeavoring to combat is that God comes to present the individual with a gift of power, and the individual is then supposed to go out and manifest some certain characteristic of power. No! God comes to present you with HIMSELF"Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" [Acts 1:81.
Jesus went to heaven in order that the very treasury of the heart of the eternal God might be unlocked for your benefit, and that out of the very soul of the eternal God, the streams of His life and nature would possess you from the crown of your head to the soles of your feet, and that there would be just as much of the eternal God in your toe nails and in your brain as each are capable of containing. In other words, from the very soles of your feet to the last hair on the top of your head, every cell of your being, would be a residence of the Spirit of the living God. Man is made alive by God and with God, by the Spirit. And in the truest sense man is the dwelling place of God, the house of God, the tabernacle of the Most High.
Listen! "The words that I speak ...I speak not of myself but the Father that DWELLETH in Me" [John 14:10], "but the Father that dwelleth IN ME." Where did the Eternal Father dwell in Jesus Christ? Why in every part of His being, within and without-in the spirit of Him, in the soul of Him, in the brain of Him, in the body of Him, in the blood of Him, in the bones of Him! Every single, solitary cell of His structure was the dwelling place of God, of God, OF GOD!
When you look for God you do not look on the surface. You look within. When you discern a man to see whether God is in him, you look into the spirit of him, into the soul of him, into the depth of him, and there you see God.
How trifling are the controversies that surround the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Men are debating such trifling issues. For instance, does a man speak in tongues, or does he not? Do not think for a moment that I am discounting the value of tongues. I am not. But beloved, I will tell you what my heart is straining for. Down there at Jerusalem they not only spoke in tongues, but they spoke the languages of the NATIONS. If it was possible for old Peter and old Paul, or for the Jewish nation, then it is possible to every last one. Not to speak in tongues alone, as we ordinarily understand that phase, but to speak because God dwells in you and speaks to whomsoever He will in whatever language He desires. And if our present experience in tongues is not satisfying, God bless you, go on into languages, as God meant that you should.
Dear ones, I feel the need of that, and I feel it away down in my heart to a depth that hurts. I lived in South Africa for a number of years, where it is commonly said that there are a hundred thousand tribes of native people. Every last one of the hundred thousand speaks a different dialect. These tribes number sometimes as low as ten thousand people and sometimes as high as hundreds of thousands even millions of people.
Supposing we were going to undertake to evangelize Africa rapidly. It would be necessary to have a hundred thousand different missionaries, and have them all at one time, master one particular language, for there are a hundred thousand of them. No sir! I believe before high heaven that when the Spirit of the Eternal God is poured out upon all flesh, that out of the real Christian body will arise a hundred thousand men and women in Africa that will speak in the language of every separate tribe by the power of God.
The unknown tongue of the Spirit was to teach you of God, to be a faith builder in your soul, to take you out into God's big practical endeavor to save the world. And that is the reason, dear ones, that I bring this issue to your soul tonight. In the matter of the Baptism of the Holy Ghost we are in a state of the merest infancy of understanding, the merest infancy of divine control, the merest infancy in ability to assimilate our environment, including languages.
When we go to a school we see classes arranged for every grade. I was talking to a young school teacher, who teaches out in the country in a little public school. I said: "How many children have you in your school?"
She said: "Eight grades." Fifteen scholars divided into eight grades.
The Christian church is God's big school. What student in the eighth grade would think of saying to the child learning its ABC's, "You haven't anything. Why don't you have the eighth grade understanding?" Well in due time he will have it. That is the reason the student does not say it. It is because he knows the child will have it. One day that boy will understand just the same as he does. A weak Christianity always wants to drop to the imperfect, and adjust itself to the popular mind. But a real Christianity ever seeks to be made perfect in God, both in character and gifts.
My Personal Experience
Dear ones, I want to repeat to you tonight a little of my own personal history on the subject of the Baptism of the Spirit, for I know it will clarify your soul.
I knelt under a tree when about sixteen years of age, in repentance and prayer, and God came into my soul. I was saved from my sins, and from that day I knew Jesus Christ as a living Savior. There never was a single moment of question about the reality of His incoming into my life as a Savior, for He saved me from my sins. My friends said, "You are baptized in the Holy Ghost."
Sometime later, I think when I was yet under twenty, or there-about, I met a Christian farmer, Melvin Pratt, who sat down on his plow handles and taught me the subject of sanctification, and God let me enter into that experience. My friends said: "Now surely you are baptized in the Holy Ghost." Later in my life I came under the ministry of George B. Watson, of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, who taught with more clearness and better distinction between the Baptism of the Holy Ghost and sanctification, and I entered into a richer life and a better experience. A beautiful anointing of the Spirit was upon my life.
Ministry of Healing
Then the ministry of Healing was opened to me, and I ministered for ten years in the power of God. Hundreds and hundreds of people were healed by the power of God during this ten years, and I could feel the conscious flow of the Holy Spirit through my soul and my hands.
But at the end of that ten years I believe I was the hungriest man for God that ever lived. There was such a hunger for God that as I left my offices in Chicago and walked down the street, my soul would break out, and I would cry, "Oh God!" I have had people stop and look at me in wonder. It was the yearning passion of my soul, asking for God in a greater measure than I then knew. But my friends would say: "Mr. Lake, you have a beautiful baptism in the Holy Ghost." Yes, it was nice as far as it went, but it was not answering the cry of my heart. I was growing up into a larger understanding of God and my own soul's need. My soul was demanding a greater entrance into God, His love, presence and power.
My Baptism in the Holy Ghost
And then one day an old man strolled into my office, sat down, and in the next half hour he revealed more of the knowledge of God to my soul than I had ever known before. And when he passed out I said: "God bless that old gray head. That man knows more of God than any man I ever met. By the grace of God, if that is what the Baptism of the Holy Ghost with tongues does, I am going to possess it." Oh, the wonder of God that was then revealed to my heart!
I went into fasting and prayer and waiting on God for nine months. And one day the glory of God in a new manifestation and a new incoming came to my life. And when the phenomena had passed, and the glory of it remained in my soul, I found that my life began to manifest in the varied range of the gifts of the Spirit. And I spoke in tongues by the power of God, and God flowed through me with a new force. Healings were of a more powerful order. Oh, God lived in me, God manifested in me, God spoke through me. My spirit was deified, and I had a new comprehension of God's will, new discernment of spirit, new revelation of God in me. For nine months everything that I looked at framed itself into poetic verse. I could not look at the trees without it framing itself into a glory poem of praise. I preached to audiences of thousands night after night and day after day. People came from all over the world to study me. They could not understand. Everything I said was a stream of poetry. It rolled from my soul in that form. My spirit had become a fountain of poetic truth.
Then a new wonder was manifested. My nature became so sensitized that I could lay my hands on any man or woman and tell what organ was diseased, and to what extent, and all about it. I tested it. I went to hospitals where physicians could not diagnose a case, touched a patient and instantly I knew the organ that was diseased, its extent and condition and location. And one day it passed away. A child gets to playing with a toy, and his joy is so wonderful he sometimes forgets to eat.
Oh say, don't you remember when you were first baptized in the Holy Ghost, and you first spoke in tongues, how you bubbled and babbled, it was so wonderful, so amazing? We just wanted to be babies and go on bubbling and exhilarating. And now we are wondering what is the matter. The effervescence seems to have passed away. My! It is a good thing that it did. God is letting your soul down, beloved, into the bedrock-right down where your mind is not occupied any more with the manifestation of God. God is trying to get your mind occupied with HIMSELF. God has come into you, now He is drawing you into Himself.
Will you speak in tongues when you are baptized in the Holy Ghost? Yes, you will, but you will do an awful lot more than that, bless God. An awful lot more than that! You will speak with the soul of Jesus Christ. You will feel with the heart of the Son of God. Your heart will beat with a heavenly desire to bless the world, because it is the pulse of Jesus that is throbbing in your soul. And I do not believe there will be a bit of inclination in your heart to turn around another child of God and say: "You are not in my class. I am baptized with the Holy Ghost." That is as foreign to the Spirit of the Son of God as night is from day.
Beloved, if you are baptized in the Holy Ghost, there will be a tenderness in your soul so deep that you will never crush the aspiration of another by a single suggestion, but your soul will throb and beat and pulse in love, and your heart will be under that one to lift it up to God and push it out as far into the glory as your faith can send it.
I want to talk with the utmost frankness, and say to you that tongues have been to me the making of my ministry. It is that peculiar communication with God when God reveals to my soul the truth I utter to you day by day in my ministry. But that time of communication, with me, is mostly in the night. Many a time I climb out of bed, take my pencil and pad and jot down the beautiful things of God, the wonderful things of God, that He talks out in my spirit and reveals to my heart.
Many Christians do not understand the significance of tongues, any more than the other man understands the experience of your soul when you are saved from sin. It has taken place in you. It is in your heart, it is in your mind, it is in your being. The man who tries to make you doubt the reality of your touch with God when He saved you out of your sin is foolish. It is established IN you. The old Methodists could not explain the experience, but they said: "It is better felt than told." They knew it by internal knowledge. So it is in a real Baptism of the Holy Ghost. So it is in prophecy. So it is in healing. So it is in tongues. Do not throw away what you have. Go on to perfection.
The Language of the Spirit
The spirit of man has a voice. Do you get that? The spirit of man has a voice. The action of God in your spirit causes your spirit to speak by its voice. In order to make it intelligent to your understanding, it has to be repeated in the language that your brain knows. Why? Because there is a language common to the spirit of man, and it is not English, and it is not German, and it is not French, and it is not Italian, or any other of the languages of Earth. It is a language of the spirit of man. And, oh, what a joy it was when that pent-up, bursting, struggling spirit of yours found it's voice and "spake in tongues."
Many a time I have talked to others in the Spirit, by the Spirit, through the medium of tongues, and knew everything that was said to me, but I did not know it with this ear. It was not the soul of their words. It was that undefinable something that made it intelligent. Spirit speaks to spirit, just as mouth speaks to mouth, or as man speaks to man. Your spirit speaks to God. God is Spirit. He answers back. Bless God. And I believe with all my heart that is what Paul had in mind when he talked about the "unknown" tongue. The unknown tongue, that medium of internal revelation of God to you. The common language of the spirit of man, by which God communicates with your spirit.
But if you want to make that medium of internal revelation of God intelligent to other folks, then it must be translated into the language that they know. That is the reason the apostle says: "Let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret" [1 Corinthians 14:13], that the church may receive edifying. Paul says: "In the church I had rather speak five words with my understanding, that by my voice I might teach others also, than ten thousand words in an unknown tongue" [1 Corinthians 14:19]. Your revelation from God is given to you in tongues, but you give it forth in the language the people understand.
Beloved, settle it. It is one of the divine mediums and methods of communication between your spirit and God's. And as long as you live, when you talk about TONGUES, speak with reverence, for it is God. When you talk about healing, speak with reverence, for it is God. When you talk about prophecy, remember it is God.
A German woman came to the healing rooms one day and a brother prayed for her. She had been a school teacher, but had to give up her profession because of her eye sight. She came back some weeks later, after having been alone for three weeks. She had never been in a religious service in her life where they speak in tongues, and had not knowledge of the Scriptures on that line. She came back to me with a volume of written material that God had given her. When she had been prayed for to receive healing, the Spirit of God came upon her and she was baptized in the Holy Ghost. And now God had commenced to reveal Himself to her, teach her of His Word, and of His will, until she filled a volume with written material of her conversations with God. She communed with God in tongues, her spirit speaking to God, but when she came to me I receive it in English.
The man that sits along side of you cannot understand that. He never talked to God. He does not understand anything about getting up in the middle of the night to write down what God has said to him. Well, he needs something else to convince him that there is a God. Tongues are for a sign, NOT to them that believe, but to them that believe not. But prophecy, the outspeaking for God is for all. Therefore, Paul does not want them to crush a man who is speaking in tongues, but to keep their hands off and stand back. Leave him alone with God. Let him travel away out in His love and power, and come back with messages in his soul.
But he must not monopolize the time of hundreds of people in the church with a private communication of God to his soul. But when he has completed his interview with God, he gives forth his knowledge as interpretation or prophecy.
There have been so many controversies over the various gifts of the Spirit as they appeared one after another. Twenty-five or thirty years ago when we began in the ministry of healing [this was preached in 1921], we had to fight to keep from being submerged by our opposing brethren in Jesus Christ, who thought you were insane because you suggested that the Lord Jesus Christ could still heal. In the state of Michigan, I had to go into the courts to keep some of my friends out of the insane asylum, because they believed God could heal without taking pills or some other material stuff.
It was because they did not understand the eternal and invisible nature of God. They had no idea God could be ministered through a man's hands and soul, fill a sick man's body, take possession of and make him whole. The world has had to learn this. It is a science far in advance of so-called material or physical science.
Then that marvelous wave of God came over the country from 1900 to 1906, when hundreds of thousands of people were baptized in the Holy Ghost and spoke in tongues. But listen! Old John Alexander Dowie, riding on the wave of that wonderful manifestation of healing power, wanted to build a church and stamp it with healing only, and his church practically did that, and died.
Other churches branded theirs with holiness only, and died. Others with an anointing of the Holy Ghost, called "baptism", and they died in power also. Later on we wanted to build a great structure and stamp it with tongues. After a while the tongues got dry. Somehow the glory and the glow had gone out of them. They became rattly and did not sound right. What was the matter? Nothing wrong with the experience. God had not departed from the life, but was hidden from our view. We were absorbed in phenomena of God, and not in God Himself.
Now we must go on. Now beloved, I can see as my spirit discerns the future and reaches out to touch the heart of mankind, and the desire of God, that there is coming from heaven a new manifestation of the Holy Ghost in power, and that new manifestation will be in sweetness, in love, in tenderness, in the power of the Spirit beyond anything your heart or mine ever saw. The very lightning of God will flash through men's souls. The sons of God will meet the sons of darkness and prevail. Jesus Christ will destroy anti-Christ.
A Deluge of the Spirit
In 1908, I preached at Pretoria, South Africa, when one night God came over my life in such power, in such streams of liquid glory and power, that it flowed consciously off my hands like streams of electricity. I would point my finger at a man, and that stream would strike him. When a man interrupted the meeting, I would point my finger at him and say: "Sit down!" He fell as if struck, and lay for three hours. When he became normal they asked him what happened, and he said, "Something struck me that went straight through me. I thought I was shot."
At two o'clock in the morning I ministered to sixty-five sick who were present, and the streams of God that were pouring through my hands were so powerful the people would fall as though they were hit. I was troubled because they fell with such violence. And the Spirit said: "You do not need to put your hands on them. Keep your hands a distance away." And when I held my hands a foot from their heads they would crumple and fall in a heap on the floor. They were healed almost every one.
That was the outward manifestation. That was what the people saw. But beloved, something transpired in my heart that made my soul like the soul of Jesus Christ. On, there was such a tenderness, a new-born tenderness of God, that was so wonderful that my heart reached out and cried and wept over men in sin. I could gather them in my arms and love them, and Jesus Christ flowed out of me and delivered them. Drunkards were saved and healed as they stood transfixed looking at me.
During that period men would walk down the isle, and when they came within ten feet of me, I have seen them fall prostrate, one on top of the other. A preacher who had sinned, as he looked at me, fell prostrate, was saved, baptized in the Holy Ghost, and stirred the nation with his message of love.
In eighteen months God raised up one hundred white churches in the land. That hundred churches was born in my tabernacle at Johannesburg. The multitude of those who composed that hundred churches were healed or baptized in the Holy Ghost under my own eyes, as I preached or prayed.
I continued in the ministry of healing until I saw hundreds of thousands healed. At last I became tired. I went on healing people day after day, as though I were a machine. And all the time my heart kept asking: "Oh, God, let me know yourself better. I want you, my heart wants YOU, God." Seeing men saved and healed and baptized in the Holy Ghost did not satisfy my growing soul. It was crying for a greater consciousness of God, the withinness of me was yearning for Christ's own life and love. After a while my soul reached the place where I said: "If I cannot get God into my soul to satisfy the soul of me, all the rest of this is empty." I had lost interest in it, but if I put my hands on the sick they continued to be healed by the power of God.
I will never forget Spokane, Washington for during the first six months I was there God satisfied the cry of my heart, and God came in and my mind opened and my spirit understood afresh, and I was able to tell of God, and talk out the heart of me like I never had been able to before. God reached a new depth in my spirit, and revealed new possibilities in God. So beloved, you pray through. Pray through for this church, pray through for this work. Oh, God will come! God will come with more tongues than you have ever heard. God will come with more power than your eyes ever beheld. God will come with waves of heavenly love and sweetness, and blessed be God, your heart will be satisfied in Him.
Will a man speak in tongues when he is baptized in the Holy Ghost? Yes, he will, and he will heal the sick when he is baptized, and he will glorify God out of the spirit of him, with praises more delightful and heavenly than you ever heard. And he will have a majestic bearing. He will look like the Lord Jesus Christ, and he will be like Him. Blessed be God.
The greatest manifestation of the Holy Ghost baptized life ever given to the world, was not in the preaching of the apostles, it was not in the wonderful manifestations of God that took place at their hands, it was in the unselfishness manifested by the church. Think of it! Three thousand Holy Ghost baptized Christians in Jerusalem from the day of Pentecost onward who loved their neighbor's children as much as their own, who were so anxious for fear their brethren did not have enough to eat, that they sold their estates, and brought the money and laid it at the apostle's feet, and said: "Distribute it, carry the glow and the fire and the wonder of this divine salvation to the whole world." That showed what God had wrought in their hearts. Oh, I wish we could arrive at that place where this church was baptized in that degree of unselfishness.
That would be a greater manifestation than healing, greater than conversion, greater than baptism in the Holy Ghost, greater than tongues. It would be a manifestation of the LOVE of 1 Corinthians 13, that so many preach about, and do not possess. When a man sells his all for God, and distributes it for the kingdom's good, it will speak louder of love than the evangelists who harp about love, and oppose tongues and the other gifts of the spirit.
That was the same Holy Ghost that came upon them and caused them to speak in tongues. No more grabbing for themselves. No more bantering for the biggest possible salary, no more juggling to put themselves and their friends in the most influential positions. All the old characteristics were gone. They were truly saved. Why their heart was like the heart of Jesus, their soul was like the soul of God, they loved as God loved, they loved the world, they loved sinners so that they gave their all to save them.
Do you want Him? You can have Him. Oh, He will come and fill your soul. Oh, the Holy Ghost will take possession of your life. He will reveal the wonder of heaven and the glory of God, and the richness and purity of His holiness, and make you sweet and God-like forever.
Thou art not far away, Oh, God, our souls tonight are enveloped in the eternal God. We feel Thee round about us. We feel Thy precious loving arm, and the beating of Thy heart, and the pulsing of Thy heavenly soul, and we are asking Thee, my God, that the truth of the Eternal shall be breathed into us forever until all our nature is submerged in God, buried up in God, infilled with God, revealing God. ---Prayer in Tongues and Interpretation
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon