These articles bring a simple but solemn message. The one thing needed for the Church today in its search for spiritual excellence is to be filled with the Spirit of God.
In order to secure attention to this message and attract the hearts to its blessings, there is a particular emphasis on certain main points.
1. The will of God for every one of His children is that they live entirely and unceasingly under the authority of the Holy Spirit.
2. Without being filled with the Spirit, it is impossible for an individual Christian or a church to ever live or work as God desires.
3. In the life and experience of Christians, this blessing is little used and little searched for.
4. God waits to give us this blessing, and in our faith we may expect it with the greatest confidence.
5. The self-life and the world hinder and unsurp the place that Christ ought to occupy.
6. We cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit until we are prepared to yield ourselves to be led by the Lord Jesus - to forsake and sacrifice everything for this pearl of great price.
We have a poor conception of the unspiritual and sinful state which prevails in the Church that, unless we take time to devote our heart and our thoughts to the real facts of the case, the promise of God can make no deep impression on us. I have presented the subject in various aspects to prepare the way for the conviction that this blessing is in truth the one thing needed; and to get possession of this one thing, we ought to say goodbye to everything we hold as idols. Owing to the prevailing lack of the presence and operation of the Spirit, it takes a long time before these spiritual truths concerning the need, the fullness, and the reality of the Spirit's power can obtain mastery over us.
Christians cannot live rightly according to the will of God without this blessing. I cannot exhort my readers strongly enough to continue this search for spiritual excellence by calling on God in the confidence that He will answer.
When we read the book of Acts, we see that the filling with the Spirit and His mighty operation was always obtained by prayer. Recall, for example, what took place at Antioch. When the Christians were engaged in fasting and prayer, God regarded them as prepared to receive the revelation that they must separate Barnabas and Saul. It was only after they had once more fasted and prayed that these two men went forth, sent by the Holy Spirit (Acts 13:2-3). These servants of God felt that the blessing they needed must come only from above.
To obtain the blessing we so greatly need, we, in like manner, must liberate ourselves as far as possible from the demands of the earthly life. Let us never become weary or discouraged but ask that the Holy Spirit may again assume His rightful place and exercise full dominion in us. In addition, let us pray that He may again have His true place in the Church, be held in honor by all, and in everything reveal the glory of our Lord Jesus. To the soul who diligently searches and prays in sincerity according to His Word, God's answer will surely come.
Nothing searches and cleanses the heart like true prayer. It teaches one to ask such questions as these: Do I really desire what I pray for? Am I willing to cast out everything to make room for what God is prepared to give me? Is the prayer of my lips really the prayer of my life?
Am I willing to wait on Him, in quiet trust, until He gives me this supernatural gift - His own Spirit?
Let us pray continually, coming before God with supplications and strong crying as His priests and the representatives of His Church. We can depend on Him to hear us.
Believer, you know that the Lord is a God that often hides Himself. He desires to be trusted. He is often very near to us without our knowing it. He is a God who knows His own time. Though He tarry, wait for Him. He will surely come (Habakkuk 2:3).
(continued with # 2 - "How It Is To Be Taught")