A Source of Courage
Think how little preparedness there is for self-sacrifice on behalf of the extension of the Kingdom of God.
When the Lord Jesus promised the Holy Spirit at His ascension, it was given as a power in us to work for Him. "Ye shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth" (Acts 1:8). The aim of the Pentecostal blessing from the King in heaven was simply to complete the equipment of His servants for His work as King on the earth. No sooner did the Spirit descend on them than they began to witness for Him. The Spirit filled them with the desire, impulse, courage, and power to brave all hostility and danger and to endure all suffering and persecution in making Jesus known as a Saviour. The Spirit of Pentecost was that true missionary spirit which seeks to win the whole world for Jesus Christ.
It is often said in our days that the missionary spirit is on the increase. Yet when we reflect carefully how little effort is expended on the missionary enterprise in comparison with the time spent on our own interests, we will see at once how feebly this question is still kindled in our hearts: "What more can I still sacrifice for Jesus? He offered Himself for me. I will offer myself wholly for Him and His work."
It has been well said that the Lord measures our gifts not according to what we give, but according to what we retain. He who stands beside the treasury and observes what is cast into it still finds many who, like the widow, cast in all their living.
How many have given only what they could never miss and what costs them little or no sacrifice. How different it would be if the full blessing of Pentecost began to flow in. How the hearts of men would burn with love for Jesus and, out of sheer joy, be impelled to give everything that He might be known as Saviour and all might know His love.
Brother, contemplate the conditions of the Church on earth, of the Christian community around you, and of your own heart. Then see why there is grave reason for the cry: "The full blessing of Pentecost. How little it is known." Ponder the present lack of sanctification, of separation from the world, of steadfastness among professing Christians, of conversions among the unsaved, and of self-sacrifice for the Kingdom of God. Let the sad reality deepen in your soul the conviction that the Church is at present suffering from one great evil, and this is her lack of the blessing of Pentecost. There can be no healing of her breaches, no restoration from her fall, and no renewing of her power except by this one remedy - namely, her being filled with the Spirit of God.
Never cease to speak, think, mourn, and pray over this trouble until this one thing needed becomes the one thing that occupies our hearts. Restoration is not easy. It may not come all at once. It may not come quickly. The disciples of Jesus required every day with Jesus for three long years to prepare them for it.
Let us not be unduly discouraged if the transformation we long for does not take place immediately. Let us feel the need and lay it to heart. Let us continue to be instant in prayer. Let us stand fast in faith.
The blessing of Pentecost is the birthright of the Church, the pledge of our inheritance, and something that belongs to us here on earth. Faith can never be put to shame. Cleaving to Jesus with purpose of heart never in vain. The hour will surely come when, if we believe perseveringly in Him, out of our hearts will flow rivers of living water.
(continued with # 19 - "How the Blessing is Hindered")