The wisdom of the world and excellency of speech has replaced the honour and glory due the Spirit of power.
Wise leaders should have known that the human heart cannot exist in a vacuum. If Christians are forbidden to enjoy the wine of the Spirit they will turn to the wine of the flesh….Christ died for our hearts and the Holy Spirit wants to come and satisfy them.
Apostolic preaching is not marked by its beautiful diction, or literary polish, or cleverness of expression, but operates “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
When people hear about what God used to do, one of the things they say is: “Oh, that was a very long while ago.”… I thought it was God that did it. Has God changed? Is he not an immutable God, the same yesterday, today and forever? Does not that furnish an argument to prove that what God has done at one time he can do at another? Nay, I think I may push it a little further, and say what he has done once, is a prophecy of what he intends to do again…. Whatever God has done… is to be looked upon as a precedent…. [Let us] with earnestness seek that God would restore to us the faith of the men of old, that we may richly enjoy his grace as in the days of old.
When the inspired, God-breathed verses of the Bible become our prayer, something powerful occurs. We are praying the anointed words of God. These prayers will release the move of God’s Spirit in our lives in a more precise and effective way than our own random vocabulary. It’s the Hebrews 4:12 principle which says: “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”
Some souls think that the Holy Spirit is very far away, far, far, up above. Actually he is, we might say, the divine Person who is most closely present to the creature. He accompanies him everywhere. He penetrates him with himself. He calls him, he protects him. He makes of him his living temple. He defends him. He helps him. He guards him from all his enemies. He is closer to him than his own soul. All the good a soul accomplishes, it carries out under his inspiration, in his light, by his grace and his help.
There are a few things quite so boring as being religious, but there is nothing quite so exciting as being a Christian! Most folks have never discovered the difference between the one and the other, so that there are those who sincerely try to live a life they do not have, substituting religion for God, Christianity for Christ, and their own noble endeavors for the energy, joy, and power of the Holy Spirit. In the absence of reality, they can only grasp at ritual, stubbornly defending the latter in the absence of the former, lest they be found with neither! They are lamps without oil, cars without gas, and pens without ink, baffled at their own impotence in the absence of all that alone can make man functional; for man was so engineered by God that the presence of the Creator within the creature is indispensable to his humanity. Christ gave Himself for us to give Himself to us! His presence puts God back into the man! He came that we might have life – God’s life!
There are different kinds of fire; there is false fire. No one knows this better than we do, but we are not such fools as to refuse good bank notes because there are false ones in circulation; and although we see here and there manifestations of what appears to us to be nothing more than mere earthly fire, we none the less prize and value, and seek for the genuine fire which comes from the altar of the Lord.
It is only when the whole heart is gripped with the passion of prayer that the life giving fire descends, for none but the earnest man gets access to the ear of God.
We must be careful to let the Holy Spirit do this searching. If we try to search our own hearts, we are apt to fall into one or both of two traps. The first is the trap of morbid introspection. Introspection can easily become the tool of Satan, who is called the “accuser” (Revelation 12:10). One of his chief weapons is discouragement. He knows that if he can make us discouraged and dispirited, we will not fight the battle for holiness. The second trap is that of missing the real issues in our lives.