The initial steps on the way to Pentecost is to supernaturally experience the resurrection power of the Lord Jesus Christ through repentance, confession, acknowledging His finished work on the Cross of Calvary, and surrendering fully to His Lordship over every area and aspect of our lives. That is the genuine Born-Again experience. He is the King of an Eternal Kingdom… there is no other!(John 14:6). For the unbelieving, He is Lord whether one acknowledges that Truth or not.
We will either stand before Him at the Bema Judgment Seat of Christ, where all our “works” will be put to the torch– and only gold, silver, and precious stones will remain- (1 Cor.3:9-17; 2 Cor. 5:10; Rom. 14:10)... or at the terrible Great White Throne Judgment where there will be no hope for those whose names are not written in The Lamb’s Book of Life, but only eternal separation from God in unrelenting torment in the Lake of Fire (Rev. 20:11-15). This is not a popular topic in the “seeker-sensitive” post-modern timid and tepid church. But that is only a minor aspect of a much bigger conundrum… an enigma hidden in a paradox: the church of the risen Christ without power!
Since Pentecost Sunday, over the past nearly 2000 years, until this very instant Resurrection Power has been not only available to but required of the true Church of the Living God by way of the third person of the Godhead: Jehovah Holy Spirit! I have experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and can give testimony to the difference that reality makes. But rather than speak of personal experience I have chosen to present excerpts from the Christian classic: The Way of Pentecost by Dr. Samuel Chadwick (1860-1932).
The Apostles’ Creed contains ten articles on the Person and Work of Christ, and only one on the Holy Spirit. The proportion of ten to one about represents the interest in the doctrine of the Spirit in the history of Christian thought. No doctrine of the Christian faith has been so neglected. This is all the more remarkable when we remember that the Holy Spirit is the ultimate fact of Revelation and the unique force in Redemption. No other religion has anything corresponding to the Christian doctrine of the Spirit, and in the Christian religion there is nothing so vital, pervasive, and effective… We are living under the dispensation of the Spirit; in that character God now reveals Himself to His people. he who does not know God the Holy Spirit cannot know God at all….
The Holy Scriptures declare Him to be the revealer of all truth, the active agent in all works of redemption, and from first to last the instrument of Grace in the experience of salvation. In Him, and through Him, and by Him, is the power that saves. Illumination and Conviction, Repentance and Regeneration, Assurance and Sanctification, are all the work of God the eternal Spirit. To the Church He is the Source and Supply of wisdom and power. The Church is the Body of Christ, indwelt and controlled by the Spirit. He directs, energizes, and controls. From first to last this dispensation is the Dispensation of the Spirit…
…The blunders and disasters of the Church are largely, if not entirely, accounted for by the neglect of the Spirit’s Ministry and Mission. The morass of speculation about the Bible takes no account of the Holy Spirit. It regard inspiration as negligible, and insists upon interpreting Revealed Truth by no standards save those of history and literature. Miracles are condemned without trial. Prophecy is dismissed without inquiry. Revelation is ignored without reason. Under the plea of breadth, all truth is thrust into uniform ruts. Our Lord spoke of the Spirit as the Spirit of Truth, and promised that He would guide His people into all Truth. He spake by the Prophets. There were many writers, but He is the Author, and the Bible can neither be accounted for nor interpreted but by His guidance. He holds the key; He is the Key. Revealed Truth can be known only through the Revealer.
The Problems of the Church
As in truth, so it is in service. The Church is helpless without the presence and power of the Spirit… The power to attract is in attractiveness, and it is useless to advertise the banquet if there is nothing to eat. We are acting as though the only remedy for decline were method, organization, and compromise. The Church is failing to meet modern needs, grip the modern mind, and save modern life. the saints are the ordained rulers of the earth, but they do not rule; indeed, they have dropped the scepter and repudiated the responsibility. The helplessness of the Church is pathetic and tragic…
Believers Without the Holy Spirit
The Church knows quite well both the reason and the remedy for failure. The human resources of the Church were never so great. The opportunities of the Church were never so glorious. The need for the work of the Church was never so urgent. The crisis is momentous; and the Church staggers helplessly amid it all… The Church has lost the note of authority, the secret of wisdom, and the gift of power, through persistent and willful neglect of the Holy Spirit of God. Confusion and impotence are inevitable when the wisdom and resources of the world are substituted for the presence and power of the Spirit of God… The Church in our day has no… excuse. Ours is the sin of denial. He has been shut out from the province in which He is indispensable. Religion has been reconstructed without Him. There is no denial of the supernatural, but it is insisted that the supernatural must conform to natural law. It is admitted that truth is inspired, but its inspiration must develop along the lines of natural selection and growth… The Christian religion has simply the honor of being less faulty than the rest. Jesus Christ must be accounted for in the same way. He is simply the crown and consummation of a progressive humanity. The emphasis is upon the Man, and in that emphasis there is reason to rejoice but the strange thing is that in the intense interest in Jesus the certainties about Him that come through the Spirit have been lost.
Doctrine Without Experience
The Church still has a theology of the Holy Spirit, but it has no living consciousness of His presence and power. Theology without experience is like faith without works: it is dead. The signs of death abound. Prayer-meetings have died out because men did not believe in the Holy Spirit. The liberty of prophesying has gone because men believe in investigation and not inspiration. There is a dearth of conversions because faith about the New Birth as a creative act of the Holy Ghost has lost its grip on the intellect and heart. The experience of the Second Gift of Grace is no longer preached and testified, because Christian experience, though it may have to begin in the Spirit, must be perfected in the wisdom of the flesh and the culture of the schools. Confusion and impotence are the inevitable results when the wisdom and resources of the world are substituted for the presence and power of the Spirit.
Modernism and Mysticism are also the products of a religion that is not baptized of the Holy Spirit. These things flourish on impoverished soils and dunghills. They are the works of the flesh, and the product of spiritual death… The answer is in the demonstration of a supernatural religion, and the only way… is in the abiding presence of the Spirit of God.
The Church Without the Spirit
The Church is the creation of the Holy Spirit. It is a community of believers who owe their religious life from first to last to the Spirit. Apart from Him there can be neither Christian nor Church. The Christian religion is not institutional but experimental. It is not a fellowship of common interest in culture, virtue, or service. Membership is by spiritual birth. The roll of membership is kept in Heaven. Christ is the Door. He knows them that are His, and they know Him. The Church Roll and the Lamb’s Book of Life are not always identical… Religious services and organized institutions do not constitute a Christian Church, and these may flourish without the gift of Pentecostal Fire.
The Life of the Body
The Gospels tell of ‘all that Jesus began to do and to teach, until the day in which He was received up”, and The Acts of the Apostles tell of all that He continued to do and to teach after the day in which He was received up. The Holy Spirit is the active, administrative Agent of the glorified Son. He is the Paraclete, the Deputy, the acting Representative of the Ascended Christ. His mission is to glorify Christ by perpetuating His character, establishing His Kingdom, and accomplishing His redeeming purpose in the world. The Church is the Body of Christ,and the Spirit is the Spirit of Christ. He fills the Body, directs its movements, control its members, inspires its wisdom, supplies its strength. He guides into the truth, sanctifies its agents, and empowers for witnessing. The work of the Church is to “minister the Spirit”, to speak His message, and transmit His power. He calls and distributes, controls and guides, inspires and strengthens.
The Spirit has never abdicated His authority nor relegated His power… The Church that is man managed instead of God governed is doomed to failure. A ministry that is College trained but not Spirit filled works no miracles. The Church that multiplies committees and neglects prayer may be fussy, noisy, enterprising, and it labors in vain and spends its strength for nought. It is possible to excel in mechanics and fail in dynamic. There is a superabundance of machinery; what is wanting is power. To run an organization needs no God. Man can supply the energy, enterprise, and enthusiasm for things human. The real work of a Church depends upon the power of the Spirit.
The Presence of the Spirit is vital and central to the work of the Church. Nothing else avails. Apart from Him wisdom becomes folly, and strength weakness. The Church is called to be a Spiritual House and a Holy Priesthood. Only spiritual people can be its living stones, and only the Spirit fills its priests. Scholarship is blind to spiritual truth till He reveals. Worship is idolatry till He inspires. Preaching is powerless if it be not a demonstration of His power. Prayer is vain unless He energizes. Human resources of learning and organization, wealth and enthusiasm, reform and philanthropy, are worse than useless if there be no Holy Spirit in them. The Church always fails at the point of self confidence. When the Church is run on the same lines as a circus, there may be crowds, but there is no Shekinah. That is why prayer is the test of faith and the secret of power. The Spirit of God travails in the prayer life of the soul. Miracles are the direct work of His power, and without miracles the Church cannot live. The carnal can argue, but it is the Spirit that convicts. Education can civilize, but it is being born of the Spirit that saves… It is the presence of the Holy Spirit that makes a Temple of the Living God. The root trouble of the present distress is that the Church has more faith in the world and the flesh than in the Holy Spirit, and things will get no better till we get back to His realized presence and power. The breath of the four winds would turn death into life and dry bones into mighty armies, but it only comes by prayer.
The Difference Holy Spirit Fire Makes
Pentecost transforms the preacher. The commonest bush ablaze with the presence of God becomes a miracle of glory. Under its influence the feeble become as David, and the choice mighty as the Angel of the Lord. The ministry energized by the Holy Spirit is marked by aggressive evangelism, social revolution, and persecution… Indifference to religion is impossible where the preacher is a flame of fire. To the Church, Pentecost brought light, power, and joy. There came to each illumination of mind, assurance of heart, intensity of love, fullness of power, and exuberance of joy. No one needed to ask if they had received the Holy Spirit. Fire is self evident. So is power! Even demons know the difference between the power of inspiration and the correctness of instruction. Secondhand gospels work no miracles. Uninspired devices end in defeat and shame. The only power adequate for the Christian life and Christian work is the power of the Holy Spirit.
The work of God is not by might of man or by the power of men but by His Spirit. It is by Him the truth convicts and converts, it sanctifies and saves. The philosophies of men fail, but the Word of God in the demonstration of the Spirit prevails. Our wants are many and our faults innumerable, but they are all comprehended in our lack of the Holy Spirit. We want nothing but the fire.
The resources of the Church are in the supply of the Spirit. The Spirit is more than the Minister of Consolation. He is Christ without the limitations of the flesh and the material world. He can reveal what Christ could not speak. He has resources of power greater than those Christ could use, and He makes possible greater works than Him. He is the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth, the Spirit of Witness, the Spirit of Conviction, the Spirit of Power, the Spirit of Holiness, the Spirit of Life, the Spirit of Adoption, the Spirit of Help, the Spirit of Liberty, the Spirit of Wisdom, the Spirit of Revelation, the Spirit of Promise, the Spirit of Love, the Spirit of Meekness, the Spirit of Sound Mind, the Spirit of Grace, the Spirit of Glory, and the Spirit of Prophecy. It is for the Church to explore the resources of the Spirit. The resources of the world are futile. The resources of the Church within herself are inadequate. In the fullness of the Spirit there is abundance of wisdom, resources, and power; but a man managed, world annexing, priest pretending Church can never save the world or fulfill the mission of Christ. Suppose we try Pentecost!
The Spirit of Promise
The Divine Spirit is called the Holy Spirit of Promise. The expression looks both backward and forward. He is the Spirit given in fulfillment of promise, and in Him is the earnest of the promise as yet unfulfilled. The gift of Pentecost fulfills the crowning promise of the Father. The Spirit is the Promised One. Our Lord spoke of Him as the promise of the Father, and on the day of Pentecost the Apostle Peter, in explanation of the descent of the Holy Spirit declared: This Jesus did God raise up, whereof we are all witnesses. Being therefore by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he hath poured forth this, which we see and hear.Pentecost was God’s seal upon the Messiahship of Jesus, and the fulfillment of His promise to Israel. Fulfillment brings new promises. Attainment inspires new hopes. The Spirit comes to the believing disciples, as the earnest of inheritance through sonship and the pledge of our resurrection in Christ the Risen Lord and Savior. He is the Spirit of Promise in fulfillment, and the Spirit of Promise in assurance through faith.
The Spirit in the Church
The sphere of the Spirit is in the Living Temple of sanctified humanity. He dwells not in temple made with hands… God cares nothing for costly buildings, and everything for loving hearts. he seeks men. He wants men. He needs men. He dwells in men. Immanuel is the first word and the last of the Gospel of Grace. In a powerful plea for the life of prayer, E. M. Bounds says: God’s plan is to make much of man, far more of him than of anything else. Men are God’s method. The Church is looking for better methods; God is looking for better men. He has staked His Kingdom on men. He has trusted His Gospel to men… “the eyes of the Lord run to an fro throughout the earth, to show Himself strong in the behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward Him.”
The Spirit in the World
It is this mystery that has filled the history of the Church with anomalies. Inadequate men are always doing impossible things, and ordinary men achieve extraordinary results. God’s biggest things seem to be done by the most unlikely people. Unknown Davids kill terrifying Goliaths. The weak confound the mighty, and things hid from the learned and wise are made known to unlearned and ignorant men. The All wise seems to delight in nothing so much as turning the wisdom of the vain to folly… There is no conquest of the world for God but by the Holy Spirit. He alone can convict the world in respect to sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. There is no other power that can do that, and without conviction there can be neither the salvation of the soul nor the coming of the Kingdom. Our one lack is the power that comes of the Spirit. For holiness and for service, for prosperity and for victory, He is our need. The Spirit is God’s gift. The power cannot be bought either with money or merit. A gift can only be received or rejected. This gift is for all who believe and crownJesus Christ in their hearts.
A Definite Experience
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a definite and distinct experience assured and verified by the witness of the Spirit. The disciples who were commanded to “Tarry until they were endued with power from on high” had already received the Spirit for salvation. It is puerile to say they were not already saved. Our Lord places that question for ever beyond doubt in His intercession for them on the eve of His passion. They were His. He had kept them by His power, given them the eternal Word, and they were not of the world even as He was not of the world. Still they were commanded to tarry…
The experience is distinct from that of Regeneration. Of those who had believed and been baptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus, it was said that they had not yet been baptized of the Holy Spirit. It is evident, therefore, that a man may be born again of the Spirit and not be baptized with the Spirit. In Regeneration there is a gift of life by the Spirit, and whosoever receives it is saved; in the Baptism of the Spirit there is a gift of power, and by it the believer is equipped for service and endued for witnessing… It is the inheritance of every believer to receive the gift of the Spirit, to be baptized with the Spirit, to be filled with the Spirit; and to this definite experience many thousands have testified. They were born again of the Spirit, and afterwards– sometimes a long time after, sometimes after a little while, there came a conviction of need and an assurance of Faith through the Word of God by which they entered into an experience of Sanctification and the abiding fullness of the Holy Spirit.
The Spirit fills, vitalizes, and energizes with the power of God. Deliverance from sin, efficiency in service, and effectiveness in witnessing are given with the fullness of the Pentecostal blessing. Power to move the world for God and to win souls for Him is neither intellectual nor social, but it is in the fullness of the Spirit of God in the soul. Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses in Jerusalem, in Judea, and to the outer most parts of the earth.
Santos: This is but a brief overview of the more comprehensive work of Dr. Chadwick in the twenty chapters book. For those who are serious about learning more about and experiencing the Baptism of the Holy Spirit for a modest donation, please contact the ministry of Herald of His Coming. Blessings in Him…
For deeper insight into how GOD the Father sees His children; to better understand the elementary principles of Christ (Hebrews 6:1-3); the ‘mysteries’ of Christ’s Kingdom; and our individual and corporate calling, commission, and empowerment- please review my first published book and the Table of Contents on the Amazon website linked here via Book Title: “Thy Kingdom Come- Here and Now!”
Please enjoy the anointed worship of Todd Agnew on Grace Like Rain-