Promise Of The Spirit 10

W. W. Prescott

There are a few more thoughts to which I will call your attention in the scripture that was read last evening, then we will pass to another part of the subject.

“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” John 16:12, 13, 14.

The Saviour said that he had other things that he wanted to tell them about, and he would not hesitate from doing it while he was present with them, but they could not bear them, and that they were not where they could properly consider the matter at that time. The promise was that the spirit of truth would come,-the Spirit of truth,-the spirit of truth. That means to my mind this: The Spirit that discerns truth because it is the truth.

There is a great difference between that, and hearing a long argument on one side and the other, and weighing the reasons for and against, and finally deciding that the balance of argument is in favor of this view, or this thought, or this doctrine, therefore I accept that as truth. It is that Spirit that decides that a thing is truth because it is truth. It is that Spirit which does not have to hear any other side,-that recognizes truth as truth, and error as error; because of the presence of the Spirit of truth.

That Spirit is greatly needed just at this time, because there will be every wind of doctrine blowing, every effort made to bring in-not in an open way, but in an underhanded way, in a way that we shall not recognize of our own wisdom-principles that really involve the whole question. They will, of course, be brought up in some way so as to deceive if possible. No one who has any wisdom sufficient to lead him to try to deceive, would make the deception so plain that every one would recognize it as a deception; but the effort will be made to bring it in as the truth, and to cloak it under the garment of truth, and yet, putting it in such a way that it will involve the whole question, and bring us to compromise with error without our knowing it.

The Spirit of truth is necessary, to prevent that. Our wisdom and our discernment and our perception, when we are left to ourselves, without the special enlightening influence of the Spirit, will not be sufficient to guard us against the specious devices that Satan will bring into this work at this time.

Now comes the crisis; now comes the time when every effort will be made to mislead, to deceive, and to cover up the truth, to keep it from the people and to turn them away from it. And so the effort will be made, which we in all our wisdom will be unable to perceive. I cannot tell you how it will come. You do not know how it will come; but it will probably come from a quarter least expected. When we are watching one point, thinking perhaps there is where the deception will come from, that that is the channel through which it will be manifested, it will come in some other way. It will take more wisdom and more discernment than we possess to perceive the way from which it will come, and be ready to recognize it as soon as it comes. We do not want a principle of error to come in, in a suspicious way, to lead us off from the principles of truth and righteousness, the way cast up for the ransomed of the Lord to walk in.

But he will lead us, he will guide us, he will direct us in the way of all truth. “He shall not speak of himself.” Christ did not speak of himself; he spoke the words that the Father gave him. The Spirit did not speak of himself, “but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” Christ glorified the Father when he was here, and in the following chapter, he says, “I have glorified thee on the earth: I have finished the work that thou gavest me to do.” We might read it: I have glorified thee on the earth by finishing the work thou gavest me to do. What was he given to do? His work was to represent God to the world in the flesh, to interpret to the world the character of God. He came into the world to do that, to make plain to the world the character of God. It was to glorify the Father. So we read: “Herein is my Father glorified that ye bear much fruit.” John 15:8.

We are to be filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God. That will glorify him through our instrumentality just as Christ glorified him when he, was here.

The Spirit is to glorify Christ. That is, he is to reveal Christ to us and in us. He is to bring to us the presence of Christ and what he really is; to enlighten our minds as to the true character of Christ, and then to reveal that character in us. That will glorify Christ. That will interpret Christ to the world. Then when the Spirit comes in its fullness, do you not see that Christ will be glorified and magnified as never before? That Christ will be the topic, Christ will be the thought, his righteousness will be everywhere? One theme will occupy every mind, How we can best represent Christ and his righteousness.

Allow me to read a few words on this point: “He shall glorify me.” This is life eternal that they might know thee-the only true God, and Christ whom he has sent! The Holy Spirit glorifies God by so revealing his character to his people that he becomes the object of supreme affection. They see clearly that there was never any righteousness in the world but his,—no excellency in the world but that derived from him. When the Spirit was poured out from on high, the church was filled with light, but Christ was the source of that light. His name was on every tongue, his love filled every heart. So it will be when the angel that comes down from heaven having great power shall “lighten the earth with his glory.”

Now we want to take that as an actual experience that is to come now. We do not want to consider this as a question, as to how it will be sometime, or somewhere, or how it was in the apostle’s days, but it seems to me that our minds want to be held to this point all the time;—This is present experience. We want to understand this for ourselves and we want to believe for these very experiences now. True, they were experiences of olden days, but they are to be repeated, and even with greater power and fullness in our day; and there are to be those right here, as I have said before, who are to see these things for themselves. I pray God that I may be one of them. I want to see these things. I want to live in these things. It is what we have been looking forward to for years. I praise God that it is here. I want to see it; and not only that, I want to be right in it and have a part in it.

We will further consider this evening some thoughts brought out in the twelfth chapter of First Corinthians where it speaks of the gifts. I can only consider these briefly. “Now there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. And there are differences of administrations, but the same Lord. And there are diversities of opinions, but it is the same God which worketh all in all.” Verses 4-6. Notice these three verses. In the fourth it is the “same Spirit,” in the fifth it is the “same Lord,” and in the sixth it is the “same God.”

“But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith, by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: but all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Corinthians 12:7-11.

The first thought I want to call your attention to in connection with this general subject is this: That it is the same Spirit, the same Lord, and the same God in all, and that these gifts are but the manifestations of the same Spirit. Notice how this Spirit is spoken of in the eleventh chapter of Isaiah, where some of the characteristics of the Spirit are given.

“And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. And he shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears.” Verses 2, 3.

Now in whom were these gifts fully manifested? [Ans. Christ.] You will remember that when Christ was here the Spirit was not measured out to him, and all these gifts were manifested through Christ, in whom was the fulness of the God-head bodily who was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, who was anointed with the Holy Spirit.

Let us notice these gifts: The word of wisdom: They said, Never man spake like this man. They were astonished at his words and said, Whence hath this man such wisdom? Isn’t he the son of Joseph? Isn’t this the carpenter? Are not his brothers and his sisters right here with us? He received that Spirit of wisdom from above. So we might go through all the list and speak of the faith in his life, of healing, and the work of miracles, of prophecies, and the discerning of spirits, etc., etc.

The gift of tongues was given to the disciples on the day of Pentecost. But it was given them for use right then, so that those of all the different nationalities might hear the gospel in the language which they could understand. So it did not need any interpretation of tongues there.

Follow the experience of the disciples and see how these gifts were manifested at once. Here was the gift of tongues manifested in the very outpouring of the Spirit of God. The gift of healing was seen in the case of the lame man at the gate of the temple. Then the Spirit came when Peter and John were called before the council, and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Christ. They knew they were unlearned and ignorant men. You may follow the whole record through and find instances. Peter was filled with the Spirit of wisdom so that he understood the whole matter about Ananias and Sapphira, that they lied to the Holy Ghost and proposed to keep back part of the money. And then in the case of Stephen when he was brought before the council, “They were unable to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake.” Acts 6:10. It was the gift.

It was not any unusual thing for one to prophesy, or for the Spirit to be manifested in vision. That was continually happening. When the gospel was to go to the Gentiles, Cornelius had a vision. He obeyed it. Peter had a vision to prepare him for the mission he was to perform. The Spirit told him that the men were down at the door waiting for him, and further instructed him to go with them, nothing doubting. He went and preached, and the Holy Spirit fell upon him. We read in the tenth chapter that when the Holy Spirit fell on them, “they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost. For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God” The gift of tongues was manifested right there.

When Paul went on his way preaching, he asked some of the disciples if they had received the Holy Ghost since they believed. The revised version says, “did ye receive the Holy Ghost when ye believed.” They said that they had not heard about it in that way, and then “they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands on them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.” Acts 19:5, 6. So all through the records the gifts accompanied the outpouring of the Spirit. You well know that there is no record of the withdrawal of those gifts from the church. The point is that the Spirit was withdrawn because of the turning away from God and refusing to submit to him; because the mystery of iniquity worked, and the man of sin came in; because self was set up in place of God. Then the Spirit was withdrawn.

But now in the closing work of God, he wants that Spirit to be manifested again, and the gifts in the church to reappear. The gifts will reappear in the church. And God does not intend, as it seems to me, that these gifts are to be confined just to one here, or perhaps one there, and that it shall be a rare thing that any special gift shall be manifested in any church. I believe that in this closing work, with the outpouring of the Spirit will come back in their fulness the gifts to the church just as in the early church. So that there will be the gift of wisdom, the gift of knowledge by this Spirit; gifts of healing; working of miracles; prophesyings; interpretation of tongues;-all these things will be manifested again in the church. Such an experience is spoken of in 1 Corinthians 1:5-7: “That in everything ye are enriched by him, in all utterance, and in all knowledge; even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you: so that ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” That is to be the experience of the church waiting for the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ,-every gift of the Spirit is to be manifested.

There are to be diverse gifts-diverse operations, but the same Spirit, the same Lord. There is to be perfect unity all the way through. Following in the same chapter is the wonderful illustration of the human body. You see how this illustrates the idea of perfect unity in the church, that there should be no divisions, no schisms. Suppose one foot decided to go over here, and the other foot decided to go over there; of course there would be a tearing apart of the body. Suppose you decided to go home tonight, and your feet decided not to go; if you left them there would be a tearing asunder of the body. Suppose one hand says, No, I am not going, I will stay here; there would be a tearing asunder of the body.

Now just in that way we are all members of one body, the church. The body is Christ; and whenever the body is to move, and one hand takes hold of something, and says, No, I am going to stop here, there is a tearing asunder,-there is a marring of the body of Christ, just as though your hand took hold of this post and you went on without it. The tearing asunder of any member causes suffering. When any member does not perform the work assigned to it properly, all suffer; and so there should be that spirit of unity in the church that the whole church will be governed by one mind and one will, just the same as all the members of the body are under the control of one mind and one will; and in the church, that mind must be the mind of Christ. Then there is no tearing asunder; then there are no members left behind to cause a marred body, but each member fills its place under the direction of one mind and one Spirit. That is the unity that Christ wants in his church.

To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom. The promise, which we are to take especially for this time, is found in Luke 21. Speaking of those who shall be brought into strait places, and before governors and kings to give their testimony: “Settle it therefore in your hearts not to meditate before what ye shall answer; for I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist.” Verses 14, 15. Now that is the promise to be relied upon specially at this time. He will give you a mouth and wisdom that none of your adversaries shall be able to gainsay or resist. But this means to rely perfectly on the word of God, and to have a perfect confidence in God, to step right out in a practical way upon that promise.

There are those here that will be brought into that place, and we have had instruction that the time is very near when we shall be brought to give our testimony before the rulers of the earth. Now when we are brought there, on whom are we to depend? The Spirit of God, and the promise, “I will give you a mouth and wisdom that none of your adversaries shall be able to gainsay or resist.”

But you see, we have got to take that promise and act upon it in order that the promise shall be fulfilled to us. It will not be that we will depend upon our own wisdom and then the Lord will make that wisdom; but he will actually give you a mouth and wisdom. It is just the same as it was in the case of Jeremiah, as recorded in the first chapter. The Lord called him, and he said:-

“Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child. But the Lord said unto me, Say not, I am a child: for thou shalt go to all that I shall send thee and whatsoever I shall command thee thou shalt speak. Be not afraid of their faces: for I am with thee to deliver thee, saith the Lord. Then the Lord put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the Lord said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant.” Jeremiah 1:6-10.

In connection with this you will remember the experience of Moses, as set forth in Exodus 4: The Lord said unto him, “Now therefore go, and I will be with thy mouth, and teach thee what thou shalt say” Verse 12.

Now just take that as a practical promise. Remember that when the Lord said that to Moses and sent him to deliver the people, he said it to every servant of his from that time and on, whom he sends on a similar errand. It is not necessary to send one to the country of Egypt, but every one of his servants to whom he gives a message or word for the delivering of his people, to every one of them he speaks that word and light at that time. Just go; I will be with you, and I will teach you what you shall say. But in order to get the benefit of that promise we are to stand on that promise, and act upon it. It will be fulfilled to us as in Isaiah 50:4.

“The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth my ear to hear as the learned.”

Now when the Spirit is given to his disciples, and to his followers-to those that will be ministers of the manifold graces of God-when he gives his Spirit in this way, all these scriptures are to be fulfilled to us. Isn’t this a glorious thought? to think of these things as being simple and real, and that the Lord was speaking just as much to you and me, when he spoke that, as to Moses. We are to take it that way, and we ought to be just as simple as children about it-simple enough to believe that the Lord means exactly what he says, and then act upon it.

Any other attitude than that spoils the whole thing. Let me read on that:

“Let no man deceive himself. If any man among you seemeth to be wise in this world, let him become a fool that he may be wise.” 1 Corinthians 3:18.

Now the first step in order to become wise in the eyes of the Lord is to become a fool. That is to be perfectly simple; not to be demented, not to be an idiot, that isn’t it; but to be perfectly simple, and to know continually that we know nothing as we ought to know it; but always to be in the attitude of receiving light and wisdom from him. You will remember the words of Paul concerning this when he preached. “Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the prince of this world that cometh to naught: But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory.” 1 Corinthians 2:6, 7. Now it is true that the salient facts of Christianity are perfectly simple and plain as facts, and it is true that it is perfectly easy for anyone who will, to receive them unto salvation as living experiences in his own daily life; but it is also true that there is a science of Christianity.

We have spoken continually of a chain of truth. Now I believe that the time will come, as these things are revealed, when there will be a perfect chain of truth. A perfect chain, link after link, and I believe that that chain will unite us to the hope which we have, which is like an anchor of the soul, “both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil;” and that there will be a perfect chain of truth that will unite our souls to Christ within the veil.

There is a perfect science, I say, of Christianity that only the Spirit of God can open up to us, and only under the direction of his teaching shall we be able to bring it out. And in my experience there is nothing, shall I say, from an intellectual standpoint, that appeals so strongly to my mind. There is nothing that possesses a greater fascination to my mind than the working after this truth. There is something about it that draws one out all the time, and he is conscious all the time of more to which he is to reach forward. We think to-day that it is a glorious truth; and to-morrow we see more, and we reach a little farther, and a little farther, and all the time we are conscious that there is something greater beyond.

It was illustrated to me in an experience that I had with a gentleman who was describing to me a silver mine, and the experience in developing it. He said they had been cutting a tunnel into the mountain, and as they worked along towards the deposits, they found that they were near a grand pocket of ore. He said that now they were working for that pocket, and just as soon as they struck that pocket, the stock would go up. But now we are right near a pocket of rich truth. No one knows when we are going to strike it, and we are liable to strike it any day. We are just finding these veins of truth, and we are strictly safe in saying that there is a great pocket near at hand; the indications are to that effect. And when will we strike it? Why, almost any day. We are just ready to break into that perfect pocket of wisdom, light and glory in the word of God. Well, let us keep digging, and cutting the vein, and working for it.

To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge; to another faith; to another the gift of healing; to another the working of miracles. The same working of miracles will recur as in the early church. The servants of God will go out, their faces will be lighted up with the Spirit of God resting upon them and with a holy consecration to the work, and these will follow them. Then will be fulfilled in a larger sense the scripture, “These signs shall follow them that believe; in my name shall they cast out devils” etc., etc. It will come to us, thank God. Unto him be all the glory.

Now when I think that for four years we have been in the time of the latter rain, and that God has wanted to pour out his Spirit that these gifts might be restored, that his work might go with power; and that he wishes us to join gladly in the work and co-operate with him with the whole heart, it occurs to me that we have been the hands that have been holding on and the feet that wouldn’t go; and rather than tear the whole body to pieces the body has waited.

So we are told that we are years behind; and if some of the hands had not held on, and some of the feet had not refused to go, so that the body could not move without tearing it to pieces, the body would have gone right along these four years. But rather than tear out a limb and leave it by the wayside-that means you and me-and so this four years’ course be marked all the way by these parts of the body scattered along over the course,-rather than do that, the Lord in great mercy has let the body wait, so that we should not be torn out and be left by the wayside. But the body is going on now; and I say, Let every hand, and every foot, and every member be ready to go, that the body be not torn asunder. That is what the Lord wants to do, and he is going to do it now: and he has warned us and told us of it for four years.

To another he gave the gift of prophecy. It was a characteristic of Christ that he was the spokesman for God. It was prophesied of him before he came. You will remember the prophecy in Deuteronomy 18:18: “I will raise them up a prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him.” And just as he finished his work here, he said to the Father: “I have given them the word which thou gavest me.” Now to prophesy, in its broadest sense, as it seems to me, is to be a spokesman for God, whether you are to talk about the past, present, or future. It is to be a mouthpiece for God. Christ was a perfect mouthpiece for God. He should not speak of himself at all; and let me say, his followers are to be such perfect mouthpieces for Christ by the Spirit, that every word that is spoken shall be the word of Christ. And away will go all lightness, and chaffiness, and common talk, and jesting, and everything of that kind. It will go to the four winds. You do not find anything like that in the character of Christ. And when the Spirit of God rests upon man, he does not have any inclination to do that at all. A different spirit and a different mind takes possession of him.

It is time for this Spirit, and we are told to look for it. The last discourse that Christ gave was on the Spirit. The thirteenth, fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth chapters of John are parts of one discourse on the Spirit, and how it manifests itself. Now is the time for us to discourse, as we have not been doing, on the Spirit, and believe for it.

I wish to bring in another thought right here. “Quench not the Spirit.” 1 Thessalonians 5:19. The same phrase is used exactly as when we say, Quench not a fire, Do not put out the fire. We say the fire was quenched by pouring water upon it. Quench not the Spirit. I have sometimes wondered what the force and meaning of that was. Put this scripture with it, and see if it does not throw light upon it: “Is not my word like as a fire? “Jeremiah 23:29. The Spirit of God dwells in his word, and it is through his word that all these blessings and graces come. Now we are told to Quench not the Spirit; do not put it out. “Our God is a consuming fire.” “Is not my word like as a fire?”

Then you see how naturally followed the inquiry made by the disciples: “And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the Scriptures?” Luke 24:32. It says their heart burned as he talked to them of the Scriptures. As he opened the Scriptures the word was like a fire and they did n’t quench it. Now when it is like that, and the message is like a fire shut up in the bones, it will come out. And when it comes out there will be light and power in it. Quench not the Spirit. It is the Spirit of God in his word that gives it power, and it is by that Spirit through his word-because all these things came through the word,-that all these gifts and graces come to us.

Now in closing, just a word. We have been talking for these evenings on this question of the Spirit, and how to receive it, and what it will do for us. But this subject does not want to stop here, or be left here. It seems as though almost the last word ought to be the same as almost the first word, and that is: The Spirit received is the thing that teaches us about the Spirit. That is what we want. And these promises are to be taken as belonging to us just exactly as much as they did to the disciples, and in the same sense; that the Saviour was speaking to you and to me; and that this word is just as much to us and is spoken just as much for us now as though he spoke to us in person; because his word goes right on speaking all the way down to the very last. Then just let the Spirit come into our hearts, and let that be the theme. 

Taken from the General Conference Daily Bulletin, March 3, 1893