Chapter 25—The Holy Spirit
To us today, as verily as to the first disciples, the promise of the Spirit belongs. God will today endow men and women with power from above, as He endowed those who on the day of Pentecost heard the word of salvation. At this very hour His Spirit and His grace are for all who need them and will take Him at His word.—Testimonies for the Church 8:20.The promise of the Holy Spirit is not limited to any age or to any race. Christ declared that the divine influence of His Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end. From the day of Pentecost to the present time, the Comforter has been sent to all who have yielded themselves fully to the Lord and to His service.—The Acts of the Apostles, 49.God desires to refresh His people by the gift of the Holy Spirit, baptizing them anew in His love. There is no need for a dearth of the Holy Spirit in the church. After Christ's ascension, the Holy Spirit came upon the waiting, praying, believing disciples with a fulness and power that reached every heart. In the future the earth is to be lightened with the glory of God. A divine influence is to go forth to the world from those who are sanctified through the truth. The earth is to be encircled with an atmosphere of grace. The Holy Spirit is to work on human hearts, taking the things of God and showing them unto men.—The Southern Watchman, September 5, 1905.It is true that in the time of the end, when God's work in the earth is closing, the earnest efforts put forth by consecrated believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, are to be accompanied by special tokens of divine favor. Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seed-time and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God's church. The out-pouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time, the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.—The Acts of the Apostles, 54, 55.The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the “former rain,” and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant. What is the promise to those living in these days?—“Turn you to the stronghold, ye prisoners of hope; even today do I declare that I will render double unto thee.” “Ask ye of the Lord rain in the time of the latter rain; so the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.”—Testimonies for the Church 8:21.
God's Willingness to Bestow
The Lord is more willing to give the Holy Spirit to those who serve Him than parents are to give good gifts to their children.—The Acts of the Apostles, 50.At all times and in all places, in all sorrows and in all afflictions, when the outlook seems dark and the future perplexing, and we feel helpless and alone, the Comforter will be sent in answer to the prayer of faith. Circumstances may separate us from every earthly friend; but no circumstance, no distance, can separate us from the heavenly Comforter. Wherever we are, wherever we may go, He is always at our right hand to support, sustain, uphold, and cheer.—The Desire of Ages, 669, 670.Morning by morning, as the heralds of the gospel kneel before the Lord and renew their vows of consecration to Him, He will grant them the presence of His Spirit, with its reviving, sanctifying power. As they go forth to the day's duties, they have the assurance that the unseen agency of the Holy Spirit enables them to be “laborers together with God.”—The Acts of the Apostles, 56.We are living in the time of the Holy Spirit's power. It is seeking to diffuse itself through the agency of humanity, thus increasing its influence in the world.—The Southern Watchman, November 3, 1903 (The Review and Herald, August 25, 1896).
Conditions of Receiving
The Holy Spirit will come to all who are begging for the bread of life to give to their neighbors.—Testimonies for the Church 6:90.When we bring our hearts into unity with Christ, and our lives into harmony with His work, the Spirit that fell on the disciples on the day of Pentecost will fall on us.—Testimonies for the Church 8:246.It is not because of any restriction on the part of God that the riches of His grace do not flow earthward to men.—Christ's Object Lessons, 419.The Spirit awaits our demand and reception.—Christ's Object Lessons, 121.Since this is the means by which we are to receive power, why do we not hunger and thirst for the gift of the Spirit? Why do we not talk of it, pray for it, and preach concerning it?—The Acts of the Apostles, 50.If the fulfillment of the promise is not seen as it might be, it is because the promise is not appreciated as it should be. If all were willing, all would be filled with the Spirit.—The Acts of the Apostles, 50.For the daily baptism of the Spirit, every worker should offer his petition to God. Companies of Christian workers should gather to ask for special help, for heavenly wisdom, that they may know how to plan and execute wisely. Especially should they pray that God will baptize His chosen ambassadors in mission fields with a rich measure of His Spirit.—The Acts of the Apostles, 50, 51.Let Christians put away all dissension, and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them ask in faith for the promised blessing, and it will come.—Testimonies for the Church 8:21.The disciples did not ask for a blessing for themselves. They were weighted with the burden of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the ends of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.—The Southern Watchman, August 1, 1905 (Testimonies for the Church 8:21).Christ has promised the gift of the Holy Spirit to His church, and the promise belongs to us as much as to the first disciples. But like every other promise, it is given on conditions. There are many who believe and profess to claim the Lord's promise; they talk about Christ and about the Holy Spirit, yet receive no benefit. They do not surrender the soul to be guided and controlled by the divine agencies. We cannot use the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is to use us. Through the Spirit God works in His people “to will and to do of His good pleasure.” But many will not submit to this. They want to manage themselves. This is why they do not receive the heavenly gift. Only to those who wait humbly upon God, who watch for His guidance and grace, is the Spirit given. The power of God awaits their demand and reception. This promised blessing, claimed by faith, brings all other blessings in its train. It is given according to the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive.—The Desire of Ages, 672.The great outpouring of the Spirit of God, which lightens the whole earth with His glory, will not come until we have an enlightened people, that know by experience what it means to be laborers together with God. When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God.—The Review and Herald, July 21, 1896.
Essential to Success
The presence of the Spirit with God's workers, will give the proclamation of truth a power that not all the honor or glory of the world could give.—The Acts of the Apostles, 51.God does not ask us to do in our own strength the work before us. He has provided divine assistance for all the emergencies to which our human resources are unequal. He gives the Holy Spirit to help in every strait, to strengthen our hope and assurance, to illuminate our minds and purify our hearts.—The Southern Watchman, August 1, 1905 (Testimonies for the Church 8:19).After the descent of the Holy Spirit, the disciples were so filled with love for Him [Christ] and for those for whom He died, that hearts were melted by the words they spoke and the prayers they offered. They spoke in the power of the Spirit; and under the influence of that power, thousands were converted.—The Acts of the Apostles, 22.There is no limit to the usefulness of the one who, putting self aside, makes room for the working of the Holy Spirit upon his heart, and lives a life wholly consecrated to God.—The Southern Watchman, August 1, 1905 (Testimonies for the Church 8:19).What was the result of the outpouring of the Spirit upon the day of Pentecost?—The glad tidings of a risen Saviour were carried to the utmost bounds of the known world.... Under their labors there were added to the church chosen men, who, receiving the word of life, consecrated their lives to the work of giving to others the hope that had filled their hearts with peace and joy. Hundreds proclaimed the message, “The kingdom of God is at hand.” They could not be restrained or intimidated by threatenings. The Lord spoke through them; and wherever they went, the sick were healed, and the poor had the gospel preached unto them. So mightily can God work when men give themselves up to the control of His Spirit.—The Southern Watchman, August 1, 1905 (Testimonies for the Church 8:19, 20).The Holy Spirit is the breath of spiritual life in the soul. The impartation of the Spirit is the impartation of the life of Christ. It imbues the receiver with the attributes of Christ. Only those who are thus taught of God, those who possess the inward working of the Spirit, and in whose life the Christ-life is manifested, are to stand as representative men, to minister in behalf of the church.—The Desire of Ages, 805.Peculiar and rapid changes will soon take place, and God's people are to be endowed with the Holy Spirit, so that with heavenly wisdom they may meet the emergencies of this age, and as far as possible counteract the demoralizing movements of the world. If the church is not asleep, if the followers of Christ watch and pray, they may have light to comprehend and appreciate the movements of the enemy.—Testimonies for the Church 6:436.
Christ declared that the divine influence of the Spirit was to be with His followers unto the end. But the promise is not appreciated as it should be; and therefore its fulfillment is not seen as it might be. The promise of the Spirit is a matter little thought of; and the result is only what might be expected,—spiritual drouth, spiritual darkness, spiritual declension and death. Minor matters occupy the attention, and the divine power which is necessary for the growth and prosperity of the church, and which would bring all other blessings in its train, is lacking, though offered in its infinite plenitude.—Testimonies for the Church 8:21.
Some Idly Waiting for Season of Refreshing
There are some who, instead of wisely improving present opportunities, are idly waiting for some special season of spiritual refreshing by which their ability to enlighten others will be greatly increased. They neglect present duties and privileges, and allow their light to burn dim, while they look forward to a time when, without any effort on their part, they will be made the recipients of special blessing, by which they will be transformed and fitted for service.—The Acts of the Apostles, 54.
The Holy Spirit is Christ's representative, but divested of the personality of humanity, and independent thereof. Cumbered with humanity, Christ could not be in every place personally. Therefore it was for their interest that He should go to the Father, and send the Spirit to be His successor on earth. No one could then have any advantage because of his location or his personal contact with Christ. By the Spirit the Saviour would be accessible to all. In this sense He would be nearer to them than if He had not ascended on high.—The Desire of Ages, 669.
Holy Spirit at Work from Beginning
From the beginning God has been working by His Holy Spirit through human instrumentalities for the accomplishment of His purpose in behalf of the fallen race. This was manifest in the lives of the patriarchs. To the church in the wilderness also, in the time of Moses, God gave His “good Spirit to instruct them.” And in the days of the apostles He wrought mightily for His church through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The same power that sustained the patriarchs, that gave Caleb and Joshua faith and courage, and that made the work of the apostolic church effective, has upheld God's faithful children in every succeeding age. It was through the power of the Holy Spirit that during the Dark Ages the Waldensian Christians helped to prepare the way for the Reformation. It was the same power that made successful the efforts of the noble men and women who pioneered the way for the establishment of modern missions, and for the translation of the Bible into the languages and dialects of all nations and peoples.—The Acts of the Apostles, 53.
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Humility, Deeper Walk
Psalm 34:18 says, "The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit." But what does it mean to have a contrite spirit? We believe the following comparisons will give greater understanding to the concept of what it means to walk in humility before God.