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I want you to turn with me in your Bibles this morning to the book of Ephesians and chapter 5 please, Ephesians chapter 5. Now in the past week I was taking a series of meetings on the subject of revival, and I have to say to you that revival is very much in my heart having spent seven messages preaching on the subject. I think the Lord has it in my heart to bring to you today - now this is not the message that I preached at any of the evenings in the last week, so it's fresh, I believe, from the Lord to you - but I want you to get it, and understand what God has to say to all of our hearts, God's believing people, with regards to this great subject of revival. I want to entitle it specifically: 'Holy Spirit Revival'.
So Ephesians chapter 5 please, and we'll begin reading at verse 14. Paul says, therefore God says: "Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light". Now we're not accustomed - just to comment on this for a moment or two - we're not accustomed as evangelical believers to thinking about ourselves when we are saved as 'dead'. We tend to apply that, as chapter 2, indeed, of this book applies it, to the unregenerate, the unsaved sinner - dead in trespasses and sins. Whilst that is definitely referring to unsaved people, chapter 5 is not referring to those folk. Chapter 5 is addressing people who are Christians, professing believers who have been born again of the Spirit of God - that means they have been gifted the Spirit of God, God's Holy Spirit resides in them, they have become the Temple of the Holy Ghost - and Paul says you can be dead! There's a lot of us, and we're dead right! We've got all the doctrine, but we don't, it seems, have the fullness of the life of the Holy Spirit of the Living God controlling everything that we are, everything that we have.
So this is the challenge Paul brings to all of our hearts: "Awake thou that sleepest" - are you sleeping today? Are you asleep as a Christian? "Arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light". Verse 15: "See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise" - how is our walk? This book of Ephesians challenges us to walk worthy of the calling wherewith we are called. We're actually called in chapter 5, this chapter, verse 1, to be imitators of God - to copy God! 'Walk even as he walked', 1 John teaches us. How is your walk today, believer?
Verse 16: "Redeeming the time, because the days are evil" - and we don't even need to comment on that, how evil the days in which we live are. Are we buying up the time, the opportunities to live godly lives, to win souls for the Master? Verse 17: "Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is" - God's will must be one of the greatest subjects and dilemmas that many of us face in our lives. Yet here, verse 17 teaches us that we can know God's will. It has to be said that perhaps, and this is not an exact figure, but roundabout I'm sure 90 or 95% of God's will for all of us is revealed in His word. Here is one such command from God for all of us, verse 18: "Be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord".
Let us pray together: O God our Father, we thank You for Your living book, we thank You for Your holy word, we thank you for the Holy Scriptures. We thank You that they are God-breathed, and within them we have the blueprint for our lives of faith in Christ. O God we pray just now, as we come to the mirror of Your word, and as we see ourselves as You see us and as we really are, O God that we will be changed, and we will not go away and forget the awful sight of ourselves that we saw, that our eyes would be lifted heavenward to see the dying Lamb who provided for all our needs, not just our salvation but our sanctification. O God, we pray today that all of us, all of us would feel the tug of revival on our hearts, and the need to be filled with all the fullness of God. Lord, we need Your help, I need Your help now, minister by the Holy Spirit; minister, Father, Jesus Christ, by the Holy Spirit - for we ask these things in His name, and for His glory, Amen.
Today is Remembrance Sunday, and we have marked that already - but next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the 1859 revival here in our province of Ulster. I know already that many commemorations have been planned, and even this year many have felt exercised to - in an historical sense, and prayerfully - remember what God did when the wind of the Holy Spirit came and rushed through our land. But you know, I think what really should happen next year is not so much commemoration but commiseration - because, as far as I can see in the word of God, the only thing that stops a revival, and the only thing that hinders the starting of revival, is sin amongst God's people. Now I don't claim to know everything, far from it, but in my simple understanding of God's word - though in the 150 years that have passed since 1859 we have known touches of revival, in the 20s through Nicholson, and at times even yourselves here in the past have had such blessing, sad to say we're not seeing that blessing in our land and in our churches today - but generally speaking, what I have just said must infer that there has been 150 years of sin in the church of Jesus Christ since 1859.
Vance Havner, who was so cutting in some of the remarks that he made, said that: 'We would have to backslide to be in fellowship with many of the churches' in his land of his day - what must it be like for our land today? Indeed, he went on to say that what has become normal Christianity for many is subnormal according to the New Testament record; and those who are seeking to live what the Bible sets forth as the normal Christian experience are being seen today as abnormal. I don't know whether you agree or not, but I think one thing is for sure: in our churches, in our society, and - if we are honest before God - in our individual personal lives, there is a distinct absence of the blessing of God, a distinct absence of the consciousness of God, and a distinct absence of the ministration and ministry of the Holy Spirit.
There are certain places in our world today that are experiencing what we call revival: China, Korea, parts of India - our own land experienced it not that long ago, relatively speaking, 150 years - but somewhere a little bit more recently that experienced it were the islands in the Hebrides. In 1949 Duncan Campbell was the arranged and announced speaker at the convention, the Bangor Missionary Convention in Hamilton Road Presbyterian Church. While he was on the pulpit, just about to get up to speak, he felt God's Spirit tugging upon his heart, telling him that he was not to speak but he was to get off the pulpit and go to Larne and get the boat to Scotland, and get a further journey to the Hebrides Islands - and there someone would meet him. Now you can imagine, if you were convening that service, what it would be like for the preacher to tug your coat and tell you that he's disappearing, and all this great congregation of people ready to hear God's word from God's messenger! But you know, this is something that happens when God's Holy Spirit moves in revival - what happens? What happens is simply: our plans, our programmes, our administration, our ideas are shattered - and, I'll tell you, we could do with that, because a lot of what goes on these days in all our churches, in all our lives, is man-made!
We are relying on man-management, we are relying on methods of men, we're maybe relying on mechanics and mechanisms - church growth models - where God wants to use men filled with the Holy Spirit of the Living God. We have lost this great truth that we believe the New Testament teaches, that the only head of the church is Jesus Christ, and the only vicar of Christ on the earth today is the Holy Spirit. He is the only one who administrates Christ's rule on the earth in the church today. He is the one should be operating in all of our lives and all of our fellowships, not associations, not denominations, not boards, not even godly men - but the Holy Spirit moving through His ordained methods.
Well, anyway, Duncan Campbell got that boat - and here, when he arrived at one of the Hebridean islands, there was a humble postman there to meet him at the harbour. That postman told Campbell that he had been praying that he would come, and he wasn't just praying with wishful thinking, he was praying with faith - because he had arranged a meeting at nine o'clock that evening that Campbell would preach at! So they went, Duncan Campbell tells it in his own words. They sang the hymns and the psalms, and he got up to preach, and he said it was distinctly an ordinary meeting - nothing special about it. But when they went out of the gathering that evening, he says that the hills of heather were filled with hundreds of people gathered there, guided by God's Spirit alone, to seek God for salvation. Now that's Holy Spirit revival - and I believe, dear friends, that this is what we need. This is what we lack! I'll tell you: all the knowledge of men, and even theological knowledge of men, will not suffice!
I believe there's a bit of a stirring today in the hearts of some believers at least, that they are longing for something more, they're longing for reality, they're longing to experience God in a new way, they're longing to go through with God, they're longing to know what is true revival - do you know what that is? Duncan Campbell defined it very well when he said: 'Revival is a community of people saturated by God'. Are we saturated by God? A lot of people misunderstand revival. They maybe would like it - and we would all like it, of course, who wouldn't want their friends and their loved ones getting saved? Who wouldn't want better conditions in society? Who wouldn't want to see the church on fire again, people coming to the meetings and loving God's word, and breaking bread again, obeying God's commands? The fact of the matter is, if that's all you want, you'll never get revival - because revival must come through a desire in the heart of the believer after God! It must be a desire to know God, to love God, to experience God and His Son Jesus Christ, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit to a greater extent.
Do you have that desire? God says in Isaiah chapter 57 and verse 15: 'For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones'. We have got to have a reaching desire not just for a greater spiritual experience - and we all could cry, 'Lord, plant my feet on higher ground', but we must have a desire for God and God alone: 'My goal is God Himself'. Do we want God? Do we really want God?
The way to experience God is through the ministry of the Holy Spirit, for He puts God into our hearts, for He is God. It was John Owen, the puritan, who said the church of his day was caught somewhere between the cross and Pentecost. It was as if the Comforter had not come, even though these days we sing so often: 'The Comforter has come, the Comforter has come'. Yet we live in our lives what we could only class as a pre-Pentecostal experience. The Holy Spirit is foreign to us as a Person, a Companion in our hearts and in our lives, bringing Christ to us. Yet the Lord Jesus, before He went to the cross, bled and died for our sins, was buried and rose again, told the disciples that He would send another Comforter, a Strengthener, a Paraclete - He would not leave them orphans, He would send His Spirit unto them. It was expedient that He would come, so Christ had to go.
You see, up to then they experienced the Spirit of God dwelling upon them; but when Christ would go and die for them, rise again and be glorified, the Spirit would be poured out and at Pentecost come and dwell within them - and that would be the fullest of Christian experiences on that birthday of the church when the Holy Ghost came to live in His temple. The fact of the matter is, this is what we believe, and yet our personal and corporate experience is so far removed from it. In Ephesians chapter 1, if you look at it, Paul tells us we are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ - so we have got everything that we need in the Lord Jesus, and indeed in verse 19 of chapter 1 he speaks of the power that raised Christ from the dead, and he says that it is working in us. That same mighty power that burst Him forth - up from the grave He arose with a mighty triumph o'er His foes - that power is meant to be in us as believers!
Now I'm asking you very personally, and I'm asking my own heart: how much of this power do I know? How much of this power do you know? Many years ago there was a fire took place in a school in the state of Texas in the United States, and tragically 263 children were killed. The town and the board of the school decided that this would never be allowed to happen again, and they reconstructed a new building and installed within it a state of the art sprinkler system that would guarantee that such a tragedy could never be repeated. This technological advancement and genius was shown off by them to many other establishments in the town and indeed the state, and they would come and be shown round to see the masterly wisdom of the system. One day the caretaker was going about doing his business, and he was horrified to find out that the sprinkler system had never been hooked up to the water main. So what was there, all the apparatus was their possession, it was under their ownership, it was rightfully theirs and they were able to claim it and they were able to show it off, and yet it wasn't hooked up to the source!
Is that how we are? Is that why there is no power in our lives, no power at times in our fellowships? In verse 19 of chapter 3 of Ephesians, Paul prays for these believers 'to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God'. Is that the way you feel today? Filled with God? Now come on, be honest now! We need to ask the question: why is this not the case for many? Well, Ephesians gives us the answer, chapter 4 and verse 30 teaches us that we can grieve the Holy Spirit: 'Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption'. The Holy Spirit is not a force or a liquid, He is a person and He can be hurt. He can feel pain.
We know from the baptism of the Lord Jesus that the Holy Spirit is dove-like in character, and if you know anything about a dove, they are easily disturbed. The presence and power of the Holy Spirit of God is a very fragile thing in all our lives. We can so easily, by our sin and by our selfish attitudes, we can grieve the Spirit of God. Now we can do this numerous ways, and I'll deal with sin in a moment or two - which seems to be the most obvious - but I would like you to consider that we can grieve the Holy Spirit in our theology. Now, you'll be saying, 'Be careful, David! Be careful what you're going to say now!'. Well, I think what I'm going to say is going to transcend whether you're charismatic, pentecostal or cessationist - and if you don't know what those things are, it'll do you no harm not knowing anyway! Whether you're reformed or dispensational, this is irrelevant, because what I'm talking about is: we can have the teachings, whatever the particular teachings that we have and believe, but have a distinct lack of experience of those things ourselves.
What are you getting at? Well, we have come to believe, I think, that because we've got the word of God for a thing, we've got that thing itself. Do you understand what I'm saying? Now if a man or a woman, boy or girl, came to us and said that they were saved because the Bible told them that they were saints, because they read 1 Corinthians chapter 1 that's addressed to the saints - you would say: 'Ach, you can't read the Bible like that! Paul was writing to these believers, that was their experience, being saints - but you have got to experience salvation yourself, personally, to become a saint'. Is that not right? So, just because the word of God tells us how to be saved, it doesn't tell us we are saved unless we have gone the way of the cross; which shows us the method of salvation, and only promises us that when we turn from our sins mentally, and we trust Christ, we can be saved. You have to go through, don't you? You have to personally experience it - now it's the same with this business of the Holy Spirit.
Let me illustrate it to you like this: your father dies, and the will is opened and read. The text of the will says that you have a right to all his goods and wealth, his inheritance is yours - and imagine you, or any son or daughter, being satisfied with the black and white text of the will but not wanting the inheritance! It's ridiculous, isn't it? But the trouble is, we're like the bus conductor who has shouted out the destination so many times he thinks he's been there. We talk about the Holy Spirit, we talk about our possessions in Christ - and praise God they are all of faith, through grace, and they're ours through the precious blood of Christ; but are we experiencing them?
I wonder are we? I wonder if an angel from heaven, an angel who had been with the early apostles and evangelists in the Acts of the Apostles, where every time they preached, they preached with boldness full of the Holy Ghost, where they saw the Holy Spirit working in great power - the Acts of the Apostles could be called 'The Acts of the Holy Spirit' through the apostles and through the early disciples. Maybe this was the same angel who would have witnessed the reformers, the revivalists, the Wesleys and Whitefields, the Finneys, the Spurgeons, the Brownlow Norths, the James McQuilkins, the W.P. Nicholsons - and then he comes to us in the 21st century, and he hears what we are claiming from the pulpits. He hears what we're talking about, but then he goes home from church with us, into our kitchens, into our living rooms, into our bedrooms, into our workplaces, into our places of amusement and pleasure - would he not be forgiven in thinking we're spiritual liars? Would he not be forgiven for concluding that our experience falls far short of what we are claiming in our confessions?
You see, there is a Laodicean spirit in the church in the West at least today, that is: they believe they are rich and increased with goods, and they are - financially and materially - in comparison with the rest of the world, but there is a theological problem and it is believers that believe that the day and hour they got saved, because they were gifted by the Holy Spirit, that they have now got everything they need and they don't need to go on with God, they don't need to have any more experiences. My dear friend, you're in trouble, because Christ says that if you're like that, and you feel you have need of nothing, you're poor, blind, naked, wretched, and you don't know it.
I hope your theology is not a barrier to getting broken before the cross of Jesus Christ - like you did the first day you were saved, if you are saved - and coming to that cross every day, and being cleansed afresh for fellowship with the Lord, and confessing your sins, and asking the Holy Spirit to fill you. That's the Christian experience, and it's not just when we get saved, it's something that's meant to happen every day of our lives! Make sure your theology doesn't get in the way. A. W. Tozer said: 'Ignoble contentment takes the place of burning zeal. We are satisfied to rest in our judicial possessions, and for the most part we bother ourselves very little about the absence of personal experience. We can grieve the Holy Spirit by thinking we've got everything and have need of nothing, when we have great need of God'.
What about unbelief? That's another thing that grieves the Holy Spirit. It's the reason why Israel didn't enter the Promised Land, and they had to wander round in circles for 40 years in the wilderness. We have it in black and white: they limited the Holy One of Israel by unbelief! I know that's not popular, and I'm sure there's a few boys would love to pull that one out of the Bible, because they think God just goes round everywhere doing everything in spite of us. I believe God can do everything, and often does work in spite of us, but God has chosen to work through faith - and even our Lord Jesus Christ, when He was walking, God incarnate, on the earth; He went into his own home town area, and the Bible says that He could do no mighty work there - why? Because of their unbelief!
God is sovereign and God is all-powerful, but He has chosen to work through the instrument of faith. Now we are a very sceptical generation indeed, and cynicism is sown to us every day through the media - and even our wee children in school, the educational process is to question everything. It's not wrong to question things, but it can breed within them this questioning, sceptical, cynical spirit - and especially in regard to things spiritual and eternal and supernatural. Can I ask you today: do you still believe in the God of the supernatural? Do you still believe in the God of miracles?
When the Lord Jesus came to heal Jairus' daughter, you remember what happened. He delayed, and because He delayed the wee girl died. The message was sent back: 'You needn't come, she's dead, there's nothing You can do for'. The Lord Jesus went anyway, and they were weeping and wailing and mourning the loss - but that quickly turned to scorn and laughter, and sacrilegious blasphemy of the Lord Jesus. It says in the Bible they laughed Him to scorn, why? Because He said: 'She is not dead, but she sleeps'. What did the Lord Jesus do to those scorners? The Bible says He brought with Him into the room where the little child lay Peter, James and John, and He cast out the other crowd, because He casts out unbelief! He can't do anything where there is a spirit of unbelief! Sometimes this comes from our theology, an old dead theology that puts God in a box, and God can't do anything any more. 'The God of the apostles and the evangelists is dead' - Oh, He's not dead! You might be dead, and your theology might be dead - it might be dead right - but God's not dead.
Then there is the more common barrier to Holy Spirit revival in our lives and our land, and that is sin. We say the name of the Holy Spirit so much that we forget He is the 'Holy' Spirit. Now holiness is seen as fanaticism today, isn't it? Eccentricity. Leonard Ravenhill said that if a young man is doing well in business and he's making a fortune, or he's doing well in academic circles and becoming very clever and multiplying to himself degrees without number, nobody ever sits down beside him and puts the arm round him and says: 'Now, you're going to have to calm down a wee bit, and go a bit slower' - but immediately a young man or a young woman goes all out for God, and zealous, and really becomes a fanatic for the Lord Jesus, some dead boy or woman will come along and say: 'Now, tone it down, cool it down'. Do you want to know something? No one will be ashamed to be a fanatic for the Lord Jesus at the Judgement Seat, nobody! Nobody!
We need men and women today, just like Wesley said, men and women who will fear nothing but God and sin. There is idolatry in the church of Jesus Christ today, because in the materialistic West we have grown comfortable, we have grown affluent, and I believe God is doing something in this credit crisis where He's touching the things that we have worshipped, the things that we have allowed to take the spiritual edge off us and anaesthetise us to the realities of eternity. He's touching us, He wants us to realise where our affections have been, where our treasure is, and where our heart is also. There's also immorality in the church of Jesus Christ, you see idolatry - wherever you go in the world, and you see it testified in the Bible - wherever there is idolatry there's always immorality, they come together.
Now I have to be careful what I say just this morning, because we're in a mixed crowd and there are children here: but there is a severe problem of immorality in the church of Jesus Christ. The proliferation of filth through the Internet has got a grip on the hearts of young men and not so young men, particularly men. It is the anonymous sin that goes on in the dark room when no one knows about it, when there is no come back at all. You can be in office even in the church of Jesus Christ, and this is a problem - now, but for the grace of God go I, and we're all susceptible, and we all must continually be before the cross, broken, all of us. We have all fallen in one way or another through the lust of the flesh - whether it's only, as the Lord said, in the mind and in the heart - but listen: this will be a barrier to the Holy Spirit's power in your life and in your church. Can I exhort you today: if you have a problem with this bondage, you need to seek out help, and don't be ashamed - because others have had the problem, and they've got the help. I believe this is to epidemic proportions today, and it is the unspoken sin - because there is such embarrassment about it.
It's not just virtual immorality. A study was taken recently, I believe, in universities in the United Kingdom, and students who were evangelical and also Roman Catholic students, professing religious students, were asked questions, and so was the greater general student body. The conclusion that was come to was that among them all there was the same percentage, the same percentage, who went into marriage with their virginity intact. There was no difference between the evangelicals and the rest of the crowd. I'm led to believe that one out of three marriages in our province now ends in divorce, and what great tragedy that is - and if you've been touched with it, I deeply sympathise with you. But do you know what's even more tragic? The statistics, I'm led to believe, are no different among believers.
Now have we not got to sit up and ask: what is going on? What is happening? Why is our distinctiveness being lost? Why is there sin? And then there's another sin that is great: disunity. Psalm 133 says that God commands the blessing where unity is between brethren, and I'll tell you something: we have lost our unity. There is a partisan spirit, whether it's found in sectarian denominationalism at times, and that can even be in the midst of our denominations - sects and schisms - or even in the local church, whether it's brother against brother, or sister against sister - and the Spirit is grieved! My friends, this is what hinders blessing! The Lord Jesus has taught us, there's no secret to it, and we've got to deal with it! The great question is - not who is right and who is wrong - but who wants God? Who wants God?
You see, there is a cost to personal revival, and it's ourselves and our sin. It's like the ladies going to the shop and they see a nice frock or something they like, and say 'That would look lovely on me', and then they look at the price tag - intake of breath, 'Oh, I couldn't pay that for it, but it's lovely!'. They want it, indeed they fantasise about wearing it, but they're not prepared to pay the price. Who wouldn't want revival? Who wouldn't want God saving their family? Who wouldn't want our church awakened and on fire again? We all would, but are we prepared to pay the price? Are we prepared to say to that brother or to that sister, go to them and say: 'I'm burying the hatchet'?
I preached on Thursday night on love, the need for a revival in love, and I preached on the need to love your neighbour, the need to love your brother, the need to love your family, the need to love your enemy. We had a prayer meeting after that meeting, and I'll tell you: it's the nearest I've ever experienced to anything close to revival. There was brokenness, brokenness. People got up and confessed their sins toward their brothers in Christ, toward their next-door neighbours. I heard men who were in the security forces, having heard that ex-terrorists have been born again, getting up and weeping. How they had followed the coffins, their handiwork; how they had seen what they left behind after their atrocities; and how they were willing now, if they came to their church, or came to their home, to throw their arms around them and welcome them - that's when revival starts, when we are willing to put ourselves down and exalt Christ!
We are to be filled with the Holy Spirit, that, in verse 18 of chapter 5, is a command of God. It is commanded, therefore not to be filled by the Holy Spirit is to be disobedient to God. Here is the principle, write it down if you have pen and paper: obedience is the instrument of revelation. If you want to know more about God, if you want to know more of His will in your life, obedience is the way to find it. God will not show you any more, let you experience any more, if you will not be obedient. Verse 18: 'Be continually', it's the present continuous tense, 'be continually filled with the Holy Spirit'. Now listen: I believe with all my heart that personal revival has been bought for us by the precious blood of Christ at Calvary, I believe all of us this morning could experience it if we were prepared to go through with God. Now I'm not talking about widespread revival, that's not your responsibility, your responsibility is to get your own heart right with God, what God does after that with others is up to Him - but your responsibility is with God, your responsibility is to set the sails and if it God pleases to blow the winds of revival, well then the whole boat will move and you along with it - but you are responsible for yourself.
You are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit. How do I do that? Well, you need to repent. Repentance is not something that happens the night you get saved in some back room with the tears flowing and the sinner's prayer heard. Oh, you misunderstand this Christian life: repentance is something that is a change of mind, 'metanoia' in the Greek, a turning of the mind. It's meant to happen every day, Jesus says, 'If you're going to follow me you have to daily, daily, take up your cross and follow me'. It's a daily thing, repentance is to be every day - and we are to break up, as Hosea says, the fallow ground. You farmers know, or rural people, what the fallow ground is. It's hardened, it's waterless, it's lifeless, it's calloused - the spade and the pick have to come down upon it to break it up if it's ever going to have any fruit or life. That's what we need, and that only comes by repentance.
Listen to me, now listen very carefully: sins against God must be confessed to God, all sins are against God so you've got to confess them all to Him. Sins against your brother or sister must be confessed to your brother or sister. Sins against the church must be confessed to the church. That's the pattern, you can dilute it all you like, but that's it there in black and white before us in the word of God - and that is repentance and restitution. Do you know what the answer to our barren Christian lives is? It's the same answer to our sin, and that we're on the way to hell, what do we hear? We've to go to the cross, we've to bow low, broken in our self and sin, and we've to take from the Lord the precious blood to cleanse us. First John says we are to walk in the light, walk in the light and let all the light uncover our sins, and then plunge them beneath the blood.
Let me illustrate it: you've got dirty cups, your vessel is filled with sin and self - we all are every day, that's why this is a daily thing. But we bring our dirty cups to the Lord, and we offer them up, and we allow the Lord to cleanse us with the power of His redemption. He then will fill our cups, when we come empty, with the Holy Spirit of the Living God. It is the blood-right of the Christian to be filled with the Holy Spirit, are you filled? I wish we had time to go into all this, but we don't - but it's your right in Christ. Watchman Nee said it's like going into a bookshop and having two books purchased for you. The man behind the counter wraps them both up in brown paper, and you walk out with one. You've got sins forgiven, eternal salvation, but Christ has bought for you and purchased this fullness of life, this revival blessing in your experience, and yet you're walking out without it - you're not realising it, appropriating it; Oh to God that today you would! You would surrender, surrender and submit to His will, and be filled with the Holy Spirit.
Some of you will remember the late Dr. Rex Mathie. I remember entertaining him one day, he was at the Iron Hall, and asking him the question: there are so many understandings of the fullness of the Holy Spirit, what's your opinion on it? He said: 'I've surveyed them all, and the one conclusion I have come to is that the fullness of the Holy Spirit is the other side of the coin to the Lordship of Jesus Christ'. He said this remarkable thing to me, and I've never forgotten it, he said: 'David, whenever you and Jesus aren't arguing about anything, you'll be filled with the Holy Spirit'. You're arguing with the Lord Jesus about something, aren't you? Something you won't let go of, something you won't reconcile, something you won't bury, something you won't allow to be nailed to His cross that you bear it no more - and it's the reason why you're not enjoying fullness, it's the reason why you're not having the joy of the Holy Spirit flooding your soul. You could have it, but you're arguing about that thing with the Lord.
Paul Rader wrote that lovely hymn, 'Fear not, little flock, whatever your lot' - I don't know whether you know it, he wrote a couple of others. He was preaching on the great text in John's gospel, out of a man's innermost being, his belly, shall flow rivers of living water; about the Holy Spirit. Later on two men who were having supper with him that night said to him: 'Mr Rader, you preach a good sermon, but you're dispensationally wrong'. Then the other one said to him: 'Mr Rader, you're a good brother, but the problem is you've got the wrong interpretation'. Mr Rader didn't reply to them, and they all bowed their head to give thanks for the food, and when they lifted their heads something had happened to one of those brothers. The tears were running down his cheeks, and he looked into Mr Rader's eyes, and he said: 'Brother Rader, we have the interpretation, but you have the rivers of blessing'. We have the interpretation, but you have the rivers of blessing -
'Oh, for the floods on a thirsty land,
Oh, for a mighty revival.
Oh, for a sanctified fearless band,
Ready to hail its arrival'.
'Life, life, abundant life,
Jesus alone is the Giver!
Life, life, eternal life,
Glory to Jesus forever!'
Now let me say something to you: we're coming to the Lord's Table, and having read quite a great deal over the last while on revival I learned something I didn't know previously, and that was that several great revivals in our history took place around the Lord's Table. I didn't know that, but it makes sense because every revival is at the foot of the cross. Will you join with us there?
Oh Father, as we come to Your holy cross just now in remembrance, O Lord let us not come to this holy Table with our sin. Let all of us afresh stay here and not leave, but stay and deal with our sin at the foot of the cross; that we may know the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ, the fullness of God, that Christ may be at home in all our hearts, reigning and ruling. Oh God, come and meet with us now as we wait at Calvary. Amen.
Preach The Word.
This sermon was delivered at Lurgan Baptist Church in Northern Ireland, by David Legge. It was transcribed from the recording titled "Holy Spirit Revival" - Transcribed by Andrew Watkins, Preach The Word.
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