Relation Of The Holy Spirit To A Pure Conscience
Be filled with the Spirit.
The writer is aware this book contains matter calculated to search the heart, and expose wrong things in he life; and, that therewith, in many hearts, a desire and strong determination will spring up to live the life set forth. He here wants to place a note of warning: A happy life with a condemning conscience is not possible. So, also, a conscience void of offense without the Holy Spirit is impossible.
No amount of resolutions, good resolves, or determination to live up to God’s standard will avail without the motive power of the Holy Ghost in the soul, imparting His wonderful, causative power to the soul, and enabling it to gladly do God’s will and obey His commandments in all things.
The Motive Power Promise
“I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my ways and to keep and do my judgments.”
What steam is to the locomotive; what the dynamo is to the street car and electric light; what gasoline is to the automobile, the Holy Ghost is to the Christian. The locomotive can no more run without steam than the Christian can do God’s will without the “be filled with the Spirit.” If the automobile can run without gasoline, or the electric dynamo, without power then the Christian can be victorious in running the race set before him without the Holy Spirit. If one of these propositions is impossible, so likewise is the other one. Bricks can not be made without straw. Men can not be Christians in the New Testament sense, unless they receive the Spirit of Christ, without which we are none of His. Nothing else constitutes one a Christian but having His Spirit. There is no other substitute for this. “As many as are led by the spirit of God they (and they only) are the sons of God. This implies surrender, submission to God, Divine ownership (ye are not your own). It also implies discipleship of Jesus does not consist in mere negatives, the breaking off of certain sins (though all sins must go), but in addition to this a positive filling of the soul with God through His Spirit or with God by the Spirit which is God.
We are not called upon merely to put off the old man, but also to put on the new man; we are not to rest in mere non conformity to the world, as essential as that is, but we are to be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we know, embrace, and do, the perfect will of God; we are not called upon to abstain from eating certain foods, or refraining from certain drinks, though in this we should be very conscientious, and endeavor in whatsoever we do, whether we eat or drink, to do all to God’s glory, but we are called on to remember while the kingdom of heaven is not in eating and drinking, it is in righteousness, and peace and joy in the Holy Ghost; not merely to be not drunk with wine, But TO BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT!
The religion of many people is one‑sided; it consists in negatives; in not doing certain things that other people do; they thank God they are not as other men, “even as this publican”; they abstain from outward things others do, and this is their self‑righteous Pharisaic religion merely shunning what others do. But this was Jesus’ complaint with the other Pharisees. They did a whole host of things others did not do, and they refrained from many things they did. But Jesus said they passed over the weightiest matters the positive and inward department of religion, JUSTICE, JUDGMENT, MERCY, LOVE, AND FAITH they neglected, and these, He informed them, they ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. He did not fault them because they were scrupulously conscientious about externals, but because they had no more religion than this; because they did not go further and put on the inner and positive graces. Many a poor deceived soul’s religion consists in not eating pork, beef or any meat; or in not drinking tea or coffee or cocoa (and where these are injurious as they are to multitudes, they should not be used), but he fails to see the salvation of the Bible is not in negatives alone, not in not doing certain things; not in even giving up sin (though all sin must be given up) ; but it is in being filled with righteousness, it is in being full of joy, full of comfort, full of peace, full of assurance, full of the Holy Spirit; filled with all the fullness of God!
The chief characteristic distinguishing mark which differentiates the religion of Jesus from all others is this: HIS TRUE DISCIPLES HAVE FILLING THEIR HEARTS THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST, WITHOUT ,WHICH, THEY ARE NONE OF HIS!
Twenty‑Six Negatives, Forty‑One Positives
Encircling the all‑inclusive command of our text, “Be filled with the Spirit,” are twenty‑six negative instructions, things we are riot to do, and forty‑one positive instructions or injunctions, things we are to do; all impossible of fulfillment unless we receive the motive power the Spirit’s filling. We have magnified more what we do than what He does; more what we leave off than what He puts on; more our emptying than His filling. Both should have their due place. Notice the following arrangements of injunctions, positive and negative, which focalize on “Be filled with the Spirit” for the surety of their obedience.
Walk not as other gentiles walk in the vanity of their minds.
Put off concerning the former conversation, the Old Man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.
Put away lying.
Let him that stole steal no more.
Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth.
Grieve not the Holy Spirit Do not be bitter, wrathful, angry, clamorous, speak evil , or malicious.
Do not be guilty of fornication or any uncleanness, or covetousness, neither filthiness 8 nor jesting, nor foolish talking.
Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.
Walk not as fools.
Be not unwise. Be not drunk with wine. Etc., etc,
‘Walk worthy of the vocation wherewith Ye are called, with all lowliness, and meekness with longsuffering..
Walk as children of the light.
Speak the truth, but in love.
Put on the New Man, which is created in righteousness and true holiness’
Be renewed in the spirit of your mind.
Speak every man truth with his neighbor.
Let not the sun go down on your wrath.
Neither give place to the devil.
Let him labor, that he may give to him that needeth.
But that which is good to edify and minister grace to the hearers.
But do be ye kind one to an other, tender hearted, forgiving one another even as God
for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.
Be followers of God as dear children.
Prove what is acceptable to the Lord.
But rather reprove them.
But walk as wise.
Redeem the time, But be understanding.
But be filled with the Spirit.
Be strong in the Lord.
.Speak to yourselves in Psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.
Give thanks always for all things.
Wives be subject to your husbands.
Husbands love your wives.
Paul knew all of these instructions concerning things they were not to do would but confuse the Ephesians and show their utter helplessness and hopelessness, so he proceeds to give them positive instructions and, most important of all the forty‑one, “Be filled with the Spirit,” as, the motive power of the both not to do and to do, of the both ,not to be and to be, injunctions.
Paul does not give negatives alone, but positives in their stead. This would be cruel. He well knew unless men be filled with God they could not shun sin on the one hand, nor practice the positive virtues on the other hand. To tell men not to do a thousand and one forbidden things, and, to perform a thousand things, is to tell them what they can not do without the Divine Spirit infilling and enabling them.
We are seeing more and more the imperativeness of leading men to the Spirit‑filled life. He is the all‑inclusive, the all comprehensive blessing. Without Him we can do nothing, either in life or service. To lead men to ever so many good resolves, without the power to carry them out, is to make hypocrites‑to make men pretend to be what they are not. Salvation is not consequent on human resolves. All our resolves are a rope of sand without the indwelling Spirit. Though made in the church they are often like the worldling New Year resolves‑broken soon after made because of a lack of power to perform them. Resolves are well, in their place, but to keep them men must be filled with the Spirit.
One wants more zeal. Get Him. He is the Spirit of Zeal. Another says: “Oh, I want more courage.” Well, get Him. He is the Spirit of Courage. He imparts courage. Still another wants love, peace, joy, assurance, freedom to pray, testify or do personal work. Get Him. He is all of these to the soul. Another finds it hard to be self ‑sacrificing or self‑denying. He is the Spirit who helps us sacrifice. Christ made the greatest of all sacrifices by His aid. “Christ, through the Eternal Spirit, offered Himself to God.” He imparts the spirit of sacrifice, yea, gives delight in sacrifice. Get Him. Get Him. Oh, Get Him! He is all you need, wisdom, holiness and power. He is strength, zeal, courage, joy, power, patience! Be filled with Him!
Some years ago we were spending several months in Virginia in camp meeting work. We had been writing our wife and children, enclosing money for their needs, and expressions of love and sympathy. One day we received a letter from the little lonely wife a thousand miles away, which read something like this:
“Dear Papa: We are tired of your letters, and expressions of love and sympathy and interest, and we are tired of your money, too; we want you; come home.”
When we reached home a gladness, joy, and cheer came into the heart of the wife and the dear little children, which our letters and love by epistle, and expressions of sympathy and gifts of money had not power to give. When we were there she had us en toto. All I was, was hers. The strength of my good strong right arm was hers. I was at her disposal to help with the burdens of household work and the government of the boys. My love was hers; my sympathy was hers; my companionship was hers; my money was hers; my heart was hers; all I had and all I was, was hers.
So, beloved reader, make not the mistake of depending ‑on the Spirit’s gifts from afar. Peace, a little more joy, or gladness, or zeal, or courage, or power; but, oh, like the little wife say, “Holy Spirit, I want you; come in my heart with all thou art, with all thy blessings, with all thy gifts; come home to my heart.
Thy gifts, alas, Will not suffice Unless thyself be given.”
So, dear reader, when He comes Himself, there comes into the heart a gladness and joy and fullness of assurance which all His manifestations and blessings do not bring. Be filled with the Spirit Himself.
TO BE FILLED WITH HIM is essential to enable the soul to meet the Divine obligations, both to be and not to be imposed upon it. Who can be gentle, patient, forgiving, holy, a follower of God, perfect, without Him? Who can rejoice evermore, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks and take joyfully the spoiling of isgoods without Him? Who can always abound in the work of the Lord, instant in season and out of season without His enabling power?
It is necessary to be filled with the Spirit to PROMOTE GOD’S WORK. One has said, “in fact our hole responsibility in promoting the work of God is to be filled with the Spirit” and then He operates through us on others. “When He is come to you, said Jesus, He will reprove the world of sin.” The conviction of sinners is brought about most effectively by this method. In teaching His disciples how to promote revivals He did not tell them to preach specifically on sin, hell and judgment (though these themes have their place in Gospel preaching), but He taught them to receive the Holy Ghost and when this is the experience of any church or individual, an atmosphere of convicting power is created. There is conviction in any given community for sin in proportion to the degree in which believers are Spiritfilled. “What must I do to be saved” is the question the world asks, when Pentecost comes to the church.
Victory over the lusts of the flesh comes by being filled with the Spirit. Walk in the Spirit and we shall not fulfill the lusts of the flesh.” Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ through the Spirit, and make no provision to fulfill the lusts of the flesh. Abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul. Many are following appetites, passions, instincts and habits which would not be possible were they filled with Him. Many allow liberties which would be impossible were they filled with Him. Many do things they could not or would not do were. they filled with Him. Many go places they would not dare go were He dwelling within. Many keep company they would fear to keep were He enthroned in their hearts. Many have companions they would have no fellowship with did they but know the ecstasy of His approval. Many read books they would not read were He consulted. Many think thoughts they would not dare think were He their abiding guest. In other words, the Spirit of God must have departed to make possible habits and questionable practices of a vast multitude in the church.
It is essential to have Him in order to purity of heart and life; also in order to satisfying, lasting comfort; and to enable the soul to demonstrate the best manifestations of Christlike tempers and dispositions, and to make effective our service.
Three Simple Conditions
There are three simple steps to take in receiving the Holy Spirit.
How much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask (for) Him. Seek and ye shall find, ask and ye shall receive. Jesus, praying, received the Holy Ghost. The disciples continued in prayer before Pentecost came.
Obedience‑God hath given the Holy Ghost to all those who obey Him.
A Presbyterian elder who was wonderfully filled with the Spirit was asked by one who observed the remarkable change in his life and countenance: “Tell me, how did you getthis great blessing?” “Oh,” said he, “I just stopped lying to God and He came and filled my heart.” So, my reader, all insincerity must go. We must not love in word or tongue merely, but in deed and in truth; not surrender outwardly, but also inwardly, We recall a prominent professor who said in glowing language: “All I possess belongs to Jesus; I surrender all to Him.” What are the facts? God could not even get one‑tenth of her abundant income. So we must obey God intelligently; actually surrender all to His disposal and call, and mean it and act out our obedience in actual life and deeds. A complete obedience will bring a complete filling with the Holy Ghost and joy.
A final step. We may receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. When you have fully obeyed and earnestly prayed, believe the promise true that God gives the Holy Spirit to every one who asks Him. And then act out your faith like the ten who received the promise of healing, go your way and believing it shall be even as He said, and according to your faith be it unto you. Receive ye (ye obedient, praying, believing ones), the Holy Ghost. Say, Yes, Lord, I have long wanted Him. For Christ’s sake I now receive Him.