Christ said to His disciples just before He ascended, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me.” On the day of Pentecost He sent the power, and the remainder of the Acts of the Apostles tells of the witnessing of these Spirit-filled disciples, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.
The Lord Jesus is just the same today. The anointing is just the same. The Pentecostal experience is just the same, and we are to look for like results as set forth in Luke’s record of what happened in the days of the early church.
John the Baptist said concerning Jesus, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire.” God’s ministers are to be a flame of fire—a perpetual flame, a constant fire, a continual burning, burning and shining lights. God has nothing less for us than to be flames. We must have a living faith in God, a faith that God’s great might and power may flame through us until our whole life is energized by the power of God.
I realize that when the Holy Ghost comes, He comes to enable us to show forth Jesus Christ in all His glory, to make Him known as the One who heals today as in the days of old. The Baptism in the Spirit is to enable us to preach as they did at the beginning, through the power of the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven and with the manifestation of the gifts of the Spirit. Oh, if we would only let the Lord work in us, melting us until a new order arises, moved with His compassion!
I was traveling from Egypt to Italy. God was wonderfully on that ship with me, and every hour I was conscious of His blessed presence. A man on the ship suddenly collapsed and his wife was terribly alarmed, and everybody else seenied to be. Some said that he was about to expire. But I saw it was just a glorious opportunity for the power of God to be manifested. Oh, what it means to be a flame of fire, to be indwelt by the living Christ! We are a back number if we have to pray for power when an occasion like that comes, or if we have to wait until we feel a sense of His presence. The Lord’s promise was, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you,” and if we will believe, the power of God will be always manifested when there is a definite need. When you exercise your faith, you will find that there is a greater power than there is in the world. Oh, to be awakened out of unbelief into a place of daring for God on the authority of His blessed Book!
So right there on board that ship, in the name of Jesus I rebuked the devil, and to the astonishment of the man’s wife and the man himself, he was able to stand. He said, “What is this? It is going all over me. I have never felt anything like this before.” From the top of his head to the soles of his feet the power of God shook him. God has given us authority over all the power of the devil. Oh, that we may live in the place where we realize this always!
Christ, who is the express image of God, has come to our human weaknesses, to change them and us into divine likeness, to be partakers of the divine nature, so that by the power of His might we may not only overcome, but rejoice in the fact that we are more than conquerors. God wants you to know by experience what it means to be more than a conqueror. The Baptism in the Holy Spirit has come for nothing less than to empower us, to give the very power that Christ Himself had, so that you, a yielded vessel, may continue the same type of ministry that He had when He walked this earth in the days of His flesh. He purposes that we should come behind in no gift. There are gifts of healing and the working of miracles, but we must apprehend these. There is the gift of faith by the same Spirit which we are to receive.
The need in the world today is that we should be burning and shining lights to reflect the glory of Christ. We cannot do it with a cold indifferent experience, and we never shall. His servants are to be flames of fire. Christ came that we might have life, and life more abundantly. And we are to give that life to others, to be ministers of the life and power and healing virtue of Jesus Christ wherever we go.
Some years ago I was in Ceylon. In one place the folk complained, “Four days is not much to give us.” “No,” I said, “but it is a good share.” They said to me, “We are not touching the people here at all.” I said, “Can you have a meeting early in the morning, at eight o’clock?” They said they would. So I said, “Tell all the mothers who want their babies to be healed to come, and all the people over seventy to come, and after that we hope to give an address to the people to make them ready for the Baptism in the Spirit.”
It would have done you good to see the four hundred mothers coming at eight o’clock with their babies, and then to see the hundred and fifty old people, with their white hair, coming to be healed. We need to have something more than smoke to touch the people; we need to be a burning fire for God. His ministers must be flames of fire. In those days there were thousands out to hear the Word of God. I believe there were about three thousand persons crying for mercy at once. It was a great sight.
From that first morning on the meetings grew to such an extent that I would estimate every time some 5,000 to 6,000 gathered; and I had to preach in a temperature of 110 degrees. Then I had to pray for these people who were sick. But I can tell you, a flame of fire can do anything. Things change in the fire. This was Pentecost. But what moved me more than anything else was this: there were hundreds who tried to touch me, they were so impressed with the power of God that was present. And many testified that with the touch they were healed, It was not that there was any virtue in me—the people’s faith was exercised as it was at Jerusalem when they said Peter’s shadow would heal them.
You can receive something in three minutes that you can carry with you into glory. What do you want? Is anything too hard for God? God can meet you now. God sees inwardly, He knows all about you. Nothing is hidden from Him, and He can satisfy the soul and give you a spring of eternal blessing that will carry you right through.