Common, too common is the sin of forgetting the Holy Spirit. This is folly and ingratitude. They who yield to His influence become good; they who obey His impulses do good, they who live under His power receive good. Let us revere His person; let us hourly seek His aid, and never grieve Him; and let us speak to His praise whenever occasion occurs. The church will never prosper until more reverently it believes in the Holy Ghost. – (Charles Spurgeon)
We desire to encounter God in deep, practical, and meaningful ways. We don’t want our faith to be only a relationship with a Book- but a Person. If we ignore or disbelieve the Book, we will wade into error and ambiguity. If we ignore the Spirit, we will live a dry and at times powerless Christian experience, missing some of His blessings along the way. Bible knowledge must be combined with experiential knowledge gleaned only from walking with God. Lord, help us to both love the Bible and embrace the Spirit.
This has been my experience as I have studied the Scriptures. Things I may have known intellectually for years have come alive to me in their fuller spiritual significance almost miraculously. As I have studied the Scriptures, I have also learned that the Spirit always lets more light shine from the Word. Almost every time I read on old, familiar passage I see something new. This happens because the written Word is the living Word. – (Billy Graham)
You can have knowledge, and you can be meticulous in your preparation; but without the unction of the Holy Spirit you will have no power, and your preaching will not be effective. – (M. L. Jones)
A doctrine has practical value only as far as it is prominent in our thoughts and makes a difference in our lives. By this test the doctrine of the Holy Spirit as held by evangelical Christians today has almost no practical value at all. In most Christian churches the Spirit is quite entirely overlooked. Whether He is present or absent makes no real difference to anyone. Brief reference is made to Him in the Doxology and the Benediction. Further than that He might well as not exist. So completely do we ignore Him that it is only by courtesy that we can be called Trinitarian….
The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of life and light and love. In His uncreated nature He is a boundless sea of fire, flowing, moving ever, performing as He moves the eternal purposes of God. Toward nature He performs one sort of work, toward the world another and toward the Church still another. And every act of His accords with the will of the Triune God. Never does He act on impulse nor move after a quick or arbitrary decision.
Since He is the Spirit of the Father He feels toward His people exactly as the Father feels, so there need be on our part no sense of strangeness in His presence. He will always act like Jesus, toward sinners in compassion, toward saints in warm affection, toward human suffering in tenderest pity and love.
It is time for us to repent, for our transgressions against the blessed Third Person have been many and much aggravated. We have bitterly mistreated Him in the house of His friends. We have crucified Him in His own temple as they crucified the Eternal Son on the hill above Jerusalem. And the nails we used were not of iron, but of the finer and more precious stuff of which human life is made. Out of our hearts we took the refined metals of will and feeling and thought, and from them we fashioned the nails of suspicion and rebellion and neglect. By unworthy thoughts about Him and unfriendly attitudes toward Him days without end. (A.W. Tozer ~ “The Forgotten One,” from The Divine Conquest ( God’s Pursuit of Man), pp. 64-75)
For a generation certain evangelical teachers have told us that the gifts of the Spirit ceased at the death of the apostles or at the completion of the New Testament. This, of course, is a doctrine without a syllable of Biblical authority back of it. The result of this erroneous teaching is that spiritually gifted persons are ominously few among us. This frightening hour calls aloud for men with the gift of prophetic insight. Instead we have men who conduct surveys, polls and panel discussions.
We need men with the gift of knowledge. In their place we have men with scholarship—nothing more. Thus, we may be preparing ourselves for the tragic hour when God may set us aside as so-called evangelicals and raise up another movement to keep New Testament Christianity alive in the earth. The truth of the matter is that the Scriptures plainly imply the imperative of possessing the gifts of the Spirit. But I must also add a word of caution. The various spiritual gifts are not equally valuable, as Paul so carefully explains. Certain brethren have magnified one gift out of seventeen out of all proportion. Among these brethren there have been and are many godly souls, but the general moral results of this teaching have nevertheless not been good. In practice it has resulted in much shameless exhibitionism, a tendency to depend upon experiences instead of upon Christ and often a lack of ability to distinguish the works of the flesh from the operations of the Spirit.
Those who deny that the gifts are for us today and those who insist upon making a hobby of one gift are both wrong, and we are all suffering the consequences of their error.” – A.W. Tozer ~ “The Gifts of the Holy Spirit” (Keys to the Deeper Life)
Let us look at Augustine, the Bishop of Hippo, that saintly man who walked with God and wrote a great confession of faith. If I were on on island and could have a pile of all the fundamental, full gospel literature written in the last fifty years, or Augustine’s Confessions, I would give up all the rest to keep that one book because God is in that book! He, Augustine, was a great student of Greek oratory; When he was filled with the Holy Ghost, he said, “I lost my taste for Greek oratory and ot bothered me. Later I discovered why. I found not Christ in the Greek orator!”
Consider Bernard of Cluny also. Bernard wrote, Jerusalem, the Golden. Surely you have read the beautiful words? This man walked with God. There was Brother Lawrence, the man who practiced the presence of God. When dying, those surrounding him asked, “what are you doing Brother Lawrence?”; He said, “I’m doing what I plan to do through-out eternity–worshiping God. When I die I won’t change my occupation. I have been worshiping God for forty years on earth, and when I get to heaven I’ll just keep on doing what I’m doing now”.
Recall also, Thomas a Kempis, who wrote “The Imitation of Christ” and that man they called Martin Luther, who said “I’m going to get married to tease the pope and make the devil mad”.
John Newton wrote, “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds”. This saint was a ‘slave of slaves’ in Africa and yet was converted and became one of the blazing saints of his generation.
Others: Charles and John Wesley, William Booth, Jonathan Edwards, Fredrick Faber, (Oh, JESUS, JESUS, Dearest Lord, forgive me if I say, for very love, Thy precious name a thousand times a day!”), Charles Finney, (“Thy SPIRIT comes in WAVES AND WAVES of liquid love…like the very BREATH OF GOD”), David Livingston, who opened the door to Africa, George Mueller, Charles Spurgeon, Even Roberts who prayed, “BEND ME, OH GOD, BEND ME”, and God bent him and gave Wales it’d great revival.
Many more could be named. I name only a few. But for those who say that the Gifts ceased with the apostles: if the Gifts of the Holy Spirit ceased or died, how did those named (and un-named) do it? If the Holy Ghost no longer has gifts for men, did these do what they did by the intellect, by their brains? No my brethren, these were men (and women) with spiritual gifts, and the gifts were in them. And, the Spirit of God used them mightily, working through them. Can we dare say they and others wrought their mighty, world-changing deeds by the power of the flesh? OH NO MY BROTHER!
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you…” “Covet earnestly the best gifts”
Anything that God has ever done for a soul He will do for someone else, if the conditions are met. The Lord who blessed and used these men, and the thousands who followed them, but whose names are not known, is willing to do the same for us, as HE did for them.
Unbelief says: some other time, but not now: some other place, but not here: some other people, but not us.
Faith says: Anything He did anywhere else, He will do HERE: anything HE did any other time, He is willing to do NOW: anything HE ever did for other people, He is willing to do for US! – A.W. Tozer ~ “The Biblical Gift Functions of the HOLY SPIRIT” (When He is Come) pp. 122-123