Sermon 1662. The Indwelling and Outflowing of the Holy Spirit
DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, MAY 28, 1882,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"He that believes on Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. (But this spoke Heof the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given; because that Jesus wasnot yet glorified)." John 7:38,39.
"Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not comeunto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you."
IT is essential, dear Friends, that we should worship the living and true God. It will be ill for us if it can be said, "Youworship you know not what." "You shall worship the Lord your God and Him only shall you serve." The heathens err from thiscommand by multiplying gods and making this and that image to be the object of their adoration. Their excess runs to grosssuperstition and idolatry. I fear that sometimes we who, "profess and call ourselves Christians," err in exactly the oppositedirection. Instead of worshipping more than God, I fear we worship less than God. This appears when we forget to pay due adorationto the Holy Spirit of God. The true God is triune-Father Son, and Holy Spirit- and though there is but one God, yet that oneGod has manifested Himself to us in the trinity of His sacred Persons.
If, then, I worship the Father and the Son, but forget or neglect to adore the Holy Spirit, I worship less than God. Whilethe poor heathen, in his ignorance, goes far beyond and transgresses, I must take care lest I fall short and fail, also. Whata grievous thing it will be if we do not pay that loving homage and reverence to the Holy Spirit which is so justly His due.May it not be the fact that we enjoy less of His power and see less of His working in the world because the Church of Godhas not been sufficiently mindful of Him? It is a blessed thing to preach the work of Jesus Christ, but it is an evil thingto omit the work of the Holy Spirit-for the work of the Lord Jesus, itself, is no blessing to that man who does not know thework of the Holy Spirit!
There is the ransom price, but it is only through the Spirit that we know the redemption! There is the precious blood, butit is as though the fountain had never been filled unless the Spirit of God leads us with repenting faith to wash therein!The bandage is soft and the ointment is effectual, but the wound will never be healed till the Holy Spirit shall apply thatwhich the great Physician has provided. Let us not, therefore, be found neglectful of the work of the Divine Spirit, lestwe incur guilt and inflict upon ourselves serious damage. You that are Believers have the most forcible reasons to hold theHoly Spirit in the highest esteem, for what are you now without Him? What were you and what would you still have been if ithad not been for His gracious work upon you?
He quickened you, otherwise you had not been in the living family of God today. He gave you understanding that you might knowthe Truth of God, otherwise would you have been as ignorant as the carnal world is at this hour! It was He that awakened yourconscience, convincing you of sin! It was He that gave you abhorrence of sin and led you to repent-it was He that taught youto believe and made you see that glorious Person who is to be believed, even Jesus, the Son of God! The Spirit has workedin you your faith, love, hope and every other Grace of God! There is not a jewel upon the neck of your soul which He did notplace there-
"For every virtue we possess, And every victory won, And every thought of holiness, Are His and His alone."
What have we learned, if we have learned aright, except by the teaching of the Holy Spirit? What can we say either in prayerto God or in teaching to men that shall be acceptable unless we receive the unction of the Holy One of Israel?
Brothers and Sisters, who is it that has comforted us in our distresses; directed us in our perplexities; strengthened usin our weaknesses and helped our infirmities in ten thousand ways? Is it not the Comforter whom the Father has sent in Jesus'name? Can I speak too highly of the riches of His Grace toward us? Can I too much extol the love of the Spirit? I know I cannotand you that know what He has worked in you delight to hear Him highly spoken of and His work and offices set forth! We arebound by a thousand ties to seek His honor who has worked in us our salvation! Let us never grieve Him by our ingratitude,but let us endeavor to extol Him.
For my part, it shall be the labor of this morning to impress upon you the necessity for His work and the superlative valueof it. Beloved Brothers and Sisters, notwithstanding all that the Spirit of God has already done in us, it is very possiblethat we have missed a large part of the blessing which He is willing to give, for He is able to "do exceeding abundantly aboveall that we ask or think." We have already come to Jesus and we have drunk of the life-giving stream-our thirst is quenchedand we are made to live in Him. Is this all? Now that we are living in Him and rejoicing to do so, have we come to the endof the matter?
Assuredly not! We have reached as far as that first exhortation of the Master, "If any man thirsts, let him come unto Me anddrink." But do you think that the generality of the Church of God have ever advanced to the next-"He that believes on Me,as the Scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water"? I think I am not going beyond the grievoustruth if I say that only here and there will you find men and women who have believed up to that point. Their thirst is quenched,as I have said, and they live-and because Jesus lives they shall live also-but health and vigor they have not! They have life,but they have not life more abundantly. They have little life with which to act upon oth-ers-they have no energy welling upand overflowing to go streaming out of them like rivers!
They have not thought it possible, perhaps, or thinking it possible, they have not imagined it possible to themselves. Orbelieving it possible to themselves they have not aspired to it, but they have stopped short of the fullest blessing. Theirwading in to the sacred river has contented them and they know nothing of "waters to swim in." Like the Israelites of old,they are slow to possess all the land of promise, but rather sit down when the war has hardly begun! Brothers and Sisters,let us go in to get of God all that God will give us! Let us set our heart upon this, that we mean to have, by God's help,all that the infinite goodness of God is ready to bestow! Let us not be satisfied with the sip that saves, but let us go onto the Baptism which buries the flesh and raises us in the likeness of the risen Lord-even that Baptism into the Holy Spiritand into fire which makes us spiritual and sets us all on flame with zeal for the Glory of God and eagerness for usefulnessby which that Glory may be increased among the sons of men!
Thus I introduce you to my texts and by their guidance we will enter upon the further consideration of the operations of theHoly Spirit, especially of those to which we would aspire.
I. We will commence with the remark that THE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IS INTIMATELY CONNECTED WITH THE WORK OF CHRIST. It is a greatpity when persons preach the Holy Spirit's work so as to obscure the work of Christ. I have known some do that, for they haveheld up before the sinner's eyes the inward experience of Believers, instead of lifting up, first and foremost, the crucifiedSavior to whom we must look and live! The Gospel is not, "Behold the Spirit of God," but, "Behold the Lamb of God." It isan equal pity when Christ is so preached that the Holy Spirit is ignored-as if faith in Jesus prevented the necessity of thenew birth-and imputed righteousness rendered imparted righteousness needless.
Have I not often reminded you that in the third chapter of John, where Jesus taught Nicodemus the doctrine, "Except a manis born again of water and of the Spirit he cannot enter the kingdom of Heaven," we also read those blessed words, "And asMoses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up: that whoever believes in Him shouldnot perish, but have eternal life. For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes inHim should not perish, but have everlasting life"? The necessity for regeneration by the Spirit is put very clearly, there,and so is the free promise that those who trust in Jesus shall be saved. This is what we ought to do-we must take care tolet both these Truths of God stand out most distinctly with equal prominence!
They are intertwined with each other and are necessary each to each-what God has joined together let no man put asunder. Theyare so joined together that, first of all, the Holy Spirit was not given until Jesus had been glorified. Carefully note ourfirst text-it is a very striking one-"This spoke He of the Spirit which they that believe on Him should receive: for the HolySpirit was not yet." The word, "given," is not in the original-it is inserted by the translators to
help explain the sense and they were, perhaps, wise in making such an addition, but the words are more forcible by themselves.
How strong the statement, "For the Holy Spirit was not yet." Of course, we, none of us, dream that the Holy Spirit was notyet existing, for He is eternal and self-existent, being most truly God. But He was not yet in fellowship with man to thefull extent in which He now is since Jesus Christ is glorified. The near and dear communion of God with man which is expressedby the indwelling of the Spirit could not take place till the redeeming work was done and the Redeemer was exalted! As faras men and the fullness of the blessing were concerned, indicated by the outflowing rivers of living water, the Spirit ofGod was not yet.
"Oh," you say," but was not the Spirit of God in the Church in the wilderness and with the saints of God in all former ages?"I answer, Certainly, but not in the manner in which the Spirit of God now resides in the Church of Jesus Christ. You readof the Prophets and of one and another gracious man, that the Spirit of God came upon them, seized them, moved them, spokeby them-but He did not dwell in them. His operations upon men were a coming and a going-they were carried away by the Spiritof God and came under His power-but the Spirit of God did not rest upon them or abide in them.
Occasionally the sacred endowment of the Spirit of God came upon them, but they knew not "the communion of the Holy Spirit."As a French pastor very sweetly puts it, "He appeared unto men. He did not incarnate Himself in man. His action was intermittent-Hewent and came like the dove which Noah sent forth from the ark and which went to and fro, finding no rest-while in the newdispensation He dwells, He abides in the heart, as the dove, His emblem, which John the Baptist saw descending and alightingupon the head of Jesus. Affianced of the soul, the Spirit went off to see His betrothed, but was not yet one with her. Themarriage was not consummated until Pentecost, after the glorification of Jesus Christ."
You know how our Lord puts it, "He dwells with you and shall be in you." That indwelling is another thing from being withus. The Holy Spirit was with the Apostles in the days when Jesus was with them, but He was not in them in the sense in whichHe filled them at and after the Day of Pentecost. The operations of the Spirit of God before our Lord's Ascension were notaccording to the full measure of the Gospel. But now the Spirit of God has been poured upon us from on high! Now He has descendedand now He abides in the midst of the Church. And now we enter into Him and are baptized into the Holy Spirit, while He entersinto us and makes our bodies to be His temples. Jesus said, "I will send you another Comforter which shall abide with youforever"-not coming and going-but remaining in the midst of the
This shows how intimately the gift of the Holy Spirit is connected with our Lord Jesus Christ, inasmuch as in the fullestsense of His indwelling, the Holy Spirit could not be with us until Christ had been glorified. It has been well observed thatour Lord sent out 70 evangelists to preach the Gospel, even as He had before sent out the 12-and no doubt they preached withgreat zeal and produced much stir-but the Holy Spirit never took the trouble to preserve one of their sermons, or even thenotes of one! I have not the slightest doubt that they were very crude and incomplete, showing more of human zeal than ofDivine unction and, therefore, they are forgotten! But no sooner had the Holy Spirit fallen, than Peter's first sermon isrecorded-and from then on we have frequent notes of the utterances of Apostles, deacons and evangelists! There was an abidingfullness and an overflowing of blessing out of the souls of the saints, after the Lord was glorified, which was not existingamong men before that time!
Observe, too, that the Holy Spirit was given after the ascent of our Divine Lord into His Glory, partly to make that ascentthe more renowned. When He ascended up on high, He led captivity captive and gave gifts to men. These gifts were men, in whomthe Holy Spirit dwelt, who preached the Gospel unto the nations. The shedding of the Holy Spirit upon the assembled discipleson that memorable day was the glorification of the risen Christ upon the earth! I know not in what way the Father could havemade the Glory of Heaven so effectually to flow from the heights of the New Jerusalem and to come streaming down among thesons of men as by giving that chief of all Gifts, the gift of the Holy Spirit when the Lord had risen and gone into His Glory!
With emphasis, may I say of the Spirit at Pentecost that He glorified Christ by descending at such a time. What grander celebrationcould there have been? Heaven rang with Hosannas and earth echoed the joy! The descending Spirit is the noblest testimonyamong men to the Glory of the ascended Redeemer! Was not the Spirit of God also sent at that
time as an evidence of our Divine Master's acceptance? Did not the Father thus say to the Church, "My Son has finished thework and has fully entered into His Glory. Therefore I give you the Holy Spirit"? If you would know what a harvest is to comeof the sowing of the bloody sweat and of the death wounds, see the first fruits! Behold how the Holy Spirit is given, Himself,to be the first fruits, the earnest of the Glory which shall yet be revealed in us! I need no better attestation from Godof the finished work of Jesus than this blazing, flaming seal of tongues of fire upon the heads of the disciples! He musthave done His work, or such a gift as this would not have come from it.
Moreover, if you desire to see how the work of the Spirit comes to us in connection with the work of Christ, recollect thatit is the Spirit's work to bear witness of Jesus Christ. He does not take of a thousand different matters and show them tous, but He shall take, "of Mine," says Christ, "and He shall show them unto you." The Spirit of God is engaged in a servicein which the Lord Jesus Christ is the beginning and the end. He comes to men that they may come to Jesus. Hence He comes toconvince us of sin that He may reveal the great Sacrifice of sin-He comes to convince us of righteousness that we may seethe Righteousness of Christ-and of judgment that we may be prepared to meet Him when He shall come to judge the quick anddead.
Do not think that the Spirit of God has come or ever will come among us to teach us a new Gospel, or something other thanis written in the Scriptures. Men come to me with their stories and fancies and tell me that they were revealed to them bythe Holy Spirit. I abhor their blasphemous impertinence and refuse to listen to them for a minute! They tell me this and thatabsurdity-and then father it upon the Spirit of Wisdom! It is enough to try our patience to hear their foolish ravings, butto find the Holy Spirit charged with them is more than we can bear! We have tests and judgments by which to know whether theywho claim to speak by the Holy Spirit do so or not-for the testimony of the Spirit is always most honorable to our Lord JesusChrist-and does not concern itself with the trifles of time and the follies of the
It is by the Gospel of Jesus Christ that the Spirit of God works in the hearts of men. "Faith comes by hearing and hearingby the Word of God"-the Holy Spirit uses the hearing of the Word of God for the conviction, conversion, consolation and sanctificationof men. His usual and ordinary method of operation is to fasten upon the mind the things of God and to put life and forceinto the consideration of them. He revives in men's memories things that have long been forgotten and He frequently makesthese the means of affecting the heart and conscience. The men can hardly remember hearing these Truths of God, but still,they were heard by them at some time or other! Saving Truths are such matters as are contained in their substance in the Wordof God and lie within the range of the teaching, or the Person, or work, or offices of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is the Spirit'sone business here below to reveal Christ to us and in us-and to that work He steadily adheres.
Moreover, the Holy Spirit's work is to conform us to the likeness of Jesus Christ. He is not working us to this or that humanideal, but He is working us into the likeness of Christ that He may be the First-Born among many brethren. Jesus Christ isthat standard and model to which the Spirit of God, by His sanctifying processes, is bringing us till Christ is formed inus the hope of Glory. It is for the Glory of Jesus that the Spirit of God always works. He works not for the Glory of a Churchor of a community-He works not for the honor of a man or for the distinction of a sect-His one great objective is to glorifyChrist! "He shall glorify Me," is our Savior's declaration, and when He takes of the things of Christ and shows them to us,we are led more and more to reverence and love and to adore our blessed Lord Jesus Christ.
I will not detain you longer with this. You will see how the works of Jesus and of the Spirit are joined together indis-solubly,so that we may neither set the work of Jesus before the work of the Spirit nor the work of the Spirit before the work of Jesus.But we are glad to joy in both and to make much of them. As we delight in the Father's love and the Grace of our Lord Jesus,so do we equally rejoice in the communion of the Holy Spirit and, therefore, these Three agree in One.
II. We will now advance another step and here we shall need our second text. THE OPERATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT ARE OF INCOMPARABLEVALUE. They are of such incomparable value that the very best things we can think of are not thought to be so precious asthese are. Our Lord Himself says, "It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not comeunto you." Beloved Friends, the Presence of Jesus Christ was of inestimable value to His disciples and yet it was not suchan advantage to His servants as the indwelling of the Holy Spirit! Is not this a wonderful statement? Well might our Lordpreface it by saying, "Now I tell you the truth," as if He felt that they would find it a hard saying, for a hard saying itis!
Consider for a moment what Christ was to His disciples while He was here-and then see what must be the value of the Spirit'soperations when it is expedient that they should lose all that blessing in order to receive the Spirit of God! Our Lord JesusChrist was to them their Teacher. They had learned everything from His lips. He was their Leader-they had never to ask whatto do-they had only to follow in His footsteps. He was their Defender-whenever the Pharisees or Sadducees assailed them, Hewas like a brazen wall to them! He was their Comforter-in all times of grief they resorted to Him and His dear sympatheticheart poured out floods of comfort at once. What if I were to say that the Lord Jesus Christ was everything to them, theirAll in All? What a father is to his children, yes, what a mother is to her suckling, that was Jesus Christ to His disciples!And yet the Spirit of God's abiding in the Church is better, even, than all this!
Now take another thought. What would you think if Jesus Christ were to come among us now, as in the days of His flesh? I meannot as He will come, but as He appeared at His first advent. What joy it would give you! Oh, the delights, the heavenly joys,to hear that Jesus Christ of Nazareth was on earth, again, a Man among men! Should we not clap our hands for joy? Our onequestion would be, "Master, where do You dwell?" for we should all long to live just where He lived. We could then sympathizewith the Negroes when they flocked into Washington in large numbers to take up their residence there. Why, do you think, didthey come to live in that city? Because Massa Abraham Lincoln, who had set them free, lived there! And they thought it wouldbe glorious to live as near as possible to their great friend!
If Jesus lived anywhere, it would not matter where! If it were in the desert or on the bleakest of mountains, there wouldbe a rush to the place! How would the spot be crowded! What rents they would pay for the worst of tenements if Jesus was butin the neighborhood! But don't you see the difficulty? We could not all get near Him in any literal or corporeal fashion.Now that the Church is multiplied into millions of Believers, some of the Lord's followers would never be able to see Him-andthe most could only hope to speak with Him now and then! In the days of His flesh the 12 might see Him every day and so mightthe little company of disciples-but the case is altered, now that multitudes are trusting in His name.
If our Lord were at this time living in the United States, we should be much grieved to have an ocean between us and our Leader-allthe companies that could be formed would not be able to run enough boats to carry us over. If the Master personally came hereto this little island, it would not hold all the vast company of the faithful who would flock to it. It is much better tohave the Holy Spirit, because He is dwelling with us and in us! The difficulties of the bodily Presence are too great andso, though we would be thankful, like the Apostles, if we had known Christ after the flesh, yet we do not marvel that theyexpressed little sorrow when they said that after the flesh they knew Him no more. The Comforter had filled the void causedby His absence and made them rejoice because the Lord had gone unto His Father!
Are we not apt to think that if our Lord Jesus were here it would give unspeakable strength to the Church? Would not the enemybe convinced if they saw Him? No, they would not! If they heard not Moses and the Prophets, neither would they be convertedthough one rose from the dead! Jesus rose, but they did not, therefore, believe. If our Lord had lingered here all this while,His Presence would not have converted unbelievers, for nothing can do that but the power of the Holy Spirit! "But," you say,"surely it would thrill the Church with enthusiasm. Fancy the Lord Himself standing on this platform this morning in the samegarb as when He was upon earth. Oh, what rapturous worship! What burning zeal! What enthusiasm! We should go home in sucha state of excitement as we never were in before!"
Yes, it is even so, but then the Lord is not going to carry on His Kingdom by the force of mere mental excitement- not evenby such enthusiasm as would follow the sight of His Person. The work of the Holy Spirit is a truer work, a deeper work, asurer work and will more effectually achieve the purposes of God than even would the enthusiasm to which we should be stirredby the bodily Presence of our well-beloved Savior. The work is to be spiritual and, therefore, the visible Presence has departed.It is better that it should be so. We must walk by faith and by faith alone! How could we do this if we could see the Lordwith these mortal eyes? This is the dispensation of the unseen Spirit, in which we render Glory to God by trusting in HisWord and relying upon the unseen energy.
Now, faith works and faith triumphs though the world sees not the foundation upon which faith is built, for the Spirit whoworks in us cannot be discerned by carnal minds. The world sees Him not, neither knows Him. Thus, you see that the operationsof the Holy Spirit must be inestimably precious. There is no calculating their value, since it is expedient that we lose thebodily Presence of Christ rather than remain without the indwelling of the Spirit of God.
III. Now go back to my first text, again, and follow me in the third head. Those operations of the Spirit of God, of whichI am afraid some Christians are almost ignorant, are of wondrous power. The text says, "He that believes on Me, out of hisbelly shall flow rivers of living water." THESE OPERATIONS ARE OF MARVELOUS POWER. Brothers and Sisters, do you understandmy text? Do rivers of living water flow out of you?
Notice, first, that this is to be an inward work-the rivers of living water are to flow out of the midst of the man. The words,are, according to our version, "Out of his belly"-that is, from his heart and soul. The rivers do not flow out of his mouth-thepromised power is not oratory. We have had plenty of words, floods of words-but this is heart work. The source of the riversis found in the inner life. It is an inward work at its fountainhead. It is not a work of talent and ability, show, glitterand glare-it is altogether an inward work. The life-flood is to come out of the man's inmost self- out of the heart and essentialbeing of the man. Homage is shown too generally to outward form and external observance, though these soon lose their interestand power. But when the Spirit of God rests within a man, it exercises a home rule within him and he gives great attentionto what an old divine was known to call, "the home department." Alas, many neglect the realm within which is the chief provinceunder our care. O my Brothers and Sisters in Christ, if you would be useful, begin with yourself! It is out of your very soulthat a blessing must come. It cannot come out of you if it is not in you! And it cannot be in you unless God the Holy Spiritplaces it there.
Next, it is life-giving work. Out of the heart of the man, out of the center of his life, are to flow rivers of living water.That is to say, he is instrumentally to communicate to others the Divine life. When he speaks; when he prays; when he acts,he shall so speak and pray and act that there shall be going out of him an emanation which is full of the life of Grace andgodliness. He shall be a light by which others shall see! His life shall be the means of kindling life in other men's bosoms."Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." Note the plenitude of it. The figure would have been a surprising oneif it had said, "Out of him shall flow a river of living water." But it is not so-it says rivers.
Have you ever stood by the side of a very abundant spring? We have some such not far from London. You see the water bubblingup from many little mouths. Observe the sand dancing as the water forces its way from the bottom and there, just across theroad, a mill is turned by the stream which has just been created by the spring! And when the water-wheel is turned, you seea veritable river flowing forward to supply Father Thames. Yet this is only one river! What would you think if you saw a springyielding such supplies that a river flowed from it to the north and a river to the south, a river to the east and a riverto the west? This is the figure before us-rivers of living water flowing out of the living man in all directions!
"Ah," you say, "I have not reached to that." A point is gained when you know, confess and deplore your failure. If you say,"I have all things and abound," I am afraid you will never reach the fullness of the blessing. But if you know something ofyour failure, the Lord will lead you further. It may be that the Spirit of Life which comes forth for you is but a tricklingbrooklet, or even a few tiny drops. Then be sure to confess it and you will be on the way to a fuller blessing! What a Wordof God is this! Rivers of living water!! Oh that all professing Christians were such fountains! See how spontaneous it is-"Outof his belly shall flow." No pumping is required! Nothing is said about machinery and hydraulics! The man does not need excitingand stirring up, but, just as he is, influence of the best kind quietly flows out of him!
Did you ever hear a great hubbub in the morning, a great outcry, a sounding of trumpets and drums? And did you ever ask, "Whatis it?" Did a voice reply, "The sun is about to rise and he is making this noise that all may be aware of it"? No, he shines,but he has nothing to say about it! Even so, the genuine Christian just goes about flooding the world with blessings and,so far from claiming attention for himself, it may be that he is unconscious of what he is effecting! God so blesses him thathis leaf does not wither and whatever he does is prospering, for he is like a tree planted by the rivers of water that bringforth its fruit in its season-his verdure and fruit are the natural outcome of his vigorous life. Oh, the blessed spontaneityof the work of Grace when a man gets into the fullness of it, for then he seems to eat and drink and sleep eternal life! Andhe spreads a savor of salvation all round! And this is to be perpetual-not like intermittent springs which burst forth andflow in torrents and then cease-but it is to be an everyday gushing out!
In summer and winter, by day and by night, wherever the man is, he shall be a blessing. As he breathes, he shall breathe benedictions!As he thinks, his mind shall be devising generous things. And when he acts, his acts shall be as though the hand of God wereworking by the hand of man! I hope I hear many sighs rising up in the place! I hope I hear friends saying, "Oh that I couldget to that." I want you to attain the fullness of the favor! I pray that we may all get it
because Jesus Christ is glorified! Therefore the Holy Spirit is given in this fashion, given more largely to those in thekingdom of Heaven than to all those holy men before the Lord's ascent to His Glory.
God gives no stinted blessing to celebrate the triumph of His Son! God gives not the Spirit by measure unto Him. On such anoccasion Heaven's grandest liberality was displayed. Christ is glorified in Heaven above and God would have Him glorifiedin the Church below by vouchsafing a Baptism of the Holy Spirit to each of us. So I close by this, which I hope will be avery comforting and inspiriting reflection.
IV. THESE OPERATIONS OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD ARE EASILY TO BE OBTAINED BY THE LORD'S CHILDREN. Did you say you had not receivedthem? They are to be had! They are to be had at once! First, they are to be had by believing in Jesus. "This spoke He of theSpirit, which they that believe on Him should receive." Do you not see that it is faith which gives us the first drink andcauses us to live? And this second, more abundant blessing of being, ourselves, made fountains from which rivers flow, comesin the same way! Believe in Christ, for the blessing is to be obtained not by the works of the Law, nor by so much fasting,striving, or effort-but by belief in the Lord Jesus!
With Him is the residue of the Spirit. He is prepared to give this to you, yes, to every one of you who believe on His name.He will not, of course, make all of you preachers-for who, then, would be hearers? If all were preachers, the other worksof the Church would be neglected. But He will give you this favor-that out of you there shall stream a Divine influence allround you to bless your children, to bless your servants, to bless the workmen in the house where you are employed and tobless the street you live! In proportion as God gives you opportunity, these rivers of living water will flow in this channeland in that-and they will be pouring forth from you at all times-if you believe in Jesus for the full blessing and can, byfaith, receive it.
But there is another thing to be done as well, and that is to pray. And here I want to remind you of those blessed Words ofthe Master, "Everyone that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened. If a son shallask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask for a fish, will he, for a fish give hima serpent? Or if he shall ask for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If you, then, being evil, know how to give good giftsunto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" You see, there isa distinct promise to the children of God that their heavenly Father will give them the Holy Spirit if they ask for His power-andthat promise is made to be exceedingly strong by the instances joined to it. If there is a promise that God can break (whichthere is not), this is not the promise, for God has put it in the most forcible and binding way.
I know not how to show you its wonderful force! Did you ever hear of a man who, when his child asked for bread, gave him astone? Go to the worst part of London and will you find a man of that kind? You shall, if you like, get among pirates andmurderers, and when a little child cries, "Father, give me a bit of bread and meat," does the most wicked father fill hisown little one's mouth with stones? Yet the Lord seems to say that this is what He would be doing if He were to deny us theHoly Spirit when we ask Him for His necessary working-He would be like one that gave his children stones instead of bread!Do you think the Lord will ever bring Himself down to that? He says, "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the HolySpirit to them that ask Him?"
He makes it a stronger case than that of an ordinary parent! The Lord must give us the Spirit when we ask Him, for He has,herein, bound Himself by no ordinary pledge. He has used a simile which would bring dishonor on His name and that of the verygrossest kind, if He did not give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him! Oh, then, let us ask Him at once with all our hearts!Am I not so happy as to have in this audience some who will immediately ask? I pray that some who have never received theHoly Spirit at all may now be led, while I am speaking, to pray, "Blessed Spirit, visit me! Lead me to Jesus." But especiallythose of you that are the children of God-to you is this promise especially made! Ask God to make you all that the Spiritof God can make you-not only a satisfied Believer who has drunk for himself-but a useful Believer who overflows the neighborhoodwith blessing!
I see here a number of friends from the country who have come to spend their holiday in London. What a blessing it would beif they went back to their respective Churches overflowing! There are numbers of Churches that need flooding! They are dryas a barn floor and little dew falls on them. Oh that they might be flooded! What a wonderful thing a flood is! Go down tothe river; look over the bridge and see the barges and other crafts lying in the mud. All the king's horses and all the king'smen cannot tug them out to sea! There they lie, dead and motionless as the mud, itself! What shall we do with them? What machinerycan move them? Have we a great engineer among us who will devise a scheme for lifting
these vessels and bearing them down to the river's mouth? No, it cannot be done! Wait till the tide comes in! What a change!Each vessel walks the water like a thing of life! What a difference between the low tide and the high tide! You cannot stirthe boats when the water is gone, but when the tide is at the full, see how readily they move-a little child may push themwith his hand!
Oh, for a flood of Divine Grace! May the Lord send to all our Churches a great springtide! Then the indolent will be activeenough and those who were half dead will be full of energy. I know that in this particular dock several vessels are lyingthat I should like to float, but I cannot stir them. They neither work for God nor come out to the Prayer Meetings! They donot give of their substance to spread the Gospel. If the flood would come, you would see what they are capable of-they wouldbe active, fervent, generous, abounding in every good word and work! So may it be! So may it be! May springs begin to flowin all our Churches and may all of you who hear me this day get your share of the streams!
Oh that the Lord may now fill you and then send you home bearing a flood of Grace with you! It sounds odd to speak of a man'scarrying home a flood within him and yet I hope it will be so-and that out of you shall flow rivers of living water! So mayGod grant it for Jesus' sake. Amen.