Andrew Murray.

The Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church online

. (page 10 of 27)
Online LibraryAndrew MurrayThe Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church → online text (page 10 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

His life of obedience, has taken up His human
spirit into perfect fellowship and unity with Him-
self, is now the Spirit of the exalted God -man.
As the Man Clirist Jesus enters the glory of
God and the full fellowship of that Spirit-life in
which God dwells. He receives from the Father
the right to send forth His Spirit into His disciples,
yea, in the Spirit to descend Himself, and dwell in
them. In a new power, which hitherto had not
been possible, because Jesus had not been crucified
or glorified, as the very Spirit of the glorified Jesus,
the Spirit comes. The work of the Son, the long-
ing of the Father, receives its fulfilment. Man's
heart is now indeed the home of his God.

Said I not truly that Pentecost is the greatest of


tlie Chii roll's feasts ? The mystery of Betlileliem is
indeed incomprehensible and glorious, but when
once I believe it, there is nothing that does not
appear possible and becoming. That a pure, holy
body should be formed for the Son of God by the
power of the Holy Spirit, and that in that body the
Spirit should dwell, is indeed a miracle of Divine
Power. But that the same Spirit should now come
and dwell in the bodies of sinful men, that in them
too the Fatlier should take up His abode, this is a
mystery of grace that passeth all understanding.
But this, glory be to God ! is the blessing Pentecost
brings and receives. The entrance of the Son of
God into our flesh in Bethlehem, His entrance into
the curse and death of sin as our Surety, His entrance
in human nature as Pirst-begotten from the dead
into the Power of the Eternal Life, His entrance
into the very Glory of the Father — these were but
the preparatory steps : here is the consummation for
which all the rest was accomplished. The word now
begins to be fulfilled : ' Behold ! the tabernacle of
God is with men, and He shall dwell with them.' ^

It is only in the light of all that preceded Pentecost,
of all the mighty sacrifice which God thought not too
great if He might dwell with sinful men, that the
narrative of the outpouring of the Spirit can be under-
stood. It is the earthly reflection of Christ's exaltation
in heaven ; the participation He gives to His friends
of the glory He now has with the Fatlier. To be
apprehended aright, it needs a spiritual vision ; in the

1 See Note J.


story that is so simply told the deepest mysteries of the
Kingdom are unfolded, and the title-deeds mven to the
Church of her holy heritage until her Lord's return.
What the Spirit is to be to believers and the Church,
to the ministers of the word and their work, and to
the unbelieving world, are the three chief thoughts.
1. Christ had promised to His disciples that in the
Comforter He Himself would again come to them.
During his life on earth. His personal manifested Pre-
sence, as revealing the unseen Father, was the Father's
great gift to men, was the one thing the di&ciples
wished and needed. This was to be their portion
now in greater power than before. Christ had
entered the glory with this very purpose, that now,
in a Divine way, ' He might fill all things,' He
might specially fill the members of His body with
Himself and His glory-life. When the Holy Spirit
came down. He brought as a personal life within
them what had previously only been a Life near
them, but yet outside their own. The very Spirit of
God's own Son, as He had lived and loved, had obeyed
and died, had been raised and glorified by Almighty
power, was now to become their personal life. The
wondrous transaction that had taken place in heaven
in the placing of tlieir Friend and Lord on the throne
of heaven, this the Holy Spirit came to be the witness
of, yea, to communicate and maintain it within them
as a heavenly reality. It is indeed no wonder that,
as the Holy Ghost comes down from the Father
through the glorified Son, their whole nature is filled
to overflowing with the joy and power of heaven,


with the presence of Jesus, and their lips overflow
with the praise of the wonderful works of God.

Such was the birth of the Church of Christ ; such
inust be its growth and strength. The first and
essential element of the true succession of the
Pentecostal Church is a membership baptized with the
Holy Ghost and with fire, every heart filled with the
experience of the Presence of the glorified Lord, every
tongue and life witnessing to the w^onderful work God
had done, in raising Jesus to the glory of His Throne,
and then filling His disciples with that glory too. It
is not so much the Baptism of Power for our preachers
we must seek ; it is that every individual member of
Christ's body may know, and possess, and witness to,
the Presence of an indwelling Christ through the Holy
Spirit. It is this will draw the attention of the world,
and compel the confession to the Power of Jesus.

2. It was amid the interest and the questionings
which the sight of this joyous praising company of
believers awakened in the multitude that Peter
stood up to preach. The story of Pentecost teaches
us the true position of the ministry and the secret
of its power. A church full of the Holy Ghost is a
power of God to awaken the careless, and attract all
honest, earnest hearts. It is to such an audience,
roused by the testimony of believers, that the preach-
ing will come with power. It is out of such a
church of men and women full of the Holy Ghost
that Spirit-led preachers will rise up, bold and free,
to point to every believer as a living witness to the
truth of their preaching and the Power of their Lord


Peter's preaching is a most remarkable lesson
of what all Holy Ghost preaching will be. He
preaches Christ from the Scriptures. In contrast
with the thoughts of man, who had rejected Christ,
]Ie sets forth the thoughts of God, who had sent
Christ, who delighted in Him, and had now exalted
Him at His right hand. All preaching in the
power of the Holy Spirit will be thus. The Spirit
is the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of His personal
life, taking possession of our personality, and wit-
nessing with our spirit to what Christ has won for
us. The Spirit has come for the very purpose of
continuing the work Christ had begun on earth,
of making men partakers of His redemption and
His life. It could not be otherwise ; the Spirit
always witnesses to Christ. He did so in the
Scriptures ; He does so in the believer ; the be-
liever's testimony will ever be according to Scrip-
ture. The Spirit in Christ, the Spirit in Scripture,
the Spirit in the Church ; as long as this threefold
cord is kept intertwined, it cannot be broken.

3. The effect of this preaching was marvellous, but
not more marvellous than might be expected. The
Presence and Power of Jesus are such a reality in
the company of disciples, the Power from on High,
from the Throne, so fills Peter, the sight and
experience he has of Christ, as exalted at the right
hand of God, is such a spiritual reality, that power
goes out from him, and as his preaching reaches its
application : ' Know assuredly that God hath made
Him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom ye


crucified,' thousands bow in brokenness of spirit,
ready to acknowledge the Crucified One as their Lord.
The Spirit has come to the disciples, and through them
convinced of unbelief. The penitent inquirers listen
to the command to repent and believe, and they,
too, receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. The greater
works Christ had promised to do through the disciples
He has done. In one moment lifelong prejudice,
and even bitter hatred, give way to surrender, and
love, and adoration ; from the glorified Lord power
has filled His body, and from it power hath gone
forth to conquer and to save.

Pentecost is the glorious sunrise of ' that day,'
the first of ' those days ' of which the prophets and
our Lord had so often spoken, the promise and the
pledge of what the history of the Church was meant
to be. It is universally admitted that the Church
has but ill fulfilled her destiny, that even now,
after eighteen centuries, she has not risen to the
height of her glorious privilege. Even when she
strives to accept her calling, to witness for her Lord
unto the ends of the earth, she does it too little in
the faith of the Pentecostal Spirit, and the pos-
session of His Mighty Power. Instead of regarding
Pentecost as sunrise, she too often speaks and acts
as if it had been noonday, from which the light
must needs beajin to wane. Let the Church return
to Pentecost, and Pentecost will return to her
The Spirit of God cannot take possession of be-
lievers beyond their capacity of receiving Him.
The promise is waiting; the Spiiit is now in ^11


His fulness. Our capacity of reception needs
enlargement. It is at the footstool of the throne,
while believers continue with one accord in praise
and love and prayer, while delay only intensifies
the spirit of waiting and expectation, while faith
holds fast the promise, and gazes up on the exalted
Lord, in the confidence that He will make Himself
known in power in the midst of His people, — it is
at the footstool of the throne that Pentecost comes.
Jesus Christ is still Lord of all, crowned with
power and glory. His longing to reveal His
presence in His disciples, and to make them share
the glory-life in which He dwells, is as fresh and
full as when He first ascended the throne. Let
us take our place at the footstool. Let us yield
ourselves in strong, expectant faith, to be filled
with the Holy Ghost, and to testify for Jesus. Let
the indwelling Christ be our life, and our strength,
and our testimony. Out of such a Church Spirit-
filled preachers will rise, and the power go forth
that will make Christ's enemies bow at His feet.

Lord God ! we worship before the Throne on
which the Son is seated with Thee, crowned with
glory and honour. We thank and bless Thee that it
is for us, the children of men, that Thou hast done
this, and that He in whom Thou delightest belongs
as much to earth as to heaven, to us as to Thee. O
God! we adore Thy love: we praise Thy Holy Name.

We beseech Thee, our Father, to reveal to
Tliy Church how our Blessed Head counts us as


His own body, sharing witli Him in His life, His
power, and His glory, and how the Holy Spirit,
as the bearer of that life and power and glory,
is waiting to reveal it within us. Oh, that Thy
people might awake to know what the Holy Spirit
means, as the real Presence within them of the
glorified Lord, an(j as the clothing with Power from
on high for their work on earth. Oh that all Thy
people might learn to gaze on their exalted King until
their whole being were opened up for His reception,
and His Spirit fill them to their utmost capacity !

Our Father ! we plead with Thee, in the name of
Jesus, revive Thy Church. Make every believer to
be indeed a temple full of the Holy Ghost. Make
every church, in its believing members, a consecrated
company ever testifying of a present Christ, ever
waiting for the fulness of the power from on high.
Make every preacher of the word a minister of the
Spirit. And let throughout the earth Pentecost be
the sign that Jesus reigns, that His redeemed are His
body, that His Spirit works, and that every knee
shall bow to Him. Amen.

1. Do let us try and tahe in the thought that when Jesus went to heaven, He
could not bear the thought that His returning to His glory should cause the
slightest separation between Himself and His faithful followers. The Mission
of the Spirit was to secure and glue to them His promised Presence. In this
consists the blessedness of the Spirit's work, and it is this makes Him the
power of God in us for our work.

2. The perfect health of a body means the health of every member. The
healthy action of the Spirit in the Church requires the health of every indi-
vidual believer. Let us pray and labour for this, that the Presence of Christ
by the indwelling Spirit in every believer may be our preparation for the united
prayer and service which shall make our seasons of worship one ever-repeated
Pentecost : the waiting, receptive, worshipping company on earth met by the
Spirit of Christ from heaven.


Sixteenth Day.

K\}t Igolg Spirit anti JUisstons.

* Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there,
prophets and teachers. And as they ministered to the Lord and
fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for
the work whereunto I have called them. Then, when they had
fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them
away. So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, went down
to Seleucia.' — Acts xiii. 1-4.

IT has been rightly said that the Acts of the
Apostles might well have borne the name, The
Acts of the Exalted Lord, or The Acts of the Holy
Spirit. Christ's parting promise, * Ye shall receive
power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you ;
and ye shall be my wit7icsses, both in Jerusalem
and in all Judea and Samaria, and unto the utter-
most parts of the earth,' was indeed one of those
Divine seed - words in which is contained the
Kingdom of heaven in the power of an infinite
gTowth, with the law of its manifestation, and the
prophecy of its final perfection. In the Book of the
Acts we have the way traced in which the promise


received its incipient fulfilment, on its way from
Jerusalem to Eome. It gives us the Divine record
of the coming and dwelling and working of the
Holy Spirit, as the Power given to Christ's disciples,
to witness for Him before Jews and heathens, and
of the triumph of the name of Christ in Antioch
and Eome as the centres for the conquest of the
uttermost parts of the earth. The book reveals, as
with a light from heaven, that the one aim and
purpose of the descent of the Spirit from our
gloritied Lord in heaven to His disciples, to reveal
in them His presence. His guidance, and His Power,
is to fit them to be His witnesses even to the utter-
most parts of the earth. Missions to the heathen
are the one object of the Mission of the Spirit.

In the passage we have as our text we have the
first record of the part the Church is definitely
called to take in the work of missions. In the
preaching of Philip at Samaria, and Peter at
Caesarea, we have the case of individual men
exercising their function of ministry among those
who were not of the Jews under the leading of the
Spirit. In the preacliing of the men of Cyprus and
Cyrene to the Greeks at Antioch we have the
Divine instinct of the Spirit of love and life, leading
men to open new paths where the leaders of the
Church had not yet thought of coming. But this
guidance of the Spirit in separating special men was
now to become part of the organization of the
Church, and the whole community of believers is to
be educated to take its share in the work for which


the Spirit specially had come down to earth. If
the second of Acts is of importance as giving us the
inducment of the Church for her Jerusalem work,
the thirteenth is of no less interest as her setting
apart for definite mission work. We cannot
sufficiently praise God for the deepening interest
in missions in our days. If our interest is to be
permanent and personal, if it is to be a personal
enthusiasm of love and devotion to our Blessed Lord
and the lost He came to save, if it is to be fruit-
ful in raising the work of the Church to the true
level of Pentecostal Power, we must learn well the
lesson of Antioch. Mission work must find its
initiative and its power in the distinct and direct
acknowledgment of the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
It has often been remarked that true mission
work has always been born of a revival of religious
life in the Church. The Holy Spirit's quickening
work stirs up to new devotion to the Blessed Lord
whom He reveals, and to the lost to whom He
belongs. It is in such a state of mind that the
voice of the Spirit is heard, urging the Lord's re-
deemed to work for Him. It was thus at Antioch.
There were certain prophets and teachers at Antioch,
spending part of their time in ministering to the Lord
and fasting. With the public service of God in
the Church they combined the spirit of separation
from the world and of self-sacrifice. Their Lord was
in heaven ; they felt the need of close and continued
intercourse, waiting for His orders ; they understood
that the Spirit that dwelt in them could not have


free and full scope for action except as they main-
tained direct fellowship witii Him as their Master,
and entered as much as possible into the fellow-
ship of Christ's crucifixion of the flesh. * They
ministered to the Lord and fasted : ' such were the
men, such was their state of mind and their habit
of life, when the Holy Spirit revealed to them that
He had called two of their number to a special
work, and called upon them to be His instruments
in separating them, iu presence of the whole Church,
for that work.

The law of the Kingdom has not been changed.
It is still the Holy Ghost who has charge of all
mission work. He will still reveal His will, in the
appointment of work and selection of men, to those
who are waiting on their Lord in service and
separation. When once the Holy Spirit in any age
has taught men of faith and prayer to undertake
His work, it is easy for others to admire and
approve what they do, to see the harmony of their
conduct with Scripture, and to copy their example.
And yet the real power of the Spirit's guiding and
working, the real personal love and devotion to
Jesus as a Beloved Lord, may be present in but a
very small extent. It is because a great deal of
interest in the missionary cause is of this nature,
that there has to be so much arguing and begging
and pleading on lower grounds with its supporters.
The command of the Lord is known as recorded in a
book ; the living voice of the Spirit, who reveals the
Lord in Living Presence and Power, is not heard,


It is not enoufrh that Christians be stirred and
urged to take a greater interest in the work, to
pray and give more : there is a more urgent need.
In the life of the individual the indwelling of the
Holy Spirit, and the Presence and Eule of the
Lord of Glory which He maintains, must again
become the chief mark of the Christian life. In the
fellowship of the Church, we must learn to wait
more earnestly for the Holy Spirit's guidance in the
selection of men and fields of labour, in the wakening
of interest and the seeking of support : it is in the
mission directly originated in much prayer and
waiting on the Spirit that His power can specially
be expected.

Let no one fear, when we speak thus, that we
shall lead Christians away from the real practical
work that must be done. There is much that
needs to be done, and cannot be done without
diligent labour. Information must be circulated ;
readers must be found and kept ; funds must be
raised ; prayer-meetings must be kept up ; direc-
tors must meet, and consult, and decide. All this
must be done. But it will be done well, and as a
service well-pleasing to the Master, just in the
measure in which it is done in the power of the
Holy Spirit. Oh that the Church, and every
member of it, might learn the lesson ! The Spirit
has come down from heaven to be the Spirit of
Missions, to inspire and empower Christ's disciples
to witness for Him to the uttermost parts of the


The origin, the progress, the success of missions
are all his. It is He who wakens in the hearts of
believers the jealousy for the honour of their Lord,
the compassion to the souls of tlie perishing, the
faith in His promise, the willing obedience to His
commands, in which the mission takes its rise. It
is He who draws together to united effort, who
calls forth the suitable men to go out, who opens
the door, and prepares the hearts of the heathen to
desire or to receive the word. And it is He who
at length gives the increase, and, even where Satan's
seat is, establishes the cross, and gathers round it
the redeemed of the Lord. Missions are the
special work of the Holy Spirit. No one may
expect to be filled with the Spirit if he is not
willing to be used for missions. No one who
wishes to work or pray for missions need fear his
feebleness or poverty : the Holy Spirit is the power
that can fit him to take his divinely-appointed
place in the work. Let every one who prays for
missions, and longs for more of a missionary spirit
in the Church, pray first and most that in every
believer personally, and in the Church and all its
work and worship, the power of the Indwelling
Spirit may have full sway.^

' Then when they had fasted and prayed, they
sent them away. So tliey, being sent forth hy the
Holy Ghost, went down to Seleucia.' The sending
forth was equally the work of the Church and of
the Spirit. This is the normal relation. There

' See Note K.


are men sent forth by the Holy Spirit alone ; amid
the opposition or indifference of the Church, the
Spirit does His work. There are men sent forth by
the Church alone ; it thinks the work ought to be
done, and does it, but with little of the fasting and
praying that recognises the need of the Spirit, and
refuses to work without Him. Blessed the Church
and blessed the mission which the Spirit originates,
where He is allowed to guide, and where the
blessing is waited for from Himself alone. Ten
days' praying and waiting on earth, and the
Spirit's descent in fire : this was the birth of
the Church at Jerusalem. Ministering and fasting,
and then again fasting and praying, and the
Spirit sending forth Barnabas and Saul : this
was at Antioch the consecration of the Church
to be a Mission Church. In waiting and prayer
on earth, and then in the power of the Spirit
from the Lord in heaven, is the strength, the
joy, the blessing of the Church of Christ and
its missions.

May I say to any missionary who reads this
in his far-off home, Be of good clieer, brother !
The Holy Spirit who is the Mighty Power of God,
who is the Presence of Jesus within thee, the Holy
Spirit is with thee, is in thee. The work is His :
depend on Him, yield to Him, wait for Him ; the
work is His, He will do it. May I say to every
Christian, be he director, supporter, contributor,
lielper in prayer or in any other way, in the great
work of hastening the coming of the Kingdom,



Brother ! be of good cheer. From that time of
waiting before the Throne, and that baptism there
received, the first disciples went forth until thej;
reached Antioch. There they paused, and prayed,
and fasted, and then passed on over to Eome and
the region beyond. Let us from these our brethren
learn the secret of power. Let us call on every
Christian who would be a mission friend and mission
worker to come with us and be filled with the
Spirit whose is the work of missions. Let us lift
up a clear testimony that the need of the Church
and the world is, believers who can testify to an
indwelling Christ in the Spirit, and prove it too.
Let us gather such together in the antechamber of
tlie King's Presence, the waiting at Jerusalem, the
ministering and fasting at Antioch ; the Spirit does
still come as of old in power. He does still move
and send forth ; He is still mighty to convince of
sin and reveal Jesus, and to make thousands fall
at His feet. He waits for us : let us wait on Him,
let us welcome Him.

God ! Thou didst send Thy Son to be the
Saviour of the world. Thou didst give Him power
over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as
many as Thou hast given Him. And Thou didst
pour out Thy Spirit upon all flesh, commissioning as
many as received Him to make known and pass on
the wondrous blessing. In the Love and Power in
which Thy Spirit was sent forth. He likewise sends
forth those who yield themselves to Him, to be the


instruments of His Power in glorifying Thy Son.
We bless Thee for this Divine and most glorious

our God ! we stand amazed, and abased, at the
sloth and neglect of Thy Church in not fulfilling
her Divine commission ; we are humbled at our
slowness of heart to perceive and believe what Thy
Son did promise, to obey His will and finish His
work. We cry to Thee, our God ! visit Thy

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27

Online LibraryAndrew MurrayThe Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church → online text (page 10 of 27)