TH E K I N G ’ S BU S I N E S S
The Spirit-Filled Life
By J. D O U G L A S A D A M London, England
“Be filled with the Spirit” (Eph. 5:18). T HE HOLY SPIRIT possessed the life of the Lord Jesus Christ. It was by the Spirit that He And Jesus said that when He became invisible, the Holy Spirit would take of the things that were His, and would show them unto us. That is to say, Christ is the objective in the mind of the Christian, but the Holy Spirit makes Him clear and intelligible to him. We get light from the sun, but that light would not reach us if it were not for the luminous ether which con ducts it; and it is by the conduction of the ether that the light of the sun reaches our planet. So while Christ is. the objective of our faith, it is by the illumination of the divine Spirit that He reaches and sanctifies our hearts. It is as if you .wanted to see a pic- - ture in a dark room; you knew it was there, but it was not clear to your vi sion, and you turned on the light in order to see it. So the Holy Spirit is that light upon Christ which makes Christ’s personality a living reality to us, so that we can live in the fellowship of His presence and life. The Holy Spirit does not call attention to Him self. He is not a figure we can un derstand historically; He is rather a Presence, a light to be followed and obeyed; and the truth as it is in Christ will become real to us through our sub mission to the Holy Spirit’s presence. Christ is the substance of our salva tion; the Holy Spirit is the One who applies the substance of Christ’s sal vation to our needs. He makes Christ a continual reality in our hearts. There were those at Ephesus who said that they had “not so. much as heard wheth- ’ er there be any Holy Ghost” (Acts 19:2). That meant that that church was not a spiritual church. Christ was not real to them before thè coming of Paul. It was when they received the Holy Spirit that Christ became spiritually real to them. Thus the Holy Spirit is the means whereby we are enlightened and maintained in our spiritual relations to Christ. ' Without the Spirit, we cannot see the spiritual Christ, nor become related to Him, nor be maintained in our Christian experi ence. Now to “be filled with the Spirit” “may seem an impossible thing in the eyes of the world. The words of our text may seem to be a counsel of per
fection to many people. But let us re member that these words were ad dressed to people who were just emerg ing from paganism and were living in surroundings vastly' lower than those in which we are living at this time. They were living in Ephesus, in the “Vanity Fair” of the East, and the proof that those people were able to rise to the challenge of our text was the fact of their deep spirituality. They were able to grasp the truths of this remarkable Epistle, remarkable in its profound spirituality. If they had remained where they were, saying, “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost,” they would never have been able to understand this Epistle sent by Paul. How few people today in our churches understand this Epistle! ’ It is only through the illumination of the Spirit that men ahd women are enabled to live a life of spiritual understanding. T h e H oly Spirit Invisibly R eceived Let us consider then, first, liow we receive the Holy Spirit. It is by faith, by believing. He "is waiting to be re ceived at the heart of our being, to reveal Christ Jesus as our living Sav iour. To receive the Spirit by faith does, not mean that wé aré to be taken up with our faith. Faith is nothing in itself; it is a relationship. Forget about your faith. Do not think faith; think Spirit. Believe that He is now in our life, that His presence is a su preme fact here and now. Greater than our physical weaknesses, or our mental ignorance, or our moral un worthiness; deeper down than them all is the presence of the Holy Spirit of God in our lives. Some have been waiting for years to feel the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives. They have read the bio graphies of great Christians and have learned of the emotional conditions in which they received the Holy Spirit; and they are waiting for the same emotional conditions to accompany the reception of the Spirit in their lives; but they have not, yet received the Spirit. You must remember that there is a sprouting of seeds below the ground,before you see those plants ap pearing above the ground, and we must take for granted that hidden sprouting before we see the actual sprouting above the ground. What, then, is the great question in regard to the Holy Spirit? The ques
tion is, Has every believer- the Holy Spirit? Let me answer that question by asking another. Has every one wire less messages in his house ? Yes. There are wireless messages in every house; there are wireless messages here and now, but not every one hears them. Each listener must “tune in.” He must get a radio set in order to hear those'mes sages. Now there are not only wire less messages of the Spirit within'us all now, but we are made in the image of God; we all have a wireless set; and all of us can hear the messages of the Spirit of God now if we care'to listen. We must eliminate the idea of dis tance between us and the Holy Spirit. W h e n we use the word “ distance;” , we are usings the wrong word. There is no distance in the spiritual world; space has to do only with material things. We should use a word like “atune” or “not atune” ; “listening in,” or .“not listening in.” The divine Spirit in us is as near to our spirit as the wireless message is near to us in our room. We have made a mess of the, whole idea of God’s relation to us. We have imported the idea of distance into spiritual things; and we have thus con fused the whole spiritual situation. He is here now, nearer than hands or feet, nearer than breathing. The question is, Have we timed in? T h e H oly Spirit Possessing ; To have the Holy Spirit is one thing; to be possessed by the Holy Spirit is quite another thing. The tree in winter has life, but in summer it has abundant life. A man languishing on a bed'in the hospital .has life, but a man at his desk, rejoicing^in his strength, has abun dant life. There are many who have the Spirit, but there are not so many who are possessed by the Spirit. One reason for the difference between hav ing the Spirit and being possessed by the Spirit may be through our trying to use the Spirit rather than to be used by Him. You sometimes hear one man say to another, “He’s only trying to use me for his own ends.” Now the Spirit refuses to be used by us. He is in us to direct, to enlighten, to be an illumin ating presence all through our lives in every detail of life day by day. You may remember the story of the minister who^wrote to Abraham Lincoln in the dark days of the American Civil War saying he hoped that God would be on his side. And Lincoln’s charac teristic reply was, “I do not want Go#
was guided and He achieved His work.
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