Read the fourth chapter of Acts.
Today we praise God for the fact that our glorious Jesus is the risen Christ. Those of us who have tasted the power of the indwelling Spirit know something of the manner in which the hearts of those two disciples burned as they walked to Emmaus with their risen Lord as their companion.
Note the words of verse 30, "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken." There are many kinds of prayer that you read of here. A church that does not know how to pray and to shout will never be shaken. If you live in a place like that you may as well write "Ichabod--the glory of the Lord has departed"--over the threshold. It is only when men have learned the secret of prayer, of power, and of praise, that God comes forth. Some people say, "Well, I praise God inwardly," but if there is an abundance of praise in your heart, your mouth cannot help speaking it.
There was a man who had a large business in London who was a great church-goer. The church he attended was beautifully decorated, and his pew was delightfully cushioned- -just about enough to make it easy to sleep through the sermons. He was a prosperous man in business, but he had no peace in his heart. But there was a boy at his business who always looked happy. He was always jumping and whistling. One day he said to this boy, "I want to see you in my office." When the boy was in his office he asked him, "How is it that you can always whistle and be happy?" "I cannot help it," answered the boy. "Where did you get it?" asked the master. "I got it at the Pentecostal mission." "Where is that?" The boy told him, and the next thing was, that the man was attending. The Lord broke him up there, and in a short while he was entirely changed. One day, shortly after this, he found that, instead of being distracted by his business as he formerly had been, he was actually whistling and jumping. His whole position and his whole life had been changed.
The shout cannot come out unless it is in. There must first be the inner working of the power of God. It is He who changes the heart, and transforms the life, and before there is any real outward evidence there must be the inflow of divine life. Sometimes I say to people, "You weren't at meeting the other night." They reply, "Oh yes, I was there in spirit." I say to them, "Well, come next time with your body also. We don't want a lot of spirit here and no bodies. We want you to come and get filled with God." When all the people will come and pray and praise as did these early disciples there will be something doing. People who come will catch fire and they will want to come again. But they will have no use for a place where everything has become formal, dry, and dead.
The power of Pentecost as it came at first came to loose men. God wants us free on every line. Men and women are tired of imitations; they want reality; they want to see people who have the living Christ within, and are filled with Holy Ghost power.
I received several letters and telegrams about a certain case, but when I arrived I was told I was too late. I said, "That cannot be. God has never sent me too late anywhere." God showed me when I went that something different would happen to anything I had seen previously. The people I went to were all strangers. I was introduced to a young man who lay helpless, and for whom there was no hope. The doctor had been to see him that morning and had declared that he would not live through the day. He lay with his face to the wall, and when I spoke to him he whispered, "I cannot turn over." His mother said that they had had to lift him out of bed on sheets for weeks, and that he was so weak and helpless that he had to stay in one position.
The young man said, "My heart is very weak." I assured him, "God is the strength of the heart and thy portion forever. If you will believe God, it shall be so today."
Our Christ is risen. He is a living Christ who indwells us. We must not have this truth merely as a theory, Christ must be risen in us by the power of the Spirit. The power that raised Him from the dead must animate us, and as this glorious resurrection power surges through your being, you will be freed from all your weaknesses and you will become strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. There is a resurrection power that God wants you to have and to have it today. Why not? Receive your portion here and now.
I said to these people, "I believe your son will rise today." They only laughed. People do not expect to see signs and wonders today as the disciples saw them of old. Has God changed? Or has our faith waned so that we are not expecting the greater works that Jesus promised? We must not harp on any minor key. Our message must rise to concert pitch, and there must be nothing left out of it that is in the Book.
It was winter time, and I said to the parents, "Will you get the boy's suit and bring it here?" They would not listen to the request, for they were expecting the boy to die. But I had gone to that place believing God. In Romans 4:17, we read of Abraham, "(I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were." God help us to understand this. It is time people knew how to shout in faith as they contemplate the eternal power of our God to whom it is nothing to quicken and raise the dead. I come across some who would be giants in the power of God but they have no shout of faith. I find everywhere people who go down even when they are praying simply because they are just breathing sentences without uttering speech, and you cannot get victory that way. You must learn to take the victory and shout in the face of the devil. "It is done!" There is no man who can doubt if he learns to shout. When we know how to shout properly, things will be different, and tremendous things will happen. In verse 24 we read, "They lifted up their voice with one accord." It surely must have been a loud prayer. We must know that God means us to have life. If there is anything in the world that has life in it, it is this Pentecostal revival we are in. I believe in the baptism of the Holy Ghost with the speaking of tongues, and I believe that every man who is baptized in the Holy Ghost will speak in other tongues as the Spirit gives him utterance. I believe in the Holy Ghost. And if you are filled with the Spirit you will be superabounding in life-- living waters will flow from you.
At last I persuaded the parents to bring the boy's clothes and lay them on the bed. From the natural viewpoint, the young man lay dying. I spoke to the afflicted one, "God has revealed to me that, as I lay my hands upon you, the place will be filled with the Holy Ghost, the bed will be shaken, you will be shaken and thrown out of bed by the power of the Holy Ghost, you will dress yourself and be strong." I said this to him in faith. I laid hands on him in the name of Jesus and instantly the power of God fell and filled the place. I felt helpless and fell flat on the floor. I knew nothing except that a short while after the place was shaken, I heard the young man walking over me and saying, "For Thy glory, Lord! For Thy glory, Lord!"
He dressed himself and cried, "God has healed me." The father fell, the mother fell, and another who was present fell also. God manifested His power that day in saving the whole household and healing the young man. It is the power of the risen Christ we need. That young man is today preaching the gospel.
For years we have been longing for God to come forth, and, praise Him, He is coming forth. The tide is rising everywhere. I was in Switzerland not long ago, preaching in many places where the Pentecostal message had not been heard, and today there are nine new Pentecostal assemblies in different places going on blessedly for God. All over the world it is the same, this great Pentecostal work is in motion. You can hardly get to a place now where God is not pouring out His Spirit on hungry hearts. God has promised to pour out His Spirit upon all flesh, and His promises never fail. Our Christ is risen. His salvation was not a thing done in a corner. Truly He was a man of glory who went to Calvary for us, in order that He might free us from all that would mar and hinder, that He might transform us by His grace, and bring us out from under the power of satan into the glorious power of God. One touch of our risen Christ will raise the dead. Hallelujah!
Oh, this wonderful Jesus of ours! He comes and indwells us. He comes to abide. He it is who baptizes us with the Holy Ghost, and makes everything different. We are to be a kind of firstfruits unto Fod and are to be like Christ who is the firstfruit, walking in His footsteps, living in His power. What a salvation this is, having this risen Christ in us. I feel that everything else must go to nothingness, helplessness and ruin. Every thought of advantage for ourselves must be on the decrease in order that Christ may increase, that we may live in another state, where all things are under the power of the Spirit.
Dare you take your inheritance from God? Dare you believe God? Dare you stand on the record of His Word? What is the record? If thou shalt believe thou shalt see the glory of God. You will be sifted as wheat. You will be tried as though some strange thing tried you. You will be put in places where you will have to put your whole trust in God. There is no such thing as anyone being tried beyond what God will allow. There is no temptation that will come, but that God will be with you right in the temptation to deliver you, and when you have been tried, He will bring you forth as gold. Every trial is to bring you to a greater position in God. The trial that tries your faith will take you on to the place where you will know tht the faith of God will be forthcoming in the next test. No man is able to win any victory save through the power of the risen Christ within him. You will never be able to say, "I did this or that." You will desire to give God the glory for everything.
If you are sure of your ground, if you are counting on the presence of the living Christ within, you can laugh when you see things getting worse. God would have you settled and grounded in Christ, and it is only as you are filled with the Holy Ghost that you become steadfast and unmoveable in Him.
The Lord Jesus said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished." He was assuredly straitened in the way, at Gethsemane, at the judgment hall, and, after that, at the cross, where He, through the eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God. God will take us right on in like manner, and the Holy Spirit will lead every step of the way. God led him right through to the empty tomb, to the ascension glory, to a place on the throne; and the Son of God will never be satisfied until He has us with Himself, sharing His glory and sharing His throne.