As Charles Spurgeon lay on his death bed he gave this appeal to the church: “The presence of God in the church will put an end to infidelity. Men will not doubt His Word when they feel His Spirit. For a thousand reasons we need that Jehovah should come into the camp, as aforetimes He visited and delivered His people from bondage in Egypt.”
It is clear at SMCC that we are enjoying an increasing sense of the Lord’s presence in our midst. It has been so encouraging to hear 2 testimonies of healing over the last couple of weeks. As well as healing for the body, I’m also conscious of the Lord working on people’s hearts in very deep ways. It is so exciting to see Him at work. What we are experiencing is only a start and a great encouragement to press on.
Paul said to Timothy: “I remind you to fan into flame the gift of God, which is in you through the laying on of my hands, for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:6-7). Every Christian has the Spirit, but we each have a responsibility to allow the Spirit to fill us and burn brightly through us into the dark world around. The Greek verb translated “fan into flame” has three components: up, life and fire. It literally means “up the life of the fire” within you. As the Spirit’s fire burns brightly in our hearts, human fear and timidity will be burnt up and divine power, love and self-control will characterise our lives (v7).
As the fire of the Spirit started to sweep through Wales in 1904/1905, Evan Roberts quoted this poem in his “Message to the Churches”:
While the fire of God is falling,
While the voice of God is calling,
Brothers, get the flame.
While the torch of God is burning,
Men’s weak efforts overturning,
Christians, get the flame.
While the Holy Ghost is pleading,
Human methods superseding,
He himself the flame.
While the power hard hearts are bending,
Yield thy own, to Him surrendering,
All to get the flame.
For the world at last is waking,
And beneath His spell is breaking,
Into living flame.
And our glorious Lord is seeking,
Human hearts, to rouse the sleeping,
Fired with heavenly flame.
If in utter self-surrender,
You would work with Christ, remember,
You must get the flame.
For the sake of bruised and dying,
And the lost in darkness lying,
We must get the flame.
For the sake of Christ in glory,
And the spreading of the story,
We must get the flame.
Oh, my soul, for thy refining,
And thy clearer, brighter shining,
Do not miss the flame.
On the Holy Ghost relying,
Simply trusting and not trying,
You will get the flame.
Brothers, let us cease our dreaming,
And while God’s flood-tide is streaming,
We will have the flame.
Frank Bartleman at the time of the Pentecostal revival in America in 1906 wrote these words of urgency to the people: “Opportunity once passed is lost forever. There is a time when the tide is sweeping by our door. We may then plunge in and be carried to glorious blessing, success and victory. To stand shivering on the bank, timid or paralyzed with stupor at such a time is to miss all, and most miserably fail, both for time and for eternity. Oh, our responsibility! The mighty tide of God’s grace and favour is even now sweeping by us in its prayer-directed course…It is time to get together and plunge in, individually and collectively…The opportunity of a lifetime – of centuries – is at our door, to be eternally gained or lost. There is no time to hesitate. Act quickly, lest another take thy crown. Oh, church of Christ, awake! Be baptized with power. Then fly to rescue others.”
By faith and obedience, may we take hold of what God is graciously bestowing upon us so that what is now a trickle of the Holy Spirit’s blessing will become a raging torrent in and through us which brings abundant life in the barren wilderness (Ezekiel 47:1-12).
God bless you, Ben