The after counterfeit of the true is also marked by, (1) inability to recognize and unite with the Spirit of God in others, this being contrary to the pattern of the oneness of the Body shown in 1 Cor. 12, where the same Spirit in each member is in harmony with the Spirit in the other; (2) the spirit of separation and division on account of not seeing eye to eye in non-essential matters, for union of spirit, where the Holy Spirit is ruling and working, is possible apart from unity of faith, which can only be according to the degree of knowledge.note 16
Believers who know that a Baptism of the Spirit is possible, and obtainable by them, may not receive that Baptism because of many misconceptions about experiences.
The reception of the Holy Spirit, and the Pentecostal measure of the enduement, or clothing, of the Spirit, vary in manifestation and result according to the preparation of, and the knowledge of the believer. Many do not receive the Baptism of the Spirit, because they have misconceptions which hinder them from co-operation with the Spirit of God in His workings, on account of these varying facts in connection with it, and the consequent apparent contradictions of teaching about it.
After the manner of the Lord's dealing with His disciples, and borne out in the experience of many to-day, it is clear that there is a reception of the Holy Spirit answering to the experience of the Easter Day, as the initial stage of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in enduement of power, by an influx of the Spirit of God into the human spirit, which liberates the man for utterance and witness bearing. The reception of the Holy Spirit in its initial form requires certain conditions which the believer should be able to quickly and simply fulfill. The (1) putting away of every known sin in the life; (2) definite trust in the power of the Blood of Christ to cleanse from all unrighteousness (1 John 1: 9); (3) obedience right up to the edge of light through the Word of God; (4) full surrender to God as His entirely, with not one thing clung to and withheld from Him; (5) the act of faith in which the believer, fulfilling these conditions, takes the Gift of the Holy Spirit, as simply as he received the gift of eternal life through Christ.
Believers should understand that these simple conditions can be carried out by the action of the will alone, with no conscious feeling of any kind. Once the transaction is made, it should be held to persistently and steadily, without question or deviation from a fixed volition. In some cases the entry of the Holy Spirit into the renewed spirit in the manifestation of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5: 22) very quickly follows the fulfillment of the conditions. But the believer should be on guard not to turn to any experience as the basis of continued faith, or it will quickly pass away. The transaction with God upon His Word stands good, whether manifested in spirit-consciousness of the Holy Spirit's presence or not. Once made, the transaction should be held to, experience or no experience, by the surrendered believer.
It is from this stage that the Spirit of God now works to discipline and lead the believer on into knowledge of the greater influx of His power which is the enduement for service, and for aggressive warfare against the principalities and powers of Satan.
Some say they have prayed for hours for this needed equipment, to no purpose; others have spent weeks or months in waiting upon God for some experience they think accompanies this Baptism, with very grave results in a counterfeit power breaking forth upon them, with manifestations afterwards acknowledged to have come from the deceiving spirits of Satan. Others have received a true influx of the Spirit, but through ignorance and misconceptions have given place at the same time to the workings of evil spirits in the physical frame.note 17 This we have already dealt with in earlier chapters, and need only now set forth the conditions for knowing the enduement for service, and the effects which follow.
In the first place there must be a definite assurance that such an enduement of power is possible, and a deep conviction of, and sense of need. This may come about in the believer by his discovering that he has no effectiveness in his life and service, although he may have known for years the Holy Spirit in His indwelling power. Especially, the sense of need may be acute in lack of utterance and power to witness for God; and almost complete absence of the aggressive power against the forces of darkness so marked in the early church.
Sometimes those who are thus being moved by the Spirit to the sense of need, which precedes the greater influx of His power, are diverted or hindered from pressing on by others who are not at the same stage of the spiritual life, and who say this enduement is not obtainable. A believer in such a case should put aside the voices of men, and dealing with God direct, PUT TO THE PROOF FOR HIMSELF whether God will meet his awakened need.
This means a definite transaction with God, that, (1) He will give to the suppliant what HE MEANS by a "Baptism of the Holy Ghost"; and (2) in His own way grant to His redeemed one the liberty of utterance and, power for effective service, which he should have for fulfilling his part as a member of the Body of Christ.
This should be a transaction with God in a deliberate act of the will, which must not be departed from, whatever the after experience may be. This is taking the enduement of the Spirit by faith, on the ground of the Word of God. "Christ redeemed . . . having become a curse for us . . . that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith . . . " (Gal. 3: 13- 14).
As we have seennote 18 there is no command given to the Church after Pentecost to "wait" for a personal enduement for service. The Spirit of the Lord fell upon those in the house of Cornelius without any "waiting," and He will do so still upon any believer directly he is in the right attitude, and fulfilling the conditions for the Spirit of God to flood his spirit with His power. The waiting on the part of the believer, is really a patient waiting for the Spirit of God to do the work in him that is required, after he has definitely dealt with God for such an enduement of His Spirit. A "waiting" which is consistent with the faithful discharge of the duties of ordinary life, wherein he learns the minute obedience to all the known will of God, which is necessary when he is given more definite service later on.
During this period the believer's faith-dealing with God must continue to be active, trusting the Spirit of God to prepare him for the enduement required for his sphere of service. The danger now is the using of excuses to cover up lack of power, or else shrinking from the examination of points in the life which the Spirit of God is dealing with, or even quenching the Spirit by refusing to yield up to God what He claims, or quailing from some sacrifice, upon which turns the liberation of the spirit of the seeker for the influx of the greater measure of power.
In the initial reception of the Spirit, the conditions necessary, dealt with a narrow sphere. It meant just the centre of the man dealt with, in will and heart, the former in surrender to God, and the latter cleansed from the love of sin. But in the enduement of power the scope of God's dealings widens. The man's SPIRITnote 19 has to be separated from the entanglements of the soul, and the lawful things belonging to the natural, or soul-man, have to be surrendered, so that he may become a spiritual man, governed only by his spirit. He must have every trace of an unbending spiritnote 20 removed, that his spirit may co-operate with the Holy Spirit with pliability; he must lose every degree of an unforgiving spirit, so as to give no inlet to evil spirits, when, by the moving of the Holy Spirit, he may be charged to rebuke sin, or suffer rejection for Christ's sake; and be freed from a narrow grasping spirit,note 20 if he is to be a wide channel for the outflow of the gracious life-giving Spirit of God.
Moreover, the man who seeks an enduement of power must be willing for the Spirit of God thoroughly to deal with his life, and remove out of it every obstacle to his immediate readiness to fulfil all the will of God; he must be searched in motive, and taught the principles of righteousness, for the enduement of the Spirit which he seeks to know, means an AGGRESSIVE WARFARE AGAINST SIN, and the powers of evil, and how can the Holy Spirit convict of sin by the preaching of righteousness, if the man He equips as a messenger of God is ignorant of the law of righteousness? He must learn what GOD'S ATITUDE TO SIN IS IN HIS OWN LIFE, ere he can be God's witness against sin in others.
If a believer has made the transaction with God for the Baptism of the Spirit, and taken it by faith, and for a prolonged period there is no evidence in experience, he should renew his prayer to God for the removal of all obstacles as quickly as possible, and be on the alert to co-operate with God in every trace of light given him. Misconceptions as to the way the Spirit will work may prevent the believer recognizing the evidence that his prayer has been answered. He may be expecting an experience similar to some other believer, or have some thought in his mind governed by his wishes or prayers, blinds him to the working of the Holy Spirit in an opposite manner.
It is here that advantage is given to the spirits of evil. If the believer is bent upon some special mark as evidence of the Baptism, the deceiving spirits use every possible means to give the seeker the counterfeit. The influx of the Spirit of God into the believer's spirit bears its own evidence, in the release of the spirit into light, liberty and power, resulting in liberty of utterance for witness bearing, and the co-working conviction of others by the Holy Spirit, which is the ultimate purpose of His coming.
Believers who are being disciplined and trained by the Holy Spirit for the enduement of power, should continue in present service for Christ, in the keenest faithfulness up to light, using to the full the measure of grace already received, for it is in the path of faithful service that the assurance of the enduement of power may be given. It is God's law that His children use all He has given them ere He gives more. The believer must DEMONSTRATE HIS OBEDIENCE TO GOD to the utmost extent of his present knowledge, learning to heed the sense of his spirit,note 21 and using his mind and judgment in reliance upon the illuminating of the Spirit of God, as he seeks to know the mind of God in His Word.note 22
A question arises here as to whether believers may now speak in unknown tongues, as the disciples did at the time of the Holy Spirit's infilling at Pentecost. There are those that say, Yes, but the truths set forth in preceding chapters, show that until the spiritual section of the Church of Christ are more acquainted with the counterfeiting methods of the spirits of evil, and the laws which give them power of working, any testimony to such experience as true, cannot be safely relied upon.note 23
Let it be said again: REVIVAL IS AN OUTFLOW OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD THROUGH THE ORGAN OF THE HUMAN SPIRIT, and the Baptism of the Spirit is the influx of the Spirit of God into the man's spirit, whereby it is released from all obstacles and bonds which oppress or hold it down, and closes or reduces its capacity as an outlet for the Holy Spirit. These obstacles may return through the deceptive workings of the Adversary, and the believer become locked up in spirit again, or rendered practically useless to God and His people.
There are two objectives to the truths which have been set forth in preceding pages. The first is, the removal of these obstacles, so that the Revival power which is lying locked up in many, may break forth once more, and the Church of Christ press on into maturity and power, victorious over the powers of darkness hindering her progress. These have gained their purpose of checking Revival through the ignorance of God's people, but they can be defeated and driven back from the ground they have gained, by knowledge of their workings, and by aggressive prayer against them. The truths about them, when put into operation, will not only set free individual believers, but disperse the block in the atmosphere in a church, or a town, or a country.
If it is proved that one evil spirit can be rendered powerless by prayer, then all the hosts of Satan in their onslaught on the Church can be conquered, if the children of God would use the weapons of victory. IF ALL HELL HAS BEEN CONQUERED BY CHRIST, THE FORCES OF SATAN CAN BE TURNED BACK, AND THE CHURCH OF CHRIST DELIVERED FROM THEIR POWER.
The hindrance to aggressive warfare against the foe lies in the unwillingness of the Church to face the truth; not in the lack of weapons for victory. Believers are content because they are ignorant of their state. The good they have, blinds them to the greater good, and the greater need of the Church. Therefore, to arouse them from their self-satisfied condition, God has permitted Satan to sift His people, for Satan cannot go one shade beyond the permission of God. Believers will be taught the truth about themselves only by experience, therefore God permits experience. The Church of Christ must be matured, and prepared for the Lord's appearing, therefore God permits the onslaught of the foe, for only through the fire of sifting will the people of God be urged forward to the battle and victory which will drive the forces of Satan from their place in the heavenlies, making way for the Church to ascend to her place of triumph with the Lord.
Wrong conceptions of Divine things can only be destroyed by experience. Many of the children of God are deceived whilst they think they are protected by God. They comply with the conditions for God to work, apart from intelligent understanding of why He does so, and they do not realize that it is just as possible to IGNORANTLY COMPLY WITH THE CONDITIONS FOR EVIL SPIRITS TO WORK, through ignorance of the laws governing both Divine and Satanic workings.
The supernatural manifestations of the present time, are being forced upon the notice of the Church of Christ, by the wreckage of work for God, and of devoted individual believers. Other children of God go into the midst of such manifestations in a blind confidence that God will protect, yet often they are not protected, because they do not understand the conditions for such protection. Sometimes their confidence covers a wrong condition in themselves, which is hidden from their knowledge, i.e., (1) they have a secret self-confidence that they are capable of judging what they see and hear, which has no basis of true reliance upon God through a deep consciousness of their ignorance; (2) a secret spirit of curiosity, of desiring to see what is "wonderful" ; (3) a secret wanting to go to such gatherings, without first seeking, with unbiased mind, a clear knowledge of the will of the Lord; or they may have (4) a real purpose of obtaining more blessing from God, which covers a deeply hidden pride, or self-ambition to be among the first in the Kingdom of God. Any of these hidden causes can frustrate God's protection, but where there is a true, pure, single-eyed reliance upon God to protect from the wiles of Satan, with a keen watching unto prayer, and a ready mind open to truth as God gives it, together with an unbiased faithfulness to the will of God--even though, for purposes greater than the personal good, the far seeing wisdom of God may allow the believer to discover by sore experience the deceptive workings of the Counterfeiter--such an one will be able to say, "out of them all the Lord delivered me." (2 Tim. 3: 11).
The second, and greatest, ultimate result of the operation of the truths concerning the deceptive workings of Satan and the way of victory, is in connection with the dispensational position of the Church, in view of the closing days of the age, and the Millennial Appearing of the Ascended Lord. That Millennial Appearing of the Glorified Christ means to Satan and his hierarchy of powers, the triumph of his erstwhile victims, and their ascension to the throne of Christ, where, in reigning with their Lord, they will "judge angels" (1 Cor. 6: 2, 3). It means to the fallen archangel the deepest cup of humiliation he has yet had to drink, when redeemed man, who was for a little while made lower than the angels (Heb. 2: 7), and cast down, by his fall, near the level of the beast, is lifted up again, and made to sit among princes; lifted up above the high position which Satan once occupied as a great archangel of God; lifted up to one nature, and one life and position with the Son of God, as an heir of God, and joint-heir with Christ (Rom. 8: 17; Heb. 2: 11-12); lifted up with the Redeeming Lord, far above all principality and power and every name that is named in heaven or on earth, or below the earth; lifted up to the very side of the Triumphant Lord, to the place of judgment of the foe. For Satan, there awaits the abyss--the bottomless pit--the lake of fire. For his victims--the sharing of the throne of the Son of God, above the angels and archangels of God.
Is it a marvel, then, that at the close of the Age, and on the eve of the Millennial triumph of the Church, the whole hierarchy of evil powers endeavour to submerge the future judges of the fallen hosts of Satan? Is it any marvel that GOD PERMITS THE ONSLAUGHT, for it has been His way throughout the Ages to use this planet as the battle ground and training school of His people? The Son of God Himself had to become obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross, ere He was given the NAME which is above every name; that NAME which now speaks to every fallen angel, and every evil spirit among the dregs of the Spirit world, of the CONQUEST OF CALVARY. And every member of the Christ, who will reign with Him, and share in His judgment of the fallen angels, must individually, whilst on the planet of earth, learn first in person, not only to walk in victory over sin, but to trample under foot the viper brood of hell,note 24 in the Name of the Conqueror. They must overcome "As HE OVERCAME,"note 25 if they are to share His throne and conquest. He led the way. They must follow. He passed through the hour and power of darkness on Calvary, and passed through it to the place of victory. United to Him in spirit, they pass through the same dark atmosphere, filled with the hosts of evil, to their place of triumph in Him.
That closing onslaught from the hosts of darkness is upon the Church. Not one living member of the Risen Head can escape attack if he is a true "joint" in the Body (Ephes. 4: 16). Some will know it before others, according to their place in the Body. "If the whole Body were an eye, where were the hearing?"note 26 They who are of the "feet" will know it latest, but know it they will, for they who are of the "feet" must also ascend, though the foot be the last part to move heavenward, and is nearest earth of the ascending Body. Some of the "elect" of the Body--yea, many--may "fall" victims to the deceptive wiles of Satan, but though they may seem submerged for a time, and--to their own vision--rendered useless to their Lord, if they but see how all the deceits of Satan can be turned into steps of victory, and equipment for the deliverance of others from his power, they can arise again, and become as it were "eyes"note 28 to the Body of Christ, in its advance through the aerial hosts of darkness contesting the way. They can arise again when they discover that what was meant by Satan to overwhelm them, can be changed by the light of truth into a glorious liberation from the enemy's power, and thus make them witnesses, not only to men, but to the principalities and powers in the heavenly regions (Ephes. 3: 10) of the manifold wisdom of God.
The hierarchy of Satanic power may hope to delay their judgment for a season, but the purposes of God must ultimately come to pass. He will draw His Church through to join the Risen Head in due season, even though the hour and power of darkness now surrounds her. The ULTIMATE OF THE CALL TO WAR AGAINST THE POWERS OF DARKNESS IS REVIVAL! But the ultimate of that Revival which will come as the result of victory over Satan is ASCENSION TRIUMPH: THE MILLENNIAL APPEARING OF THE CHRIST, AND THE CASTING OF SATAN AND HIS EVIL POWERS TO THE ABYSS.