How The Holy Spirit Works
The Word of The Lord
"This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" (Galatians 3:2-3). If I remember correctly, it was a beautiful spring day, sometime in March 1988. It was a Monday. In those days, Francis and I generally stayed home on Mondays, meaning that we do not go into the office at all. I would spend the day in prayer and study of The Word, which I was to do this particular day. Something was to happen that would make this one of the greatest days of my life, but not without the efforts of satan to hinder and to hinder greatly.
The Power Of Darkness
As I began to seek The Lord that day, I had gone to the backside of our property. Our house and Donny's house sat on twenty acres of land that is outside the city limits of Baton Rouge. Oftentimes, I would walk around the perimeters praying, which I did that day. It happened to be at the very backside of the property. At a certain point in time, the powers of darkness began to come against me with a powerful force. In fact, it was about as strong as I had ever experienced such. It was so bad that I remonstrated to The Lord, "You said that you would not put anything on us, any harder than we could bear, but with every temptation, you would make a way of escape." I then said, "Lord, I think you are allowing satan too much latitude. No human being can stand this." I won't go into any detail as to what this was all about, but most Spirit-filled believers know exactly what I'm talking about. It was like there was a 100 pound weight on my back, and everything was dark. Satan's taunts were constant and carried with them a feeling of helplessness. I think satan, most of the time, has some some idea as to what The Lord is gong to do with us or for us. Consequently, he tries to hinder and does so with great power.
The Power Of God
My complaint to The Lord had not left my mouth when, all of a sudden, The Holy Spirit, in a powerful way, much more powerful than the evil one – moved upon my heart. One moment, it was as if a 100 pound weight were on my back. The next moment, I seemed to be floating without a particular problem in the world. Then, The Lord spoke to me. He said, "I am going to show you some things about The Holy Spirit that you do not now know." That was it. Short, sweet, and to the point. What did He mean? The first thought that came to my mind was this, The Holy Spirit is God. Consequently, there are all kinds of things about Him that I do not know, but, somehow, I knew that what The Lord was talking about was related to the reason for the powerful opposition by satan. There is absolutely nothing like the power of God. One moment, the believer staggers under the weight of problems, and the next moment, as the presence of God fills the heart, there is not a problem in the world. There is a peace that accompanies such that words cannot describe. I've never taken a drink of any kind of alcohol in my life. I've never taken any drugs, so I don't know what those things do to you, but I do know this, even though I've only experienced one side of this equation, and I speak of the side of The Lord, I personally believe that there is absolutely nothing that can compare with the presence of God.
What Did The Lord Mean?
I had seen The Holy Spirit move upon my heart and life to help me see literally hundreds of thousands of souls brought to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. As well, I had seen tens of thousands, over a period of time, baptized with The Mighty Holy Spirit. I knew some things about The Holy Spirit, so what was The Lord talking about? About that time, Francis called to me at the back door stating that there was a phone call, so I hurriedly went to the house to take it. The brother on the phone was the pastor of one of the largest Southern Baptist churches in the nation. I had met him a few times but did not really know him that well. However, I so much appreciated him taking the time to call. At any rate, when I picked up the phone with him on the line, I shouted loudly, "Hallelujah!" (I've often wondered what this dear brother thought about me after our call ended.) "How are you doing? How are things going?" There was no way that I could tell him what just transpired in my life, but, at any rate, I was so grateful for his call. The Lord did not say to me as to when He would give me this great truth concerning The Holy Spirit. Little did I realize that it would be some nine years before He revealed to me that which He promised that day in 1988.
At a point in time, when I really saw nothing take place that I felt was the answer as to what The Lord had promised, I asked Him, "Why is it taking so long?" Several weeks later, at one of the nightly prayer meetings, The Lord answered my prayer as to why it was taking so long. He said, "...precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:" (Isaiah 28:10). I knew beyond the shadow of doubt that The Lord was giving me an answer to the question as to why it was taking so long, but I did not understand at all that which He gave me. What did He mean by that particular Scripture? Actually, I did not learn what He meant until The Holy Spirit gave me the meaning of The Cross of Christ as it regards the New Covenant. Nothing could be out of kilter. It had to be straight. When that had taken place - most of the information imparted to me by The Holy Spirit - then, The Lord opened the door, thereby keeping His promise that He had made to me, showing me, in a word, how The Holy Spirit works - that which I did not know.
Precept Upon Precept
That which He gave me, which I hope to relate to you, was most definitely known and understood by the Apostle Paul and, no doubt, many others at that period of the church, as well. But from the time of the early church until this present time, I'm not so sure this great truth had been revealed to anyone. Of course, I'm only surmising since I cannot know all things The Lord has done, but what experience I do have tells me that this which he gave me was not something known among believers. To be frank, I think that which I will related to you – which will be the epitome of simplicity – will round out the Gospel, if you'll think about it a moment. I think that there are many Christians – and I mean good Christians who love The Lord – who know in their heart of hearts that something is missing. I believe that the message of The Cross and the way The Holy Spirit works will fill in those blank spots. I know it has for me, and from the testimonies we are receiving, I know it is taking that tack with others as well.
The Message Of The Cross
That which The Lord gave me in 1997 came in three stages.
1. An understanding of the sin nature
2. The solution to the sin nature, which is The Cross of Christ
3. How The Holy Spirit works
That particular day in 1997 started out like any other day. I went to the office as was my custom, quite a time before daylight. I was studying the great 6th Chapter of Romans. I picked up a book by a noted Greek scholar who is now with The Lord to see if he had some insights regarding this great chapter. He did. Strangely enough, if I remember correctly, I had read his account of the meaning of the 6th Chapter of Romans, which actually is the meaning of the sin nature, but what he said had not stricken a chord with me. That particular morning, everything was different. It was like The Holy Spirit placed the meaning of the sin nature on a television screen, making it so simple and easy to understand. That morning, I learned of the reason for so much failure in the hearts and lives of believers, and that is a tremendous truth. When a person has done everything that he knowsto do not to fail and fails anyway, and he doesn't know why he failed or how he failed – such presents itself as a most debilitating experience. As I saw the truth of the sin nature, even as The Holy Spirit opened it up to me, I saw the reasons why. I remember walking back and forth across the floor in my office, weeping as The Spirit of God touched my heart that particular morning.
The Apostle Paul
I later learned that the meaning of the sin nature was also the first thing given to the Apostle Paul as it regards this great redemptive work. Romans Chapter 5 gives us the great Justification process. Then, after one is saved, the 6th Chapter of Romans gives us the working of the sin nature. Sadly enough, very few Christians – even very few preachers – understand the sin nature (actually, most of the time, not at all). In that morning hour, The Lord opened it up to me and helped me to see some things that I had not previously known. A few days later, in our morning prayer meeting, The Lord was to give me at truth that, once again, was known by The Apostle Paul and, of course, others in the early church but not so very much since then. The Lord showed me in that morning prayer meeting that The Cross and The Cross alone was the answer to the sin nature and all other problems as well. In fact, He showed me, which I hope to give you in this volume, that every single thing we receive from The Lord comes by the means of The Cross. It's The Cross which makes everything possible. His word to me was simple, straight, and to the point.
I knew beyond a shadow of doubt it was The Lord, and I knew that He had given me a great truth. Yet, my first thought was "How does The Holy Spirit play into all of this?" I knew He did and in a great way, but, at that stage, I did not know how. I had seen the world touched with the greatest harvest of souls ever and all by the power of The Holy Spirit. I had seen tens of thousands baptized with The Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking with other tongues, but yet, when The Lord gave me the answer respecting The Cross, The Holy Spirit wasn't mentioned. In my spirit, I knew that He played a tremendous part in all of this, but all I could do was to lay it before The Lord and ask Him to complete The Word. Incidentally, as The Lord took me to the great 6th Chapter of Romans to explain the sin nature, He took me, once again, to the 6th Chapter of Romans to explain The Cross. Unfortunately, this great Chapter, which I believe is the pivotal point of the entirety of the Word of God, is ignored by most Christians, because they think that Paul is speaking of water baptism. Inasmuch as they have already been baptized by water, they sort of skip over this chapter as being inconsequential. The truth is, Paul is not speaking of water baptism at all. He is speaking of us being baptized into Christ, which takes place at conversion. In other words, when we are born again. We must understand that the word baptize can be used figuratively or literally. Let me explain it further. John the Baptist said, "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance (here the word baptize is used literally): but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:" (now, he uses the word figuratively) (Matthew 3:11). Most Christians don't know this, so they brush through this Chapter, if they read it all, and never realize the phenomenal truth that's given to us as it regards being baptized into Christ.
Keeping The Promise
Inasmuch as this greatword of The Cross had just been given to me, we were attempting to teach it over our radio stations. We had a station in Baton Rouge and in Bowling Green, Ohio. Loren Larson was on the program with me that particular morning. As I stated, we were teaching what little we then knew on The Cross of Christ. It was only about three or four minutes before the program ended for that day when, all of a sudden, something happened that was so astounding that it defies description. I uttered a statement which came out of my mouth – a statement that I had never read in my life, never heard preached in my life, and did not know anything about – yet, I knew it was from The Lord. Through me, He said, "The Holy Spirit works entirely within the parameters of the Finished Work of Christ, meaning The Cross, and He will not work outside of those parameters." That was it – to the point, so very simple – but, at the same time, so very complex. What did the statement mean? What was The Lord telling me? I did not really know that of which I had just stated. In fact, I did not understand what I had just stated. What did it mean? I sat there saying nothing for a moment or two when Loren spoke up and said, "Can you give me Scripture for that?" How could I give him Scripture when I had never heard that statement in my life? Then, I looked down at my Bible, and it was opened to Romans Chapter 8. The second verse seemed to be capitalized and seemed to come up off the page in front of my face. It stated, "For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death" (Romans 8:2). That was the Word of God for what I had just stated. The law of which The Holy Spirit, through Paul, was talking about was a law devised by the Godhead sometime in eternity past. To be sure, it is a law that will function exactly as it was designed to function. The short phrase, "of the Spirit of life," of course, concerns The Holy Spirit. Sin brings death. The Holy Spirit brings life. As someone has well said, the moving of The Holy Spirit is the beginning of life. Oh yes, it is. Then comes the great phrase, "in Christ Jesus," which refers to what Christ did for us at The Cross. I haven't taken the time to count them, but I read the other day that Paul used this phrase or one of its derivatives, such as, "in Him", "in Christ", etc., some 170 times in his fourteen Epistles. As stated, it refers to what Jesus did for us at The Cross. That is how The Holy Spirit works. He works through The Cross, by The Cross, and of The Cross. He will not work outside of the parameters of The Cross, and we are speaking of what Jesus there did. What Jesus did at The Cross gives The Holy Spirit the legal means to do all that He does. Actually, "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus" is the only law in the universe that is stronger than "the law of sin and death."
Do You Remember What I Promised You?
About that time, the program ended. I remember pushing up from the chair and turning to my right to leave out of the small studio when The Spirit of God came upon me. Again, I stopped. the Lord said to me, "Do you remember that morning that I told you back in 1988 that I would show you things about The Holy Spirit that you did not then know?" Of course, I remembered it. There had been few days in those intervening nine years when that promise had not come to my mind. The Lord then said, "I have just kept My promise to you and shown you something about The Holy Spirit that you had not previously known." I was to learn that this was really just the door that opened to much more and greater things that The Holy Spirit does for us, which I hope to give you in this volume. Just so there will be no confusion, please allow me to repeat myself. It is The Cross of Christ that gives The Holy Spirit the legal means – the latitude – to do all that He does for us. This means that He works exclusively by and through The Cross of Christ – what Jesus there did. It also means that He will not work outside of those boundaries. So, to have all of the things that The Holy Spirit can do – and there is really no limit to what He can do – The Cross of Christ must be, without fail, the object of our faith. Everything I will say in this volume can be wrapped up in the simple formula that I will now give you.
Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
Until my heart is clean;
Let sunshine fill its innermost part,
With not a cloud between.
Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
My stubborn will subdue;
Teach me in the words of living flame
What Christ would have me do.
Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
Fill me with power divine;
Kindle a flame of love and zeal
Within this heart of mine.
Holy Spirit, breathe on me,
Till I am all Thine own,
Until my will is lost in Thine,
To live for Thee alone.