Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Small Word with a BIG Impact

I am re-reading Dr Martyn Ll0yd-Jones' marvellous "Joy Unspeakable" at the moment - his sermons on John 1:26, 33 covering the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Stanley Jebb's recent post got me re-visiting those past years and it was the change of direction on the baptism of the Holy Spirit that marked the church's progression to functional cessationism and reformed evangelicalism. So I was stirred to re-visit Dr Lloyd-Jones amazing sermons and why this topic is so important.

I read one quote on the bus this morning that just completely seized me. Goosebumps ran up and down me. My hair stood on end ... oh wait, it was my hair gel. But I hope the point is clear. Before I write what I read - I want to post a couple of more general quotes on Dr Lloyd-Jones and the vital relationship between the baptism of the Spirit and the health of the church.

"We are living, let us remind ourselves in an age hopelessly below the New Testament pattern - content with a neat little religion. We need the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We have already seen that this is not something that takes place at conversion, it is something that happens to us and is clear and unmistakable".

We are entitled to ask "why?". Why will the baptism of the Holy Spirit change the church? Dr Ll0yd-Jones briefly summarises the "purpose" of this inheritance from on high;

"The purpose - the main function of the baptism with the Holy Spirit is to witness, to enable God's people to witness in such a manner that it becomes a phenomenon and people are arrested and are attracted".

We want to get the world to come to the church? Of COURSE we do! We don't need huge evangelistic campaigns or clever tactics or techniques. Yes they may work and may add some lost to the church. But to see the millions pour into the church that we long for - there is ONE NEED. And here I come to the quote that stopped me short on the bus.

Dr Lloyd-Jones was quoting Blaise Pascal and an entry in his diary. Here it is;

"This day of Grace - 1654.
From about half past ten at night to about half after midnight;


That word just sums it all up! Our every need! The need of the hour! The need of the Church! The need of every Christian! If the fire of God would visit His Church - if the Holy Spirit would fall upon His people then all would change. We would see that our petty arguments, disagreements and our legalistic traditions of men are NOTHING. God in His revealed manifest Presence - oh how I long for it! I found myself praying that I would enter the same in my diary. "Fire". Fire visited me. Fire came upon me. The fire of God changed my life and the world began to sit up and take notice!


1 comment:

Marshall said...

Here is a related quote from Blaise Pascal:"Clarity of mind means clarity of passion, too; this is why a great and clear mind loves ardently and sees distinctly what it loves."

Logic alone will not impact people. Their emotions need to be stirred, so we really need "clarity of passion" for God!

I love these words of John Wesley: "Catch on fire with enthusiasm and people will come for miles to watch you burn." Wesley saw thousands of people converted when he preached, so I listen to him even though I disagree with a few points of his theology.

I believe it was that fire of God's Spirit that was behind Wesley's success. His personal life had its share of failures, but God was with him, and that made all the difference!