Garden-Tomb-Jerusalem-Israel“The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, (2) Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: (3) To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God:” Act 1:1-3

It is that time of the year again and we begin to get ready to celebrate Easter, which to Christians is the time of year that we remember the Lord Jesus Christ who is etched in history as the only man who ever lived that raised himself from the dead. Someone may ask, “What evidence do we have that Jesus raised from the dead?” There are many things, actually, but let’s start with the empty tomb.

One can pursue every other man in history and if they dig deep enough they can find the place where he is buried and his body rests there in that final burying place. Not with Jesus Christ! There is no body! Can any rational human being that knows just how hated Jesus is in all of the world outside of Christians come up with a reason that these Christ haters have not produced the body or bones of Jesus Christ? Perhaps that is why we have a calendar that is dated from Christ. What other man in history has an empty tomb and has time dated from him merely because he rose from the dead?

The term “A.D.” or the latin “Anno Domini” is defined, ‘In the Year of Our Lord Jesus Christ’. So this means that in AnnoDominievery country of the world, believers, non-believers, atheists, all non-Christian religions, every living person in the world generally considers us as living in the year 2015 A.D. A better definition of the term would be “In the year of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2015.”

Now consider the fact that Jesus was put on the cross by the Romans who were polytheistic pagans, and Pilate was taunted by the then ruling religion of Israel and the Jewish leaders into putting Jesus to death. Then when he had risen from the dead the Jewish leaders had to scramble the soldiers who had been keeping watch and even pay them to lie about the resurrection: Mat 28:11-15 “Now when they were going, behold, some of the watch came into the city, and shewed unto the chief priests all the things that were done. (12) And when they were assembled with the elders, and had taken counsel, they gave large money unto the soldiers, (13) Saying, Say ye, His disciples came by night, and stole him away while we slept. (14) And if this come to the governor’s ears, we will persuade him, and secure you. (15) So they took the money, and did as they were taught: and this saying is commonly reported among the Jews until this day.”

Let me ask the readers a question: What would have happened to the body of Jesus if he had been stolen away by the disciples with the rulers of the Jews adamant that he had been stolen and the Romans wanting nothing more to do with this whole situation as seen by Pilate washing his hands and saying that he was innocent of the blood of this just person? They would have paraded the dead corpse of Jesus around their world and put this religion to death forever but it never happened because Jesus had risen from the dead and that is why they paid the soldiers to lie in the first place.

Alexander McLaren, in Expositions of Holy Scripture says:

‘He showed Himself alive after His passion by . . . proofs.’

“….By sight, repeated, to individuals, to companies, to Mary in her solitary sadness, to Peter the penitent, to the two on the road to Emmaus…. At all hours: in the evening when the doors were shut; in the morning; in grey twilight; in daytime on the road. At many places-in houses, out of doors. The signs of true corporeity-the sight, the eating. The signs of bodily identity, -’Reach hither thy hand.’ ‘He showed them His hands and His side.’”

The Resurrection Chapter in the Bible gives some of the strongest arguments in the world for the Resurrection of Christ:   1Co 15:1-58 “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; (2) By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. (3) For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: (5) And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: (6) After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. (7) After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. (8) And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time……… (12) Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead? (13) But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen: (14) And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. (15) Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not. (16) For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: (17) And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (18) Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. (19) If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. (20) But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. (21) For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. (22) For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. (23) But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming………..” (No rational human being could ever write these words if he was not convinced by INFALLIBLE PROOF that Jesus had risen from the dead and, in fact, was alive and working through his life and that of all Christians around the world.)

In Robertson’s Word Pictures we have scripture references to much of what is said in this chapter of I Corinthians:

Shewed himself alive ……. To the disciples the first Sunday evening (Mar_16:14; Luk_24:36-43; Joh_20:19-25), the second Sunday evening (Joh_20:26-29), at the Sea of Tiberias (John 21:1-23), on the mountain in Galilee (Mat_28:16-20; Mar_16:15-18; 1Co_15:6), to the disciples in Jerusalem and Olivet (Luk_24:44-53; Mar_16:19.; Act_1:1-11). …… The early disciples including Paul never doubted the fact of the Resurrection, once they were convinced by personal experience. At first some doubted like Thomas (Mar_16:14; Luk_24:41; Joh_20:24; Mat_28:17). But after that they never wavered in their testimony to their own experience with the Risen Christ, “whereof we are witnesses” Peter said (Act_3:15). They doubted at first, that we may believe, but at last they risked life itself in defense of this firm faith.”

Peter gives one of the strongest statements of proof, being an EYE WITNESS of Jesus life and resurrection: 2Pe 1:16 “For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.”

F.B. Meyer gives us these words: “Peter could never forget what the Master had predicted of his death. See John_21:18. ….. The fulfillment of those words was already looming before Peter’s eyes, but he had no fear. He describes his home-going by the word used by Moses and Elijah when they spoke of the decease (lit., exodus) which the Lord would accomplish. Compare 2Pe_1:15 with Luk_9:31, r.v., margin. Then the whole scene of the Transfiguration rose before his mind. It seemed as if he were again on that holy mount, beholding the majesty of the Lord and hearing the Father’s attesting voice. There are three infallible proofs of Christianity: (1) the witness of the Apostles; (2) the light of prophecy as fulfilled in Christ; (3) the testimony of the Holy Spirit. These three burn in the dark night of the present and we may count on them till we see the first glimmer of dawn. Then we shall need no candle, for the Lord God will give us light.”

JosephusWe could write dozens of volumes about evidence for the resurrection, we could talk about prophesies that Jesus fulfilled; we could site many books and historical evidences. Josephus, an early historian, states this as fact in his Antiquities of the Jews (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book 18, Chapter 3: “3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day.”) But the greatest evidence for it all may be found in the wisdom of a man named Gamaliel when they were meeting to decide what to do with this spreading phenomenon of Christianity because of two things, the resurrection and the day of Pentecost. They were at a loss as to how to handle the Christians. The Holy Spirit confirmed that Jesus had risen and was seated on the right hand of the father in heaven: Act 5:34-39 it states, “Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space; (35) And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men. (36) For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. (37) After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. (38) And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought: (39) But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.” It has not been stopped for all these years. According to Gamaliel’s reasoning, the resurrection is real.

Yes, just like he said, the greatest evidence of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ is the vast reach of the Gospel around the world 2000 years later and growing by the millions in some third world countries by the power of the Holy Spirit. This man was the same Gamaliel that taught Paul the Apostle before he saw the vision of Jesus on the Road to Damascus. What else could explain how a man who was bent on destroying Christianity suddenly changed 180 degrees and became the greatest apostle in the world, writing most of the New Testament before becoming a martyr himself? What is the probability that Paul along with all the other Apostles would have risked their lives to Martyrdom for a man that they had stolen from the tomb and buried in a secret grave? Their testimony and willingness to die in this way of extreme torture and humiliation shows that they believed even unto death.

Then one has to consider the extraordinary miracles and evidence of the working of the Holy Spirit over the centuries in changed lives, answered prayer, the printing and preservation of the Bible and the planting of New Testament Churches in every country of the world. Such facts of history make an undeniable statement of powerful proof that Jesus Christ is still alive and moving in the lives of Christians around the world. The testimony that we have today of Christians in churches as they work to continue to spread the Gospel to the whole world, as Jesus commanded his disciples after his resurrection, gives INFALLIBLE PROOF of the resurrection. The Charge of Jesus to his disciples followed by centuries of this charge still being carried out after 2000 years proves that Jesus DID RISE FROM THE DEAD:

Act 1:8-11 “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (9) And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. (10) And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; (11) Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.”

Since that day the Gospel has been spread around the world by Christians who have no doubt that Jesus not only arose from the dead but is coming back according to promise. We who are Christians provide the greatest proof of all that Jesus Christ raised from the dead. Every time a new sinner is converted to faith in Christ, we have another proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a prayer is answered, we have a proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a Christian opens his Bible and reads the wonderful words of life we have a proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a Christian goes through tribulation with grace and the praise of God upon his lips, we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time the poor are helped by a loving Christian hand we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a Christian loves his enemies we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a sickness is healed by prayers of faith we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a Christian dies with a smile upon his face as he sees the face of Jesus waiting to welcome him home, we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Every time a Godly young couple yields their lives to serve on a foreign field in order to share the good news of the Gospel, we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a new church is planted we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a person enslaved by sin, drugs, drink, immorality, or other vices of the flesh, gets delivered and set free we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time one of the millions of Muslims that are being saved comes to Jesus Christ as a wave of the love of God sweeps their land, we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Every time a soul-winner knocks on a door to share the Gospel of the love of God, we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a bus worker picks up his riders and brings them to church we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a Sunday School teacher gets up and teaches young children about the love of Jesus who died on the cross and children trust Jesus for Salvation we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a blind person sings or shares the love of God through the Light that they have in their spirit though their eyes may be blind we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a deaf person does sign language as he shares the love of God we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Every time a mother holds a baby and sings sweet hymns that sooth the baby to sleep we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time the Bible is translated into a foreign tongue so that people in foreign lands can read and understand the Gospel we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Every time a heathen culture

Betty Elliot and Rachel Saint come back after their husbands are murdered to win the tribe to Christ.

Betty Elliot and Rachel Saint come back after their husbands are murdered to win the tribe to Christ.

completely changes into a civilized people from the presentation and acceptance of the Gospel like the story of the

Smiles on the faces of Auca Indian Christians

Smiles on the faces of Auca Indian Christians

Auca Indians after the martyrdom of a Godly man like Jim Elliot we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When a funeral procession in a primitive land that would normally have a crowd of people wailing and crying for the sorrow of loss of a loved one instead marches along the road to the burial while they sing “Redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb,” we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

When ISIS lines up prisoners that are Christians and they sing and praise Jesus as they are being beheaded, we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When a kind evangelist named Kent Hovind is imprisoned by the US Government on trumped up charges but says in a radio pod cast that all he wants to do is give glory to Jesus, we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. When an elderly minister has the IRS take his home and his church which they bulldoze and turn into a charter school, can continue preaching, teaching, writing, and serving God with all his might on the Internet, by email, and by every other means possible, we have proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In the whole history of the world one can read of lives changed, people who willingly died a martyr’s death as in Fox’s foxe_s_book_of_martyrsBook of Martyrs, of whole countries that became more civilized, of miracles that happened in the darkest corners of the world, miracles that happened like in Indonesia where a revival produced miraculous power of Christians over demon possessed witch doctors, where a drunk like Billy Sunday stumbled into a mission and got saved before becoming one of the greatest evangelists in history, and even where this writer heard the gospel preached by an evangelist at the age of five years old, raised his hand every night for a whole week, and then was gloriously saved in his own room at home as he was led to Christ by his Godly mother. All of these stories are proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The apostle John summed it up best near the end of his Gospel:

John 20:30-31 “And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book: (31) But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.”

And in the last chapter of John:

John 21:24-25 “This is the disciple which testifieth of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true. (25) And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

Then he gives the compelling words of Jesus who he saw on the Isle of Patmos where he wrote the book of Revelation with a direct quote from the resurrected Christ:

ResurrectionRev 22:16-17 “I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star. (17) And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely.”   HE IS ALIVE, PRAISE GOD HE IS ALIVE!

FRESH OIL – The pouring out of the Holy Spirit in Power on the believer.

(Chapter 5 from Dr. Hyle’s excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit) This is the same as the sermon FRESH OIL

A pastor requested that I bring my message on “Fresh Oil” to his people. I refused to do so using as an excuse that the sermon was more adapted to preachers rather than to laymen. After the service that night I returned to my room and the Holy Spirit began to convict me and rebuke me for limiting to preachers the doctrine about Himself. He reminded me that His fulness was for everybody, and He led me to reexamine Joel 2:28, 29, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out My Spirit.” He especially pointed out to me that He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh. That would include our sons and daughters, our old men and young men and even servants and handmaids. I fell to my knees asking His forgiveness and promised Him that I would make the doctrine of His fulness as plain as I could so that young men and old men, sons and daughters, handmaids and servants could understand. This blessed truth is for the busy housewife who goes about her duties. It is for the mother who rocks the world in her lap. It is for the steel worker at the blast furnace. It is for the service station attendant who pumps gas. It is for the maid at the motel who cleans rooms. It is for everybody. So, in simple language, understandable by the layman and the clergy, I approach this vital truth.

First came the light. Then came the firmament. Then God lit the starry host of the nighttime. After that came the fist of the sea and then all the tribes of the animal kingdom. Now God was ready for man. He made man in his own image, and it was marvelous. Man walked in the garden of Eden fellowshipping with his Creator. They walked in splendor. Every tree that grew was pleasant to the eyes. Rivers flowed peaceably through verdant valleys. Every sound was a melody. Every scene was a delight. There was no war to unrest the beast. There was no sickness to cause a fear of death. The leaf never withered; the wind never chilled. No perspiration moistened the brow. No profanity cursed the ear. There was no weariness, no heat and no cold. No blossoms were smitten by a tempest. Man had not yet learned to sigh or weep. There was no withering frost to chill the rose. There was no shadow of guilt ever known. Choirs of birds serenaded man. It was wonderful!

Yet something was missing. There was no kindred creature on earth with whom man could share this beauty and this wonder. Then there she comes, dressed in all the beauty a human being could possess. Grace was in her step. Heaven was in her eye. Every gesture possessed dignity and love. Perfection was stamped upon her. The sons of God shouted for joy. The morning stars sang together, and Eden was transformed.

How wonderful it was! Man and woman, made for Him, sharing fellowship with God in Edonic splendor. They knew not the definition of sorrow. They had never seen a funeral. There were gardens of perpetual bloom, orchards that surrendered their fruit daily. No child was dying with leukemia. Garlands of flowers covered their path. Brows never furrowed, faces never wrinkled, hands were never palsied, the step was never offensive.

All the while the Lord Jesus was with the Father in Heaven. Torches flared as He walked the golden streets. Trumpets announced His every arrival. Demonstrations dogged His heels. Multitudes adored Him; worshipers bowed before Him. Angels ministered to Him. The planet sang His praises. All of the earth’s diamonds could not fill His scepter. All of earth’s gems could not fill His crown. He was always in the presence of the Father. The sun and the moon obeyed His voice, and the four living creatures sang His praises!

Then one day it happened! There were groans heard in Heaven because something tragic had happened on earth. God’s race had fallen. Ruin had blighted His creation. Now the winds howl, the serpents hiss, the brow furrows, the shoulder stoops, the hands tremble, the eyes grow weary, the mind grows dull, the hair turns gray. Sin had blighted the human race.

God’s mercy wanted restoration, but God’s justice would not allow it until the penalty was paid. The only was the inhabitants of earth could be salvaged for God was for the Lord Jesus Christ to go to earth. This He did. He fled to a virgin’s womb. There was no welcome for Him. The only open door to Him was a barn door. He was born in another man’s stable, ate at another man’s table rode another man’s beast, slept on another man’s pillow, cruised in another man’s boat and was buried in another man’s tomb.. He was King of kings, but He had no throne but a cross, He had no crown but a crown of thorns, He had no scepter but a walking stick, He had no royal robe but a borrowed coat from a soldier. He had no subjects but a jeering mob. He was despised and rejected of men. He was a man of sorrows; He was acquainted with grief. He bore our griefs, He carried our sorrows, He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. He was oppressed, He was afflicted, He made His grave with the wicked, He gave his soul an offering for sin, and worst of all, He became sin and stood before the judgment of God bearing the sins of the whole world! He was pronounced guilty by His Father, and on the cross He paid the penalty for the sins of mankind. He was buried and rose after three days and three nights. Now the message is complete. It is time to send that message out to a lost world. Twelve men are chosen to begin this task.

But there is still a problem! The message is unbelievable! Imagine twelve common men starting out to convince a world of unsaved people that Jesus was born of a virgin! Imagine how that will be received by the natural ear, the natural mind, and the natural heart! Imagine trying to convince a sinful world that Jesus lived for 33 years and never committed one sin! Imagine how difficult it would be to convince the world of the vicarious death and bodily resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ!

So God made it possible for Someone to accompany these men Who could talk to people from within as these missionaries told the story from without. This One talking from within would be the Holy Spirit. God would make it possible for these preachers and missionaries to be so filled with the Holy Spirit that while they preached the message from without, the Holy Spirit would convince the listeners from within that the message is true.

For example, a preacher who is filled with the Holy Spirit stands in his pulpit and preaches. While he is preaching the truth, a voice talks from within to the congregation saying, “That’s right! What the preacher says is true. Jesus was born of a virgin. He did live a sinless life. He did die on the cross to pay the penalty for your sins. He did rise again after three days and three nights. He did ascend back to the Father. He is at the right hand of the Father interceding even now. He is coming again.” The preacher keeps preaching. He says that those who accept Christ go to Heaven. From within the Holy Spirit says “He’s right. He’s right. Listen to him. He’s telling you the truth.” the preacher preaches about Hell and judgment. The Holy Spirit from within says, “He’s right. Believe him. He’s telling you the truth. Listen to what he says.” Ah, what a blessedness it is to preach in the power of the Holy Spirit so that while the words come from the lips of the pastor to the ear of the hearer, the Holy Spirit comes to the heart of the hearer and confirms what the pastor is saying!

Ah, this will transform a Sunday school teacher! The Spirit-filled teacher can stand before his class and teach the Word of God. What would have been a boring lesson suddenly becomes life-changing because the Holy Spirit is saying to the pupils, “Listen to your teacher. He loves you. That’s right. Believe him.” This is the need for our Sunday schools.

Imagine a Spirit-filled soloist singing in the public services and as the song is sung and the message is heard by human ears there is a Voice from within speaking to each member of the congregation saying, “That song is right. Jesus does save. He does comfort. His is your need!” This would transform the music program of our churches. While Spirit-filled choirs sing, a Voice from within speaks to the congregation saying, “That choir is right. Believe them.” Their hearts begin to burn. Conviction settles in and decisions follow.

An organist or pianist is playing the offertory on Sunday morning. That organist is filled with the Holy Spirit after having paid the price in fervent prayer and after having met the conditions for His fulness. the organist plays the offertory and as she plays a song like “Sweet Hour of Prayer,” a Voice speaks to the hearts of those in the congregation: “That’s right. Prayer is sweet and it does call you from a world of care. It is the answer for your life.” The Voice continues to say, “You should pray. You should pray often. You should pray before you eat. You should pray before you start the day. You should have seasons of prayer.”

The Spirit-filled Christian school teacher stands before his or her class, and as the teacher teaches, the Holy Spirit says to the pupils, “Your teacher is right. Believe what your teacher is saying. Listen carefully.” Ah, that will help the deportment and behavior in the classroom.

Imagine a Spirit-filled soul winner knocking at the door of a house. A person comes to the door and suddenly the holy Spirit speaks from within. The soul winner begins to tell the wonderful story of Christ and from within the heart of the hearer there is this Voice saying, “Believe him. The man is from God. He is telling you the truth. This is the way to Heaven. This is your only hope.

At Pentecost that Voice even spoke different languages so that people who could not understand language that was used in the preaching could hear the message of Christ and be saved!

Oh, preacher, this is your answer! Sunday school teacher, this will transform your class. Singer, this will give life to your special numbers. Instrumentalists, this will multiply your effectiveness. Christian school teachers, this will help us to produce dedicated young people. Nursery worker, this will help the children even in the nursery. Imagine a nursery worker telling a baby about Jesus; the Holy Spirit can even speak to that little heart. Mothers, this will help you rear your children properly.

The question immediately comes: How may this power be obtained? Of course, there are obvious steps such as separation from the world, faithfulness to the cause of Christ, hours of studying the Word, obedience to the commands of God and to the will God, etc., but the main thing is for a Christian to be so sincere that he pays the price in agonizing and pleading and tarrying, begging God for His power. Notice Luke 11:5-13, “And He said unto them, Which of you shall have a friend, and shall go unto him at midnight, saying unto him, Friend, lend me three loaves; for a friend of mine in his journey is come to me, and I have nothing to set before him? And he from within shall answer and say, trouble me not: the door is now shut, and my children are with me in bed; I cannot rise and give thee. I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened. If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if he ask a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” The word “importunity” in verse 8 means “much begging.”

This chapter is being written at my desk. On my desk I see the words, “Pray for power.” Behind my desk I see the words, “Pray for power.” In the Bible that is in my lap I see the words, “Pray for power.” On the mirror where I shave I see the words, “Pray for power.” On the door leading from my office into the hallway I see the words, “Pray for power.” Hundreds of times a day I plead with God for His power. Then, of course, there are seasons of prayer when I go alone with God to plead for the power of God.

I am commanded in the Scripture to be filled with the Spirit. Ephesians 5:18, “And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” Notice that in the same passage about Spirit-fulness, drunkenness is mentioned. It would seem then that it is just as wicked for a person to do God’s work without the fulness of the Holy Spirit as it would be to do God’s work drunk with wine wherein is excess.

As a child I was very nervous. We were very, very poor. My father was an alcoholic. He left our home when I was a boy. Through a series of events, God called me to preach His Gospel. I was very sincere. When I was 21 years of age, I began to pastor. For one lonely year I pastored with no results. No one walked the aisle for salvation, no one walked the aisle to transfer membership. It was a long, barren year. I decided to find the answer. I went to a library at a Baptist college. I began to read the biographies of great men. I read how Dwight Moody was filled with the Holy Spirit while walking down Wall Street one day. I read how his ministry was changed and how he would preach the old sermons where he at one time had five conversions and then he had fifty! I read how his ministry was transformed,, and my heart began to burn from within. I wondered, “Could that be available for me? Could that which Dwight Moody received when he was filled with the Holy Spirit be available for a little Texas preacher?” I continued reading. I read about Savonarola, who went to his pulpit one day and realizing he was powerless refused to preach until thee power of God came upon him. For five hours he sat and waited until the power of God came, and then he was filled with the Holy Spirit as he preached. I read about Christmas Evans, who was riding his horse on his circuit one day and suddenly the power of God came upon him. He knew for the first time in his life that he was filled with the Holy Spirit. I read about Charles G. Finney and his Spirit-filled life. I began to ask God as a young preacher, “Is that for me? Is that for today? Is there actually a power that can come over me where the Holy Spirit can speak to people from within as I speak from without?”

I read about John Wesley, who at three o’clock in the morning on October 3, 1738, after having prayed with a number of preachers for most of the night was filled with the Holy Spirit. His ministry was never the same. I read about George Fox, who went alone for two weeks begging for the power of God, and how his life was transformed. I read about Peter Cartwright, who had been filled with the Holy Spirit and mighty power came upon him. I read of George Whiitefield, who on June 20, 1736, was ordained to preach. As he knelt at the altar, Bishop Benson laid his hands on the young preacher and George Whitefield know then and there that he was filled with the Holy Spirit! I read about George Muller, who was filled with the Holy Spirit the first time he ever saw Christians on their knew in prayer. I read how Billy Sunday used to preach every sermon with his Bible open to Isaac 61:1 and how the Spirit of God came on him. My heart began to burn from within! “Was this for me as well as for them? Was that power that Moody had and Wesley had and Whitefield had and Billy Sunday had available for little Jack Hyles, a poor country preacher in east Texas?”

I began to walk in the woods at night. Night after night I would walk and cry and pray an beg for power. My heart was hungry. I got a Cruden’s Concordance and looked up the terms, “Holy Ghost,” “Spirit of the Lord,” “Spirit of God,” etc. I looked up every Scripture in the Bible that had to do with the Holy Spirit. I read in Judges 6:34 that the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and in Judges 14;6 how the Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson in and in I Samuel 11:6 how the Spirit of God came upon Saul. I read in I Samuel 16:13 how the Spirit of the Lord came upon David. I read in Acts 9:17 where Paul was filled with the Holy Ghost and in Luke 4:1 where Jesus was full of the Holy Ghost. My heart burned! I needed something. I needed the blesses power of God. I needed the fulness of the Holy Spirit. I didn’t understand all the Scriptures. I read in Luke 3:16 the words, “He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” I read in Acts 1:4 the mention of the “promise of the Father.” In Luke 24:49 I found the words, “be endued with power from on high.” In Acts 1:8 I found the words, “after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” In Acts 2:17 I learned of the “pouring out of the Spirit” and in Ephesians 5:18 I found the term, “filled with the Spirit.”

I was no seeking sinless perfection nor was I trying to name what I wanted God to give me. I had no desire to speak in tongues not did I even desire to have some kind of an experience. I just wanted God to work in the hearts of the people while I preached and witnessed. Could it be for me? Yes, it was for Samson, for Gideon, for Torrey, for Moody, for Billy Sunday, for Jonathan Edwards, for Muller, for Whitefield, for George Fox, for Christmas Evans, for Savonarola, for Peter Cartwright, for John Rice, for Bob Jones, for Lee Roberson, but was it for me? I was just a country preacher. I can recall how my eyes fastened on Isaiah 40:31 and Acts 2:4 and Acts 4:31. I was hungry!

“I must have results. I must have power.” I can recall saying to God, “I’m not going to be a normal preacher. I’m not going to be a powerless preacher.”

Night after night I would walk through the pine thickets of east Texas, up and down the sand hills, begging God for His power. If you had driven down Highway 43 outside Marshall, Texas, on the way to Henderson, Texas, in the wee hours of the morning, you could have heard me praying, “Where is the Lord God of Elijah?” and begging God to give me power.

I was losing weight. I couldn’t eat. What I did eat came back up! My family was worried about me. My deacons got together and said to me, “Pastor, you’ve got to take care of yourself. You are going to get bad sick.”

Then came May 12, 1950. All night I prayed! Just about sunrise I fell to my face in some pine needles and told God I would pay the price, whatever it was, for the power of God! I did not know what I was saying. I did not know what that meant.

In less than four hours, my phone rang in our little country parsonage. The operator said that it was a long distance call for Reverend Jack Hyles. She put the call through and a voice said, “This is Mr. Smith. I work with your dad. Reverend Hyles, your dad just dropped dead with a heart attack.” I put the phone down. I could not believe what I had heard. Just a few months before I had preached to my Daddy, but I was powerless. He did not get saved. I had witnessed to him, but once again I was powerless and he did not get saved. He had promised me the first of January, 1950, that in a few months he would come back to east Texas and receive Christ as his Saviour. He never made it. As far as I know, he died without Jesus under the influence of alcohol. We drove to Dallas to the same funeral home that later embalmed President Kennedy when he was killed. On May 13, 1950, Mother’s Day afternoon, we had a little service in the chapel. We then followed the hearse about 50 miles south to a little cemetery on the northeast corner of Italy, Texas, where two of my little sisters were buried. Down near the creek was a hole in the ground. They lowered my daddy’s body in the grave. Not long after, I returned to that grave and fell on my face and told God I was not going to be a powerless preacher any more and that I was not going to leave that grave until something happened to me. I don’t know how long I stayed. It may have been hours; it may have been days. I lost all consciousness and awareness of time. I did not become sinlessly perfect nor did I talk in another language nor was I completely sanctified, but my ministry was transformed!

To God be the praise, there has not been one single Sunday since that day without conversions in the churches I have pastored. That’s been over 31 years now, and though I’m not the preacher I ought to be, I have seen the mighty power of God over and over and over again. Over a quarter of a million people have walked the aisles in the churches I have pastored professing faith in Christ. I am no great preacher. I am no giant of the faith. I just found out there was a way that a person could be filled with the Holy Spirit, enabling Him to speak from within as I preached from without.

One of the great mistakes that Christians make, however, is believing that fulness of the Spirit is a one-time happening. The truth is that the New Testament church was filled with the Spirit over and over again. They were filled with the Spirit in Acts 2:4, “And they were filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.” Again they were filled with the Spirit in Acts 4:31, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the Word of God with boldness.”

Several years later I was called to pastor the Miller Road Baptist Church of Garland, Texas. Twenty-one people voted on me-eighteen voted for me, two voted neutral and one voted undecided. The church enjoyed unbelievable growth. What a ministry God gave us, and how blessed was the Holy Spirit’s power! The church grew so fast that it was too big for me and I felt that I must resign. On December 31, 1954, I went to my study on New Year’s Eve. I went alone with God and told Him the church was too big for me and that I would have to resign and let someone more qualified and capable continue the ministry. I would be content to go to some smaller church and start over again. I wrote out my resignation, laid it on the floor of my study and told God that unless He gave me a new power I would have to read the resignation on January 1, 1955. I did not want to resign, because I loved my people dearly, but there was no other choice. I prayed from 9:00 until 10:00; from 10:00 until 11:00; from 11:00 until 12:00; from 12:00 until 1:00. Sometime past midnight, there was a knock on the door of my study. I went to the door. It was one of my deacons. He was weeping. He said, “Pastor, what’s wrong?” I said, “Why do you ask?” He said, “The Holy Spirit told me something was wrong with my preacher tonight. I called your house and they did not know where you were, so I thought I would come to the study. What’s wrong?”

I showed him the letter of resignation and told him that God was going to have to give me something more than what I had I f I stayed, He said, “Pastor, let’s pray.” We prayed from 1:00 until 2:00; from 2:00 until 3:00; from 3:00 until 4:00; from 4:00 until 5:00 and sometime between 5:00 and 6:00 in the morning the sweet power of God settled upon us, and I knew that God had given me some fresh power,, some fresh oil, as spoken of by the Psalmist in Psalm 92:10, “But my horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: Ishall be anointed with fresh oil.” I tore up the letter of resignation. My deacon and I danced for joy and hugged and lifted our hands in holy praises to God. Oh, the sweet years we had after that!

Then in December, 1958, I received a letter from Hammond, Indiana. For months I wrestles with the possibility of becoming Pastor of that Chicagoland church. I did not want to go, but the Holy Spirit led in that direction, and I became Pastor of the First Baptist Church of Hammond in August of 1959. Soon the problems mounted. The church and I were different. It seemed there was no way I could continue pastoring that church.

I was preaching for a week at the Bill Rice Ranch. Every night I wrestled with the calls from other churches to return to Texas. It just seemed that I was not cut out for the First Baptist Church of Hammond. On Friday night I could not sleep. The Holy Spirit kept me awake. About ten o’clock I knelt to pray beside the bed in room 11 of the Widner Inn at the Bill Rice Ranch. I told God I was going to resign the church the next Sunday, but God wrestled me through the night. All night long I pleaded for God to give me something I must have if I were to stay in Hammond. After a night of prayer and a night of wrestling with the Holy Spirit, that “something” came. Again I knew that I was filled with the Holy Spirit in a new and fresh way. Fresh oil had come! The rest of the story is legend. The great First Baptist Church of Hammond was born that night.

It has been over 21 years since that all-night prayer meeting but I find myself again and again needing a new fulness of fresh oil. That’s my only hope. I need that Voice talking to people as I preach. I need Him to speak from the inside as I witness from the outside.

Dear reader, you too need that fulness. Dear music director, you need that power; and so do you, choir director, choir member, Sunday school teacher, bus worker, Christian school teacher, Christian school administrator, instrumentalist, youth worker, and Sunday school worker; and, blessed be God, it is available for you! It’s for sons and daughters, for young men and old men, for bondmaids and servants. Joel says it is for all flesh! Praise the Lord!

Won’t you now bow your head? Promise God several things. Promise Him that you are going to be clean and separate from the world. Promise Him that you are going to live in His Book. Promise Him that you are going to be sure that He gets what is His financially and in every other way. Promise Him that you are going to work hard and be faithful and loyal to Him. Then promise Him that you are going to pray and plead and wrestle with Him. Don’t be concerned about having some kind of an experience, just be concerned about the Holy Spirit talking from within as you talk from without. It may be that that power will come upon you the next time you preach or teach or sing. It may be that it will be a gradual thing and that more and more you will be aware of His presence and power as you serve. Don’t be concerned about having some kind of stereotype experience and don’t be concerned about getting up and telling what happened to you. Just yield your self; sanctify your self; pray an pray and pray and pray until you see people moved as you speak by that Voice that speaks from within! When you see this, continue to pray, continue to ask Him for His fulness and continue to love Him and serve Him. Crown Him, honor Him, and praise Him until the veil is pulled and we shall se Him as He is!


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