“Behold I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?” (Isaiah 43:19)
A New Hunger
Today there is a new hunger in the hearts of many sincere believers for a closer walk with the Lord Jesus. New longings for holiness. New demands for power from on high. A new sense of helplessness – and desperate need.
This new yearning is the result of a new awareness of failure. We simply have not had the power to obey the command of our Lord Jesus Christ to “preach the gospel to the whole creation” (Mark 16: 15). Because of the weakness of our contact with the Source of all power, we twentieth century Christians have failed to make the impact in our cities and villages that the New Testament Church did in theirs.
But the hunger is yet more than this. Many are tired of sub-standard Christian living. Our lives do not burn with the purity of the Fire from Heaven that first ignited the New Testament Church. We read in the Bible, “Sin shall have no dominion over you” (Romans 6:14) and it sounds like a dream. We read, “Thanks be to God, Who in Christ always leads us in triumph” (2 Corinthians 2:14), and it reads like a translator’s mistake.
God speaks to our hearts from His Word, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts l: 8), and for a brief moment our hearts thrill with expectancy. Then our senses remind many of us that we have been taught, “But that is not for today,” or, “You have received everything when you first accepted Christ. You have it all. Only believe.” How we have been robbed of our blessed spiritual inheritance in Christ!
For many years Christians did not object when ministers told them they needed no more than they had. If they were told that the very Resurrection Power that raised the Lord Jesus from the dead was available for them, they at once suspected a “strange doctrine.” The suggestion of what they were in Christ, and that His power was freely available to them from Jesus, the Great Baptizer with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3: 11), sounded to them like a new philosophy, and error. If someone would preach that Jesus wanted to give His disciples the same burning zeal today He gave the one hundred and twenty disciples on the Day of Pentecost, they would think someone was trying to lead them astray. They had been taught so long and so persistently about our weaknesses, our lack of ability, and our unworthiness, they hardly dared to say ”Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). When Christians were faced with the truth many were afraid to believe it because they thought people would misunderstand them, close their doors to them, or think they had become unbalanced. Up to then, few had taken the Bible seriously about the Holy Spirit or acted as though it were true.