Bible Reading — Acts 5:1-20
Notice this expression that the Lord gives of the Gospel message — “the words of this life.” It is the most wonderful life possible — the life of faith in the Son of God. This is the life where God is all the time. He is round about and He is within. It is the life of many revelations and of many manifestations of God’s Holy Spirit, a life in which the Lord is continually seen, known, felt and heard. It is a life without death, for “we have passed from death unto life.” The very life of God has come within us. Where that life is within in its fullness, disease cannot exist. It would take me a month to tell out what there is in this wonderful life. Everyone can go in and possess and be possessed by this life.
It is possible for you to be within the vicinity of this life and yet miss it. It is possible for you to be in a place where God is pouring out His Sirit and yet miss the blessing that God is so willing to bestow. It all comes through shortness of revelation and through a misunderstanding of the infinite grace of God, and of the “God of all grace,” who is willing to give to all who will reach out the hand of faith. This life that He freely bestows is a gift. Some think they have to earn it and they miss the whole thing. Oh, for a simple faith to receive all that God so lavishly offers. You can never be ordinary from the day you receive this life from above. You become extraordinary, filled with the extraordinary power of our extraordinary God.
Ananias and Sapphira were in this thing and yet they missed it. They thought that possibly the thing might fail. So they wanted to have a reserve for themselves in case it did turn out to be a failure. They were in the wonderful revival that God gave to the early church and yet they missed it. There are many people like them today who make vows to God in times of a great crisis in their lives. But they fail to keep their vows and in the end they become spiritually bankrupt. Blessed is the man who will swear to his own hurt and change not; who keeps the vow he has made to God; who is willing to lay his all at God’s feet. The man who does this never becomes a lean soul. God has promised to “make fat his bones.” There is no dry place for such a man; he is always fat and flourishing, and he becomes stronger and stronger. It pays to trust God with all and to make no reservation.
I wish I could make you see how great a God we have. Ananias and Sapphira were really doubting God and were questioning whether this work that He had begun would go through. They wanted to get some glory for selling their property, but because of their lack of faith they kept back part of the price in reserve in case the work of God should fail.
Many are doubting whether this Pentecostal revival will go through. Do you think this Pentecostal work will stop? Never. For fifteen years I have been in constant revival and I am sure that it will never stop. When George Stephenson made his first engine he took his sister Mary to see it. She looked at it and said to her brother, “George, it’ll never go.” He said to her, “Get in, Mary.” She said again, “It’ll never go.” He said to her, “We’ll see, you get in.” Mary at last got in–the whistle blew, there was a puff and a rattle, and the engine started off. Then Mary cried out, “George, it’ll never stop! It’ll never stop!”
People are looking on at this Pentecostal revival and they are very critical and they are saying, “It’ll never go;” but when they are induced to come into the work, they one and all say, “It’ll never stop.” This revival of God is sweeping on and on and there is no stopping the current of life, of love, of inspiration, and of power.
(Interpretation; It is the living Word who has brought this. It is the Lamb in the midst, the same yesterday, today and forever.)
God has brought unlimited resources for everyone. Do not doubt. Hear with the ear of faith. God is in the midst. See that it is God who hath set forth that which you see and hear today.
I want you to see that in the early church, controlled by the power of the Holy Ghost, it was not possible for a lie to exist. The moment it came into the church, there was instant death. And as the power of the Holy Ghost increases in these days of the Latter Rain, it will be impossible for any man to remain in our midst with a lying spirit. God will purify the church; the Word of God will be in such power in healing and other spiritual manifestations, that great fear will be upon all those who see the same.
It seems to the natural mind a small thing for Ananias and Sapphira to want to have a little to fall back on; but I want to tell you that you can please God, and you can get things from God only on the line of a living faith. God never fails. God never can fail.
When I was in Bergen, Norway, there came to the meeting a young woman who was employed at the hospital as a nurse. A big cancer had developed on her nose, and the nose was enlarged and had become black and greatly inflamed. She came out for prayer and I said to her, “What is your condition?” She said, “I dare not touch my nose, it gives me so much pain.” I said to all the people, “I want you to look at this nurse and notice her terrible condition. I believe that our God is merciful and that He is faithful, and that He will bring to naught this condition that the devil has brought about. I am going to curse this disease in the all powerful name of Jesus. The pain will go. I believe God will give us an exhibition of His grace and I will ask this young woman to come to the meeting tomorrow night and declare what God has done for her.”
Oh, the awfulness of sin! Oh, the awfulness of the power of sin! Oh, the awfulness of the consequences of the fall! When I see a cancer I always know it is an evil spirit. I can never believe it is otherwise. The same with tumors. Can this be the work of God? God help me to show you that this is the work of the devil, and to show you the way out.
I do not condemn people that sin. I don’t scold people. I know what is back of the sin. I know that satan is always going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. I always remember the patience and love of the Lord Jesus Christ. When they brought to Him a woman that they had taken in adultery, telling Him that they had caught her in the very act He simply stooped down and wrote on the ground. They He quietly said, “He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone.” I have never seen a man without sin. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” But I read in this blessed Gospel message that God hath laid upon Jesus the iniquity of us all; so, when I see an evil condition, I feel that I must stand in my office and rebuke the condition.
I laid my hands on the nose of that suffering nurse and cursed the evil power that was causing her so much distress. The next night the place was packed and the people were jammed together, so that it seemed that there was not room for one more to come into that house. How God’s rain fell upon us. How good God is, so full of grace and so full of love. I saw the nurse in the audience and I asked her to come forward. She came and showed everyone what God had done. He had perfectly healed her. Oh, I tell you He is just the same Jesus. He is just the same today. All things are possible if you dare to trust God.
When the power of God came so mightily upon the early church, even in the death of Ananias and Sapphira, great fear came upon all the people. And when we are in the presence of God, when God is working mightily in our midst, there comes a great fear, a reverence, a holiness of life, a purity that fears to displease God. We read that no man durst join them, but God added to the church such as should be saved. I would rather have God add to our Pentecostal church than have all the town join it. God added daily to His own church.
The next thing that happened was that people became so assured that God was working that they knew that anything would be possible, and they brought their sick into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might overshadow them. Multitudes of sick people and those oppressed with evil spirits were brought to the apostles and God healed them every one. I do not believe that it was the shadow of Peter that healed, but the power of God was mightily present and the faith of the people was so aroused that they joined with one heart to believe God. God will always meet people on the line of faith.
God’s tide is rising all over the earth. I had been preaching at Stavanger in Norway, and was very tired and wanted a few hours rest. I went to my next appointment, arriving at about 9:30 in the morning. My first meeting was to be at night. I said to my interpreter, “After we have had something to eat, let us go down to the fjords.” We spent three or four hours down by the sea and at about 4:30 returned. We found the end of the street, which has a narrow entrance, just filled with autos, wagons, etc., containing invalids and sick people of every kind. I went up to the house and was told that the house was full of sick people. It reminded me of the scene described in the fifth chapter of Acts. I began praying for the people in the street and God began to heal the people. How wonderfully He healed those people who were in the house. We sat down for a lunch and the telephone bell rang and someone at the other end was saying, “What shall we do? The town hall is already full; the police cannot control things.”
In that little Norwegian town the people were coming. The breath of God shows up every defect, and as it comes flowing in like a river, everybody will need a fresh anointing, a fresh cleansing of the blood. You can depend upon it that that breath is upon us.
At one time I was at a meeting in Ireland. There were many sick carried to that meeting and helpless ones were helped there. There were many people in that place who were seeking for the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. Some of them had been seeking for years. There were sinners there who were under mighty conviction. There came a moment when the breath of God swept through the meeting. In about ten minutes every sinner in the place was saved. Everyone who had been seeking the Holy Spirit was baptized, and every sick one was healed. God is a reality and His power can never fail. As our faith reaches out, God will meet us and the same rain will fall. It is the same blood that cleanseth, the same power, the same Holy Ghost, and the same Jesus made real through the power of the Holy Ghost! What would happen if we should believe God?
Right now the precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is efficacious to cleanse your heart and bring this life, this wonderful life of God, within you. The blood will make you every whit whole if you dare believe. The Bible is full of entreaty for you to come and partake and receive the grace, the power, the strength, the righteousness, and the full redemption of Jesus Christ. He never fails to hear when we believe.
At one place where I was, a lame man was brought to me who had been in bed for two years, with no hope of recovery. He was brought thirty miles to the meeting, and he came up on crutches to be prayed for. His boy was also afflicted in the knees and they had four crutches between the two of them. The man’s face was filled with torture. There is healing virtue in the Lord and He never fails to heal when we believe. In the name of Jesus — that name so full of virture — I put my hand down that leg that was so diseased. The man threw down his crutches and all were astonished as they saw him walking up and down without aid. The little boy called out to his father, “Papa, me; papa, me, me, me!” The little boy who was withered in both knees wanted a like touch. And the same Jesus was there to bring a real deliverance for the little captive. He was completely healed.
These were legs that were touched. If God will stretch out His mighty power to loose afflicted legs, what mercy will He extend to that soul of yours that must exist forever? Hear the Lord say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath sent me to heal the broken hearted, to preach deliverance to the captive, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised.” He invites you, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” God is willing in His great mercy to touch thy limbs with His mighty vital power, and if He is willing to do this, how much more anxious is He to deliver thee from the power of satan and to make thee a child of the King. How much more necessary it is for you to be healed of your soul sickness than of your bodily ailments. And God is willing to give the double cure.
I was passing through the city of London one time, and Mr. Mundell, the secretary of the Pentecostal Missionary Union, learned that I was there. He arranged for me to meet him at a certain place at 3:30 p.m. I was to meet a certain boy whose father and mother lived in the city of Salisbury. They had sent this young man to London to take care of their business. He had been a leader in Sunday school work but he had been betrayed and had fallen. Sin is awful and the wages of sin is death. But there is another side — the gift of God is eternal life.
This young man was in great distress; he had contracted a horrible disease and feared to tell anyone. There was nothing but death ahead for him. When the father and mother got to know of his condition they suffered inexpressible grief.
When we got to the house, Brother Mundell suggested, that we get down to prayer. I said, “God does not say so, we are not going to pray yet. I want to quote a scripture, ‘Fools, because of their transgression, and because of their iniquities, are afflicted: Their soul abhorreth all manner of meat; and they draw near unto the gates of death.'” The young man cried out, “I am that fool.” He broke down and told us the story of his fall. Oh, if men would only repent, and confess their sins, how God would stretch out His hand to heal and to save. The moment that young man repented, a great abscess burst, and God sent virtue into his life, giving him a mighty deliverance.
God is gracious and not willing that any should perish. How many are willing to make a clean breast of their sins? I tell you that the moment you do this, God will open heaven. It is an easy thing for Him to save your soul and heal your disease if you will but come and shelter today in the secret place of the Most High. He will satisfy you with long life and show you His salvation. In His presence there is fullness of joy, at His right hand there are pleasures forevermore. There is full redemption for all through the precious blood of the Son of God.