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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Leaders of the AG — The First Century (Part One)

June 22, 2014

Alone We Cannot Touch the Fringes*

Eudorus N. Bell
General Chairman 1914; 1920-23

I cannot yet understand what the brethren saw in me to dare trust me to undertake so great a responsibility toward God, toward them and the cause, and at such a needy time. God is my refuge. He only can keep and guide me. His strength is my only hope.

Brethren, no man can glorify God in this place while laboring in his own wisdom and his own strength. He must be swallowed up in God, lost in His will, and moved on by the anointing of the Holy Ghost. Surely, for the sake of His own dear Son, for the sake of His own bleeding cause, and in answer to your united, earnest, continued prayers, He will save me from myself, be my wisdom and strength, and hide me out of sight in Jesus. Believe with me for it; pray to this end, and we together will make the fight of our lives for Him, and if need be, die in the harness together for His glory.

The field has never been more needy. The golden grain, all over this great land of ours and to the ends of the earth, is dead ripe for harvest, and no adequate forces in sight to reap it. Already we are years behind in marshaling and training our forces. O God, can we ever make it up? The general men who can give themselves wholly to this work are entirely inadequate.

What are we going to do? Well, we are not going to spare ourselves; we are Your servants, God’s servants, and we put ourselves and all that we are and have unreservedly on the altar of His service. But brethren, we must have your help; yea, your counsel and leadership. Alone we cannot touch the fringes; but with all of you we can make the devil know we are in the land. Let every pastor and evangelist be a man for God and do his best. Get one or two to help you and go in to plant the banner of our King high over every earthly banner. Clear out the stones, make a highway, and lift up the standard for the people. God has brought you dear brethren to the Kingdom for just such a time as this. Men and angels are looking down to see what you will do.

Lord, we are ashamed of ourselves. You have done so much for us, and we have done so little for Thee. How long have You been waiting on us, Lord, us men whom You baptized with the Holy Ghost? Look on still. We have heard Your call. Don’t give us over; we are coming. Help us, Lord! Our hands we place in Thine; lead Thou us on..

EUDORUS N. BELL, a former Southern Baptist pastor, was elected as the first chairman (general superintendent) of the Assemblies of God and served in 1914 and from 1920-23. He was publisher of Word and Witness and later supervised the printing of The Christian Evangel (later the Pentecostal Evangel). This exhortation to the brethren of the Fellowship is adapted from the Nov. 27, 1920, Pentecostal Evangel.

*The original article appeared without a title. This title is added for editorial purposes only.


Prayer and Revival: The Great Need of the Movement

Archibald P. Collins
General Chairman 1914-15

Fifteen years ago incessant prayer was made for a worldwide revival. One phase of that revival was the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in all the earth. But so much was made of the experiences that many ran after the signs and wonders, and the saints looked away from Jesus, until many left the faith.

The demand for a revival is imperative; the need is urgent; danger is imminent; division and death are wrecking the lives and souls of men. There is a trumpet call to the Church — to the angel or messenger of the Church — to repent and do the first work, because he has left his first love. 

God has made every provision for a revival. He so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son who gave His life on the cross, to atone for sin. He sent the Holy Spirit to convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment. He has given His Word, sharper than any two-edged sword, a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. He has called, endowed, and sent messengers to preach the gospel — the power of God unto salvation. He has called every saint to pray for lost souls.

The Holy Spirit was given to make a revival easy, for, after dreams, visions and prophecy, signs and wonders, it is added, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” So God has made all the necessary provisions for the revival. It remains for us to pray it down. Let every saint pray for it, talk for it, and let the papers be filled with it. Let the word “revival” be burned in our hearts until we can see it everywhere. Get a vision of Jesus on the cross. Get His resurrection power in our lives. Be filled with His Spirit. Then prayer will be the atmosphere of your soul — to live in, to walk in, to work in, and to sleep in.

Turn down everything that hinders prayer. Then unity, power, blessing, and salvation will come. Let all the backsliders pray with David: “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with a free spirit.” Let us pray without ceasing, praying always for all saints, with all perseverance for the preacher. Give God no rest. Say, “I will not let Thee go.” Throw yourself on His mercy.

Nothing is more in divine order or according to the divine purpose than a revival. Let all the saints everywhere pray for a revival and believe and expect it and praise God for it. In view of the shortness of time, the impending judgments of God, and the wreck and ruin everywhere, let everybody pray.

This Pentecostal movement has the greatest opportunity to prove to the world that revival is of God. Filled with the Holy Spirit and endowed with the gifts, what an overwhelming responsibility is upon us.

Let me appeal to all the saints everywhere, entreating you in the name of Jesus. Lay aside everything that hinders prayer and watch and pray always. Even so, come Lord Jesus. Amen.

ARCHIBALD P. COLLINS, chairman from 1914-15, succeeded E.N. Bell as the leader of the Assemblies of God. His peers called him “the saintly peacemaker.” He was considered one of the most sweet spirited men in Pentecostal history. This sermon is adapted from the The Weekly Evangel, Jan. 22, 1916.


The Purpose of the Ministry of the Holy Spirit

John W. Welch
General Chairman 1915-19; 1923-25

The Holy Ghost has a threefold revelation of Christ by a threefold ministry of the Spirit: Christ revealed to us by the Holy Spirit; Christ revealed in us by the Holy Spirit; Christ revealed through us as the Holy Spirit may use us.

We can judge from our experience and the teaching of Scripture that the Spirit’s ministry begins even before we surrender to the Lord. Before we have a desire to be saved, there is a convicting ministry of the Spirit. Man is helpless in his unregenerate state. There is little prospect of his escaping the wrath to come. But God has provided the Spirit to deal with a man’s heart and reveal to him by the Spirit sin, righteousness, and judgment.

There is further work of the Spirit in the life of the believer. The Spirit deals with the believer to reveal to him the things that are in him that are unlike the Lord. Thus the Spirit works in the life of the believer, bringing Holy Ghost conviction, pointing the way of God, and indicating steps to be taken.

I meet many who inquire how they may discern the will of God. Some of these same people have talked to me about occasions when they felt badly and they decided that the enemy was besetting them. There is a possibility that the Holy Ghost is working to bring to their attention the will of God — not concerning service, but concerning those things that pertain to the inner life of the believer.

The Holy Spirit operates in the believer in such a way that we might be conformed to the image of the Son of God — that those things that are characteristic of Him may become characteristic of us. If we accept the idea, we are encouraged to notice the work of the Spirit in our life. If we do not see this point, we may be greatly disturbed over the work of the Spirit.

There is also a further purpose — that we be available to the Holy Spirit as He demonstrates the life of Christ living in us. I would call your attention to Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 12: “Concerning spiritual gifts, I would not have you ignorant.” Spiritual gifts refer to things that are of the Holy Ghost. If we are ignorant, we cannot cooperate with Him in that fellowship that is like a partnership.

We have possibly not quite understood the operation of those gifts. We have felt that the Lord would, when we reached a certain pinnacle of faith, impart to us an efficiency that would become a part of our personal equipment, making us head and shoulders above others. I do not think this is the case. I do not think a man operates the gifts of the Spirit.

I believe if you and I together with all believers could keep yielded to God, submissive to the authority of the Holy Ghost, we should see more gifts of the Spirit in our midst. If we can learn to maintain the proper relationship with the Holy Ghost, and if we can learn how to commune in the Spirit — to live in the Holy Ghost — He can use us to manifest Christ, and as a result, many will come to know Him.

JOHN W. “DADDY” WELCH was present at the first General Council in Hot Springs, Ark., and was on the committee that drafted the Constitution of the General Council. He served as chairman (1915-19; 1923-25) during the Oneness turmoil. In 1931, he became president of Central Bible Institute (later Central Bible College) in Springfield, Mo. This sermon is adapted from The Weekly Evangel, June 17, 1916.


Looking for the Blessed Hope

William T. Gaston
General Superintendent 1925-29

The word “hope” is defined as “expectations with desire.” It is one of the bright, animated words of our language and fits beautifully into the life and expression of the Christian, for every child of God is a creature of hope. Christ in the Christian is the hope of glory, and this hope abiding within and set before us is like an “anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast.” How satisfying to live where hope springs eternal.

However, it is not the present aspect of this “so great salvation” that shall engage our thought at this time, but “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.” That Blessed Hope has long been the comfort of God’s saints through the ages and has softened the sorrow by millions of open graves, “for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with Him.”

I would here call our attention to the positive language used in instructing the Thessalonian converts in their proper hope. There are no question marks; all is settled “by the word of the Lord.” How refreshing to note the absence of all conjecture and speculation. The language of inspiration is that of absolute finality.

In 1 John 3:2,3, the promise of the Lord’s appearing is set before us as a purifying hope. God forbid that we should miss the sanctifying rays from this star of hope that shines only on the Christian’s horizon. But there is a further and more radical change awaiting us when He shall appear. We will see Him as He is, face to face, and we will be like Him. These are encouraging words.

Christians are citizens of heaven, now, constantly in touch with the seat of their government, tasting its power, sampling its joy, partakers already in a measure of its holiness, yet living on earth and bearing about a body of humiliation that is subject to natural law and even subject to death. Still in the flesh, yet they are not to live after the flesh, or war according to the flesh.

Jesus, too, tabernacled in a body that had its limitations. He was hungry, thirsty, tired, tempted in all points like as we, yet without sin. What a spectacle to behold the One “by whom and for whom are all things,” walking among men as the lowly carpenter of Nazareth, and humbling himself unto death, even the death of the cross. But though He died in weakness, He was raised by the power of God and His body knew no corruption.

For this — the manifestation of the sons of God — “the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” This is the Blessed Hope of the Church, His undefiled and waiting bride.

WILLIAM T. GASTON was general superintendent of the Assemblies of God from 1925-29. During Gaston’s administration, the General Council moved from a loosely operated Fellowship to the formal adoption of a constitution. He later served as superintendent of the Northern California/Nevada District. This sermon is adapted from the Aug. 27, 1927, Pentecostal Evangel.

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