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- Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom.
- And five of them were wise, and five were foolish.
- They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them:
- But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
- While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept.
- And at midnight there was a cry made, “Behold, the bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet him.”
- Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
- And the foolish said unto the wise, “Give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out.”
- But the wise answered, saying, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.”
- And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut.
- Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, “Lord, Lord, open to us.”
- But he answered and said, “Verily I say unto you, I know you not.”
- Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh.
- Matthew 25:1-13 KJV
I want to share about the Holy Spirit, but not in a technical, theological, ecclesiastical way. I’d very much rather take it in the way the Bible teaches, looking back to see how the Lord has spoken to us in the Scriptures. You see, God has made a very simple way of teaching us in the Bible. He has given us various types. And God’s great scheme and idea is that we should learn the greatness of our God; that we should learn the purposes of our God; that we should learn the ways of our God; and especially that we should learn the offices of the Persons of the Trinity. For the Persons of the Trinity share their sovereign work; and in Their sovereign will They each have a portion, each Their own works.
For example, the Father is the one who originates. He’s the Fount of Deity. The Father is the one who decides. The Father is the one who wills. The Father is the one who has decided what to do.
Now the one who knows the Father’s mind, the one who is in the bosom of the Father, is the Logos, the Son of God. What the Father has decided to do, the Son knows. That’s the mind of the Father. He knows the mind of God. And then He expresses the mind of God. He expresses the mind of God in words, which initiate action. So, God has a mind to do something. The Son knows it, so He expresses it. For example, the Father had decided on creation. So the Son expressed creation, in the words, “Let there be,” and there was. “ ‘Let there be light:’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). “‘Let the dry land appear;’ and it was so” (Genesis 1:9). But you see, He is only expressing the Father’s mind. He is the Logos, and in Greek, logos means an expressed thought. It means a thought expressed in words. In other words, if I can put it more clearly, the thought of the mind is there first; then that thought is made vocal in words. That is why the Son is called “the Word of God.”
Who decides, then, what to do with God’s great prescience? The Son does—He who is in the bosom of the Father, who knows the Father’s mind and expresses it. Then, who performs it? The Holy Spirit. He’s the great performer. He’s the great worker. He does it. That is why in scripture you will find the Holy Spirit is referred to as the “Spirit of Creation.” That is why you’ll find in the Psalms that the Holy Spirit has performed it (Psalm 104:30). That is why in the creed2 we quite correctly say, “I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life.” And yet, the Son is the life. “I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life.” But the Father is original life; the Son is the expression of that life; and the Holy Spirit is the performer of that life.
Now, as we’ve said, Jesus Christ is the life. So, how can you have the life too? “I am come that ye might have life,” Jesus said (John 10:10). How can you have it? Only by receiving the Holy Spirit. Life is a gift. But the gift is not an imaginary life. The gift is not something that is not real. The gift is life. But the Holy Spirit is life. So when the Lord Jesus gives you life, He gives you eternal life, a life you never had before, completely, in reality—not in the imagination. It is a life you could not have unless the Lord Jesus gave it to you. And what He gives you is the Lord and Giver of Life: the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit comes within to stay. That is why you enter into a new birth. You are born of God. You have entered a new life. “I am come that ye might have life and might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The Lord Jesus says, “I am the Way, and the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6). And He is the only Way. And the only Truth. And the only Life.
That just gives you a little idea of the sovereign work of the Most High—how the great Trinity divides up the mighty work that is to be done through all the universes. And this has been the Divine order through all eternity. The Father has ever expressed Himself through the Son, the only-begotten Son. He is always the Son in the sense of expressing the Father and being identical in nature with the Father. At the same time, the great work of God has always been performed by the Holy Spirit. And it’s instantaneous. There is no time lag, no interval. There is no time during which the Son finds out what the mind of the Father is. There is no time lag when the Holy Spirit waits and performs the will of the Father by reason of the word of the Son. It’s all instantaneous, and it’s been going on forever and ever. There was never, ever a time when the Father did not operate through the Son. There never, ever was a time when the Son did not perform by the Holy Spirit. There has never been any but Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: eternally distinct Persons inseparably joined in the Trinity—one God. Forever. He is not God “in the past and the present and the future,” for with God there is no past and no future. He is the “I AM.” It is only time which has past, and present, and future. God is not in time. He is in eternity—the Eternal One.
Now it’s impossible for us to understand the mighty work of the Holy Spirit unless God puts it for us in very simple language, in a very simple way. Some of you have dipped into theology and found it awfully dry. I was a bit into theology; and if you have a peculiar type of mind, a little like mine, you like theology. You understand it. You have an interest in philosophical subjects. To use an old term, you have an interest in metaphysics. But, God hasn’t left it for a few who are interested in dipping into things of the mind to understand the work of the Holy Spirit. God has said that “wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err” in the strait and narrow and holy way (Isaiah 35:8). So God has brought it down so that the very simplest ones, we who are children—open hearted, open minded—can understand. This is why He has given us various and wonderful types of the Holy Spirit throughout the Scriptures. And these types are varied, because they manifest to us the offices and worth of that most blessed person, the Holy Spirit.
This is what I want to leave with you: the various types of the Holy Spirit in Scripture. You will find that these types give you a full body of divinity concerning the Holy Spirit. They touch on all His most important offices and His works. But you don’t have to think theologically. It’s not philosophical at all. It’s very much more interesting than that!
So I want to start by considering the Holy Spirit as oil, because that’s one of the most wonderful ways in which the Holy Ghost is manifested and brought before us in Scripture—as oil. We have read in Matthew 25 the parable of the wise virgins, and we’ve seen that it all centers around oil. Wise virgins had oil in their vessels, and oil in their lamps. Unwise virgins had oil in their lamps, but none in their vessels. They all were waiting and waiting for the coming of the bridegroom. They were going to join in the marriage feast. Because the wise virgins had made provision so that they should have oil until their beloved came, they were watching when he came, and they went into the feast. Now it is not because the others had no oil that they did not go into the feast. It was because they were not watching. But why were they not watching? It was because they had not made a provision for more oil. In other words, it is possible to receive the Holy Spirit, to have oil in the lamp, but not have oil in the vessel; which means you have not made provision to have as much of the Holy Spirit as you can.
Some people only want the Holy Spirit so that they may speak in tongues. Well, I suppose they will; and it’s a very gracious exercise, not to be despised, if God has given you that blessed gift. No gift of the Holy Spirit is to be despised. The word is quite clear on this: “Forbid not to speak in tongues” (1 Corinthians 14:39). But if that’s all you want, you are an unwise virgin. I’ve heard extreme Pentecostals say that if you don’t speak in tongues, you won’t be taken up when the Lord comes. Nonsense! “By their fruits ye shall know them” (Matthew 7:20), not by their gifts. No, the wise virgins may or may not have spoken in tongues. That’s not the point. The point is that the wise virgins wanted as much of the work of the Holy Spirit to be performed in their lives as they could get. But not so the unwise virgins. They wanted enough of the Holy Spirit to take them to heaven, to take them as far as the grave, to last them just for this life, and give them salvation. And they were not lost, not cast out into outer darkness; but they were shut out of the marriage feast. They were all Christians, because all of the Lord Jesus’ children are pure virgins. I don’t say they all had pure hearts. But I do say they were all pure in the sense of having given themselves to the Lord.
Ah, but there were those who wanted as much oil as they could get! In other words, they could be taken as examples of Paul’s exhortation: “Be being filled with the Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18). Let there be a constant succession of fillings. To have a constant succession of fillings (now we are coming down to the practical) means that you must have a reserve of oil to keep your lamp filled. That is what we are talking about.
What is the lamp? The lamp is you. What is the oil? It is the Holy Ghost in you. What is the light? It is the light of the wick; and that is your testimony—not what you say, but what you are. Oh, I wish people could realize that our testimony is not what we say, but what we are. Then what we say matches up with what we are, so it’s all one. That’s a true testimony. That’s a blessing—a blessing to many. The wise virgins have made provision to keep on being filled with the Holy Ghost, and not content themselves with just one filling in the past. If I could have approached one of those unwise virgins, I could have said, “Do you believe in the baptism of the Holy Ghost?” She’d have said, “Oh, yes. I have had the baptism.” But if I’d have gone to one of the wise virgins and said, “Do you believe in the Holy Ghost?” the wise virgin would have responded, “Oh, yes, I do. I am in the baptism.”
What a difference! Too many people have had it. But they don’t have it now. The wise virgins were in it. It’s not what you had in the past, it’s what you are now. Oh, that we might realize the solemn words of God to “keep on being filled with the Holy Ghost,” to keep on looking to the Lord to keep us filled, that our lamp might be filled with Him, the Holy Spirit, who alone can keep our testimony alive, who alone can keep our lamp from a smoky wick because the oil’s gone dry. Have you met Christians who once were baptized in the Holy Spirit, but who have gone dry? Aren’t they a reproach? You know how unpleasant it was—some of you older ones, you ancient believers like me—do you remember when we had oil lamps? And do you remember what happened when you forgot to fill up your lamp with oil, and the wick began to burn red and smoky while you were in another room? When you came in, you found a whole room filled with a horrible blue-black smoke, and it clung to everything. It was stifling. In our home, Mother would put a cloth over her mouth and run and open all the windows, and ask Father why he hadn’t filled the lamp up with oil.
And that’s how Christians are who do not have a reserve of oil—they once had it, but it’s gone out. It would be better that they never had it, because people remember their testimony, but also see how they are living now. Isn’t it a dishonor when people who once were baptized in the Holy Ghost have gotten into sin, and now are manifesting just the opposite of holiness? Doesn’t it make a stench come on the work of God?
So let’s look more closely at this oil, the olive oil. The unwise virgins took no oil with them. How foolish they were! I want to tell you what the oil does. Then you’ll know something of the work of the Holy Spirit. Later on we’ll go on to other types of the Holy Spirit, like fire and dew and rain, and wind (the breath of God). But oil is the most important one.
Now, olive trees produce berries. When they’re crushed, out comes that golden olive oil about which God speaks so much in the Scripture. An olive tree is one of the hardiest of trees. You can treat it shockingly. It can go through drought, and look completely dead. But pour water on it, and it begins to grow again. “Through the scent of water” (Job 14:9) it will flourish. Do you know, if you took an olive tree and cut off all its branches and roots, so all that is left is the burl, you could plant it somewhere else and water it, and it would start growing all over again! Amazing, isn’t it? But that’s an olive tree—so tenacious of life. No wonder, after the universal deluge, the very first leaf that was seen was an olive leaf. Because, if you just plant the odd branch of an olive tree, it will grow if you water it. So there was a torn up branch that had been covered over in silt, and sand, and gravel, and then washed down a little bit; and it starting growing, as it naturally would. So the Holy Ghost, in the type of olive oil, represents life. After the flood, an olive tree produced an olive leaf which the dove brought to Noah, which meant that God had proclaimed peace on earth. We still use the olive leaf—even i n secular circumstances—as a sign of peace. That’s the wonderful olive tree that we’re talking about now, this most blessed tree of life.
Now, what are the qualities, what are the properties, of the oil produced by the olive tree? I’m not going to go into it chemically or technically. I’m going to go into it from a spiritual way, a Bible way. What blessings did the foolish virgins forgo by not having enough of this golden olive oil?
What purpose does oil serve? First of all, we use oil for light. as in the parable we’re considering. The Lord gives us a word from John’s first epistle: “If we walk in the light even has He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). If we walk in the light. If you are not walking in the light, then the blood of the Lord Jesus is not cleansing you from all sin. You can’t claim justification unless you are walking in the light. There are those people who claim justification because they have been taught that you just have to claim it and it is yours. No, it is not yours just because you claim it. It’s only yours when you claim it and you are walking in the light.
So what does that mean? Walking in the light simply means you are doing what you know you ought to do to please God. You are attempting to please Him. And in the very attempt, God will give you help and strength, for all His commandments are His enabling. When He says, “Thou shalt,” He not only means you ought to, He also means, “I will see to it that strength is given you to do it. And you shall do it.” Isn’t that comforting? All of those “thou shalt’s” used to frighten me at one time. I thought, ”Why, I can’t.” And then the Lord made it so clear that when He says to me, ”I shall do it,” it means not only that I ought to do it, but also that He’ll help me to do it, so I can do it. I say, friends, isn’t that wonderful? Isn’t it comforting? He’s a very comforting God.
So olive oil is used for light. That was the oil the children of Israel used in their simple little lamps—olive oil. We’ve pointed out that you are the lamp. And at this marriage feast in Matthew 25, light was the most important thing. The wise virgins had made provision to keep on walking in the light. The others had made provision only to walk in light for a minimum time; but the wise virgins made provision to walk in the light always. That’s why they had a reserve of oil.
What do you want to do? Have you made provision to always walk in the light? Are you only walking in the light that you’ve had up to a certain period of your life when God met with you and saved you? Or have you the inner Holy Ghost-given intention to walk in the light continually, whatever happens? If you do intend to keep on walking in the Light, you’ll get into some strange circumstances, but you’ll keep the anointing of your God upon you. And that’s the most important thing in this world.
Are you prepared to walk in the light as God reveals it? If so, you will experience Bible sanctification, God’s cleansing. For that sanctification is only conditional upon walking in the light. You’ll find it’s true. If you walk in the light, you’ll have fellowship with your Beloved. The wise virgins walked in the light. Having oil kept them walking in the light, so they walked right into the marriage feast and had fellowship in a way that’s indescribable. Similarly, we don’t yet know the glory that’s going to be revealed in us. We only get little hints in the Holy Spirit, and it’s more than we can express. But there’s going to be that fullness of joy, lasting forever, in the marriage feast. Isn’t that worth going to?
Would you like to go there? Would you like to be a wise virgin? Then you shall, if you make provision by asking God’s grace that you may ever walk in the light and do what He wants you to do. You say, ”What might that mean for me?” It might mean that you have to give up that worldly young man that you are courting at present. It does not mean that you leave your worldly husband. The marriage vow is “for better or for worse.” If it turns out for the worse, well, you made that commitment. And you forget that he’s probably thinking he’s got the worst anyway! But before you’re married, you must remember the commandment of your God: “Be not unequally yoked with unbelievers” (2 Corinthians 6:14). Now that’s only one illustration of what the Lord may require you to do. But that’s walking in the light. Oh, you may have heartache at giving up what does not please your Beloved; but you’ll have peace, and the blessing of the comfort of knowing you’ve pleased Him. And how much nearer you’ll draw to Him, because by walking in the light you have fellowship with God. I’m not going to say that God will give you a better young man if you give up the one you know is displeasing to Him. He might do that, but I have no right to speak on my Father’s behalf. But this I say: If I were you, I’d rather end up with a polly parrot and a Siamese cat, than end up with a husband who is against God and His will. It’s not the worst possible thing to be single. It’s far worse to be tied to a man who’s got the atmosphere of hell around him. Don’t forget that word; it may be specially for you.
We’ve reflected on how oil is employed for light. We also use oil for power. One of the fundamental sources of power, of energy, in the world is oil. What does God say about oil for power? “Ye shall receive power after the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” What about oil for energy? You will see the energy of God in you when the Holy Spirit is come upon you and in you, as the Lord Jesus promised. When you need power, He is there in you when you have received the Holy Spirit. And don’t just imagine you’ve received the Holy Spirit. It’s a very definite experience when He comes in. He doesn’t come in because your father and mother, when you were a little tiny child, asked that He might come in. He comes in when you come to the Lord Jesus. “If any man asks, I will give,” said Jesus, “when you come to Me.” When you come to the Lord Jesus, who alone is the baptizer in the Holy Ghost, and you ask for that definite experience, He’s delighted to give you the Holy Spirit. He denies no one. You might be the wickedest person around, but He’ll give you the Holy Spirit just the same, when you ask Him. How do I know? That’s exactly what He said to the woman at the well, who was an immoral woman. She was living with a man who wasn’t her husband, and she had already had five husbands and had discharged them one by one…or poisoned them by her bad cooking. We don’t know what happened. But she was living with one who wasn’t her husband. And the Lord said to her, “If you knew the gift of God and who says to you ‘give me to drink,’ you would have asked Him, and he would have given you living water.” Jesus was referring to the Holy Spirit.
The same Jesus still baptizes in the Holy Ghost. “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.” That’s how He is given. Then power will come into your powerless life. Power for what? Power for service? Yes, that’s important; but it’s not the most important. As old William Booth put it, it is power “to ever do the right…power to walk the world in white—Send the fire!”3 It’s power to do the right. Power to keep from sinning. Power to have victory over temptation. You have often thought that power for victory over temptation came by crying out to Jesus, and then each time—externally—He would give you power. But it hasn’t worked, has it? You’ve been heartsick and distressed. No, what you need is inner power, the power of the Holy Ghost in you; and then when the enemy comes in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord in you will raise a standard against him (Isaiah 59:19). You need the Holy Spirit as an indwelling Person. He gives us power over indwelling sin.
The Holy Spirit also gives us power to do His service. That power brings in those glorious gifts of the Holy Spirit, given individually by the Holy Spirit—not by the Christ, nor by the Father. The Father will give you natural gifts. Every one of you have natural gifts. God gives the natural gift of being able to sing, for instance. Some have the natural gift of having a voice that they desire to be trained to lead God’s congregation in song. To be able, under God, to bring an anointing on the singing—oh, what a responsibility that is to be a worship leader, or a choir director, or a choir member, because you can deaden the worship of the congregation, or you can raise it up to heavenly heights. But that’s a natural gift, the gift of music. I can’t play a note. When I get to heaven and I’m given a harp, I’ll say, “I’m sorry, I don’t know how to play it”; and they’ll say, “Well, try a trumpet.” And I’ll say, “Being English, I never learned to blow my own horn. I’m not American.” So I should be lost on that account. But I guess there’s eternity to learn, and after I’ve been in heaven for the equivalent of a million eons you’ll find me in a corner actually playing an instrument (probably a mouth organ).
But you see, I don’t have that natural gift. I love music. I sense immediately if you strike a false note. Yet I cannot play. Other people can just go and get marvelous music out of those black and white keys. I look at them with astonishment. Musical talent is a gift, a natural gift, given by the Father.
Gifts in the Body of Christ, on the other hand—ministerial gifts, apostle, prophet, evangelist, pastor, teacher—are given by the Son. According to your natural gifts, He will call you in the Body so that you will have a gift to use in the Body. It might even be in church government. We need good church secretaries, or church treasurers. Your ministerial gift might be a gift of helps. We need good sisters and brothers to visit the sick. What a comfort and blessing they are when God has chosen them! So there are gifts in the Body, the Church, given by the Son, according to the gifts of the Father.
Then where do the Holy Ghost’s gifts come in? The Holy Ghost comes in to assist you with supernatural gifts to enable you to carry out the gifts of the Lord Jesus to the Body. Oh, what a blessing when the pastor has the supernatural gift of discernment of spirits and a word of knowledge and a word of wisdom! “Supernatural” does not mean that he is a wise man or a knowledgeable man. It does not mean, for example, if I have the gift of a word of knowledge that I am a walking Encyclopedia Britannica. Not at all. But it does mean that when it’s necessary in order to fulfill my ministry, perhaps when you come to me for counsel, God will reveal to me things about you that you know I don’t know. And I didn’t know, until God revealed them. It’s a bit frightening, isn’t it? But I can’t do it unless He gives the gift. It’s only done to help you. It really comforts you to find that God is so interested in you that He has given your counselor knowledge about you that he couldn’t possibly know, and that you thought no one knew. But God knows. And for your help, He’ll reveal it to the one who’s counseling you, when that one is fulfilling his ministry as a God-called pastor, a God-called counselor, moving in the gifts of the Spirit. What about the gift of the word of wisdom? It comes in to tell you what to do under the circumstances.
All these gifts, yes, even that gift of tongues that some of you get so upset about, are most precious gifts of the Holy Spirit. God gives the gift of tongues to individuals to assist them in praising God, and very occasionally that gift can be used to convey a message to the church. In these cases, God always gives an interpreter who interprets that strange message given in a tongue that no one understands. But more often God uses prophesy, which is a message to the church in our own native tongue. So, all these gifts, including the power gifts—healings, miracles—are still extant today, still working, because what the Lord Jesus did in the beginning, He does today, yesterday, and forever. When He started His church, He did it in the way He wanted it to be carried on.
Dear brothers and sisters, some of you are heartsick and weary. Let me say, “You’ve gone dry.” You don’t have the experience that you once had. You look back to the time when you were fervent for God under the anointing of the Spirit, and it’s gone. You’ve gone into all sorts of worldly ways. But now God is drawing you back and you’re responding, yet you feel so terribly dry. Satan has tempted you to believe that all God’s work in you is in the past, and what God has done once, He’ll never do again with you; you have failed Him. That is a lie! True, your wick is smoking now. True, you’re dry. True, you’re embarrassed by your life. But God has promised that “the smoking flax He will not quench” (Isaiah 42:3). A little bunch of flax was the wick that was put in the narrow part of the the old lamps; and God will not quench that wick. The smoking flax He will not quench. So what will He do? He’ll fill you up with oil again, so you can go on shining for Jesus. And because of your unhappy experience, you’re going to shine all the better, because now you will not go back from your Beloved again, for you know the cost of going back. You’re going to be a better Christian than ever you were before. Isn’t that comforting? The smoking flax He’ll not quench, but rather pour new oil into you.
Have you ever heard of what oil does on the ocean? If a merchant vessel has gotten into distress because of a great storm or hurricane, and has been greatly battered about, it will send out an SOS, and a ship will come speeding to its rescue. All the lifeboats have been washed away, all the deck has been swept clean by the waves, and the ship is listing. The cargo has shifted, and the ship has sprung a leak. How can the rescue ship get those men off? The waves are still mountainous and washing over the deck.
But an oil tanker arrives, and as it does, it dare not come alongside and lower its boats, because the sea is too rough. The boats would be dashed against the merchant ship and smashed. So what do the rescuers do? They let out a flood of oil on the water, and it temporarily calms the seas. Then they launch the boats, and in the short time before that oil is dispersed, the boats will come up to the ship’s side, and the men from the merchant ship can jump into the boats. The rescuers will bring these lifeboats to the side of the tanker and take the men on board. The men are safe. The other ship will sink; and soon the oil will all be dispersed and the sea will be as rough as ever; but that oil on the troubled waters has saved the men’s lives.
That’s what the Holy Ghost does.
All my life was wrecked by sin and strife;
Discord filled my heart with pain;
Jesus swept across the broken strings;
Waked the slumbering chords again.
[From the hymn There’s Within My Heart a Melody
by Luther Bridgers]
Jesus does this by the Holy Spirit. All the work that Jesus does, He does by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is God’s Vicar on earth. He’s God’s Vicegerent,4 His representative. He’s the only representative that God has on earth. He’s the Holy Spirit. He does all the work that God wants Him to do. The Holy Spirit is the one who can bring peace to chaos. In Genesis 1 God says, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth; and the earth was without form and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” What was the very thing that God did first in order to bring order out of chaos? The Holy Spirit moved upon the face of the water (Genesis 1:2). He’s always the One that brings calm and peace.
We have broken homes, with unhappy children, and unhappy husbands and wives who are always at each other. Each one is sure that the other is wrong. Each one sees the other’s fault. They’ve been to marriage counselors. It’s impossible to reconcile them, because they each know they’re right. The wife says, “If only my husband would change, it would be so different.” And the husband says, “It’s my wife. She won’t change. It’s impossible. We’ll have to divorce.” What does that home need? The husband and wife need to receive the Holy Spirit to bring order out of the chaos. The Holy Spirit broods on the face of the stormy waters. He’s oil on the troubled sea. I recommend to you to receive the Holy Spirit for your discordant life. The first thing He’ll do is bring the peace of God on you and into your heart.
Now oil serves another purpose: to lubricate. Your car may have a full gas tank, but if the oil runs out or runs low, the engine is going to seize up. Oil lubricates. And that is what the Holy Ghost does. A pastor is glad to have deacons in his church who are baptized in the Holy Ghost, because these men filled with the Holy Ghost bring such peace and order. Because you see, oil lubricates. It makes things run smoothly.
God gave me a simple illustration of this. For twenty years I was in an office in the center of London, in publishing. I learned most of what there was to know about book production from the manuscript to the finished book—the whole process. I started as a boy of sixteen, and left there after twenty years, just when I was going to take a top executive position. But I entered the ministry instead. God showed me what to do.
Now, in my office desk I had an oil can. You say, “What for?” Well, I hated squeaky doors. I used to take my oil can and put a few drops of oil on the hinges; then they wouldn’t squeak. Others heard of my oil can, so they’d come to me and say, “Oh, Mr. Gutteridge, our hinge is squeaking. Would you mind putting a drop of oil on it from your oil can?” I could have said, “What do you think my job is?” But I would very gladly take my oil can and put a drop of oil on the hinge, and it wouldn’t squeak anymore. And you know, the Lord spoke to me, saying, “Yes, that’s why I have you here. You’re here to put oil on squeaky hinges.” I understood immediately what He meant, and I said, “Well, thank You, Lord. I knew You’d brought me here to witness for You.” And I did really try to do that, although I never “Bible thumped.” As the Lord gave me opportunity I did witness, I think, to everyone on the rather large staff, but only in conversation as it came up, and in conduct.
But the Lord spoke more to me, and said, “Yes, but there’s something else. You are here to make things run smoothly.” I remember the Chief once came in and said, “Ah, yes, Mr. Gutteridge—the only one who would never lose his temper.” And this was in a busy firm. (I don’t suppose my wife would completely agree with him, but that’s what he testified!) That was right, because you see, I was baptized in the Holy Ghost. I had received the blessed Comforter. The Lord enabled me to operate in peace there. I was able to act on behalf of Him, lubricating things. I know that under many, many circumstances I was able to pour a few drops of oil on a difficult situation and make things run more smoothly. I don’t think anyone had a more difficult person to work with than I had with my immediate superior. But we got on excellently together, because I always poured the oil on. He was terribly suspicious of me, afraid of me being more intelligent than himself, and getting his job, which I never dreamed of doing. But in the end he trusted me, because he found I wasn’t that kind of person. How many things he had kept back from me! How he had tried to keep me from knowing anything about what was going on! But God saw to it that I knew all that I needed to know. And I was able to work with that dear man who suffered very much in health. I was able to tell him about Jesus, as the Lord gave me opportunity, as he asked earnestly about it. That happened because the Lord had enabled me to live under those conditions, always applying oil. There never was any slightest friction, because of the oil.
That’s why God has put you under the most difficult circumstances. That is why, dear wife, in your home you don’t have arguments, which you otherwise would have with that irritable husband of yours. It is because you are so well able to drop the oil in the right way. “A soft answer turns away wrath” (Proverbs 15:1).
Oil comforts. Oil is the basis of ointment. It mollifies, it heals, it comforts. Do you remember the parable of the good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-37), and how oil was used in that case? When the clergy found that poor, bleeding, broken man, they passed by on the other side. Then along came a despised Samaritan, to whom the Jews didn’t speak, and he found this Jew and bound up his wounds, risking being himself robbed by the same robbers who had hurt that man. “And he came and bound up the man’s wounds and poured in oil and wine” (Luke 10:34).
Now, the Good Samaritan didn’t pour both oil and wine in his wounds. If I had a sore place, I wouldn’t want you to pour wine into it—that would make it smart. True biblical exegesis sorts the whole thing out. There were two things open: his wounds and his mouth. So the Samaritan poured the oil in his wounds, and the wine in his mouth. Isn’t that intelligent? The Bible is an intelligent book. Oh, how comforting is the Holy Ghost. Isn’t He called the Holy Ghost, the Comforter? I know, to be absolutely correct, we use a Greek word, the Paraclete—the Holy Ghost. But in that lovely old King James version, He’s called the Holy Ghost, the blessed Comforter, who pours in the oil, and soothes and blesses.
The Holy Spirit is the oil of joy. Oh, Jesus gives us the oil of joy for mourning. As it says in Hebrews in the very first chapter, “God, even Thy God, hath given Thee the oil of gladness above Thy fellows” (Hebrews 1:9). That’s our beloved Lord Jesus, who baptizes with the Holy Ghost. He has promised to give “beauty for ashes” and “the oil of joy for mourning” (Isaiah 61:3). That’s what He gives you when the Holy Spirit comes in—gladness and joy. Now that joy is an entirely different quality of joy from the kind you think about whereby you are dancing and clapping your hands and singing all day long. It’s a joy that walks hand in hand with sorrow. You can have deepest sorrow, and at the same time have unruffled joy that lies deeper than the sorrow. The joy is deep down in your being. It’s a joy no man takes from you, because it’s the joy of the Holy Spirit. And He hasn’t gone out when the sorrow comes in. He’s there to comfort, to mollify, to heal the wound. That’s why we who are His children, who have received His Spirit, if our loved one should be taken home, don’t sorrow as those who have no hope; for the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, is there. Dear Holy Spirit, give us joy.
I walked a mile with pleasure; she chattered all the way,
Nor left me ought the wiser for all she had to say.
I walked a mile with sorrow, and ne’er a word said she;
But, oh, the things I learned from her, when sorrow walked with me.
Yes, you can get pleasure; but pleasure and sorrow don’t walk together. Sorrow and joy do. Pleasure isn’t joy. Pleasure is often that which you experience while seeking for joy. Joy is a quality that doesn’t depart under any circumstances. It only goes deeper. It’s like the water lily that goes under the water when the night comes and the rough winds blow, and then comes up again in fair weather, when the wind and the dark has gone. That’s how the joy of the Holy Ghost is. It never, ever departs. That precious joy which the Lord gives will be there all the time.
One last aspect of this type of the Holy Spirit as oil is seen in the Psalms: “Bread to strengthen man’s heart and oil to make his face to shine” (Psalm 104:15). There’s a shine of the Holy Ghost that comes upon God’s children. Moses had a portion of it when he went up into the holy mountain. There before God the skin of Moses’ face shone so that when he came down, all the folk that met him were afraid to speak to him because of his shining face. He put a veil on his face for two reasons. One, because the people were dazzled by the shine; and two, because the shine began to wear off. It wasn’t there all the time. He wasn’t in the presence of God all the time. 2 Corinthians 3:12-13 tells us we have not a veil as Moses did, but God has given us something greater than Moses. God has given us a joy that increases, a shine that increases, and we go from one radiant degree of shining to another. Corinthians tells us the shine ever increases (2 Corinthians 3:18). We’re not, as Moses, to put a veil over our face. We go from one glory to another—from glory to glory. It increases. It’s a shine that won’t come off. I’m not saying that every time you come out of that secret place of God’s presence, we shall see the shine. But the shine will be there. Sometimes we can see it. When God gives us one of those blessed prayer meetings when the Holy Ghost comes down into the midst, and we’re lifted up and know that we’re in heaven, and time and sense are no more, look round on the people’s faces and see how they shine. I have sometimes had a revelation of those who have been baptized by the Holy Ghost, for I have seen the shine on their faces. There is a shine that God will give you. There is that oil that makes our face to shine.
This is the blessed Holy Ghost in that wonderful figure of oil; and Jesus bids you come and receive that precious One. There need be no strain, no pressure from me or from you. You are not to press to get into it, and I am not to press you into it. You simply are welcome. He bids you come. He says, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).
Dear Lord Jesus, You are the Baptizer in the Holy Ghost. And You are the one who loves to give the Holy Spirit. We can’t do without Him, Lord, though we try to. And now we come hungry and thirsty, longing for this which we felt was unattainable. We thought we had to do so much for it. We thought we had to work for it; and you say to us now, “You don’t receive the Holy Spirit by works. You receive Him by faith.” You say to us, “Believe Me. I am He who baptizes with the Holy Ghost. Shall not My Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?” So we ask, “Give us the Holy Spirit.” For those of us who’ve never received, give us this baptism, this first receiving of that Holy One, to enter in to rule and reign. Come, Lord. Come, blessed Holy Spirit. Come, Holy Comforter. And to us, Lord, who have received the Holy Spirit, oh, give us a new infilling, a new anointing. We ask for a new anointing. Lord Jesus, we bless You for giving us the Holy Spirit.
Our blest Redeemer, e’er he breathed
His tender, last farewell,
A Guide, a Comforter bequeathed
With us to dwell.
And His that gentle voice we hear,
Soft as the breath of even,
That checks each fault and calms each fear
And speaks of heaven.
And every virtue we possess
And every conquest won
And every thought of holiness
Are His alone.
Spirit of purity and grace,
Our weakness pitying see.
Oh make our hearts Thy dwelling place
And worthier of Thee.5
Come then, Holy Spirit, to my heart.
Welcome, welcome, welcome.
Holy Ghost, we welcome Thee.
Come in power and fill Thy temple.
Holy Ghost, we welcome Thee.6
Amen. Thank You, Lord!
(Many thanks to Cdr. A. David Armstrong III
for the original transcription.)
- Copyright held by Finest of the Wheat Teaching Fellowship, Inc. Edited and annotated by Jim Kerwin. Co-edited by Denise Kerwin. ↩
- That is, the Nicene Creed, a statement of faith accepted by most branches of Christendom. It was originally formulated at the Council of Nicea (hence the name) in a.d. 325, and was amplified by the First Council of Constantinople in a.d. 381. ↩
- From General William Booth’s famous hymn, Send the Fire!
- A vicegerent is someone appointed as a deputy by a sovereign. ↩
- These are four of the verses from Harriet Auber’s hymn, Our Blest Redeemer Ere He Breathed. ↩
- From Leila Naylor Morris' hymn Holy Ghost, We Bid Thee Welcome ↩