I want to look at the fact of a life filled with the Holy Spirit more from the practical side,
and to show how this life will show itself in our daily walk and conduct.
Under the Old Testament you know the Holy Spirit often came upon men as a divine
Spirit of revelation to reveal the mysteries of God, or for power to do the work of God. But
He did not then dwell in them. Now, many just want the Old Testament gift of power for
work, but know very little of the New Testament gift of the indwelling Spirit, animating and
renewing the whole life. When God gives the Holy Spirit, His great object is the formation
of a holy character. It is a gift of a holy mind and spiritual disposition, and what we need
above everything else, is to say: “I must have the Holy Spirit sanctifying my whole inner life if I am really to live for God’s glory.”
You might say that when Christ promised the Spirit to the disciples, He did so that they
might have power to be witnesses. True, but then they received the Holy Spirit in such
heavenly power and reality that He took possession of their whole being at once and so fitted
them as holy men for doing the work with power as they had to do it. Christ spoke of power
to the disciples, but it was the Spirit filling their whole being that worked the power.
I wish now to dwell upon the passage found in Gal. 5:22: “The fruit of the Spirit is love.”
We read that “Love is the fulfilling of the law” (Rom. 13:10), and my desire is to speak
on love as a fruit of the Spirit with a twofold object. One is that this word may be a searchlight
in our hearts, and give us a test by which to try all our thoughts about the Holy Spirit and
all our experience of the holy life. Let us try ourselves by this word. Has this been our daily
habit, to seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit as the Spirit of love? “The fruit of the Spirit is
love.” Has it been our experience that the more we have of the Holy Spirit the more loving
we become? In claiming the Holy Spirit we should make this the first object of our expectation.
The Holy Spirit comes as a Spirit of love.
Oh, if this were true in the Church of Christ how different her state would be! May God
help us to get hold of this simple, heavenly truth that the fruit of the Spirit is a love which
appears in the life, and that just as the Holy Spirit gets real possession of the life, the heart
will be filled with real, divine, universal love.
One of the great causes why God cannot bless His Church is the want of love. When the
body is divided, there cannot be strength. In the time of their great religious wars, when
Holland stood out so nobly against Spain, one of their mottoes was: “Unity gives strength.”
It is only when God’s people stand as one body, one before God in the fellowship of love,
one toward another in deep affection, one before the world in a love that the world can
see—it is only then that they will have power to secure the blessing which they ask of God.
Remember that if a vessel that ought to be one whole is cracked into many pieces, it cannot
be filled. You can take a potsherd, one part of a vessel, and dip out a little water into that,
but if you want the vessel full, the vessel must be whole. That is literally true of Christ’s
Church, and if there is one thing we must pray for still, it is this: Lord, melt us together into
one by the power of the Holy Spirit; let the Holy Spirit, who at Pentecost made them all of
one heart and one soul, do His blessed work among us. Praise God, we can love each other
in a divine love, for “the fruit of the Spirit is love.” Give yourselves up to love, and the Holy
Spirit will come; receive the Spirit, and He will teach you to love more.