Happens When We Are Filled
With The Holy Spirit?
By Elmer G. Klassen
In the beginning of my Christian life I did not
hear much about the need of Christians having to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
When some of us young converts began to meet Christians from other
denominations we learned that this subject was very important to some people.
Upon being asked if we had received the baptism of the Holy Spirit, we
naively answered that we did not know what they were talking about. This was just what was needed to ask the question they had
found in Acts 19:2, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”
Then followed the indoctrination of all kinds of denominational
persuasions. The more we asked what
happens when we are filled with the Holy Spirit the more confusing it got.
Some of the more aggressive indoctrinators influenced some of the young
Christians to be a life-long convert to their own denomination, separating these
converts from other Christians because of what they thought must or must not
happen when filled with the Holy Spirit. The
result was that some of these Christians have spent the rest of their lives
defending one or the other position.
As a new Christian I thought Spirit-filled Christians were the ones doing personal soul-winning and sending converts a correspondence course. The two words, soul-winning and follow up, motivated us as new Christians to do most anything. But we did not see much church growth. In fact, I later learned that most people were becoming Christians by other means. Since then I have learned that these activities were far from complete in themselves for church growth. No person or even organization or denomination can fulfill the Great Commission alone.
History shows us that much that happens, when Christians are filled with the Holy Spirit, has little resemblance to what is happening in our churches. According to the book of Acts men filled with the Holy Spirit began speaking and preaching boldly with authority, often as the result of miracles, causing the church to grow. (Acts 2:4; 4:8; 6:8,51,55; 8:6,17,25; 8:29,35; 9:34,35; 9:41,42; 10:44,46, 48; 11:21; 13:9-12,16,32, 33,44,48,49, etc.).
Praying, miracles, casting out demons, intercessions and gifts of the Spirit are not what wins souls to Christ. They prepare the people to repent and believe the Gospel. God causes these things to happen to prepare the way to boldly preach Christ and Him crucified to the saving of souls. People are saved by the anointed preaching of the Gospel by Spirit-filled men.
In his book, Deeper Experiences of Famous Christians, James Gilchrist Lawson tells of men who were filled with the Holy Spirit and preached with authority to the conversion of souls. He writes about men who throughout history have been filled with the Holy Spirit and have changed the church and thus changed the world through their preaching.
At the beginning of this century Ernest Modersohn
of Germany also wrote about such men, one of whom was Johannes Seitz.
Seitz was saved through the ministry of
Pastor Blumhardt in Mottlingen where signs and wonders were commonplace,
so much so that one could believe he was living in the time of the apostles.
He tells his story as follows:
“I was born in a poverty-stricken village in
the Black Forest. The morals and
economy had sunk very low through the widespread chronic drunkenness. The pastor was a heavy drinker and the major and other
village officials practically lived in the local bar.
This village was changed by the power of the gospel.
“My father was a farmer and a notorious
practical joker. Sometimes he would
play such clever jokes on people that the entire neighborhood would laugh about
them for weeks. He had an
infectious sense of humor and was practically idolized by the villagers.
The wife of the owner of the tavern where he spent most of his time
drinking had facial cancer around her nose.
She heard of the wonderful healings that were taking place in Mottlingen
so went to see what God was doing there. To
the amazement of my father she returned completely healed with new spiritual
life. A mentally disturbed person
also returned healed. Nearly all
returned healed and brought new life into the village.
So my father decided to make a secret visit to Mottlingen.
The first sermon that he heard disturbed him so much that he would speak
to no one afterwards. My mother did
not know what was wrong with him. After
arriving home during the mealtime he suddenly spoke up and said, ‘We are all
lost and going to hell; things can’t stay the way they are.
We must begin a new life.’ Thus
his life was completely changed.
“At first my mother thought he had gone crazy. Word spread throughout the Black Forest that ‘old Seitz had gone crazy. He’ll be in the insane asylum soon. But shortly thereafter my mother was also converted. My father no longer cursed and became the instrument that God used to bring the holy fire to the village. At the urging of the Holy Spirit he visited the neighbors and farmers and many families were converted. Meetings were started in our home and many continued to travel the four hours by train to Mottlingen each Sunday, often as many as forty or fifty people from our village would go to hear Blumhardt. On the way home we sang songs of praise.
“Blumhardt had a phenomenal ability to stir people. Blumhardt did not preach long, but what he said was so powerful that even after a few words people broke down and repented. He had a wonderful power over the hearts of men, over sickness and over evil spirits.
“My village changed completely. One family after another left their life of sin until most
had been converted. At weddings
there was no more sound of dance music, not even among unconverted.
It was a time of grace and judgment.
“Soon the village pastor was converted and cooperated with the newly saved. The next time a wedding was to be celebrated with dance music my father warned the bride and groom and asked them to begin their married life with the Lord rather than with the devil. The couple promised they would, but others persuaded them to do otherwise. On the wedding day they invited a large number of musicians to play and dance on the streets in front of the parsonage. My father was crushed and went dejectedly to the pastor. But the pastor assured my father, ‘Seitz, don’t get upset. God has revealed to me that this family will not stay together for long. God will bring judgment on this village.’
“The judgment began on that very day.
The bride was thrown out of a wagon and broke her foot.
On the day following the wedding the groom became sick.
He asked my father to come to pray with him so he could repent before he
died. The sickness spread
throughout the village and a third of the villagers were ill. Whole families perished.
Those who had danced at the wedding were particularly affected.
“It was a wonderful time.
The Holy Spirit came in power into the lives of people.
“Years later another wedding was
celebrated with the same dance music. The
pastor said to my father, ‘I have had another revelation from God. The husband will go bankrupt and he will have an accident.’
And that is exactly what happened.
“These are just some of the things that happened in my village as a result of the ministry in Mottlingen. People believed that a visit to Mottlingen was all that was needed to change a person’s life. In fact, this was true in most cases. What happened was almost apostolic.”
The story of men filled with the Holy Spirit in church history as well as the stories of the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament build faith to believe God for an outpouring of the Holy Spirit at the end of this millennium. We will see an outpouring of
the Holy Spirit soon on America as well as in other countries where God’s children will seek the filling of His Spirit and obey Him to finish the Great Commission before the coming of Christ.