|He That Has Ears To Hear, Let Him Hear|
By Charles S. Price
WANT to speak to you tonight out of the full- ness of my
heart on the subject of "Visions." Sometime ago I was taken rather severely to
task because of the testimony I gave in which I described a vision that came to me when I
was under the power of God. I want to acknowledge in the first place that for every
genuine experience God can give to man the devil has a very cunningly devised counterfeit.
Men that sit at the feet of the scornful are constantly parading the counterfeits before
our eyes. They preach about them. They hold them up to ridicule and scorn. They attempt to
scare the members of their congregations by their weird, fantastic tales, and sometimes
succeed in frightening honest and sincere people away from the deeper things of God.
Some years ago, when I was traveling westward, I became the sorrowful possessor of a spurious five dollar bill. It was not until a banker showed me the difference between the spurious and the genuine that I discovered that I had been duped. If I were to use the logic of some people I would say, "beware of five dollar bills, my friends, stay clear of them, don't seek them, don't receive them, for listen, there are some spurious ones in the world." No, that is not my attitude at all and I stand here tonight ready to take all the five dollar bills you dear people can give me.
The trouble with this present day is that the church has allowed the materialism of the world to rob it of its spiritual values. This is known as the age of materialism. Modernism is built upon the foundation of materialistic philosophy. Education has been swallowed up and digested in the maw of this hideous monster until everything that pertains to the power of the Holy Spirit has been thrown into the discard. Not so long ago I received a letter from a certain minister who poured out his heart to me in a way that brought tears to my eyes. He had been hunting the truth yet he had closed and locked the door through which the truth alone could come. He had applied himself to study and had burned the midnight oil in his endeavors to grasp and understand the things that would satisfy his heart. Then one day, I know not how for he did not tell me, there came into his possession one of my sermons entitled, "How I received my Baptism." He read it. He read the story of how on my knees in that San Jose meeting years ago the fogs of doubt rolled from my mind and Jesus became a reality to my poor waiting heart. He read how I was stricken under the power like Saul on the Damascus road. He read how the heavens opened before me and a living tongue of flame Divine descended upon my unworthy head. So this poor man wrote me and wanted to know if I could give him any reasonable explanation regarding the things that I had experienced. Let me quote part of my letter that I sent him in reply: "I believe, my brother, that you want to know. I assure you that you can know. I assume from the tone of your letter to me that you are groping in the dark, trying to find some switch that will turn on the light. Like thousands of other sincere hearts you have been attempting to understand spiritual verities with your mental powers. My dear friend, it cannot be done. If you will take my advice I know that God will open the door to you. These things will come to you, not in the study but in THE PLACE OF SECRET PRAYER. They will come to you through the heart and NOT through the head. You will see these things with the eyes of the Spirit when you could never see them in ten thousand years by reading all the books that were ever written, with your physical eyes. If you can withdraw into the secret of His presence and get away from the maddening crowd of even your own thoughts I am sure God will reveal Himself to you. Try to forget, forget everything, and become as a little child, and I believe His Hand will be laid upon you and you shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven." How I rejoiced when three months later I received another letter from this man whom I have never seen, and yet I count him as a friend. He told me of that battle between his heart and his head. He explained the warfare that had taken place between his faith and his reason. Then one glorious morning the One who will not despise the broken and contrite heart had come to him. The Sun of Righteousness had arisen and all the fogs of doubt had been dispelled.
THE SPIRIT FILLED LIFE
My friends, I want to declare unto you this day that there is such a thing as a life that is FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT. By that I do not mean that we are filled with a spirit that is making us imitators of Christ; like men are sometimes filled with a war spirit and other men can be filled with a spirit of enthusiasm for one thing or another. No, the Spirit to which I refer is a person, an intelligent being, who has a certain ministry to perform in each one of our lives. When one receives the Baptism of the Holy Spirit it means that we are filled with the Holy Ghost. His ministry is very clearly and beautifully outlined through the closing chapters of the gospels and in various of the Pauline Epistles. When He takes possession of our bodies, when we are completely and wholly surrendered to Him we start to live in another world. We become possessed of spiritual faculties because it is through these things that the Will of God is revealed to us. What a holy and blessed ministry the Paraclete has in the Spirit-filled life. Do you not remember the words of Jesus, "He shall teach you all things." Did you ever get down in the quiet of your own room with an open Bible before you on the chair? Did you ever read some words so beautiful and sweet that they were dripping with honey and fragrant with the very breath of heaven? Were you ever conscious of the fact that One who dwelt within was unfolding be fore you the hidden treasures of the living Word until you shouted for joy and praised God for all of His wonderful goodness.
Sometime ago, shortly after I was baptized with the Holy Ghost, I was alone in my room waiting upon the Lord. I felt the direct leading of the Spirit to take my Bible from the top of my desk and open it to read. As I threw back the covers of the book it opened to the fourteenth chapter of John's gospel, and as I read down through the verses of that wonderful chapter at last I came to the words, "And if I go away, I will come again." Suddenly, a wave of glory went through my body. I looked at those words and they seemed to turn to scarlet before my eyes. Again, I read them, "If I Go Away." I was conscious of the moving of the Holy Spirit. I seemed to be transported back to that country it was my privilege to visit sometime ago. I was on the Mount of Olives, and yonder, not far away, I could see a little group of men, one of whom was my blessed Lord. Suddenly, before my astonished eyes, I beheld Him going up, up, up, until He disappeared from my vision, lost in the snowy, fleecy, billowy clouds that were floating across the meadows of the heavens.
Tears coursed down my cheeks. In voluntarily I turned the pages of the Word and this time the Acts of the Apostles opened before me. My friends, it was the first chapter and the eleventh verse. Through my tears I read, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven. This same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven shall so come in like manner." "In like manner" - in like manner." A voice within me kept repeating the words. Suddenly the glorious truth burst through the corridors of my waiting heart and mind. The truth of the second coming was as clear to me as the noon day sun. For the next hour, with the Holy Ghost as my teacher, scripture after scripture paraded through the corridors of my very being. God had marshaled a regular army of scripture texts and they had walked before me in grand review clothed in garments I had never seen before. For the first time in my life I shouted, "Jesus is coming again, Jesus is coming again." I did not read a scripture that day that I had not read a dozen times before. Oh, how wonderful was the ministry of that blessed and holy One who came to teach. The scriptures were clothed with a new meaning. He was taking the things of Christ and revealing them to me.
Visions, yes, visions, visions of heaven. Visions of ladders that reach from the dirt of earth to streets that are paved with gold. Visions of our loved ones safe in the arms of Jesus, even though we stand by the side of an open grave. Visions of a crown glistening and scintillating in the sunlight of a world of glory, even while our backs are bowed beneath the weight of a heavy cross. I ask you, is this unscriptural? Has not the word of God declared it? Did not the apostles of the Lord promise it? Can there be no modern apocalypse, no unveiling of the truth that is hidden from mortal eyes? My dear friends, if you have never heard the music of heaven, I am sorry for you. If you have never seen with the eyes of the Spirit things that you could never behold with your physical eyes, then I implore you to get on your knees and pray, and pray, and pray. What blessings you Christians have missed because you have neglected the means of grace. How many times in your lives God has been wanting to give you something but you were too busy to reach up and take it. How often along life's pilgrim journey God wanted the choirs of heaven to sing to you but you were too busy listening to the jazz music of this material old world. I declare unto you that there is not one of us in this great audience tonight but what has missed a great many of the riches of His grace because we were preoccupied with the things of time. The world is filled with people that have eyes and yet they cannot see. This tabernacle is filled with people that have minds and yet they cannot under stand. I am talking this moment to people that have ears and yet they cannot hear. You tell me that you want facts, facts, facts. It is a fact that this pulpit in front of me is made of wood. You believe that. You can see it and you know it. It is a fact that these lights above my head are made of glass and filament. You can see that and you nod your heads in approval, but when I talk to you about visions, about the voice of God speaking to you; about the Holy Ghost, the great teacher, the revealer of all truth, you at once look a little bewildered. Some of you say in your hearts, "We cannot know." My friends, I tell you, you can know. Hallelujah, YOU CAN KNOW. There are SPIRITUAL FACTS that are just as great, and indeed greater than material facts. Yes, I declare to you that they are even greater. When everything you see around you tonight has disappeared, when everything material has melted away with fervent heat the things that are spiritual and that are not seen are things that will really abide. I am praying for God to open your eyes so that you can be hold the truth.
Do you not remember that the scripture records that when Elisha was in Dothan that his servant was with him in his tent. Two men were in the same tent and yet they were a thousand miles apart. Two men looked out of the same tent and one saw horses of fire and the other saw horses of flesh. One was filled with faith and the other was filled with fear. Why? Because one could see with the eyes of the body and the other was looking with the eyes of the Spirit. Do you not remember how Elisha got a little impatient be cause of the trembling and fears of his servant? He might have sat that servant down in a chair and argued with him and tried to reason with him, but all of the arguments in the world would never have taken the fear out of his heart. Instead of that he prayed, "Lord open his eyes that he might see." God answered that prayer. Then that servant stuck his head out of that tent flap and jumped back and shouted, "Hallelujah, glory be to God! The mountains are filled with horses of fire and chariots of fire. The Lord of Hosts is with us. The God of Jacob is our refuge."
My friends, that is what I am praying for you tonight. I am asking God to open your eyes that you might see. A little while ago, you were singing:
"Perfect submission, perfect delight,
And half of you in singing that hymn didn't know what you were singing about. Do you know who wrote that hymn? It was Fanny Crosby, the blind American hymn writer. Yes, my friends, she was blind and yet she could see things that some of you people that claim to have marvelous vision have never be held. While some of you could see the sign boards, and the theatres, and the prize fights, Fanny Crosby was talking about "visions of rapture." Yet you tell me she was blind. No, I declare unto you that YOU ARE THE BLIND. It breaks my heart to think of the things you are missing. It crushes me when I contemplate the realities that are only discerned with the eyes of the Spirit that you have never seen. I would to God that every one of you would break away from the morbid materialism that has held you in its grip, and ask that blessed Comforter, the great Revealer of truth, to speak to your inner heart.
Do you not remember when that indomitable little soldier of the cross, Paul, was writing his first letter to the Church at Corinth. He declared in the second chapter that he came preaching the "gospel of Jesus Christ and Him crucified." Of all the preachers of the gospel at that early date, Paul was undoubtedly the man with the best education. He was not only a lawyer, having probably graduated from the University of Tarsus, but he studied philosophy at the feet of Gamaliel. He was an intelligent giant. He was a colossus in intellect. But his learning, and his education, and his philosophy and his law practice had never brought him to God. He was very sincere before his conversion but he was sincerely wrong. Remember, my friends, that the fact that you were sincere does not mean that you were right. The fact that you were honest does not of necessity mean that you have found the truth. There are thousands of men that are very honest in their error and millions that are sincerely wrong. Saul was in this condition when he was journeying that day on the Damascus road. Then down he went under the power. What power you ask was that that put him on his back. I declare unto you that it was the Power of God. While he was under the power he saw a vision. It was the turning point in the life of this man. Into Damascus he went with his blinded eyes, and yet in his blindness that was physical, he could see the clearness of things that he had never beheld before. In obedience to the Divine Word, he went unto the street called Straight. That is a good road for any man to begin a Christian experience. Then from the street called Straight he went into the desert vastness of Arabia. You know what happened down there. There is not the slightest doubt in my mind but what the Holy Ghost became his teacher. He saw visions, he received direct from heaven those profound doctrinal truths that were embodied in later years in his Epistles. He tells us himself that he did not confer with flesh and blood. It is a fact that he did go to Jerusalem at one time and stayed for fifteen days with old Peter. What a wonderful time those two fellows must have had together. I can just imagine Peter taking him all over Jerusalem showing him all the sights of the City and the places where he and Jesus had been together, but it was not from Peter that he got these profound truths. It was from the Holy Ghost.
So we find in this letter to the Church at Corinth that he writes: "I determine not to know anything among you save Jesus Christ and Him crucified." You see, my friends, Paul knew that if he could get men to Jesus, he could get them to the truth. Jesus is the truth. Not merely the truth imparted, but the truth Him self. Paul knew that if he could get men to Jesus, he would lead them into the way that would bring them to pearly gates opening onto the meadows of eternal day. Jesus did not come to show men the way, for He said, "I am the way." He declared unto this Corinthian Church that the reason he preached Jesus was that he did not want their faith to be founded in the wisdom of men but in the Power of God. But Paul declares that he is not a fool and that the Christians who have received the Lord are not fanatics, for he distinctly states in the sixth verse:
"How be it we speak wisdom among them that are perfect; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to naught; But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory; Which none of the princes of this world knew; for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."
What mighty words are these? What a glorious avenue of truth it is along which Paul is bringing these men in that old church at Corinth in the days of the long ago. But now, let me read to you let me read it so that everyone of you can hear it.
"But as it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God bath prepared for them that love him. But God bath revealed them unto us by His Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things, yea, the deep things of God."
Did you hear that? God has revealed them unto us by His Spirit.
Then you ask me, do I believe in visions? You ask me if I do not think it is dangerous for people to have visions. Let me tell you, my friends, it is my firm and deep-rooted belief that the only way you will ever get to know God is by supernatural revelation. The ministry of the Holy Spirit begins before you are saved, in convicting you of your sin. His work is continued in bringing you down to the altar; there to find peace and pardon through the precious blood of Jesus. Oh, the blood of Calvary's Lamb, Oh, the blood, the shed blood, that cleanses my heart from sin. The blessed Holy Spirit applies that blood and then whispers in your heart that you are a new creature in Christ Jesus our Lord. Then if you will let Him, He, who is with you from the beginning, will fill you with His presence and endue you with Power from on High. Let me make this perfectly clear. Every blood-washed Christian must have the Holy Ghost. Before this campaign is over I am going to bring you a message on the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the converted and the spirit-filled man. How I pray God that you will yield your hearts in complete surrender to Him tonight. How I pray that you will heed the whisper of that voice speaking to your innermost being and let the blessed Holy Spirit lead you across the plains and the hills of the world of glory until you breathe the very air of Beulah land. Yes, the deep things of God, the things that can never be understood by your mortal minds, are wrapped up in the wrappings of Grace Divine and given to you by the third person of the adorable Trinity.
The song of angels is heard once again on the fields of your hearts just as truly as the shepherds heard that song in the fields of Bethlehem of Judea. The rungs of Jacob's ladder have never broken down and pillows of rock can become soft as a downy bed. Prison walls can vanish as you lie upon a cold stone couch and with John Bunyan you can walk over the Delectable Mountains on your way to the City of God. Though one leads you about by the hand and calls you blind, you can sing with Fanny Crosby, "Visions of rapture now burst on my sight." Though you live in a little humble cottage, you can be richer than the man who lives in the palace. And while you are washing the dishes you can sing: "They're building a mansion for me over there." Visions. Do I believe in visions? Yes, my friends, mine eyes have seen the King: in all His glory.
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Thursday March 03, 2011 05:05 PM -0500