Work of the Holy Spirit

Ellet J. Waggoner

The Signs of the Times : September 21, 1888

What a marvelous change the Holy Spirit is able to work in those of whom it takes possession! We have a striking example of this in the case of the apostles. On the morning of the ascension they asked Jesus: “Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?” Even with the instruction that they had received since Christ’s resurrection, they clung with childish pertinacity to their own crude ideas of his work. They all looked for a temporal kingdom, and a speedy deliverance from the Roman yoke. They were familiar with the prophecies, yet they did not understand them. 
Look at them ten days later, and know the difference. When the multitude began to enquire the meaning of what they saw, and others began to ridicule, the apostles at once rebuked the scoffers with dignity, and began to unfold the prophecies. There was no hesitation, no apologies. They spoke with authority, as though they had long been familiar with what they were teaching. What made this difference? They were “filled with the Holy Spirit.” This was all. 

But let no one think that the Holy Spirit can accomplish such results for all indiscriminately, and do away with the necessity of the exertion on the part of the individual. By no means. These men had been with one mind persevering in prayer for this very object. They were also of that class mentioned in John 7:17; they had been, and were still, followers of Christ; so it was to be expected that they should know of the doctrine. And lastly, they had studied the word of God for themselves, and had done all they could to understand it. To use a homely illustration, the wood was laid in position, and the kindling’s were all prepared for a fire; all that was needed was the application of the spark to set the whole into a blaze. The Holy Spirit accomplished these wonderful results, because the way was prepared for it to work. Let us remember that that same Spirit will be given as freely today, if the necessary conditions are only fulfilled. Whose fault is it that Christians do not have more of the Spirit?