Lost and Restored – 2
Aimee Semple Mcpherson
THE THREE DISPENSATIONS
Just as there are three in the Godhead: Father, Son and Holy Ghost, so there have been three separate and distinct dispensations or periods of time.
First came the dispensation of the Father as recorded in God’s Word throughout the Old Testament from Genesis to Malachi. Throughout the dispensation of the Father, He promised that at the close of this dispensation He would bestow a great gift, even Jesus His only begotten Son, upon the earth, as our Redeemer and the propitiation for our sins. At the close of that period of time God the Father kept His word, and true to His promise gave Jesus, as His great Love Gift to the sinner.
Secondly came the dispensation of the Son, as recorded in the four Gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Now, just as the Father had a gift to bestow upon the world, even so Jesus, who is our salvation, tells us over and over again that He longs to bestow a gift upon all those who believe on Him, even the gift of the Holy Spirit. All throughout His ministry upon this earth, with ever increasing emphasis, Jesus depicted to His followers the importance of their receiving this gift which He was to bestow upon them when He went away.
Jesus seemed to a certain degree to be limited in the scope of His ministry, was sent only to the lost sheep of the House of Israel, was able to be in only one place at a time, etc., and declared in John 16:7. “It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” Plainly Jesus thought it more important for us to receive the Holy Spirit than for Himself to stay upon this earth. Thus just as the Father kept His promise and sent Jesus His love gift to the sinner, so now in turn Jesus kept His word, and prayed the Father to send the Holy Spirit, His gift to the believer.
Thirdly came the dispensation of the Holy Spirit which opened on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2.) This dispensation we are still living in and will be living in until Jesus comes for His waiting Bride.
The days of Jesus’ tender ministry upon earth were over. He had eaten the last supper. He had been tried in the sinner’s stead and had died in the sinner’s place. He had been laid in the lonely tomb, resurrected in power and triumph, had walked forty days upon the earth after His resurrection. He had promised for the last time that He would not leave His little ones comfortless, but that He would pray the Father that He would send another Comforter even the Holy Spirit who when He was come would in His office work— take of the things of Jesus and reveal it unto them, (John 16:15), lead them into all truth, (John 16:13). not speak of Himself but of Jesus, (v. 13), show them things to come, (v. 13). glorify Jesus, (v. 14), reprove of sin, of righteousness and of judgment, (v. 8), teach them all things, (John 14:26), testify of Jesus, (John 15:26), endue them with power from on high, (Luke 24:49), pray through them with groanings that could not be uttered, (Rom. 8:26).
The last words of Jesus before His ascension, before the clouds received Him out of their sight, as recorded in Luke 24:49, and Acts 1:8, were concerning the importance of tarrying for and receiving the Comforter whom He would send.
Tarrying for the coming of the Holy Spirit with glowing hearts and the Master’s command, “Tarry until ye be endued with power from on high,” still ringing in their ears, the little flock of about a hundred and twenty went their way to the “upper room” in Jerusalem, to await there the advent of the Holy Spirit, the opening of this great, new dispensation of the Spirit sent from Heaven. For ten days they waited. They “continued with one accord in one place in prayer and supplication.” One accord, O what unbroken harmony is depicted in these simple words. Thomas was not saying to Peter “Peter, what are you doing here? You denied the Lord thrice, you cursed and swore, the Lord will never baptize you with the Spirit.” Peter was not saying to Thomas: “Well, Thomas, what are you doing here? You always were an old doubter anyway, don’t think you will receive anything from the Lord.” Ah no! They were with one accord in one place in prayer and supplication.
The Coming of the Holy Spirit
(Acts 2:4) “And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from Heaven.” (and bless God, there has been a sound ever since when the Spirit falls and comes in). “From Heaven.” (Yes, thank God, in spite of what man may say, undoubtedly this sound is from Heaven). “Like as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
I have often tried to picture the sudden consternation and excitement which surged through the streets of Jerusalem when the hundred and twenty men and women were filled with the Holy Spirit, and burst out shouting and talking in other tongues, so filled that they acted like drunken people; (Acts 2:13). I can seem to see the crowds running up this street, and that, windows flying open, heads thrust out, doors opening, everybody running, devout men gathering up their long ministerial robes and forgetting their dignity, running with the rest to swell the one great question:
“What Meaneth This?” And when this was noised abroad the multitude came together.”
(Beloved, if the Holy Spirit is falling in your midst you will not need oyster suppers or box socials or Xmas trees to bring the multitude. Your only trouble will be to find seats for the people) “and were confounded,” just like you have been perhaps, “because that every man heard them speak in his own language.” They were amazed, they marvelled, they were in doubt. Sober-minded folk asked the question: “What meaneth this?” Mockers declared: “These men are full of new wine.” O what an uproar! What an excitement! You dear people who dislike confusion and demand that things be done “decently and in order” would have been scandalized.
“But Peter,” a new Peter, no longer afraid of the opinions of people, “Standing up,” (the Holy Spirit when He endues you with power puts a real “stand up for Jesus” spirit within you and takes the cowardice out) “said: these are not drunken as ye suppose…but this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel. And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, that I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.” Then as Peter preached that mighty sermon under the power of the Holy Spirit, among other things he told his vast audience to:
“Repent and be baptized every one…in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins,” and they, too, would “receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Furthermore, just as though he looked away ahead through the coming years and saw the doubts in some of your minds, Peter declared that the promise is “not only unto you” but “unto your children and unto them that are afar off,” that means you, brother, sister, for he goes on to say, “even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” How, if God has called you, the promise is unto you. How glad I am that the Spirit through Peter drove these nails and clinched them on the other side till there is not the shadow of a loophole for you to thrust the wedge of doubt into.