DR. NORRIS: Oh, Lord, we thank thee for bringing back these two precious boys — we thank thee that thou didst snatch J.W. from the jaws of death for the first message that came was that he was killed in action, but the Great Physician intervened and by the special providence of God they both were rescued and brought back safe. And may it be true with so many of our boys today on the battle fronts — so many of them languishing in hospitals, life hanging in the balance, and may we be greatly humbled today in the presence of so great heroism and sacrifice, and may we ask, "What can I do to render gratitude to Almighty God with my time, my tears, my voice, my hands, my feet, my pocketbook, my children, my all?" We ask for Christ's sake, Amen.

    God bless both of you boys.

    May I invite your attention to the Acts of the Apostles, second chapter, and in a question in the 37th verse:

    "Men and brethren, What shall we do?"

    "Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins"— not in order to, but on account of, or because of your sins, having them remitted now you are ready to be baptized — "and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

 
    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

    I want us to meditate a little while on these words: "And ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. That one word receive sums up all that a man, both saved and unsaved, can get from God.

    The unsaved man receives Christ for his salvation —. "But as many as received him," John 1:12, "to them gave he power to become the sons of God."

    Then Acts 2:41 says: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized."

    I want to discuss three propositions with you briefly.

    First, the fact of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Second, the purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    Third, the practical application of this gift in the life of the believer.

    There are two gifts set forth in the Scriptures, and everywhere you find the word "gift" you can write the word "grace." "God so loved the world that he gave." Therefore, "Christ tasted death for all men," "and the grace of God hath appeared unto all men."

    Now in this Scripture which I read to you, we are in danger of losing the deep significance of it, assuming that we know it.

    Here were a multitude of people from every nation under heaven — some eighteen dialects and tongues are named in this chapter — perhaps there were a hundred thousand or more present.

    And when Peter had preached that great — great sermon on Christ the prophesied Messiah, Christ the crucified Messiah and Christ the risen Messiah, and then closed by saying: "And ye are witnesses of these great truths," the Holy Spirit came in mighty power on all that multitude and they cried out and said, "Men and brethren, What shall we do?"

    The first thing that Peter said, "Repent of your sins, and particularly of your crucifying the Lord of glory." Then following repentance, be baptized and afterward ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

    In addition to salvation, there is something, plus. We are born of the Spirit — "Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born of water and of the the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God"— and they are one transaction, "of the water and the Spirit." "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

    There are two separate, definite, distinct transactions in the soul. First, there is natural birth by which we come into this natural life, having the nature and likeness of our earthly parents. And then second, there is the spiritual birth, born of the Spirit. And that is why Peter says in II Peter 1:4: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature," and that's the new birth.

    There are some who say, "The gift of the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, but it does not apply to this day." Now, I'm not going into any hairsplitting arguments, I'm simply calling attention to the facts, and I most emphatically affirm that whatever was involved in the gift of the Holy Spirit at that occasion is ours now.

    First, he says, "The promise is unto you," that multitude before, Peter.

    Second, "And to your children," the next generation after them.

    And third, "To all that are afar off," that's the whole Gentile world of believers.

    Fourth, "Even as many as the Lord our God shall call."

    Now, if that doesn't apply to April 29, 1945, Fort Worth, Texas, I do not know what language means.

    The Scriptures are abundant upon the teaching of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer — many terms are used.

    Jesus says in Luke 24:49: "And behold, I send my promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued" — clothed, furnished, equipped — "with power," not from below, but "from on high."

    And then we find that after Pentecost, in the fourth chapter, the eighth verse, "Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost" — that means that between the second and fourth chapter that he had been emptied, and I thank God for Simon Peter because he was so much like ourselves.

    Then in that same chapter, the 31st verse, "And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost."

    And then in the ninth chapter of the same book, the seventeenth verse, we find that Paul was commended to be filled with the Holy Ghost.

    And then the last verse of the thirteenth chapter of the same book we find, "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."

    It's the warp and woof of the whole New Testament, and in Ephesians 5:18 we find, "And be not drunk with wine," which represents the world, "but be filled' with the Spirit."

    I can go back into the Old Testament and give you many examples. For instance, in the marvelous Book of Micah, the third chapter and eighth verse, in contrast with the false teachers who teach for hire and serve the Lord, the Prophet says, "But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the Lord, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgress and to Israel his sin."

    There is no question then in both the Old and New Testaments as to the act of the indwelling, the filling of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

    Now, the second proposition — "What is the purpose of the Holy Spirit." I am sacrificing everything this morning to simplicity.

    We well find the purpose set forth in many Scriptures, and here is one, Acts 1:8. In the 6th verse the disciples gathered around Jesus and asked him a simple question, and yet it was a very natural question. For six hundred years they had been under the heel of a foreign oppressor, like the countries of Europe have been under the heel of Hitler for several years.

    Now, they come and they say, "Wilt thou at this time restore the kingdom again to Israel" They were still thinking of the halcyon days of David and Solomon and notwithstanding they had heard Jesus say "My kingdom is not of this world," yet they were looking for a material kingdom. And that is what is going on now — the various denominational programs and leaders are talking about, "kingdom building, kingdom building," when the kingdom of God shall not be established until the King himself comes in person and glory and power.

    Now, he says in the seventh verse, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." But in contrast with your seeking worldly wisdom in contrast with your desiring an earthly kingdom in contrast with all, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you" — now here is the purpose — "and ye shall be witnesses" — now a witness is somebody that can tell something he knows. You go here to the courthouse and get on the witness stand and a lawyer asks you did you see a certain transaction? "Well, my wife told me that her mother told her that her sister told her that a neighbor told her" — wait a minute, "Did you see it?" "No." "Stand aside."

    So here are some people going out to witness some things they have seen — we have seen the Lord, we have been with him, we know him in the power of his forgiving sin. Therefore we can go out and tell this. We are not to go out and prove that there is a God — that's manifest. Only a fool, David says, "There is no God." We are not to go out and prove that the Bible is the Word of God — it's sharper than a two-edged sword, needs no defense. It is dynamite, it's power, and dynamite needs no defense — you better get off behind a rock on the other side of the hill when it goes off.

So, therefore, yours is to go out and tell the things that you know concerning Christ. That's what Jesus said to the healed Gadarene. When that poor fellow had been crying and cutting himself with the stones among the dead and no man could bind or tame him, and when he saw Jesus the devils were cast out and he prayed, "don't send us out of this country, this is good business for us." but he sent them into the swine. The owner of the hogs prayed, "leave our country, you are ruining the hog business." Jesus granted the prayer of the devils and the owner of the hogs, but He refused to give the request of the saved man. "Oh," he said, "let me go with you, be with you, it's the first time I have found peace of soul." Jesus said, "There is something better, go home and tell thy neighbors and friends."

    So we are in the business of telling a lost world about Jesus Christ, the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.

    And the miracle to me is the indifference of the church who have seen the lost — that they will hide their lights under a bushel ,and that they deceive themselves by coming to church occasionally — that they will hold in their hands the money that belongs to him who gave all for us.

    And ye shall be witnesses, beginning at Jerusalem, and in Judea and in Samaria, and unto the utter-most parts of the earth.

    The purpose of the gift of the Holy Spirit is set forth in many Scripture, but here is one:

    Acts 4:31: "And when they had prayed, place as shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness."

    I have seen timid people made strong and valiant by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

    The fifteenth chapter of Romans, the nineteenth verse says:

    "Through mighty signs and wonders, by the the Spirit of God."

    And in the second chapter of I Corinthians, says they sought after wisdom and eloquence. Paul says, "I call you to witness I came not to you with excellency of speech, after man's wisdom, but I was with you in fear and trembling and you saw my message, that it was in demonstration of the power of the Spirit" — something you could see. "I was not concerned about you classifying me as some Esthenese of Demosthenes or some great eloquent orator; I was concerned that your faith might not stand as the wisdom of man but in the power of God."

    I had a very interesting meeting — rather call, a few days ago by a group of six preachers from an entirely different denomination or faith from what I hold and they have given a great deal of time to controversy, and so when they called there at the office of the Temple Baptist Church, I wondered what they wanted to see me about. They said, "Now, Dr. Norris, without any controversy we come sincerely, to you to ask for help and information." I said, "Well, gentle men, I don't know that I can do anything.

    I had just preached on this text the preceding Sunday, which I hope to give you here:

    "To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." Now that is the 44th verse, and the next verse says: "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." And then he says, "Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?"

    I said, "Gentlemen, I'm asking not you but myself, do I believe that Scripture? Do I believe that when Christ was preached the Holy Spirit would come in power as the rain on the earth or the sunlight that floods the world — do I believe that?" I said, "Either answer I give I'm into it. If I say no I don't believe it, then I reject the plain, unmistakable word of God. If I say that I do believe it, then I am in this dilemma, why don't I practice it, at least more?"

    One of them said, "Well, I'll tell you. I believe it in word, but I have never attained it." Well, it resulted that we had a prayer meeting and there were several of us praying. I think, with great sincerity. It was a blessing to my soul and we arose with tears.

    Now, the proposition that I want to emphasize is the purpose of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

    John 16:7: "Nevertheless I tell you the truth; it is expedient" — that is, it is profitable — "for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter" — third person of the trinity "will not come unto you; for if I depart" — now mark this word — "I will send him unto you. And when he is come" — that is, come to you — "he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment" — three things. "Of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged."
 
    Now here is a tremendous responsibility, All that the lost world knows of Christ is what they see in you and me. The Holy Spirit comes to the believer and through the believer he convicts the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Oh, then, how fearful is our responsibility, and may heaven grant today that we may hear his voice:

"When shall I hear the inward voice,
Which only faithful souls can hear,
Pardon, and peace, and heavenly joys,
Attend the promised Comforter;
O come, and righteousness divine,
And Christ, and all with Christ, are mine.

O that the Comforter would come,
Nor visit as a transient guest:
But fix in me his constant home,
And keep possession of my breast,
And make my souls his loved above,
The temple of indwelling God."

 
    It would revolutionize every life in this great audience today if we would stop and think, that my life is the temple of the Holy Ghost, "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell." Keep this in mind, before Peter could realize the power of the Holy Spirit he had to leave Joppa and go up to Caesarea.

    We are not willing to leave Joppa. There was a narrow minded, selfish, conceited Jew that hated every Gentile in the world, and God had to give him a special revelation. Now, don't cuss out the Jews, for we have that same nature. Theoretically, we are willing to give the gospel to a lost world, but in practice our tongues are dumb and our hands are chained and our feet are shackled, and our purses are locked. Why? Because we fail to have that love that Christ had for the whole world when he sweat, and bled, and died for the world.

    It would be a new day in our lives if we could realize that the Holy Spirit works at both ends of the line.

    Some three weeks ago I had an experience demonstrating this very glorious truth.

    I conducted the funeral of a boy, from down yonder in the Southwest Pacific, like one of these lads, for 23 month, and was brought back and he died after he was brought back. There were present two brothers and a brother in-law — quite a crowd. This brother was in the uniform — I spoke to him afterward and he was very cold and hard. The next day he phoned and said he would like to talk to me. I said to Willice Dunn, "All right, let's drive out." There was his brother-in-law with him, and in five minutes' time both of those young men were gloriously saved.

    But the other side of the story. At that same hour, four miles away in the office of the Temple Church, Beauchamp Vick and Vernon LaForge had the other brother and were down on their knees together, and we did not know what was going on in the office of the church, and they and the other brother did not know what was taking place in that home.

    And that isn't all. There was another man who ran with these fellows, who himself, was under conviction and when Willice Dunn got back he found there was a call from this other man and we went out to his home and he was saved. And all four of them  together the next Lord's day three different places two of one of them was saved, and the fourth was saved, and all four of them went down in the baptismal waters together.

    "While Peter yet spoke these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the word."

    Now, the third proposition.

    First, I discussed with you the fact, the abundant proof of the Holy Spirit in the life of believer.

    Second, the purposes that is, giving witness for Christ, and now.

    Third, the practical application to the life of the believer.

    First, it means that his life shall be cleaned up. Therefore, David says, "Create in me a clean heart, O God: and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence: and take not they Holy Spirit from me."

 
    A born-again soul can grieve the Spirit of God and drive Him from him until his life will be in shadows and shoals and he will have no power and peace of soul. He will be like clouds without rain. Wells without water.

    You will find in that chapter that the Spirit of God dwells, lives, and makes His home in the life of the believer.

    You will find in that chapter that we are commanded to put to death, to "mortify the deeds of the body" if we expect to live the life of Christ.

    You will find in that chapter that 'as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God."

    You will find in that chapter, that the Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God."
 

"Holy Ghost, with light divine.
Shine upon this heart of mine;
Chase the shades of night away,
Turn my darkness into day.

"Holy Ghost, with power divine,
Cleanse this guilty heart of mine:
Long hath sin without control,
Hold dominion o'er my soul.

"Holy Ghost, with joy divine,
Cheer this saddened heart of mine;
Bid my many woes depart,
Heal my wounded, bleeding heart.

"Holy Spirit, all divine,
Dwell within this heart of mine;
Cast down every idol throne,
Reign supreme — and reign alone.'

 
 
 
 
Clean Out The Wells

    In the lesson that today you studied an hour ago, we found where the wells of Abraham that had been inherited by his son Isaac, were filled with earth by his enemies, the Philistines

    Jesus said out of him shall be rivers of water flowing, this spake he of the Holy Spirit.

    I close by saying, God grant that we may recognize afresh the overwhelming truth recognize afresh the overwhelming truth of the fact and presence of His power in the life of the believer. And for the purpose of giving a true witness for Christ and, therefore, that I shall take this old life, broken, marred, scarred with sin and let him in to cleanse it, change it, fill it, and use it. And as Isaac cleaned out the wells of earth, may we clean out our wells today that the Holy Spirit will spring up and outflow in the home, and to all who know us that there is living wafer from the Spirit of God.

    A little church that I had, a village, it was the most typical Baptist church that I ever saw, because there were two factions always in a row. If one fraction called a preacher the other crowd got their hatchets out to fire him, and since that church had been in existence that's all they did. Oh, they would hug and kiss and make up and have an annual revival, and bury the hatchet and leave the handle sticking out. So they called me to that church and I was about 20 years old.

    So, one day I made the mistake of going home with the leader of one faction before I went home with the other, and the head of the other faction got mad and said he wasn't going to church any more because of that.

    One day the wife of this deacon who was mad, pouting around, she came to the Saturday meeting and I walked up to her and, I said, "I'm going home with you today for dinner." She couldn't say no. So she and I jogged out about a mile and when we got there I saw the old bear sitting out on the front porch, long whiskers — old enough for my grandfather, and I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. I was scared to death of him.

    I walked up to him and I spoke to him, I thought, in a very civil way, and he didn't even extend his hand — he just grunted, and that scared me worse. After while his wife said, "Come in to dinner," and just the three of us sat down. He never asked me to — he just went to work shoveling in his vegetables and meat, and it wasn't but a few minutes until he stomped out of the dining room — they had no carpet and you could hear him, both heels hitting the floor all the way out. She said, "I hope you'll think there's nothing strange about my husband, he's a very nervous man." And I said, "S,s,s,so am I."

    Well, I said to myself, now here, if I lose this fight, I might as well quit the ministry before I start, so I went out there and looked around and didn't see anything of him, and finally saw him out yonder in the lot. I walked out there as he moved around among his high-headed horses and mules and fine stock and fat cattle, and I commenced bragging on his stock the best I could — thought I would get him warmed up a little bit and he was still just grunting. I looked over across a wire fence and I saw a peach orchard and the limbs were just bending low with big, ripe, luscious peaches, Chinese Clings, Elbertas, and I had been down there at the boarding house at Baylor nearly starving to death, and I said, "You've got a fine orchard over there full of fine ripe peaches," "Yep." "Well," I said, "if you don't mind, I think I'll sample them." "Help yourself." So I crawled through the fence, and how wonderful they were, and the first thing I knew, he got ashamed of himself and he came crawling through and said, "There are some a heap bigger than these down in the lower orchard." And we went down there.

    And after while he said, "We've got the finest well of water here in this orchard that you ever drank, how would you like to have a drink? And I said, "Fine." He went over there and let down a bucket, and up came another bucket and he said, "Let me tell you a story about this old well." He said, forty years ago there was an awful drought in this country — everything dried up, creeks, tanks, wells and springs over all this country, and this old well never went dry. People drove their cattle here and built troughs and pumped the water and it was still about ten feet in water. By and by the rains came, the country was put in cultivation and this ground was plowed up, and by and by there came another drought. The old-timers, when all the water was gone, creeks dried up, tanks and springs dried up, they said, where is the old well? They got picks and spades and began to dig around here and after while somebody said, "Here it is." They uncovered that old well and got it flowing again and then they set up a concrete curb around it and said let another drought come we'll have the old well." And he was so proud of that well — it was in the middle of his orchard.

    I stood there and trembled from head to foot — he was past three-score and ten — I walked up to him and I said, "Can I say a word to you Brother Deacon?" "Why," he said, "Yes." I said, "You permit me to say it?" and he said, "Yes." I said, You are old enough and more for my grandfather, I'm just a young stripling trying to preach — you have broken my heart, and if you will let me say it. Brother Deacon, you are that old well." and when I said it he fell on his knees right beside that well and I went down on my knees with him and he commenced to pray and cry and confess and I prayed and cried, and he and I would pray a while, and he would pray awhile and I would pray awhile, and he would cry, and then I would cry, and then we pray again. We got up and went to the house, and after while supper was ready. His wife called us and we went in and we sat he said, "Will you return thanks?" And then that night when we got ready to go to bed, we got the old family Bible and I read all the ancestry and posterity and kinfolks and then read several chapters and we got down and prayed.
 
    The next day there was a terrible rain the country, but there were no telephones in tell-a-woman and tell-everybody else and everybody found out something was going on somehow So, when I got up to preach that day, after I read my text, this deacon, sitting right over here, he rose and walked to the pulpit and said, "Can I say a word?" I wasn't scared of him a bit — I didn't know what he was going to say. He said, "Brothers and sisters, I saw myself yesterday afternoon for the first time. I saw how I had grieved the Spirit of God and how I have lived the wrong life — I have broken the heart of this young preacher and I have broken the hearts of other pastors that we have had," and then he walked off the platform to the deacon that he wouldn't speak to and he said to him, "I want to lie down on the floor and I want you to walk over me." This other deacon rose and said, "I won't do it." He asked him to forgive him, and he said, "I won't do it."

    Be said, "I want to lie down on the floor and let you walk over me" — he said, "I want you to forgive me, I have done you wrong." "Nope, I've done you wrong," "No, I've done you wrong."

Those old bewhiskered deacons confessed their sins and told each other how mean they were and I think they told the truth. And the first thing you knew, they threw their arms around each other and couldn't say a word. The 35-year-old son of this deacon that caused the trouble was standing on the outside looking in. He had a saloon and a gambling house, and when he saw these two old deacons in each other's embrace, he came running down the aisle and fell on his face and said, "Pray for me, I'm a lost man."

    A great revival broke out and in a little more than a week I baptized 82 people.

    Oh, God help us to clean out our own wells.

    It's easy to smell our neighbor's well. Don't do that — I remember one day when I was a lad that our old house cat fell in our well and of course I had to go down there and get her out — put my foot across the bucket and dad held the windlass and I held my nose and I got down there and I got her and I said, "Up, up, up" — and up came everything in me, too.

    Oh, let me say to you in all seriousness this morning, God help us to look inside our own wells. There is hate, there is envy, there is lying, there is hypocrisy, there is uncleanness, there is covetousness — it smells bad. Oh, God help us then to clean it out, clean it out, clean it out!

    Peace then, like a river, and we'll have power in winning souls.

    (Invitation. Large number came)

Dr J Frank Norris
April 29, 1945