Dr. John Sung

(1901-1944)

THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT

Having been filled with the Holy Spirit, let us go further and see what happens after that. Let me now speak on the work of the Holy Spirit. May the Spirit fill us and work a great work in our hearts. If there is anyone here unclean, with a troubled heart, let him earnestly pray that the Holy Spirit will work mightily in his heart.

In regard to the work of the Holy Spirit:

1. Without the Holy Spirit in the heart one has no knowledge of sin. John 16:8, "And when he is come. He will reprove the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment." When the Spirit comes He will cause us to reprove ourselves of sin, of righteousness and of judgment. Therefore before the Holy Spirit comes we have no knowledge of sin. Beloved let us realize that unless the Spirit comes upon us we will not know we are sinners. Wherever I go preaching I find many in bitter tears repenting of sin. This is the first step in the work of the Holy Spirit: That we might know our sin.

2. Without the Holy Spirit, we cannot understand our Bible-reading.  John 16:13, “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come." When the Spirit of truth is come He will lead us to understand truth, to understand the Scripture we read. Now it is clear, it is meaningful. When I was in America, I read much of the Bible, but I did not understand, because the Bible is spiritual and I had not the Spirit. So I could not understand.

3. Without the Holy Spirit we can hardly pray. Rom. 8:26,27. "Likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. And he that searches the hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because he makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” It is not easy to pray. Without the filling of the Holy Spirit we can hardly pray. Before one is born again, one could say just a few words, in a fizzle. I could never believe those who claimed they prayed for two or three hours. After I was born again, I knew. In my weakness the Holy Spirit comes to my help. When I cannot pray the Holy Spirit helps me to pray. God helps us by His own will. So, one filled with the Spirit is able to pray and the more one prays the more one delight to pray, like the flowing of a fountain. "The Spirit itself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Filled with the Spirit, our prayers become powerful. Without the Spirit our prayers come to zero.

4. Without the Holy Spirit we have no faith. I Cor. 12:9, "To another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gift of healing by the same Spirit." Many say, "I have no faith." Why? Because we are not filled with the Spirit. What can the Spirit give? Faith! Without the Spirit, faith is gone! Without the Spirit though one should pray in one's sickness, there is no effect. No Spirit, no faith. Prayer without faith equals zero.

5. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no love. Rom. 5:5, "And hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Why is a Church devoid of love? No Spirit, no love. If we are filled with the Spirit, then He will also fill our hearts with love. Many lack love because they are not filled with the Spirit.

6. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no courage. Mark 13:11, "But when they shall lead you, and deliver you up, take no thought beforehand what you shall speak, neither do you premeditate: but whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak you: for it is not you that speak, but the Holy Ghost." Many fear to give testimony. Without the Holy Spirit, they have no courage. But Jesus says, "Do not fear even when you are arrested before governors and councils but speak up boldly, for the Holy Spirit will speak for you. Now there are not a few Church members who fear to testify. Why? They are not filled with the Spirit.

7. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no power. Acts 1:8, "But you shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and you shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." This is what Jesus says. So, without the Holy Spirit we have no power at all. How many preachers, lay people have little power in what they testify. They preach powerless sermons because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit.

8. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no fruit. Galatians 5:22, "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith." The Holy Spirit bears fruit of love, peace, etc. Filled with the Spirit you will bear fruit. No Spirit, no fruit.  Many are sermon tasters for years, but they bear no fruit. The reason is obvious.

9. Without the Holy Spirit there is no life. Gal. 5:25, “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit." Without the Spirit the Church is dead. Nor can we live without the Holy Spirit.

10. Without the Holy Spirit there is no unity. Eph. 43, "Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Often the Church cannot be in unity because of diversity of opinion, because she is not filled with the Spirit.  Who gives unity of heart? We all know it is the Holy Spirit. May the Spirit give us this unity, removing all diversity of opinion and strife that we may be one in the Holy Spirit.

11. Without the Holy Spirit there is no holiness. 1 Pet. 1:2, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.”  Holiness is dependent on the Holy Spirit. Many who are in filth assume self-righteousness. They are not filled by the Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit there is no holiness.

12. Without the Holy Spirit there is no submission. Without the filling of the Holy Spirit, one is not holy and one cannot submit to Jesus.

13. Without the Holy Spirit there are no gifts. I Cor. 12:7-11, "But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every man to profit withal. For to one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy; to another discerning of spirits; to another divers kinds of tongues; to another the interpretation of tongues: But all these work that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." No power to heal or to prophesy because there's no filling of the Holy Spirit.

14. Without the Holy Spirit, there is no proof. Eph. 1:13, 14, "In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promises, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." Often I ask my hearers, "What have you got after the sermon?" They say they don't know. This is because they are not filled with the Holy Spirit. Filled with the Holy Spirit, we have the Spirit as our earnest (proof).

Then, we see, without the Holy Spirit, we have nothing.  With the Holy Spirit we have everything. The more the Holy Spirit in us, the more we feel the sinfulness of sin. Filled with the Holy Spirit we have gifts, everything. What the Church needs, what every member needs, is the Holy Spirit.

Let me give you some secrets of filling by the Holy Spirit: They are: 1) Thirst; 2) Come; 3) Drink; 4) Flow. Write these four words. Hang them up in your room. Jn. 7:37,38 is a precious text, sung according to No. 11 of our Revival Choruses.

1. Thirst. Unless a person is athirst, why should he drink? Nowadays there are many not thirsty at all.  For they have talents, eloquence, wealth. With materialistic riches they do not want spiritual life, nor rely on the Spirit. Many Church members becoming tycoons lean not on the Holy Spirit. How then the filling? Unless one dies to self, there can be no filling.

Many years ago the Church relied on power. She thrived on power, but lacked Spirit power. Once the power the Church trusted was gone she failed. Today there are Churches still relying on power, money-power. But they become degenerate, corrupt. Without the Holy Spirit the Church cannot prosper, nor persevere. Let our Church not be one of these.

Many churches today rely on organization, methodology, on their material resources. O, be careful! What counts is relying on the Holy Spirit. When the disciples were toiling over the sea, Jesus slept. The winds came the disciples struggled their hardest, but to no avail.  The boat was sinking. Then they cried, "Quick, quick, get up, we are dying, save us!" The moment Jesus awoke the winds subsided. This is a picture of the Church today. Depending on prowess she tells Jesus to sleep. We have money, power, talents, knowledge, organization, and methodology. We can afford to leave Jesus out.  We are like the disciples. It is only when we're about to drown that we cry for Jesus. When you have a way out, you don't need Jesus. When your plan fails, then you call for Jesus. Unless self dies, there is no thirst. Wretched ones we, are we not only a vessel for Christ? We need Him every moment!

When a man has eaten, will he eat again? When I was in America a friend invited me to a meal. Seeing I was Chinese, I would surely like rice in the menu. He gave me sweet potatoes, rice gruel, beans. After this he said, “Wait a minute, plenty more is coming." Could I eat the many more items he brought when I had already had my fill? I could but glance at the added dishes with my eyes. When a man relies on his own talents, power, prowess, he needs not the Holy Spirit.

2. Come! A filthy heart cannot be filled with the Holy Spirit. Let the filth be cleansed, let the sin-burden be rolled away before he can be filled. Let therefore our whole being be born again, be cleansed for filling of the Spirit. Can a man without self-cleansing be filled? Surely a man indulging in promiscuous sex and covetousness cannot be used by God. So, you must be sanctified. II Tim. 2:21 say it perfectly, “If a man purge himself ... (he will be) prepared for the Master's use."

3. Drink! Are we cleansed? Maybe, but we dare not pray aloud. Can the Spirit fill us? As we pray aloud, the Spirit will fill us. But if you don't pray to God in heaven, it is because you are still prejudiced. Mumbling within, without earnest prayer, will you be filled? You must pray earnestly, aloud, brothers and sisters!

4. Flow! The filling of the Spirit must further overflow to others, like a living river. If you are filled, you must flow, with rivers of living water. In 1926, I visited the famous Niagara Falls. I saw torrents of water thundering down, what a majestic sight! It reminded me of God's power in creation. This waterfall provided electric power to benefit mankind. I prayed, “Lord, make me a Niagara." I've prayed for 7 years. I brought living waters everywhere to cause souls to be born again and sanctified. But I do not stop at this. I must continue to flow. Rivers of living water! May we all become rivers of living water to others.

In Honan Province a university student said he would become a river of living water. Now he has gone to Mongolia and Sinkiang to preach.

When I was in Tsingtao there was a 15year-old girl student who wished to be a river of living water. I prayed for her. Now she's gone everywhere witnessing, a river of living water, saving souls.

I was touched by the preaching of a 19 year-old American girl. I went also to hear a 13 year-old in New York City. She preached for a whole month in great power. Several thousands were turned to the Lord. Her voice was thunderous, her demeanour earnest. I was humbled by her preaching. I prayed to God to make me a river of living water that I might flow ever onwards for others.

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