This excerpt from TOZER: MYSTERY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT 1 reveals A.W. Tozer’s vision for the local church. He preached this sermon to his own congregation about his expectations of what the local Spirit-filled church should represent and declare. At first reading, MY vision was expanded for local congregations. As you read these excerpts from this sermon, I pray it enlarges your vision for your local body of believers. It is my hope that each reader is as inspired as I am. Keep in mind that Tozer lived 1897-1963. It is now 2018 (at this writing), and I have found such a congregation to whom I have united 2. They look and act like the 1st Century Church. In fact, Holy Spirit spoke a confirming Word of Exhortation this very morning, and as soon as I heard the Word, “This is THAT church”, my mind went back to this sermon which I first read in 2011. Be encouraged; I am. ~ag
TOZER ON THE LOCAL CHURCH
[excerpts from Chapter 10, pgs.129-142]
‘DON’T BEG GOD FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT’
“…wherever Jesus is glorified,
the Holy Spirit comes…”.
[pg.132] …when we give God His place in the church, when we recognize Christ as Lord, high & lifted up, when we give Holy Spirit His place, there will be joy that is not worked up. It will be a joy that springs like a fountain. So, that will be one characteristic of a Spirit-filled church. There will be a joyful people & it will be easy to distinguish them from the children of the world…
A church that is Spirit-filled will be useful to the race of man. …to the whole community. Because we are here, everybody ought to be better. …the neighborhood should be better because we are here. …A Spirit-filled church is useful to the neighborhood, useful to the sons of men, even the ones who are not converted; and it will be influential among the churches. I would like to see this church become so godly, so Spirit-filled that it would have a spiritual influence on all the churches in the whole city. …Paul told some of his people, “your Godliness and faith is talked about through all Asia Minor.” It is entirely right that I could hope this in you, that I hope that we become so Spirit-filled. Walk with God, learn to worship and live so clean and so separated that everybody will know it and other churches in the city will be blessed because of it. ….
There is no reason why we should not be a people here so filled with the Spirit, so joyfully, singing His praises and living so clean in our business & home & school that the people would know it… Whenever you have a Spirit-fill people, you have a people that can live well and die well. …
Old Balaam wanted to die the death of the righteous, but he would not live the life of the righteous. …And a Christian ought to be able to live the life of the righteous. And a Christian ought to be able to die well; they should be able do that if nothing else.
There are some who won’t feel at home in a church like that; and if your hope is to have everybody and his brother on his mother’s side to just sit around and glow… it just will not happen that way. …There are some people who just do not want that kind of church, and I will name them now. [They are the] people who put on religion as a Sunday garment… [and the ones who] …have a wonderful way of disengaging. …on Sundays, they go and polish off their religion. Then evening… they put it on the shelf, and then on Monday they live the way they want… Now, nobody like that wants to hear me preach. Nobody. …I won’t surrender to that kind of thing, and I won’t surrender to that kind of people. …
The cross of Christ is revolutionary. And if we are not ready to let it be revolutionary in us, we are not going to like a church that takes the things of God seriously and let it cost us anything, control us in any way. …A Spirit-filled church that practices the belief of the New Testament: and goes constantly to the grassroots and roots out everything that isn’t of God, keeps growing & …walks with God & obeys the truth & loves each other…
Now who are they?
Those who have a leading ambition to get rid of their sins. If you have not…, you will not like to hear me preach very often or long. …. There are some people that are overwhelmed with the desire to get rid of their sins. Those people will be happy among us. …Their only ambition is to walk with God and to follow (Jesus)…
Those who have learned to recognize the voice of the Shepherd… will be at home in a Spirit-filled church. …The people who have learned to hear (His) voice can recognize it (and) are always at home where everything centers on Him. Jesus is all in all.
Then there are those who are sensitive to the invisible presence. …He’s a sheep who loves his Shepherd. He stays awfully close to the Shepherd. ….
This is what I believe in: Jesus Christ; clean living; joyful, radiant, happy worship; good sweet fellowship and kindliness; patience & endurance & honesty; the missionary outlook & good decency; and a separation from all things that are wrong. Above all things, worship The Lord in the beauty of holiness, and learn to know the wondrous sound of the Shepherd’s voice.
That is what we stand for, that is what we believe in. That is what we are preaching.
In closing, I reiterate: The success and realization of a vision for any local body of believers depends upon everyone’s degree of dedication & sacrifice to walk in God’s grace AND to pray for each other so that none become tempted &/or deceived. It takes us united as a body as well as the ‘keeping’ of our personal relationships with God. With that said, I want to share 2 more quotes by Tozer:
“If you major on knowing God
and cultivate a sense of His presence in your daily life,
and do what Brother Lawrence advises, ‘Practice the presence of God’ daily
and seek to know the Holy Spirit in the Scriptures,
you will go a long way in serving your generation for God.
No man has any right to die until he has served his generation.”
“…the cross of Jesus Christ always changes that path (of the norm),
always gets in there
and makes a man (and woman) change his life.”
1– TOZER: MYSTERY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, A.W. Tozer, 2007, Bridge-Logos Publ., Paperback, 180 pgs. 0882703420 (ISBN13: 9780882703428)
[Original Title Tozer: Mystery of the Holy Spirit]
2– Wings Of Love Family Center, Industrial Rd. El Dorado, AR—Pastor Rex McDaniel.