The first coming of the Holy Spirit in power was to a prepared people. For the Church in our day to receive the Spirit in pentecostal power there is a need of the same preparation,—a giving up and forsaking of all that hinders, an emptying and a cleansing, a thirsting and waiting and entire surrender, to which the blessing of the Spirit’s power surely comes.
Let us consider what were the chief elements of that training.
There was, first of all, a calling out and separation from the ordinary interests and claims of daily life. The principle that underlies the life of all God’s great servants in the previous ages—Abraham and Joseph, Moses and Joshua, David and Elijah—is a taking out of and setting apart of them from their ordinary environment, often by persecution and suffering, that they might be brought into solitude with God alone, and be free and disengaged, from what is otherwise innocent or lawful on earth, to listen to the Divine voice, to receive the Divine revelation, to be changed and fitted by the Divine power for the work they had to do.
Even so Christ called His disciples to forsake all, to deny themselves what to others might be perfectly legitimate, and to share with Him His cross and all it would entail. For three years He had them in His training—by His intercourse, by the sight of what He did, by His reproofs and instructions, preparing them to be the recipients and the channels of that Holy Spirit from heaven, who should come to take the place of His earthly presence, and open within them His abiding indwelling. In a sinful world sacrifice is the law of life and of love.
The men whom Christ had fitted to become the leaders of the pentecostal Church (referring to the church on the day of Pentecost), and to embody in their lives His own, with the mind and the life of the Spirit, had learnt to give up everything for Christ. As their Lord could not give Himself for us without sacrificing all, they too had learnt, in giving themselves, to part with all for the sake of His service and kingdom. In that entire self-abandonment of their Lord to one purpose the pentecostal Church had struck its roots deep.
In a time when there is no persecution, when money and comfort and Christian civilisation surround us on every side, when it appears to cost little to be a Christian, many find it difficult to know where the forsaking all to become a disciple comes in, or what shape it will assume. We shall find the answer if we think of the second great element in Christ’s training of His disciples.
Andrew Murray, The Key to the Missionary Problem (London: J. Nisbet & Co., 1902), 120–122.