Address of Welcome to Northwest District Conference of Pentecostal Church of God
July 15, 1930
I have been asked to give a little address of welcome tonight. I am delighted with this conference. I was delighted with the little group of ministers and saints who were here this morning and the beautiful, blessed presence of God. It indicated to my heart God's love and grace in a very marvelous way.
Just one or two of the things as an echo from the morning meeting: Our Brother Johnson, pastor of the Glad Tidings Assembly, Salem, Oregon, told us about his experience in the old church in which he was pastor for many years. He said they finally got to the place where they scheduled every service, what he was to talk about, the outline for the sermon satisfactory to them, the offerings he was to take, and everything else. He was machined to a finish, until his heart broke under the strain of it. Well, that is very different from our type of service. He told me another thing: That the head of the conference in this district gave an address to the last conference and ridiculed the blood of Jesus Christ as a saving power. He said a blood religion is a religion of savages.
Dear friends, Pentecost brought a testimony from heaven that came in power to the world. That was the blood of Jesus Christ by which men's hearts are cleansed from sin. When this Gospel came to me many years ago, for I was among the very first in this country to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, I was in good standing with a very sound religious institution of our day, very strong and sound in faith -- Dr. Dowie's movement. If you knew him you knew one of the most wonderful men of God who ever lived in this world. It took the world two hundred years to discover Oliver Cromwell. It was Carlyle that discovered him and revealed him to the world. Perhaps two hundred years hence, someone will discover John Alexander Dowie and reveal him to mankind, and when they do it will be a marvelous revelation. He was a man of such amazing faith in God that until within fifteen minutes of his death, they brought the dying to his bedside, and they were healed. It was a very sound institution in their theology and strong in faith.
But friends, when Jesus Christ baptized me in the Holy Ghost, I was invited to preach at his tabernacle, and I preached for nine months there. God kept me preaching on one text for...
It was "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." [John 1:29] The Holy Ghost brought a new revelation of the blood of Jesus Christ. That was the particular thing that Jesus Christ said the Holy Ghost would do for mankind. "He will show you Jesus." [John 16:13-14]
Brethren, we welcome you. We welcome you preachers; we welcome you people, because you stand with us for the biggest thing in this world and that is, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world."
We are living in a day under such circumstances as no other people ever lived under. In the early days of Christianity, one of the great Caesars undertook to destroy Christianity and establish the religion of the gods. When he was on his deathbed he exclaimed, as he raised his hand to heaven, "Nazarene, thou has conquered!" Christianity swept over his head and covered the Roman world.
The years 1914 to 1918 was the period of the greatest suffering the world has ever experienced. In these four years statisticians declare that fifty million people died. It was an awful period of physical suffering throughout the world. Statisticians now declare that two hundred million people
Following the Great War there came a change, not a physical agony any longer. There came a tremendous mental agony over the world that still endures. Under the power of that mental agony there came revolutions, change of government, breaking down of religious systems, and the world is still staggering.
We have witnessed an absolutely new thing in the world. The Russian nation overtoppling, turning a somersault, and leaving Christianity behind her. An anti-God campaign, not produced by a little society like we have in the United States (we have our society here), but that is insignificant as compared with the nation of Russia. Here we see a nation with one hundred and sixty-five million people controlled by a strong government, with marvelous resources at their back, deliberately undertaking to destroy the knowledge of God.
Missionaries are beginning to minister under circumstances that ministers of the Gospel never had to minister under before.
When I went to South Africa as a missionary, I became known nationally because of one thing God did. They had a native society known as the Ethiopian Movement, which had adopted as their slogan, "Africa for the African." In the course of fifty years they had created eight wars, and it had cost the nation a hundred million dollars. That institution was not organized as a society, but as a church. Their churches were everywhere. They were simply throwing off all white authority and were endeavoring to do like the people of India are doing.
I want you to appreciate what the Holy Ghost can do. This society called a conference fifty miles from Johannesburg. They had three men who were overseers. Their overseers were still godly and still remembered how to pray. Shocked by the dreadful reports that were coming to them, by which they were returning to their original state of heathendom and worse, for when people have once received the light of God and the light of civilization, sin changes in its character, It is not the brutal type of sin, but they adopt the sin of civilization, and they are dreadful. These three men went out to pray, and as they prayed God said to one, "Go to Johannesburg, inquire for a man by the name of Lake, he will help you."
One day they reported at my church and they told me this story. They told me they were overseers of the Ethiopian Movement, and that they had discovered that they did not have power to help their people, that they needed a strong type of man and faith to help them. Other missionaries were clamoring to have opportunity to enter the country, but God gave the whole nation to us.
God baptized these men in the Holy Ghost, and we stepped into two or three thousand church buildings in one day. All they needed was one tremendous thing and that was the Holy Ghost to change their hearts, and unless He did, the organization would prove a damnation to themselves and [empty space].
Some months or a year afterward, Premier Bothe called me in and asked me what my nationality was. He said, "We had to know you. Your influence has become so great."
That is the way I got acquainted with the South African government. Friends, the Holy Ghost is not just a nice something that will come and illuminate your soul and then flit away and leave you. He is the agency of the eternal God in this world, and there is no other. When a church or a nation loses her concept of the Holy Ghost, she has lost the concept of everything that is heavenly and valuable and eternal and almighty and powerful to save to the uttermost.
Suppose I was to return to South Africa as I am contemplating some- what in the future. I am going to find a different condition. In eighteen months, God utterly abolished that Ethiopian Movement, until finally the government said, "Lake, you have got to undertake some educational campaign among these multitudes. Turn your churches into schoolhouses." So we filled the nation with schools where they taught God and the Holy Ghost. It was only a little while until we had one hundred thousand native Christians in the land. I do not know how many there are now. Two years ago they said, "We have 1,250 ordained native preachers."
If I went back to South Africa today I would find the land alive and throbbing among the native people with communistic doctrine. These are the conditions that are everywhere in the world. Soviet Russia has discovered something that we Christians have not yet found.
Russia arrived at the place where they said, "War is bunk; when you are through with the slaughter, the minds of the people are worse than in the beginning." So they propagandized Russia out of the war.
They spread their propaganda until the armies and navies of Germany were flooded and there was a rebellion in the navy.
India is seething and alive under Ghandi's endeavor at [empty space]. Imagine one hundred and thirty nationalities, make up the kingdom of India. Their population has 130,000,000 since Britain took control of the country.
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