A Model Revival
(This sermon stenographically reported.)
I am going to speak to you tonight on the subject “A Model Revival,” and you will find that text which I have chosen for the evening sermon in the 8th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, beginning to read at the 5th verse and reading to the end of the 8th verse.
“Then Phillip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ unto them and the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Phillip spake hearing and seeing the miracles which He did. For unclean spirits crying with loud voice came out of many that were possessed with them, and many taken with palsies and that were lame were healed. And there was great joy in that city.”
I believe that too great a significance cannot be attached to the opening word of the text. The little word “then.” When was it that Phillip went down to Samaria and held the revival meeting that under the mighty power of God stirred the whole of the city? You know the Jews had no dealings with the Samaritans, and it was a particularly hard field in which Phillip labored, but he had received a special qualification for the work that the Lord had called him to do. He had been one of those men who were privileged to walk in the footsteps of Jesus over the hills of old Judea, by the rolling tumbling waters of Galilee as the Master of men went on his errands of mercy and his missions of love. He was there when Jesus opened the eyes of the blind. He was standing close to the side of his Lord when Jesus unstopped the ears of the deaf and his voice had been raised in a shout of victory as the lame man had walked at the command of the Savior. He was one of that group of men who had listened to the Beatitudes falling from the lips of the Lord. He had been trained in a school of religious instruction sitting at the feet of the Matchless Teacher, Jesus Christ of Nazareth the Son of the Living God. What a privilege! What a blessed and a hallowed experience to come into such close contact with the Savior that he loved.
The sands have been washed in the footprints
Of the stranger on Galilee’s shore,
But the voice that subdued the rough billows
Will be heard in Judea no more.
But the steps of the lone Galilean
With joy I will follow each day
And the toils of the road will seem nothing
When I get to the end of the way.
There are many steep hills to climb upward—
I am often longing for rest—
But He who appointed my pathway
Knows just what is needful and best.
I know in His word He has promised;
My strength it should be as my day
And the toils of the road will seem nothing
When I get to the end of the way.
Phillip had been following in the footsteps of Jesus and he had obeyed the command of the Lord given, both before and after the crucifixion on the cross and the glorious resurrection from the tomb, to tarry at Jerusalem and wait for the promise of the Father, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. He had been one of the 120 that gathered in the sanctity of that upper chamber, praying and waiting in obedience to his Lord’s command until the Holy Spirit came. His ears heard the sound of a rushing mighty wind. His tongue had spoken a language he had never used before! His heart was filled when the Comforter came and endued him with power from on high.
That word “then,” with which I am opening the text tonight is significant of the fact that Phillip had received divine qualifications for his ministry. After Pentecost, after his baptism, after obedience to his Lord, after the waiting in the upper room, after the tongues of living fire, after the sound of the rushing mighty wind, then Phillip went down to Samaria. Will you kindly notice, too, that arriving in the city he did what every minister of the Gospel should do,—preach Christ unto the people. He might have handed out a few handbills and told of moving pictures that were to be shown in the parish house, or told of the meeting of the men’s club on Tuesday night or the ladies’ sewing circle that would meet on Thursday. He might have read the church program with a long list of social events to which the wealthy and the cultured and the refined of the city would be invited. No, he did none of that! He preached Christ unto the people and therein we find the secret of the successful evangelism of the Disciple Phillip. He preached Christ. What a sermon! What a message!! Just Jesus; born of the Virgin, the eternal Son of God, who came into a sin-cursed world of sin and suffering and sorrow and sickness to pay the penalty for all our transgressions on the Cross of Calvary. He told of Jesus who left the ivory palaces of his father’s home to appear as a babe in the manger at Bethlehem, to grow to manhood and give Himself without stint and without reserve to the people for whom He died. Have we forgotten the old, old story of the love of the Matchless Man of Galilee in these days of spiritual apostasy? Have we forgotten the tender pleading of the Voice that sounds through our ears and echoes in the corridors of our souls? The Voice that is sweet as bells at evening pealing, “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Do you not remember the words of the Master, “And I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me!” The world will never be saved and sin will never find redemption by the preaching of community uplift and lecturing on social reform. What the heart of the sinner needs is not a discourse on the housing problem or some lecture on the subject of labor and capital; the sinner needs the Gospel for the Gospel alone can save. It is not sufficient to preach the teachings of Jesus. Jesus was not a teacher; he was a Savior. He is not the way-shower—he is the Way! He is not the revealer of light—he said, “I am the light.” He is not the importer of truth, he is the truth. Our only hope of heaven, our only gateway to glory! Hallelujah! There is no mistaking the definite, clear, concise statement of the Lord, “No man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” Yes, praise the Lord, he preached Christ unto the people and because there was a power in the message and an all sufficiency in the Gospel that he delivered, wonderful results attended his ministry and Samaria was stirred from center to circumference. The preaching of “Jesus and Him crucified” will bring the same result in the day in which we live as the same message brought in the days of long ago. The power is in the message, not in the messenger. The power is in the Gospel, not in the man that preaches it and no man can ever enjoy the inspiration and the power and the presence of the Holy Ghost who does not preach the Gospel!
Phillip not only preached the Gospel to the people but he evidently held healing services for the sick, for we read in the 6th verse that the people with one accord gave heed unto the things that he said because they saw the miracles that he performed. Sometimes objectors have said we should not pray for the sick in public. It is too great a spectacle and means too much excitement in the services, we learn. It is very evident that in this particular instance Phillip preached Christ unto the people, and in conjunction with his preaching ministry he enjoyed a healing ministry as well for the people heard and saw the miracles which he did. How in the world could they see them if he prayed for the sick in some back room as if he was ashamed of the power of God? How in the world could they have heard the dumb speaking if Phillip had laid on hands and anointed with oil in some dark corner away from the gaze of the assembled multitude as if the people for whom he prayed were ashamed of the Great Physician? No, right out in the open where the eyes of the incredulous could see! Where the skeptics could behold! Where the scoffers could know! Phillip prayed for the sick and because the Lord was in the Gospel that he preached the sick were wonderfully and marvelously healed. We have no apology to make for our method of reaching the people. In the days of Jesus Himself He prayed for the sick in the synagogues; in the open air wherever opportunity offered, and because of the healing of Jesus many came to follow Him and to know Him as a Savior.
Divine healing is the heritage of every real Christian and belongs to every man and woman that will give themselves to the Lord and enjoy a real born again experience. I want you to notice too that there is a direct inference in the second verse of the text that it was because of the healing ministry that people were saved. That word “because” is very significant. The people gave heed to the Gospel message because they saw and heard miracles. Is not the inference very plain there that if there had been no miracles they would not have listened to the Gospel message? Do not misunderstand me brother, the Gospel needs no miracle to back it up and needs no healing of the body to prove its power, but it is a fact just the same that because of the glory of bodily healing, and the grace of Jesus extended toward suffering humanity, many have been born into the Kingdom of Christ that never would otherwise have called Him Lord. So if there are some of you in this great audience tonight that came to see the healing I thank God you are here! If you came to criticize I am glad my brother, that you came! If you came as a scoffer, my sister, I am glad you are in the building tonight. Perhaps in the providence of God you will experience what thousands of others have experienced, the gentle drawing magnetizing influence of the Holy Spirit calling you to this altar there to give your heart to the Lord. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever; and if in the days of the long ago He spoke peace to troubled souls and healed their broken bodies, I believe He could do the same thing in the day in which we live.
“The Master has come over Jordan”
Said Hannah the mother one day;
“He is healing the people that throng him
With a touch of His finger, they say;
And now I shall carry my children
Little Samuel and Rachel and John,
I shall carry my sweet baby Esther
For the Savior to smile upon.”
The husband looked at her kindly
But he shook his head as he smiled
Now who but a doting mother
Could think of a thing so wild?
If the children were tortured with demons
Or burning with fever, ‘twere well
Or had they the taint of the leper
Like so many in Israel.
“Now do not hinder me husband,
I feel such a burden of care,
If I carry it to the dear Savior,
I know I shall leave it all there.
If He lay His hand on my children
My heart will grow lighter I know
And a blessing for ever and ever
Will follow wherever they go.”
So over the hills of Judea
Along the vineyards green
With Rachel, asleep on her bosom
And Esther the brothers between
Midst the crowds that gathered around Him
They waited His touch of His word
Midst the row of proud Pharisees bending
She pressed to the side of her Lord.
“Now why shouldest thou trouble the Master,”
Said Peter, “with children like these?
Seest thou not how from morning ‘till evening
He is touching and healing disease?
But Christ said “Forbid not the children
And suffer them to come unto Me,”
Then He took in His arms little Esther
And Rachel He sat on His knee.
Then the sad, heavy heart of the mother
Was lifted, all burdens above—
He lay His hands on the two brothers
And blessed them with tenderest love.
To the crowds that stood there around Him
As His blessing to each He had given
He said “Bring to me your dear children
For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
Yes, praise the Name of the Lord! He has never changed! He is just the same today and will speak to the hearts of children who are brought by the mothers of this city just as he spoke to the children in the days of long ago. What a revival! What mighty outpouring of spiritual power! What praying around the altars! What shouting of victory! What giving to God the glory! Ah, Phillip, you were true to the Master’s command. You did not lost sight of the heavenly vision. You were true to your calling. Loyal to your Master’s plea. You preached Christ unto the people and the people gave heed!
Might I state tonight that no man, in all the world can preach Christ and not get results? No man can ever tell the story of the cross and have that story, the sweetest story ever told, return unto him void. No man can challenge the integrity of God’s word and the veracity of the statements of scripture—By anointing with oil and laying on hands in the name of Jesus Christ and not get some results. Unbelief was something that tied the hands of Jesus, for it is recorded that in certain cities he could do no mighty works because of their unbelief. How necessary it is for us to make a spiritual preparation and in deep and a real and a sincere consecration before we come to Him asking for the touch of His healing hand. Some time ago a train was making its way toward a great State Penitentiary. It had on board a very hardened prisoner. A man whose face had become furrowed and whose eyes had become steeled because of his life of sin. For a long time he had managed to evade the efforts of the police to catch him. Traveling from state to state and from town to town he had dodged the law, but eventually his sins found him out and he was brought to the bar of justice. Throughout his trial he maintained a very indifferent attitude and on one or two occasions was severely reprimanded by the Court for his oaths. He did not seem to care very much when the jury filed into the Court Room after considering their verdict and he was seemingly indifferent when the word “guilty” fell from the lips of the foreman. The Judge looked him in the eye as he stood to receive his sentence and when the words fell from the lips of the man on the bench, “It is the sentence of the Court that you be imprisoned for the period of 15 years,” he laughed and cursed the Judge. “A hardened case,” cried the policeman who had him in charge. “A tough character,” said the people in the Court Room! The lawyers shook their heads and the Judge murmured, “One of the worst I have ever seen,” as he climbed from the bench! On the train journey about which I am telling the train stopped at a divisional point and handcuffed to a big, burly guard, the prisoner was walking up and down the platform to get a breath of fresh air. He was manacled by the wrist and the chain that fastened him, as an animal would be fastened to the body of his keeper was plainly seen by the visitors on the station platform. A little girl about ten years of age, a sweet little innocent flower, accompanied by her mother had come to the station to say good-bye to her friend. When the eye of the child rested upon the hardened criminal she said, “Mother, what in the world are those two men chained together for?” The mother pulled her little one away for she had been carefully reared and trained in a home of refinement and have never known anything about prisons, prisoners and wardens and guards, but there is no curiosity like the curiosity of a little child and again she interrogated, “Mother you must tell me why those two men are fastened together with that big chain.” “Oh,” said the mother, “He is a prisoner, dearie.” “And what is a prisoner?” asked the child. “You mustn’t ask questions,” said the mother. “Some day I will tell you all about it” she replied as she gazed into the eyes of her little darling. “But mother, I want to know now. Tell me all about it now; please, mother,” and then the mother told her. She told her of the cells and the grim gray walls that keep men inside. She told her little of the sins that men have to pay for and of the wickedness for which imprisonment was a penalty. As the child gazed at the prisoner passing up and down the platform, an intense sympathy came into her little heart. She looked into the face of the man who was on his way to spend many years confined in a narrow cell and said to her mother, “Mother dear, why are they taking him away and who is going with him?” “Why, I have told you child they are taking him away because he is bad and nobody is going with him but the guard.” “But who loves him,” said the little one, “and who will love him after he gets to prison?” “Oh, you foolish little questioner” responded her mother. “Nobody loves a man like that. I don’t presume that anybody in the world loves him. He is such a hard looking case. Come along. I don’t want you to gaze at him like that.” But the idea of a human being in the world with nobody to love him gripped the heart of the little girl and an inexpressible sadness stole over her countenance. Her little blue eyes dimmed with tears. No one to love him! No one to care for him! Just a hard case! A poor prisoner on his way to jail! Something rose within her throat and some impulse stirred her as she grabbed a rose from the bouquet her mother carried and before her astonished mother could stop her she sped swiftly across the platform and handed the rose to the amazed prisoner and stammered, “I, I l-love you, and God loves you too.” She turned on her heel and ran back as swiftly as she went. The scene changes.
Sunday in the penitentiary. The chapel service was over and the message of the day has been delivered. The prisoners had gone back to their cells or were lounging around in the yard where they were allowed some liberty Sunday afternoon. The Christian Endeavor Society service was about to commence and as the prisoners filed into the room the evangelist noticed that no guard attended them and they all seemed to be placed upon their honor. The prison band made its appearance and soon the room in which the service was held resounded to the strains of “Jesus Lover of My Soul” sung to the tune of “Silver Threads Among the Gold.” A fine looking man in prison uniform was behind the sacred desk. After the strains of the hymn, sung entirely by the voices of men, had died away, the prisoner arose and led in prayer. His deep tones rang through the building. A silence prevailed and the assembled prisoners with closed eyes followed him as he read. Sincerity was heard in every word. A love for Christ was felt as he talked to the men of Galilee; poor fellow. Behind the bars. A prisoner undoubtedly paying the penalty for his misdeeds. The visitor mused, and the chaplain noticing the evangelist’s interest said, “I will tell you his story.”
It was not until the service was over and the men had bene dismissed that he got the story from the chaplain. “Some time ago,” said he, “I was walking along the corridors of the prison and glanced through the bars to see one of the new arrivals sitting on his bed with a Bible open on his knee. His reputation had preceded him to the penitentiary and they called him a hard case, and said he had a heart of stone! There he sat with an open Bible before him, the only book he was allowed to keep in his cell night and day. I noticed his pensive attitude, and as I passed he looked appealingly into my eyes. Thinking he was interested in some part of the Bible, I asked the turnkey to let me into his cell. Sitting down by his side on the bed I slipped my arm around his shoulder and talked to him of the Lord. To my amazement he brushed back my hand and looked into my face, opened the book that he had closed and there between its pages I saw the petals of a red rose that he had crushed. Tears filled his eyes as he said with a broken voice, “The little kid. Chaplain, the little kid! She come up to me at the station, and she gives me this flower and she says, ‘I love you, and God loves you too!’ Nobody ever talked to me like that. I just can’t figure it out Chaplain! Can’t figure it out no ways at all.” The Chaplain with an avenue of approach now open, preached Christ unto him. No room there for a lecture on evolution. No time there for a treatise on philosophy. He preached Christ. The prison walls were thick. The prison bars were strong, but they could not keep out the Man of Galilee that day.
Concluding his narrative the Chaplain said he had been his right hand support. More than one fellow during the years of his imprisonment has he led to the Christ and more than one man knows the glory and the power of real salvation because of his personal work. So you see, my brother, that Phillip preached the message that alone can bring results. He preached Christ unto the people. Let me conclude by saying that the scripture states there was great joy in that city. There will be great joy in this city when the people receive Jesus! There will be happiness in the homes of hundreds, joy in the lives of thousands, when the Man of Galilee takes up His abode in their hearts! There is not a heart that is broken but what He can heal; not a life that is sad but what He can fill it with joy; not a sorrow but what He can lift it; not a burden but what He will bear it; so tonight, whatever your need, I ask you to come to Jesus and before the campaign is over and the lights are turned out in this great Arena and this campaign shall have passed into history, there will be joy in your hearts, joy in the city, and joy in the presence of angels of God over every sinner that repenteth. Hallelujah! Glory and honor, majesty and power is ascribed unto the Christ we preach.
Charles S. Price is considered one of the best Pentecostal preachers from the early twentieth-century. His works have always been among our most popular with our readers, and he was the first author that we took to print. His books have been a blessing to many for generations, and when we post excerpts to our blog, they are among the most well-received.
To read more about Charles Price, might we suggest visiting his author page? We’ve got links to all of his available books there, a brief bio, and more.
This post is from his book The Great Physician, and is available at the following retailers: