By David Smithers
Are we truly Spirit-filled Christians? Does the term "Spirit-filled" describe our doctrine or our devotion? Samuel Chadwick described the fullness of the Spirit in the following way: "Spirit filled souls are ablaze for God. They love with a love that glows. They serve with a faith that kindles. They serve with a devotion that consumes. They hate sin with fierceness that burns. They rejoice with a joy that radiates. Love is perfected in the fire of God."
The revivalist J. H Weber is a true example of this burning Baptism. His life was distinctly marked by the Holy Spirit's urgency, zeal, and compassion. Yet the most striking feature of Mr. Weber's ministry was not so much his message of methods, it was the fact that he had actually become the message. He warned the sinner and saint alike of the eternal danger of rejecting the love of Jesus Christ. His life was literally a burning trumpet call to repentance toward God. J. H. Weber's ministry brought men to the valley of decision. His plain preaching forced men to choose between "death and victory," the self-life or the Christ-life.
On one occasion when Mr. Weber was preaching on the Judgement Seat of Christ, "the people became terrified and some came very near rushing to the altar before the sermon was done. When the invitation was given it seemed a race as to who should get there first. The altar and front seats were crowded with earnest seekers. The presence of God filled the place..."
Rev. Bennett Mitchel describes another revival scene: "The entire community was greatly stirred. The house was packed from the first to the last service. The devil raged. Men got mad. Some wanted to whip (Mr. Weber), others to tar and feather him. Others stood aghast with mute astonishment, while many came to the Lord and were saved. For the first week his preaching was directed to the church, and he scored the Christian people almost unmercifully. This was fun for the irreligious. They greatly rejoiced while he exposed hypocrisy and denounced the sins in the church. But he suddenly turned attention to them. Some of them were maddened, some slunk away in shame, while many were subdued and brought penitently to the cross. In the congregation men would threaten to strike him, when he would calmly look them in the face and say, 'You dare not do it, I am in God's hands,' and then put his arms around them and pray for them. Women would threaten to spit in his face, but he heeded it not, and persisted in pleading with and praying for them. He visited every family in the town and prayed in nearly every home."
Like all true revivalists, J. H Weber's ministry transformed whole communities. Often in the midst of a revival he would march through the town with hundreds of believers following him singing and praising God. "Saloon keepers trembled, businessmen feared; but God was in it." When Mr. Weber led left the town, the church was revived and the last saloon was closed.
In 1884, Mr. Weber wrote in his journal: "Began this year as the previous one, on my knees in the he house of God." J. H Weber was a man who knew the necessity of fervent knee-work. He fasted often, spending whole nights in travailing prayer. When Satan raged or people resisted, Mr. Weber's solution was always the same, to cling to Jesus in prayer. At times he would lay in his tent and pray by the hour, often resulting in a wave of salvation prostrating entire congregations. Because God found a man who would pray, literally thousands were brought to Christ, broken and crying for mercy.
Who among us has seen such glorious events and how many of us yearn to see such things? Have we become content with a nominal and entertaining Christianity? If not, then let us give ourselves to true travailing prayer. For until we get on our knees, we are nothing less than unconcerned and insincere regarding revival. God have mercy and help us to see our great need for a genuine move of the Holy Spirit.