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Sunday, March 26, 2017

Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp, 41

In a previous excerpt, Knapp stated that there are four features of "impressions" from God. These are Scriptural; Right (consistent with good morals); Providential (in harmony with God's will); and Reasonable. His discussion of "Impressions from Above" continues:


If ye know these things happy are ye if ye do them. John 13:17.

Let us apply the preceding principles to a few practical matters such as are constantly coming up for decision.

1. A Call to the Ministry. A young man finds himself the subject of a strong impression to devote his life to the ministry.

He is an honest believer and anxious to make no mistake.

He knows that such an impression may come from Satan, or friends, or fancy, and desires not to be deceived on the one hand, nor to resist God on the other.

He commits all to God, asks for promised wisdom from above, and then proceeds to see if the leading bears the divine stamp: "S. R. P. R."

1. S. Is it Scriptural? It is evident that a call to the ministry is in harmony with the Word. So he does not need to tarry long at this point.

2. R. Is it Right for him to respond to such a call? If he finds that in so doing that his circumstances are such that he will be compelled to wrong his family, or his creditors, or others in so doing, that fact will settle the matter, either that the impression is not of God, or else that the time has not come to put it in practice. If, however, all is right he is prepared to pass to the next test.

3. P. [Providential] If the impression is of God the way will open for him to either begin the work or to prepare for it.

When God calls a person to preach he notifies the church of the fact, and she, if awake, opens the door for him. Sometimes, however, she is asleep, and hence does not hear this summons from her Head to this act.

I know of a young man whom God called to preach. The Word was "like fire shut up in his bones." His gifts were not as apparent on the surface as with some, and pastor and official board after considering his case, declined granting even an exhorter's license. He kept right with God and awaited providential indications. At once doors opened, and invitations came for him to aid in revival meetings. He did so. Great success attended his labors. Scores and hundreds were converted. The pastor and official board saw their mistake, and unsolicited, reconsidered his case, sent him local preacher's license, and he is now one of the most successful soul-winning pastors in the Michigan Conference.

The way always opens if the call is of God, for of all such it is written: "Behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man can shut it."

4. R. Next comes the application of the final test -- Is it reasonable?

A person unenlightened by the Holy Ghost, and trained to think that success lies only in the accumulation of cash would say no.

But God's child, with divinely anointed eyes, will see things differently.

If he has no voice or other gifts for the work, either hidden or manifest, that will settle the matter; but if he has, and the above tests are all met, then this one will soon be settled. Given the fact of over 800,000,000 souls who never heard the gospel, the fact that God has revealed it as His will that they shall all be reached as speedily as possible, the fact that the demand for a wise, consecrated Spirit-baptized ministry, is always greater than the supply, that a perfect avalanche of souls is rushing to doom each year, with no energetic, adequate effort being made to save them; and common sense responds in the affirmative, and these four voices through which God speaks to men's minds unite with the Spirit's call, and the conviction that he must preach becomes so strong that, like Paul, he feels, "Woe unto me if I preach not the gospel," and if the "fullness of the Spirit" be claimed, it will soon become the delight of his life.

Excerpted from Impressions, by Martin Wells Knapp. Original publication date, 1892. Public domain. My source is here. The previous post in the series is here.

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