Come and See
This sermon was originally preached in 1946 at the fortieth anniversary of the Azusa Street Revival. The message was given in the Portland Apostolic Faith Church at Sixth and Burnside.
We are celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the great outpouring of the Latter Rain Gospel and the beginning of the work in Portland. I have been thinking back, and recall that in the early years we had a lot of publicity in the newspapers. It wasn’t the kind of publicity that modern evangelists get who are lauded for their great work; but we got the headlines! And we got the people, too! Some of them were full of fight; some of them were serious; and some were standing afar off, but they were there. They came with rocks and they came with clubs and everything else, but they came.
It was down on Main Street in the little hall that had been a blacksmith shop [where the first meetings were held], that the windows were knocked out. Word had spread that there was a people down there who had something new. The truth was they had something so old that this generation had never heard of it nor felt its power. It was preached before Portland was ever thought of. It was the old-time religion! It was the salvation that God had planned for the world way back in the beginning. The world had lost sight of it, that was all.
God was doing something in that little hall that He had promised to do about twenty-seven hundred years before. The prophet Joel had foretold that God would pour out a former rain moderately, and a latter rain in abundance: “Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow...” (Joel 2:23-24). He was talking about two kinds of rain that would fall in the latter days—the natural and the spiritual. Palestine would have no rain for years, and then God would send a natural rain. He would also send a spiritual rain; He would pour out His Spirit on all flesh—on human beings. Joel prophesied, “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions: and also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my spirit” (Joel 2:28-29). The spiritual former rain came on the Day of Pentecost when God first poured out His Spirit on Jesus’ followers in the Upper Room at Jerusalem. Then, forty years ago in 1906, came the fulfillment of God’s promise to this world that He would send the latter rain.
When I saw those radiant faces, and heard men and women of every nationality and from every stratum of life testify with no uncertain sound, I knew I had never seen anything like it. It thrilled me to the very soles of my feet.
I came into this Gospel shortly after that, during a camp meeting being held in a big tent at Twelfth and Division Streets. One night, my brother and a friend of mine said, “Let’s go down and see those people who are holding meetings.” I was like that man Nathanael who said, “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” and was told by his brother Philip to “Come and see” (John 1:46). I said, “Can anything good come out of all that has been in the newspapers about these people?” But I said, “All right, we will go down and see.” We went, and I wasn’t in that meeting two minutes before something was settled in me forever. When I saw those radiant faces, and heard men and women of every nationality and from every stratum of life testify with no uncertain sound, I knew I had never seen anything like it. It thrilled me to the very soles of my feet. I said, “God, I know You are here. If I can get what these people have, my life is Yours forever.” That I am still in the Gospel, after about thirty-nine years, is ample evidence that I have kept my promise to God, and He has kept His promise to me. It has been a glory road in spite of all the fight we have had—and we have had plenty.
This Apostolic Faith work didn’t come about with a big demonstration that caused everyone to receive it. It came in through persecution, but it held its ground. We had intrepid leaders who never flinched nor compromised with the world, the flesh, or the devil. They held up the standard and preached against all opposition. Because of that kind of leadership, you are sitting in the greatest place in the world, a place where you hear the truth, where you can eat spiritual bread without scarceness.
If there is anything down in that heart of yours that loves the truth, if there is an “Amen” down there, you can thank God that you are here. The standard is upheld in this Gospel. It is so high and so clean and so pure that nothing unclean can walk in it, and nothing unclean stays in it long, either. Jesus said, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat” (Matthew 7:13). And when He was asked if there were few that be saved, He said, “Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).
Today, you might be asking, “Can anything good come out of Sixth and Burnside?” Come and see! Don’t come biased and with your mind all filled with a lot of “stuff.” If you want to get this Latter Rain Gospel you must empty out all those preconceived ideas and crooked doctrines, and take the living Word of God and line up to it—line upon line and precept upon precept. You will have to eat the whole lamb “with the purtenance thereof” (Exodus 12:9). Then you will have something that will stand when the world is on fire. You won’t be driven about by every wind of doctrine that comes along. You won’t be deceived by the devil, because you will know in whom you have believed; your ear will be tuned to the Master’s call. You will know the Shepherd’s voice, and a stranger you will not follow. That is this great Gospel. There is no compromise in it. It is one hundred percent pure.
I will never forget that first night I was in an Apostolic Faith meeting. My brother and my friend laughed and said many things. They got a great kick out of it, but I heard the Shepherd’s voice. Now thirty-nine years have passed, and so we know that God can keep us. I am so glad that the Gospel never changes. We have never lowered the standard, not one iota, for anyone. This is not one of those religions that begs for money; it is a religion that God is in, and He backs it. He said that the cattle on a thousand hills are His, and all the gold belongs to Him. God has everything, and because we are heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, we do not lack anything. We have the Holy Ghost. We have freedom. The Bible says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty” (2 Corinthians 3:17). We have everything the world is trying to get. We have found it, right down here at these altars, believe it or not!
We are glad that this work is still going strong. In the beginning, people said it would soon blow over. In one way, they told the truth, for it blew everywhere. Letters come into our office from almost every country on earth and from the islands of the sea. As we have the privilege of writing to some of those precious hungry people, it thrills our very souls.
We are glad that this work is still going strong. In the beginning, people said it would soon blow over. In one way, they told the truth, for it blew everywhere. Letters come into our office from almost every country on earth and from the islands of the sea. As we have the privilege of writing to some of those precious hungry people, it thrills our very souls. Our hearts are filled with gratitude and thanksgiving to God that we have a little part in such a great thing. This Gospel is the greatest thing in the world, because it came from Heaven.
I thank God that I found the Lord’s way. I can say, like Nathanael, “Thou art the Son of God; thou art the King of Israel” (John 1:49). All these years later, I can still picture those precious faces as I entered that tent for the first time—the light radiated from their faces with the power of God. I can still hear those testimonies ringing out; I can see that crowd there, and hear the noises outside. Rocks were hitting the tent, but the glory of God was there!
I went home after the service, but I didn’t go home to go to bed; I went home to pray. I was living with my sister and her two little children, and I had built a little playhouse for those children on the back end of the property. I went back there and got on my two knees and said, “God, if You will give me what I have seen tonight—if You will give me power...”
I had been in a fashionable church for three years in this city, and I had never heard one testimony of victory. Some of those big millionaires who were pillars of the church could hardly wait until they could get outside after the meeting and light their cigars or take a chew of tobacco. I knew the Lord had saved me from all those things, and I knew He had sanctified me, but I had no power to tell the great things the Lord had done for me. I had given only one testimony in those three years.
Those Apostolic Faith people had quoted Jesus’ words: “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me...unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Also, they repeated Peter’s words that the promise was “unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call” (Acts 2:39). I said, “Lord, that includes me.”
In that little playhouse I prayed, shed tears, and consecrated until three or four in the morning. I hungered most desperately! I didn’t get the baptism of the Holy Ghost that night or the next, but then the minister announced there would be an afternoon meeting the next day. I was back there early, and that afternoon, the founder of this Gospel preached. Every word thrilled me. Faith began to come into my soul and I was hungrier than ever. I wasn’t at the altar more than ten minutes before God gave me this glorious experience, the mighty baptism of the Holy Ghost and fire.
It wasn’t for nothing. God gave me power to preach this everlasting Gospel. He sent the latter rain upon this earth for a purpose. That purpose was to ripen the harvest, to prepare a people to be the Bride of Jesus Christ. By God’s grace, I will preach this Latter Rain Gospel until Jesus comes.