Power From On High
By Paul Rader, From Reality
Before sinners will be won to the Lord, there must be revival in the hearts of the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. We need, desperately need, the filling of the Holy Spirit from on high.
Winning men and women to Christ Jesus is a miracle. It requires supernatural power. Nothing less than the Holy Spirit Himself can convict and regenerate the human heart. The Holy Spirit works through the Word borne by believers.
It is not soul-winning to lure Christians from other churches to our own. Men need to be brought to Jesus Christ and not to particular views of Christianity. Winning men to the Lord is the object.
Writing men's names on a roll of membership is not soul-winning. The conversion of the soul, the transforming of the life is soul-winning. That can be done only by the power of the Holy Spirit!
Excitement and high emotional reaction are not to be mistaken for soul-winning. True, there is fervor that accompanies the moving of the Holy Spirit, yet the object is not the fervor but the moving of the Holy Spirit. The nature of man must be changed, not merely the emotions stirred.
Soul-winning is not the building of churches, educational halls, seminaries, or the raising of funds and budgets. Priority is given by God to the preaching and teaching of the Gospel that men may hear, believe, and be saved. Of our day, the Word foretells, "rich, and increased with goods," yet "know not you are wretched...poor, and blind, and naked" (Revelation 3:16-17).
We Need The Power Of God!
We dare not attempt the winning of the souls of men with the puny resources of humanity. This is the work of God!
Before God will work, He insists we see our need of Him. There must be a searching of our hearts.
In these days, I am amazed to find that people who have said they were saved have only a head knowledge and depend upon a mental assent to the truths of the Gospel for their salvation. There is no change of life, no reality, no new birth. It is no wonder that they have left the gathering of believers -- "for what fellowship has...light with darkness?" (2 Cor. 6:14).
Their tragedy, however, lies in their seeking out the other "almost" Christians who like them are dead, with form but no power, in fact denying the regenerating power. The promise of the Lord in Deuteronomy 4:29 and Jeremiah 29:13 is that when you seek God with all your heart and all your soul, you will find Him! There must be that "life or death" seeking of the Lord at any cost! The Spirit Himself will bear witness with our spirit when we are the children of God (Romans 8:17).
Be Filled With The Spirit
Where the early Christians were faced with bodily harm and physical violence, the Christians of today fight the enervating lethargy of poisoned doubts and dead faith. Like breathing ether, we become half-conscious and drugged by self-indulgence, cares of this life and bottled and unbottled intoxicants.
Yet the source of victory is the same--the Holy Spirit! He is given and sent in answer to prayer. "How much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" (Luke 11:13). And obedience, "...the Holy Ghost, whom God has given to them that obey Him" (Acts 5:32).
Shortly after Pentecost the disciples prayed for power (Acts 4:23-31). Let's look at that prayer meeting.
The Apostles reported harsh treatment and threats by the chief priest and elders. This forced all the disciples to cry to God. They "lifted up their voice with one accord." That unity of desire is absolutely necessary to claim Matthew 18:19: "If two of you shall AGREE on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of My Father which is in heaven."
These disciples were together in agreement in mind, in faith, in longing and in hope. Their praying was the fervent pleading of men who sought God, a laying hold of God, an insistent cry to Him and not letting go until assured of an answer.
The disciples were definite in what they desired of God: "grant unto Thy servants that with all boldness they may speak Thy word...and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of Thy holy child Jesus." When the disciples had prayed, there were three immediate results: "the place was shaken...they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness." Further, Luke writes, "And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of Jesus Christ: and great grace was upon them all."
What the Lord did for the disciples He will do for believers today. For us, as for them, the method is first to pray. May we be driven to cry to God because of the weakness and failure of our human resources. As the disciples urgently and persistently besought the Lord, so let us with all our heart cry to God and not cease until we are assured of the answer.
How we need to be conscious of the power, majesty, greatness, and foreknowledge of our God as were the disciples! How vital that we, too, speak the Word with boldness, and that God by His power through the name of Jesus would grant to us the signs and wonders to confirm His word!
The place where we are ought to be shaken. We must be filled with the Holy Spirit! We need to speak the Word with all boldness. Let us obey God and pray that in these latter days men may be won to the Lord Jesus Christ!