God is the greatest POWER SOURCE in the universe. And it is His power — the power of the Holy Spirit — which moves His great Work forward. Each member has the responsibility of DRAWING ON THAT POWER for the good of the entire Work. ARE YOU DOING YOUR PART?
THIS era of God's Church has both witnessed and experienced many miracles! Doors have been opened in unusual ways to preach the gospel. Lives have been changed. People have been healed of major illnesses and demons have been cast out. God has led His ministers into a much deeper understanding of important spiritual truths. And it has all been done by the POWER of God's Holy Spirit! But the greatest work is yet ahead! God has evidently given us more time and is therefore opening even greater doors to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom of God to this end-time generation. The Work must now accelerate and we must plunge ahead with even greater zeal and dedication as this age draws to a climactic close!
God has raised up this era of His Church to do His Work. That's one of the principal reasons each of us is a part of it. But the Church as a whole will only be as strong as the sum of its individual members. If we, as a church, are to be strong and "do exploits" as the Bible indicates we will (Dan. 11:32; John 14:12), then we must each evaluate our individual spiritual condition. Examine yourself on these points : How strong in the faith are you personally? Do you have love and empathy for this sick, expiring society? How filled are you with zeal to accomplish your part in God's Work! How deeply do you grasp the meaning of God's Word? Are you controlling and ruling your physical appetites and your desires for material things? Do you really maintain a peaceful and tranquil mind, or are you racked with insecurity and fears? The fruits or products of God's Holy Spirit are listed in Galatians 5:22-23. They are love (outgoing concern), joy, peace (of mind and general state of being), longsuffering (patient endurance), gentleness, goodness, faith, humility and temperance (self-control). If a person lacks these fruits, it indicates a shortage of the Spirit itself. By comparison, an apple tree that fails to produce apples, likely lacks a sufficient supply of the flowing, nourishing sap that produces them! If we lack these Godly characteristics in our lives, we are likely producing a harvest of the opposite fruits — called "the works of the flesh." These undesirable works are described in Galatians 5:19-21. They include strife, divisions, and various objectionable states of mind. All the works of the flesh, from hate and envy to feelings of competition and lust, contribute to the general misery and unhappiness of the individual. They are unsatisfying and unfulfilling. And most important — they hurt the Work of God!
You Must USE God's Spirit
A "spiritual mind" is a mind that is exercising and using God's Holy Spirit and is therefore producing its fruits. Merely having received the Spirit as a begettal will not make you spiritually minded unless you draw on and USE that Spirit continually, every day! YOU ARE SPIRITUALLY MINDED TO THE DEGREE THAT YOU PRODUCE THE FRUITS OF GOD'S SPIRIT IN YOUR DAILY LIFE! Is it possible to be considered part of the Body of Christ and still not be spiritually minded? The Apostle Paul believed it was. Notice what he wrote in I Corinthians 3:1-4: "And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.... For ye are yet carnal for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" They were "yet carnal." But notice that Paul was addressing the "Church of God" (I Cor. 1:1-2). They were converted! They were part of the body of Christ, brethren with Paul! But they were acting as the average man on the street would act. They were conducting themselves in an unspiritual manner. They were producing the works of the FLESH! They had strifes and arguing, debating and contentions. There were divisions and party-spirit among them — the very same things listed as the "works of the flesh" in Galatians 5:19-21! What was the problem? Since they had been converted and had received God's Spirit as a begettal, which is what makes one a member of the Church (I Cor. 12:13), then why were they continuing to produce these unspiritual and fleshly works? Paul isolated the difficulty of many in I Corinthians 3:16. He wrote to the Corinthian Church: Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you?" Some of these members seemed to have lost sight of the fact that they had received the Holy Spirit as a begettal and that they must now use and draw upon the Holy Spirit to produce its fruit! They were producing carnal or fleshly works instead because they were not stirring up the Holy Spirit and drawing on its resources to produce the results of a spiritual mind. Do you have personal problems? Could the same lack of perception be at the root of them? If you have been begotten by the Holy Spirit following baptism, yet are not producing many of its fruits, then something is seriously wrong! How, then, can you use the Holy Spirit to produce the good fruits of a spiritual mind? You must be "plugged in" to God's POWER, be "charged up," then EXERCISE the power! Let's understand.
The POWER of God!
Notice a scripture many have puzzled over. It is Mark 5:29-30. A woman who had been sick for a long time touched merely the hem of Christ's garment and was instantly healed! And the account tells us that immediately Jesus was aware that "virtue had gone out of him." How did Jesus know someone had touched his clothing? There certainly are no nerve endings in clothes! The word "virtue" here is actually translated from the Greek word dunamis. It means power, might, strength or force ( Arndt-Gingrich Greek-English Lexicon). It is from the same Greek root from which we derive our English words "dynamite" and "dynamo." In other words, when Christ was touched by the woman who was healed, He expended FORCE or POWER! Dynamic power from Christ produced this tremendous miracle of healing! And so when the woman touched Christ, He immediately sensed a drain of healing energy or force from His person. That is how He knew someone had touched Him. What was the SOURCE of His power? Acts 1:8 provides the answer: "... ye shall receive POWER [dunamis) after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you...." Here the identical Greek word is translated "power" instead of "virtue." The source of Christ's miracle-working and healing power was the Holy Spirit, which the disciples were to receive later! During the apostolic age, even deacons such as Philip and Stephen performed mighty miracles. "And Stephen, full of faith and POWER (dunamis) did great wonders and miracles among the people" (Acts 6:8). Notice that Stephen was filled with the same kind of dynamic miracle-working power Christ was. What was the source of Stephen's power? Acts 7:55 tells us: "But he [Stephen), being full of the Holy Spirit, looked steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God." It was God's Holy Spirit which filled Stephen, a lay member, with the POWER which enabled him to perform miracles. If we are to have more of the power and force necessary to do the Work of God (and if God grants even to perform mighty miracles), then it is evident we must individually a5k God to increase our supply of His Holy Spirit!
How to Receive More of God's Power
God's Spirit can't be bottled up, hoarded, stored. It must be continually flowing into you or it cannot flow out of you in "good works." It must be renewed and replenished daily (II Cor. 4:16). To put it another way — our "spiritual battery" must continually be on "charge." We must be continually "plugged in" to the real POWER SOURCE which is GOD! Now how shall we receive more of that Holy Spirit? Again we learn from the example of Jesus Christ. Immediately after Jesus had performed the outstanding miracle of feeding multiple thousands of people with only five loaves and two fishes, what did He do? "And when he had sent the multitude away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when evening was come, he was there alone" (Matt. 14:23). Christ had just expended dynamic miracle-working power. As in the miracle of the healing of the woman, there must have been a heavy drain on his "spiritual battery." So He went immediately to the source of all power in prayer to be spiritually "recharged"! Jesus wanted to continue operating at PEAK POWER. He could not afford to allow that force to diminish or dissipate. Immediately after this, He once again performed another mighty miracle by faith and the power of God's Spirit — that of actually walking on the sea! Jesus prayed often-and at length. Notice just one more example. Jesus faced the mind-boggling ordeal of the crucifixion. He knew He would need a tremendous amount of spiritual power to carry Him through it. And so He went to His Father and prayed earnestly, receiving spiritual strength from a long and intimate contact with Him. Read about it in Matthew 26:36-45. Notice that Jesus prayed three successive times. In the first instance He asked the Father to "... let this cup pass from me." However, He added, completely surrendered to God, "nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." Overall, this first prayer lasted an hour. Then after a brief interlude, He prayed again. This second time He prayed essentially the same prayer, drawing even closer to God, strengthened by God's Spirit to totally accept the fact that He mast go through with the ordeal. Finally, after a third prayer, He was READY! When He returned to the sleeping disciples He was not only resolved, but able to go through the most critical, trying ordeal ever experienced by man. He had now increased His spiritual power by praying persistently to God and tapping the SOURCE of that dynamic, powerful force. He now fully reflected the mind of God as He said, "RISE, LET US BE GOING..."!! It was the Holy Spirit of the living God that gave your Savior and mine the power and mind capacity to carry out the commission that makes it possible for all mankind to be saved from the penalty of sin. It was the spiritual mind of Christ that made a way for us to be saved from the ultimate product of our weak, fleshly, sensual minds — DEATH! (Rom. 6:23.) If we, as individual members of the Body of Christ, are to have the same mind and power of God and produce the same fruits of the Holy Spirit, overcoming the pulls of the flesh and of the world, then we must likewise "connect" ourselves with the source of that power. We must be "charged up" with spiritual energy — the Holy Spirit — from the great "dynamo" of power. How can we do this? Through prayer and Bible study EVERY DAY! This is the only way we can operate at, and maintain, a level of peak spiritual power at all times!
Activate the Holy Spirit
We must never allow worldly pulls or influences to "quench" the effect of God's Spirit in our lives (I Thes. 5:19). Rather, as the Apostle Paul wrote Timothy, we must "STIR UP the gift of God" that is within us (II Tim. 1:6) — that is, to rekindle it, add fuel through Bible study and prayer so it will blaze up like a spiritual fire! Then we must use it so it can continually flow out of us and produce its good fruits. It is imperative that true Christians regularly study and drink in of the examples of faith and power from the Bible. The spiritual words of instruction from God's Word will inspire renewed dedication and forceful action which will accelerate the flow of the Holy Spirit into and through our persons. Each time we act on God's instruction we activate the Holy Spirit. The more we activate it in our lives, the more it will increase in us! And the more dynamically effective and useful we will become as instruments in the hands of the living God, thus moving the Work of God ahead with greater and greater impetus and impact! Remember God's admonition to Zerubbabel: "... not by might, nor by [human) power, but BY MY SPIRIT, saith the Lord of hosts" (Zech. 4:6). This Work which we are called to do can only be completed and accomplished through the agency of that Spirit. Human reserves and abilities are not enough! Let's newer forget that fact. And let us individually say with the Prophet Micah: "But truly I am FULL OF POWER by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might..." (Micah 3:8). We will then have more faith, deeper understanding, greater Love, and increased resources with which to do the Work!