When The Spirit Comes In Power

When The Spirit Comes In Power

Acts 1:8

In 1941 on a Sunday afternoon I was called in from the playground to find my family gathered
around the radio listening to a radio broadcast by President Roosevelt.
He was telling the American nation that we were at war.
After two world wars, a Korean War, a war in Viet Nam, and war with Iraq, and wars
all over the world; we realize how horrible are those words: "We are at war!"

I declare today that we, God's people, are at war.
The evidence of war can be seen in every area of life.
Our nation is a nation riddled with moral decay.

Multitudes are wallowing in wickedness.
They are lovers of their own selves.
Covetous, boasters, proud blasphemers, unholy, without natural affection, truce breakers,
false accusers, impure, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded,
lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God.

In Noah's day, " God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth." (Gen. 6:5)
And it is so today.
Millions are traveling in the same way of wickedness.
They do not seem to believe that " the way of the ungodly shall perish."

Every one worships something.
The Bible speaks of those who set up idols in their hearts.
So, we do not have to go to some remote part of the earth to find idolatry.
We can find it in our own community.

In ancient times every city had a particular god or goddess.

  • Athens was the city of Minerva, the goddess of wisdom.
  • Ephesus was the city of Diana, the goddess of the chase.
  • Rome was the city of Mars, the god of war.
  • Mariners worshipped Neptune.
  • The war-like worshipped Mars.
    There are people in our country and community who proudly and ignorantly worship
    these same ancient gods.
    Thousands of people are bowing at the shrine of Minerva and are sacrificing at the altar
    of their own intellect.

    One of the most popular gods in the world today is Bacchus, the awful god of drink.
    His temples are erected along the highways of our nation and in the homes of millions.
    Thousands are sacrificing themselves on the altar of drink, which is America's
    number one drug problem.
    They sacrifice their wealth, their health, their reputation, and their character.
    Another sacrifices her virtue; another gives her children; another his home;
    and another will give his position.
    Many are ready to give their souls.

    Plutus, the god of gold, is worshipped by multiplied millions of people all over the world.
    Injustice, extortion, gambling, theft, war, and murder are all committed for money.
    So here, "The love of money is the root of all (kinds) of evil."

    The battle lines are drawn!
    We are at war!
    The forces of good against forces of evil.
    We are locked in a devastating struggle between God's army and the forces of the devil.

    Where is the church while all this fighting is going on?
    We would expect to find Christian soldiers "marching as to war with the cross of Jesus
    going on before
    ."
    But, instead of marching, we stand silent.
    We are afraid that we will be misunderstood.
    When the church should be alive with the power of God pulsating through each one of its members,
    God finds His army too lazy to fight, and too fat to run.

    Some years ago, Findley Edge describes what the church is doing:
    "We meet on Sunday and talk about God and how good He is.
    We talk about sin and how bad it is.
    We talk about the world and what a mess it's in.
    We have prayer, go home, and do nothing.

    We come back a Sunday later.
    We talk about God and how good He is.
    We talk about sin and how bad it is.
    We talk about the world and what a mess it's in.
    We have prayer, go home, and do nothing."

    How can we find our way back to the front lines?
    What will open our eyes to our ineffectiveness?
    What hope can we have in the avalanche of lost battles to an enemy that seems so overwhelming?
    What will get us back into the battle for souls?

    It is simple!
    We must no longer depend upon our own strength, our organizations, our programs, and our plans.
    We need the power of the Holy Spirit!
    Can you even begin to imagine how the power of the Holy Spirit will affect us?

    A pastor tells of an experience with his five year-old daughter who was afraid of the dark.
    One night after they had put her to bed; within minutes, she appeared at the door of the den.
    She explained that she was afraid of the dark.

    Her father explained to her that God is everywhere, and that He was also in her room
    and would take care of her.
    This seemed to satisfy her and she went down the hallway to her room.
    Her father followed her to see if his explanation was going to work.
    He saw her stop in the doorway and as she looked in the darkness of her room, he heard
    her whisper, " God, if you're in there, don't say anything, 'cause you'll scare me to death."

    If God did make Himself known in some of our churches, it would scare us to death!
    But that is what it is going to take.
    The Spirit of God must intervene into our lives and our churches.
    We need the power of the Holy Spirit!

    Every Christian from time to time needs to experience God afresh and anew.
    Even the most dedicated Christian needs a fresh experience with God.
    So often spiritual dryness sets in and we just go through the motions of our religious life.
    There is no warmth, no holy excitement, and no power.
    The world into which Christ has called us to love and to minister and to witness to is one
    that drains us of spiritual energy and leaves us empty.
  • We become discouraged, confused, and compromised.
  • We need a fresh empowering because it is so easy to become preoccupied with self.

  • We have become creatures of comfort.
  • We bog down in the organizations which we have created.
  • We so easily turn aside from the study of God's Word.
  • We allow prayer to be missing from our lives.
  • We allow any excuse to keep us from attending the worship services.

  • It is so easy to allow divisions to appear among us.
  • It is so easy to become involved in a struggle for power.
  • It is so easy to lose our love for others.

    One hundred and twenty people in an upper room had an empowering of the Holy Spirit
    that we need today!
    "And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.
    And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled
    all the house where they were sitting.
    And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire and it sat upon each of them ---
    And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit,
    And they began to speak... And they began to speak...And they began to speak
    ..."

    After the Holy Spirit came and filled God's people, the Jews marveled at their boldness.
    The people who had been frightened like a flock of sheep without a shepherd;
    the people who had met timidly behind closed doors for fear of the Jews;
    now feared no one, for the living Christ was with them.

    Spiritual power is the endowment of the Holy Spirit.
    We are equipped to witness for Christ when we are quickened by the Holy Spirit.

    " We want, O Lord, Thy power to know
    Before we forth to service go,
    Or else we serve in vain,
    We trust not human thought or might,
    Our souls are helpless for the fight
    Until Thy power we gain."

    Jesus said, " Without me, you can do nothing."
    The Bible says: " Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord."
    Only by the power of the Spirit can spiritual and everlasting things be accomplished.
    He alone can set us on fire.
    When the Holy Spirit's power fills the church, obstacles are overcome, and difficulties are swept aside.
    Prison doors are opened and the captives are set free.
    A tide sweeps upon the people of God that cannot be resisted.
    God thunders and fire from heaven falls and the world has no explanation.

    The church forgets to be afraid.
    Tongues are loosed, and we began to speak...and we... and we...
    God's people begin to witness and stagnant souls are stirred by the breath of the infinite God.

    If we really desire such a filling of the Holy Spirit, we can be filled and God wishes to fill us.
    But there is something we must do.
    God has said in Isaiah 59:2: " But your sins have separated between you and your God
    and your sins have hid His face from you and He will not hear
    ."
    We must confess our sin.

    1 John 1:9: " If we confess our sin, He is faithful and just to forgive our sin
    and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness
    ."
  • We must confess our sins of ingratitude.
  • We must confess our lack of love for God.
  • We must confess our neglect of God's Word.
  • We must confess our neglect of prayer.
  • We must confess our neglect of worship attendance.
  • We must confess our lack of concern for lost souls.
  • We must confess our neglect of our families.
  • We must confess our sins of worldliness.
  • We must confess our sins of envy, pride, greed, and bitter spirits.
  • We must confess holding grudges, slander, gossiping, lying, cheating, hypocrisy,
        robbing God, temper, malice, ...
    All these things and others must be confessed; put away; given up for good.

    And, when sin is confessed, God forgives.
    We are cleansed.
    Our sins are buried.
    Then, we must consecrate ourselves; we must yield ourselves to God.
    Yielding is victorious living.
    Yielding all to God; letting God have His way in every phase of our lives.
    We must give God 100%.

    Then, God will fill us with His Holy Spirit.
    And, when this happens:
  • Little sins will no longer be tolerated, but will be confessed and forsakened.
  • Broken fellowship will be repaired.
  • Hearts will become super-sensitive to the slightest sin that has not been confessed
        and forgiven.
    There will be a new sense of urgency about spiritual things.
  • We will want to tell every one about Jesus.
  • We will see that so much of our service has been done in the flesh.
  • We will see that self has intruded even into holy things.
  • We will see that it is I who made the plans, I, not the Lord.
  • We will see that we have been trying to do God's work for Him; by our efforts.

    When God's Spirit fills us: So powerful will be the conviction of sin that those who thought themselves worthy of heaven
    will stand in wonder and amazement that they are not already burning in the fires of hell.

    And from the depth of our being will come the cry: " O God, save me from my self
    and sin; from my wickedness and depravity; or slay me, but do not let me persist another day
    in this awful condition
    ."
    And all the demons in hell and all the servants of wickedness on earth will not have the power
    to keep awakened sinners from consecrated and devoted love to the Lord Jesus.

    After we are filled: God's timing, God's purposes, God's plans will rule and direct our lives.
    And all that stands in resistance before Him will be broken and cast aside.
    Even more glorious, we will find ourselves enabled to do what God has called us to do.
    We will become witnesses!
    God's people will become instruments of evangelism!
    Wave upon wave of divine blessing will break upon a parched people for God Himself has blessed!

    And what no one person could do by himself; and what no group effort could accomplish;
    the Lord God Almighty will accomplish.
    We will see the power of the Living God in all His grace and glory.

    The sleeping giant awakens!
    When the Holy Spirit moves upon us with His power, the giant not only will stir and awaken,
    but will move with dynamic power and such glorious impact that all will know God has acted.

    Can you imagine the entire body of Christ in this church, in this city, in this county,
    in this state, in this nation, in this world, moving throughout this world with unified purpose
    and with the power of the Holy Spirit?
    Consider every Christian in this church marching together in perfect harmony.
    Imagine, not one sleeping Christian left; not one backslidden believer remaining;
    but all surrendered completely and dedicated; to see the will of God carried out.

    Unleash all this transforming power against the forces of sin in our city and in our nation.
    That is what revival is!
    That is what happens when the Holy Spirit moves in!
  • We must pray for God's Holy Spirit to come in all His mighty power into our hearts
        and into every Christian in this church.
  • We must wait upon Him to do what He alone can do.
  • We must wait until He blesses!
  • We must refuse to settle for anything less!
    We must pray until the heavens open and until God pours out such blessings
    that the whole world would not be able to contain them!

    Breathe on me, Breath of God,
    Fill me with life anew,
    That I may love what Thou doest love
    And do what Thou wouldst do.

    Breathe on me, Breath of God
    Until with Thee I will Thy will
    To do and to endure.

    Breathe on me, Breath of God
    Till I am wholly Thine,
    Till all this earthly part of me
    Glows with Thy fire divine."

    Sermon by Dr.Harold L. White