During the time of the early church they were filled with power, but today, Christians are spiritually lifeless. What has happened that we seem to be cut off from the source of that power?
Nations are stock-pilling weapons of unbelievable power. Manufactures are building machines with increasing power to satisfy the hungry public. But today, people are more spiritually empty, lifeless and lacking in power than ever before. The churches are insipid, inane, and destitute of real spiritual zeal, but why?
What has gone wrong? Are we missing the real source of power that was in the Church during the apostolic days?
There is a reason why people are spiritually empty, dissatisfied, frustrated. People have been seeking the wrong source of power! People are simply not looking to the real source of power which filled the apostles and the whole church in apostolic days.
“May the God of your hope so fill you with all joy and peace in your faith that you may be overflowing with hope, by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13). Notice what Paul told the Roman Church he used the word filled, but filled with what? “With all joy and peace” by what power? “By the power of the Holy Spirit!
The inspired, original New Testament Church was filled with the power of the Holy Spirit. But what do we see today? It is either insipid pseudo-spiritually or uncontrolled human emotionalism masquerading as the power of God.
“And when they (that is the church) had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the Word of God with boldness” (Acts 4:31). This was real power of God not a counterfeit, uncontrolled emotionalism.
How many professing Christians really know what the Holy Spirit is, why they need it and how they can receive it? And how many really know when they have received the Holy Spirit?
Why do almost none of the churches and ministers agree about what the Holy Spirit is? Or about why we need it?
Most people are totally unaware of Paul’s warning that there would be many false churches preaching different doctrines about the Holy Spirit, deceiving them into accepting a different spirit from the one, true Holy Spirit that is revealed in the Scriptures.
“I fear (he knew what was coming in our day) lest somehow, as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your thoughts should be corrupted from the simplicity and the purity that is toward Christ” (II Cor. 11:3-4).
Jesus’ doctrine is simple when we understand it. It is not a theological mystery. Paul continues “for if he who comes” (that is any false minister coming in the name of Christ), “preached another Jesus” (we all know that this world is filled with the preaching of a different Jesus who was born, who died and rose at a different time than the true Messiah, a different Jesus who rejected the Father’s commandments) “whom we did not preach or receive a different spirit, which we did not receive (that is from the preaching of the apostles) ye bear well with him, or accept him.”
This prophetic warning from Paul has already been fulfilled. The world has accepted a different spirit, the spirit of error, not the Spirit of Truth.
The Apostle Paul tells us: “There is one body, one Spirit, and one Lord, one faith one baptism and one God and Father” (Eph. 4:5).
Today, modern Christianity is split asunder by hundreds of different denominations preaching different doctrines from what the apostles of Jesus Christ preached.
This rejection of the Holy Spirit began in apostolic days. And by the time Paul wrote his second letter to the Corinthians, false ministers had already arisen. The people listened and were entertained by soft and soothing preaching, just like professing Christians are doing today.
The truth about the Holy Spirit has been buried under a rubbish of superstition and ignorance. What does God say about His Holy Spirit? There is only one Holy Spirit, only one source of divine spiritual power, without it, we will never gain eternal life!
“If ye therefore, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall the Father who is in heaven give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him” (Luke 11:13). Here we see that the Holy Spirit is a gift, we were not born with it, nor is it anything we earn. And we receive it by asking God for it.
Some might say: “how do we know that God hears us when we pray”? The Apostle John gives us the answer: “Whatever we ask we receive of Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment that we should believe on the name of the Son, Jesus Christ, and love one another, even as He gave us commandment” (I John 3:22-23).
We must not only repent and believe in Jesus Christ, but we must also obey the Father, that is what love is. “This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments” (I John 5:3). If we perform these conditions by surrendering our wills unconditionally to God, He will answer us.
If we do what Peter said in Acts 2:38 God has bound Himself to perform His part, if we first perform our part? “And we (here the apostles are speaking) are witnesses of these sayings; also the Holy Spirit, which God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).
Notice the stress placed upon obedience, upon submission of our carnal mind to the Will of God, to the Law of God. Jesus said in (Luke 22:42) “Not my will, but thine be done.” God expects a submissive, obedient attitude before we receive the Holy Spirit.
In other words, the Holy Spirit is the spirit of total submission and obedience to the Father. This is the way to a full, abundant, power filled life.
Question: How many people reading this article feel empty and frustrated, you feel spiritually lifeless? Here’s how to lead a rejuvenated, fruitful life how to be imbued with power!
“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faith, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22). It is by the fruits of the Spirit that you know you have received the Holy Spirit of God. “By their fruits shall ye know them” Matt. 7:20).
Now the first fruit is love, love is the greatest spiritual power on earth. “The love of God hath been shed abroad in our hearts through the Holy Spirit given us” (Rom. 5:5). But what is the love of God? “Love is the fulfillment of the law” (Rom. 13:10).
Love is a godly spiritual force, imparted by the Holy Spirit that channels the human will into obedience to God’s law. If we love God, we will by the power of God be keeping all His commandments-- all ten of them. No one who continues to break God’s law of love has received the Spirit of God, or has the power of God working in him or her.
That tells us that 2.1 billion professing Christians have not surrendered their wills to God and do not keep all ten of His commandments, they are still unconverted. And they will never be converted until they yield to God’s Spiritual law of love. The other eight (8) fruits of the Spirit amplify the attitude of love.
Obedience to God is not harsh or cruel and unyielding. It is a joy, it is peaceable and gentle; it expresses itself in self-control.
And self-control is the key to real spiritual power. Most people are not filled with spiritual power because they are not willing to exercise self-control. And uncontrolled power is worse than no power at all.
Modern Christianity has been taught that you cannot receive the Holy Spirit until you work up your emotions, until you reject God’s law. This is a perverted gospel, a different gospel than Jesus preached. To reject God’s law is the way of Cain, who killed his brother Abel.
God’s law of love has been His message from the beginning, but men have refused it. The plain fact is, we humans were born without the vital spark that will enable us to live forever. We are subject to death.
“But if any hath not Christ’s Spirit he is none of His. And if Christ is in you (that means living the same life in us now by the Holy Spirit, as He lived by the Holy Spirit while He was personally on this earth) your body is indeed dead because of sin; but the Spirit of life because of righteousness. But if the Spirit of Him (the Father) that raised Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead shall make alive your mortal bodies through His Spirit that dwells in you” (Rom. 8:9-11).
How important is the Holy Spirit it imparts the power to commence eternal life? You and I inherited mortal life through Adam and Eve; but we can become heirs of eternal life by being begotten through the Holy Spirit, which is the life of God.
“And the witness is this that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son (not in an immortal soul). Who hath the Son hath life; who hath not the Son hath not life. These things have I written you, that you may know that you have eternal life” (I John 5:11-12).
Eternal life with unending spiritual power is a gift of God. It is an attribute of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does more than impart to us the possibility of eternal life; it imparts to us the characteristics of God Almighty, the Father.
That portion of the Holy Spirit may be compared to the germ or sperm of physical life. It transmits God’s mental powers and spiritual attributes to us. That Spirit, the germ by which we are begotten comes from the Father, God has masculine characteristics, that is why we call Him Father.
“We are called the sons of God or children” (I John 3:1). God begets us by His Spirit. Each portion of the Spirit by which we are begotten is termed in the Bible as germ or seed. Peter tells us we are “begotten again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, through God’s word which lives and abides for ever” (I Peter 1:23).
Another attribute of God’s Spirit is perfect character. And the germ of eternal life transmits that possibility into us. It is the spirit of obedience to perfection. Every one of us in God’s Church must ask God for the power to resist sin. We must let Jesus Christ live His live in us through the Holy Spirit. If Christ is living in us through the Holy Spirit we have the power to resist practicing sin.
“For what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is good. For I known that in me (that is, in my flesh) dwells no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (Rom. 7:15-17).
Paul is saying he needs help; Paul was powerless to resist sin, he needed divine help; and so do we! We need the same power that was in Jesus Christ which enabled Him to resist sin. And that power comes for God.
The mind we were born with is death, it produces death, it cannot think clearly. “But the mind of the Spirit is life and peace” (Rom. 8:6-7) the human mind united with and controlled by the Spirit of God produces eternal life and peace.
“Because the carnal mind is enmity (or hostile) against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be” (Rom. 8:7). To put it plainly, we are not fully sound until we obtain God’s mind. The Great God by His kindness and mercy is making is possible for us to have His mind!
When we are born of God by a resurrection we become perfect (I John 3:9-10). If Jesus Christ lives His life in us by means of the Holy Spirit, that is saying we are to live by every word of God, for Jesus Christ is the word personified. In other words, Jesus Christ is the Bible in action.
You and I have at hand the power of self-control, if we yield to His Spirit. We have the power to grow toward a perfect character, just like God.
Romans 1:20 reveals that physical creation reveals the divine attributes of God to reproduce us in His image. Nature reproduces therefore it reveals that God does. And if He is our Father, if we are begotten of His Seed, we shall become like Him, and that is something the world does not know or understand.
Now since there is a heavenly Father, and we are His begotten children, then God must be a family, and the Church of God must be composed of the begotten family of God. It is the Holy Spirit that unites the Church. Read Gal. 4:6-7 and I Cor. 12:13.
In Hebrews 12:9 God is called the Father of Spirits. So at the resurrection we are to be composed of spirit, members of the Divine Family, imbued with the power of God. We are partakers of the divine nature; but we may also receive a part of that power in this life, the apostolic church had that power, and so can we.
Just as the egg in a mother’s womb must be nourished with life-giving food through the placenta, so we must be nourished by the Word of God. Jesus said in John 6:63, “the word that I have spoken are spirit and are life.” Those words are the Bible. That is why man must live by every word of God.
In the Old Testament no one prayed to the Father, but we pray to the Father. No one addressed God as the Father in the Old Testament.
John 1:18 tells us that Christ came to reveal and declare who the Father is to declare that we may be begotten of Him.
God expects more of us today because we have Spirit-begotten minds. We have God’s life and power as a very part our being, enabling us to overcome and master our human nature.
We were put on this earth to learn to develop tools for limited creative work to be trained for the eternal goal of becoming part of the God Family which means sharing control of the creative Spirit of God. That is what it means to become converted, to be imbued with God’s power by receiving the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 28:19 teaches that God is a growing family or kingdom into which we may enter. God is a family and not a trinity. The heavenly Father wants you and me to become a member of His divine Family, to be His son or daughter if we surrender our whole life to Him.
Believe all that is in the Bible, believe Christ is our Saviour and obey Him. And be filled with the power of the Spirit of God.