Plugging In the Power of God - Part 2
- Plugging In the Power of God - Part 1
What do vacuum cleaners, Candid Camera, and light switches have in common?
A Quick Review of Part 1
In Part one of this two part series, we looked at the need to obtain the power of the Holy Spirit. We looked at the purpose of the filling and biblical examples. In this installment we will begin by looking at how the Holy Spirit empowered the great 19th century preacher, D. L. Moody.
The Power of God - The Greatness of D. L. Moody
The story is told of D. L. Moody and his enduement with power. “In the 19th century, evangelist D. L. Moody led more than one million people to Christ. His life changed when he heard a preacher say, ‘The world has yet to see what God will do with, and for, and through, and in, and by the man who is fully consecrated to Him.’
“Moody remarked, ‘He did not say a great man, nor a learned man, nor a smart man—but simply ‘a man.’ I am a man, and it lies with each man himself whether he will or will not make that entire and full consecration. I decided I would try my utmost to be that man.’
“Moody testified that although he was a Christian he had no power in his life and ministry. Two godly Methodist women in his church were praying for him. One day he asked them, “Why don’t you pray for the people?” They answered simply, ‘You need the power of the Holy Spirit.’
“Moody was perplexed by this response. He said to himself, ’Don’t I have the largest Sunday school and congregation in Chicago? There are some conversions. I am satisfied with things the way they are.’
“The women kept praying and continued talking about the fullness of the Holy Spirit. He finally asked them to explain their concern. Then they knelt and prayed for Moody to receive the anointing of the Holy Spirit. A great hunger came into his soul that he could not explain. His soul cried out to God as never before. The hunger increased until he felt that ‘I did not want to live any longer if I did not have the power for service. I kept crying out for God to fill me with His Spirit.
“Some time later, walking along Wall Street in New York City, it happened - an experience almost too sacred to describe. Moody’s testimony is that God revealed Himself in such a way and he had such an experience of His love that he had to ask the Lord to stay His hand. His life and ministry were changed. His sermons were not really all that different, but a new power was on him and hundreds were converted.” (from http://www.faithencounter.org/howtobefilled.htm)
Experiences may or may not be a part of the fullness of the Spirit. We are not to seek signs and experiences, but there can be no doubt the power of God was upon Mr. Moody. What I do want you to notice are the events leading up to Mr. Moody walking and preaching in the power of God.
First of all, God sought Mr. Moody’s attention through using an unknown preacher to speak to Moody. Moody was attentive to the voice of the Holy Spirit. If you desire the power of God on your life, you must desire Him. By Moody’s own admission “The hunger increased until I felt that I did not want to live any longer if I did not have the power for service.
Jacob Obtains God's Power
The patriarch Jacob went through a similar experience as he wrestled with the angel of the Lord – “And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob's thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me” (Genesis 32:24-26) Jacob was insistent that God would give him the desire of his heart. We know that desire was granted in verse 28 – “. . . Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Jacob’s name was changed, at least in part, because he was willing to struggle with God for His power – and God granted that to Jacob.
Getting back to Mr. Moody – his failure to possess the power of God was self-satisfaction and pride as he queried, “Don’t I have the largest Sunday school and congregation in Chicago? There are some conversions. I am satisfied with things the way they are.” Even though he was seeking God, he had not yet reached a sufficient level of humility.
But humility was growing. Moody reached out in prayer. “I kept crying out for God to fill me with His Spirit.” I find it interesting that in Moody’s search for the power of God others were praying on his behalf as well – and they specifically prayed for the power of the Holy Spirit upon his life. God answered their prayers. Is God any less able to answer yours? As he turned from the wicked way of his pride, humbled himself, sought God, and prayed, he obtained the promise of the Father.
Ask, Seek, Knock
Luke 11:9-13 encourages us to ask for the Holy Spirit. “And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened . . . how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” You see, when kept in context the ask, seek, and knock Scripture is about seeking the fullness and power of the Holy Spirit.
Are you asking, seeking, and knocking until God opens up the storehouse of His power and clothes you in the garment of the Holy Spirit? Just as a vacuum cleaner needs to be plugged in to a power source, so must you be plugged in to the Holy Spirit. Without Him, all your attempts are wasted. Be careful. Satan has a successful way of having us to think we are doing just fine. We do not need to seek any further. We have the power of God when in fact, we do not.
How to Obtain Fullness of Power - R. A. Torrey
Obtaining the power of God comes not without great sacrifice and struggling. Are you willing to pay such a high cost? Seeking the power of the Holy Spirit can be a very lonely undertaking. To enjoy the power of God on your life requires much sacrifice. It will involve much time alone with your God, and less time with others. It will mean focusing on the spiritual needs of others, seeing them through God’s eyes. It will mean sleepless nights when you are exhausted from the everyday rat race we so often find ourselves in. It will involve suffering.
Jesus said in II Peter 2:21, “For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps.” If we are to follow in the steps of the Son of God, we must know where those steps lead – where? To the cross. Jesus has called us to a life of suffering. Forget the TV preachers who preach a message of health and wealth for everybody. It simply does not work that way.
Paul prayed three times to be healed. God’s reply – “My grace is sufficient for thee.” Yet we find Paul not only poor and weak, but suffering. Paul’s life was characterized by pain and trouble as he walked in the footsteps of the Lord. He tells us the story himself in II Corinthians 11:24-28. “Of the Jews five times received I forty stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep; In journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by mine own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among false brethren; In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. Beside those things that are without, that which cometh upon me daily, the care of all the churches.”
This does not make popular 21st century preaching, but no one can deny the power of God on the Apostle’s life. That is why Paul says in Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me . . . .”
Jesus said, “And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple” (Luke 14:27). Again He tells us, “So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.” Have you taken up your cross to be crucified with Christ? If not, are you willing right now, this very moment, to grab hold of it and start your walk to Golgotha. This is not meant to be a trite question. Are you willing to seriously consider your answer. Are you willing to take time and meditate on the cost? It may mean a loss of family, friends, income, health, and so much more. But it is the only way to have the power of God rest upon you. Do not take it lightly, but begin to prepare yourself now to be clothed with the Holy Spirit.