“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight” (Acts 1:8-9).
The Lord Jesus Christ prepared His followers for His departure from this world, but promised them the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. They would need the Holy Spirit for the days that lay ahead, for the world, the flesh and the devil would do their utmost against them. Satan would do all in his power to stamp out this fledgling church.
We face exactly the same spiritual conflicts as the first century church, and it is certain that we need the same Holy Spirit to empower us. The enemy of our souls is just as cruel, just as cunning, and just as capable today as he ever was … “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world” (1 Peter 5:8-9). But it is possible, through the Spirit, to stand our ground against him … “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” (James 4:7). The blessing of continuous victory has been given to believers.
Many Christians have settled for a life of spiritual defeat instead of victory. This is because they look at the power of the enemy instead of the almighty power of God. Our need today is one of trust in the Pentecostal promise of Christ.
Ye shall receive power
Christ did not leave His church to hold their own, but gave them the power of the Spirit so that they could actively promote the cause of His Kingdom. He expected them to boldly march through this world with the message of the everlasting gospel, thus saving the lost from the devil.
To a large extent the church has failed to obey the Lord, for she allows multitudes to career into Hell without warning. There is no excuse for us! The failure is undoubtedly due to a lack of spiritual power. If the church is to be successful then it must return to apostolic Christianity and its supernatural power.
Did Jesus get it wrong?
Did the Lord make an error of judgement when He promised His followers the power of the Holy Spirit? Did He miscalculate things when He left the work of the Kingdom to mere mortal men? This would indeed be the case if He left them with only their natural powers to get the job done. He did not leave them to face the powers of religion and politics alone, but sent His Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to assist, empower, and anoint them at every level.
Do we not have the same worldly power against us in our day also? Worldly standards and customs, worldly religions, satanic powers, and fleshly lust that endeavour to overthrow us are faced on a daily basis. Yet Christ expects us to set the captives free … “That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth” (Isaiah 49:9), and to make His Kingdom glorious … “And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed” (Daniel 2:44). Jesus neither expected too much of us, or underestimated the power of our foe. No, His calculations were accurate. The work can be accomplished. Souls can be saved. The secret of such victory is the filling of the Hoy Spirit … “Be filled with the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18).
“Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you.” Here is the divine promise of victorious power. Without it, it is sheer folly to think that we can be successful as Christian workers. It is our responsibility to have such power come upon us. We have to present ourselves before His presence in much the same way as the 120 waiting disciples did. The bottom line is this, countless unsaved souls demand that we get such an infilling of power from the Spirit of God … “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:18-20).