Living Epistles Empowered By The Holy Spirit
By Lois J. Stucky (1928 – 2014)
“Christ is expecting us to bring glory to His name and we are so often a stumbling block both to the world and to our fellow believers, simply because we lack power from on high!
“God needs today not so much inspired apostles as living epistles known and read by all men. Just as God’s written Word was inspired by the Holy Spirit, so must the ‘living epistle’ of today be inspired by the self-same Spirit. As Christ overcame by the power of the Holy Spirit, so also must we (Rev. 3:21).”
These words printed from The Power-Full Christian speak a big message. Most of us are not church leaders, pastors or missionaries. For the most part we are lay people. Certainly we are not as the apostles and prophets of old inspired of God to write the direct Word of God for all generations to honor as the Holy Bible. Yet each of us is said to be a living epistle known and read of all men (see 2 Cor. 3:2). And, think of it – as living epistles, we need to be and may be inspired and empowered by the same Holy Spirit as He who moved upon the men chosen to write the Holy Scriptures!
Our “living epistle” may not gain much acclaim as far as this world is concerned. That is not our ambition or expectation. But it ought to be our earnest desire to live to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31). This is the high and holy calling for which we were created. To live to the glory of God requires that we be filled with the Holy Spirit and that we walk in the Spirit (Eph. 5:18; Gal. 5:16).
The power of the Holy Spirit is for the young person wanting to live a clean life and to be a witness for Christ in school; for parents wanting to manifest the love of Christ to their family in the home; for the man or woman in business, industry, agriculture, a profession, etc., who wants to be honorable and effective in all his or her dealings; for the politician who wants to maintain integrity and wisdom amid the pressures of the political world – as well as for all in Christian service burdened to see lives within their realm of influence and responsibility, transformed and matured. The power of the Holy Spirit is for every Christian who would live to the glory of God whatever his or her station in life.
I do not know a more needful prayer, nor a prayer with such potential as the prayer that we should all, as God’s people, be filled with the Holy Spirit and walk in the Spirit all the time. Can we pray one for the other, that we will meet God’s conditions and be endued with power from on high to live and to serve to His honor and glory? Do not forget that before the fire falls, all must be placed on the altar. Sin must be confessed and forsaken. Faith must take hold of the promises.
The Promise of the Spirit
It is always good to have an encouraging promise, but never better when it is God who gives a promise, for He always keeps His Word. God gave the promise of the Gift of His Spirit. It is up to us to believe it and to receive it. God took the initiative in giving us the Spirit as He did in giving us the Gift of His Son. He made provision so His people, His church, would be saved and equipped to do the work He was giving them to do:
“...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 Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The disciples believed the promise and they obeyed the conditions. They tarried until they were endued and then they and those won by them went everywhere preaching the Gospel, and by the power of the Holy Spirit many souls came into the kingdom of God as they moved to the far ends of the earth. There were riots and persecutions and martyrdoms. It was certainly not an easy task committed to them, but they had the enduement of power from on high. They received grace to endure and God prospered them in the task.
Today, we Christians have the same commission as had the disciples. Oh, that we might fulfill it as they did! We are without excuse if we lack the power, for God has promised the Holy Spirit for our witness, however limited or great our opportunities might be! If we are filled with the Spirit all the time, our lives will witness by example as we witness by word.
There is an immense task to be completed. Each Christian is needed to fill his or her place by the grace and power of God, to finish the task. We find great incentive in Matthew 24:14 – “...This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.” Let us press on for the fullness of the Spirit, that we might do our part, for the sake of our dear Lord and Savior.