The Holy Spirit Comes With Power
By Oswald J. Smith
The purpose of the Spirit’s indwelling fullness is for the bestowment of divine power. “Tarry ye…until you be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). “You shall receive power, after the Holy Ghost is come upon you” – power over sin and self, and power in service (Acts 1:8).
What is the secret of a Spirit-filled life? Are there conditions to be met? There are, but they are only two in number – surrender and faith.
“Yield yourselves unto God” (Rom. 6:13). Tell Him all about your failures, the vows you have made, the resolutions you have broken, the experiences of the wilderness journey, and with contrite heart, hand your poor, broken, defeated life over to Him. Ask Him to occupy the throne of your heart. Make a complete surrender, with full confession and renunciation of all known sin.
That is the first step. Oh how much depends upon this! To fail here is to fail everywhere. If your life is not Spirit-filled it is an evidence that you are not wholly yielded, surrendered, consecrated, obedient – for He fills what you yield.
But not only am I thinking of the surrender of self, for first of all there must be the surrender of sin. To surrender something simply means to give up that something. Sin, no matter how much I love it, must be surrendered.
The Will Set Against Sin
There must be a cleavage, a separation, a renunciation, a definite turning from and forsaking of all iniquity! The will, regenerated, can and must be dead set once for all against sin. If I really, deep down in my heart, want to break with sin, I can. Ample provisions have been made in Christ. What then, about that besetting sin? Have you surrendered it?
No trifling now. Have you confessed and put out of your life every sin? “Your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid His face from you, that He will not hear” (Isa. 59:2).
“If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me” (Psa. 66:18).
Sin must be confessed, renounced and forsaken – otherwise the Lord will not answer prayer.
Right here lies the crux of the whole matter. Men and women seek God in prayer, pleading for the fullness of the Spirit, spending long hours on their knees, and yet getting nowhere, simply because there is sin in the heart, and they will not pay the price. Unforgiveness, hatred, envy, pride, lust or some other fleshly power holds sway. Every time they pray the Spirit of God reminds them of a wrong that has never been put right, and they attempt to hush His voice. But it is of no use.
Sooner or later the sin question must be honestly faced and dealt with. It may be an unknown sin, for “The heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked.”
Then there must come the cry: “Search me, O God, and see if there be any wicked way in me.” Sometimes God has to take us down in the very dust, and give us a glimpse of our own hearts, until we cry out in horror at the sight as did Isaiah, Job and Peter, and confess the sinfulness of our very nature.
We Can Be What We “Will” to Be
Let me ask two questions. First, are you willing to surrender your sin? Second, are you determined to surrender your sin?
This is the heart of the whole matter. Hundreds of Christians are not willing to give up their idols, to renounce and forsake their besetting sins. They have not yet come to the place where they hate the Achan in the camp. In fact, they cherish their sin. Hence God can do nothing, nor can they make any progress toward a Spirit-filled life. There must be a willingness on their part first of all.
Not only must they be willing, they must be determined about it. Their willpower must be finally set against it. That, you see, is a further step. Thus they become fixed in their purpose and established in their attitude toward sin. Even then it takes the power of God to bring about deliverance, for He must enable, but until they are both willing and determined He can do nothing.
You remember how Jesus asked the sick man: “Wilt thou be made whole?” Thus He discovered that the man was willing. Then you recall how the prodigal son came at last to the place where he said: “I will arise and go.” Thus he expressed his determination. So must you.
Are we right with God? Have all obstacles been removed? Is there anything that grieves the Holy Spirit? Are we conscious of any known sin? Do we yield to the tempter’s power? Does our besetting sin still master us, even occasionally? Have we laid aside every weight? Is the Holy Spirit able to flow through unhindered, unhampered?
Have You Still a Will of Your Own?
No sooner have I dealt with sin than I am compelled to deal with self. So must you. God insists on having first place. Where, then, do you stand in relation to His will? Have you really surrendered all to Jesus Christ? Do you recognize Him alone as your Lord and Master? Are you willing to go where He wants you to go, to do what He wants you to do, and to be what He wants you to be?
Have you still a will of your own, or is God’s will yours, and is it your supreme delight to please Him? Who holds the reins of your life? Who controls your actions? In your choices and decisions, is God the Dictator? Or are you?
These are the questions you must answer. If you find in your heart any tendency to go your own way – stay on your face before God until He breaks your will and you die out to your personal choices. Unless you are prepared to render prompt obedience it would be useless for Him to fill you with His Spirit, for you would still be unqualified for service. The clay must be plastic in the hands of the potter. “The Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).
Let me suggest four simple steps that may make it easier for you to appropriate.
First, confess. Second, renounce. Third, surrender. Fourth, believe!
Now take them one by one. First, confession. Every sin and failure, sins of omission as well as sins of commission; failure to live a Spirit-filled, victorious life – confess all to the Lord.
Second, renunciation. Forsake all. Renounce everything that is displeasing to Him. Turn from it and put it out of your life. Confession without renunciation is useless.
Third, surrender. Give Him your life. Dedicate, yield, lay your all on the altar. Hold back nothing.
Fourth, faith. You have done your part; now believe that He will do His, and will fill you with the Spirit and endue you with His might.
Oh, my brethren, have we the anointing? Are we preaching “in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power?” Does the unction rest upon us? Is there a freshness in our testimony? Are people convicted, saved and edified under our ministry?
But you tell me you have already received the Holy Spirit. Never mind. Read on. This message is for you, for this experience is to be repeated again and again. For instance, in Acts 2:4 we have the first experience and in Acts 4:31, a second filling. Peter was present on both occasions, so that he was filled twice at least. It distinctly says: “They were all filled with the Holy Ghost” – exactly the words used in connection with the initial experience.
Be Filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18)
This means we are not to live in a past experience! The question is: Am I filled now? What new anointing did I receive last week? Is my experience up-to-date? So many testify to something wonderful that occurred years ago, but their lives are so barren and dry that it is clear they long ago lost the freshness of what they received!
Oh, the fragrance of a Spirit-filled life! What an effect it produces! How precious is the fruit!
Ah, then, beloved, fear not to enter in. Hesitate no longer. No plan of your own can compare with God’s. His plan for you is a Spirit-filled life. Seek to enter into His plan for your life.
Place yourself in His hands and let Him mold you according to His pattern. Allow Him to control and guide. Be wholly submissive – and your life will be one glad song, even in the midst of tribulation, affliction and sorrow.
“Submit to the Holy Ghost when He claims all the ground for Jesus. Submit to Him when He seeks to turn your eyes from idols, from yourself, from the past, or the dream of the future. Submit to Him when He labors patiently night and day to make you the prisoner of Jesus Christ, and to wipe out of your horizon every other thing to make room for the Lord of All.
“Submit to be broken down, if up to the present you have resisted the Holy Ghost. Let the Word of God be fulfilled in you every hour, that the pattern and life of Jesus may be seen, by making every verse of Scripture your own experience as the Holy Ghost works in you. The Lord must break and revive and break again to transform and mold His instruments, before He can use them for His highest purposes.” (Stockmayer)
Will you not just now stop reading and get alone with God? You have read sufficient already to enter in. It is not knowledge, but experience that you need. Oh, then, beloved, be not satisfied until you have definitely received the Holy Spirit in His fullness, until you are living day by day a Spirit-filled life!