Power For Witnessing
By Andrew Murray (1828 – 1917)
“Tarry ye until ye be clothed with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
The Lord had said to the disciples: “Without Me ye can do nothing.” And now, why is it that He has chosen these impotent, helpless men to send them out to conquer the world for Him? It was that in their feebleness they might yield themselves and give Him, as Lord, the opportunity on His throne to show His power working through them. As the Father had done all the work in Christ when He was upon the earth, so Christ in heaven would now be the Great Worker, proving in them that all power had been given to Him in heaven and on earth. Their place would be to pray, to believe, and yield themselves to the mighty power of Christ.
The Holy Spirit would not be in them as a power of which they could have possession. But He would possess them, and their work would be in very deed the work of the Almighty Christ. Their whole posture each day would be that of unceasing dependence and prayer, and of confident expectation.
The apostles had indeed learned to know Christ intimately. They had seen all His mighty works; they had received His teaching; they had gone with Him through all His sufferings, even to the death of the Cross. And they had not only seen Him but known Him in the power of His resurrection and the experience of that resurrection life in their own hearts. Yet they were not capable of making Him known aright, until He Himself, from the throne of heaven, had taken possession of them by His Spirit dwelling in them.
Everything calls the Gospel minister to rest content with nothing less than the indwelling life and power of the Spirit revealing Jesus in the heart as the only fitness for preaching the Gospel in power. Nothing less than having Christ speaking through us in the power of His omnipotence will make us able ministers of the New Testament, bringing salvation to them that hear us.
“Ye Shall Be My Witnesses” (Acts 1:8)
Christ’s servants are to be witnesses to Him, ever testifying of His wonderful love, of His power to redeem, of His continual abiding presence, and of His wonderful power to work in them. Without claiming authority or power, without wisdom or eloquence, without influence or position, each one is called, not only by his words, but by his life and action, to be a living proof and witness of what Jesus can do.
This is to be the only weapon they are to use in conquering men and bringing them to the feet of Christ. This is what the first disciples did. When they were filled with the Spirit they began to speak of the mighty things that Christ had done.
It was in this power that those who were scattered abroad by persecution went forth, even as far as Antioch, preaching in the name of Jesus, so that a multitude of the lost believed. Out of the fullness of the heart they spoke of Jesus Christ. They could not be silent; they were filled with the life and the love of Christ, and could not but witness to Him.
It was this that gave the Gospel its power of increase; every new convert became a witness for Christ.
A non-Christian writer tells later in regard to the persecutions, that if the Christians were only content to keep the worship of Jesus to themselves they would not have to suffer. But in their zeal they wanted Christ to rule over all.
Here we have the secret of a flourishing church: every believer a witness for Jesus. Here we have the cause of the weakness of the church: so few who are willing in daily life to testify that Jesus is Lord.
What a call to prayer! Lord, teach Thy disciples the blessedness of so knowing Jesus and the power of His love that they may find their highest joy in witnessing to what He is and has done for them.
“My Witnesses unto the Uttermost Parts of the Earth” (Acts 1:8)
What words are these for the man who had been crucified by His enemies, speaking of the ends of the earth as His dominion. How could it have entered the mind of any writer to venture the prophecy that a Jew who had been crucified, whose whole life had been proved by that Cross to be an utter failure, and whose disciples had at the last utterly forsaken Him – that by them He should conquer the world? No human mind could have formed such a conception. It is the thought of God; He alone could plan and execute such a purpose.
The word that Jesus spoke to His disciples: “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts 1:8), gives them the assurance that the Holy Spirit would maintain in them Christ’s divine power. As Christ did His works only because the Father worked in Him, so Christ assured His disciples that He Himself from the throne of heaven would work all their works in them. They might ask what they would and it should be done unto them. In the strength of that promise, the church of Christ can make the ends of the earth its one aim.
Oh, that Christian people might understand that the extension of God’s kingdom can only be effected by the united continued prayer of men and women who give their hearts wholly to wait upon Christ in the assurance that what they desire He will do for them.
Oh, that God would grant that His children proved their faith in Christ by making His aim their aim, and yielding themselves to be His witnesses in united, persevering prayer, waiting upon Him in the full assurance that He will most surely and most gloriously give all that they can ask.
My reader, do become one of those intercessors who really believe that in answer to your prayer the crucified Jesus will do far more than you can ask or think.
– Adapted from God’s Best Secrets by Andrew Murray.