What do you need right now in order to fulfill the call of God on your life?
I asked my friends on social media this question. Here are some of the answers I received:
The kids grow up and leave home.
Healing from a physical ailment.
A life partner.
An audience to preach to.
All of these are good things, of course, helpful to anyone in ministry. Partnership and support are essential, while time and physical stamina enable us to do what God has called us to do.
Yet the Bible gives a very different answer to this question.
Jesus tells us there is just ONE THING we must have in order to do the kinds of works He does, and it encompasses all of the above.
POWER FOR MINISTRY
In Acts 1:4 Jesus tells His disciples, who are already believers in Him, “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized in the Holy Spirit.”
Luke 24:49 also says “Stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”
According to Christ, the one thing believers need for New Testament-style ministry is POWER. Power for ministry comes through the Holy Spirit alone.
Sadly, it is power that is the most lacking in our churches today. Power is often capped, limited, or confined to charismatics who have the audacity to believe that God still wants to heal, deliver, or do miracles!
I should know. I’ve been called a fanatic on more than one occasion!
This puzzles me because the Holy Spirit who fills believers at salvation is the same Holy Spirit who does miracles. We’ve just stopped believing He wants to do them through us!
In the Old Testament, the priests who ministered at the altar changed. The showbread changed, replaced daily with new loaves. Even the location of the tabernacle changed. But one thing remained constant: the golden lampstand with its oil was never to go out.
Zechariah describes this lampstand as burning day and night, full of oil and fueled by olive trees on either side. In Zechariah 4:6, the prophet provides an interpretation for us: “‘Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts.”
Friends, there have been a great many prophecies lately about the coming revival. About a billion-soul harvest. About youth and entire nations turning to the Lord. Jesus’ Great Commission still stands: we are to make disciples from Jerusalem to the ends of the earth. The only way this can happen is through the power of the Holy Spirit!
Like you, I am praying for and expecting revival: a move of the Spirit that will cause thousands to come back to Jesus. Yet the Bible makes something very clear: our personal Pentecost is already here!
A DOUBLE-EDGED SWORD
Like Jesus, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed, Paul himself did good works and spoke the Word of God everywhere He went. These are things the modern church still does, and they are manifestations of the fruit of the Spirit, the Holy Spirit working within.
The flip side of Paul’s “sword,” though, the ministry of signs and wonders, was not something he or the earlier disciples could do themselves, even as believers! For that, they needed the power of God, or the Holy Spirit poured out upon them as well as within them. They needed to be immersed in the Spirit just as they were immersed in water. In short, they needed outward manifestations of the Holy Spirit, releasing gifts as He willed. (See 1 Corinthians 12.)
Throughout Acts, we see that there is a difference between being baptized into repentance (for salvation) and the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which empowers us to witness with accompanying signs and wonders. (Download or print a free resource on this topic here).
Dear friends, in order for us to “fully preach the Gospel of Christ” as Paul did, in order for us to steward or even explain the revival that is coming, we are going to need the full measure of the Spirit ourselves! We need the ongoing, ever-increasing power only the Holy Spirit can give us to minister!
We cannot “cap” or limit our wells, entrusting God with our minds but not our hearts. We cannot say that He is Savior and not Lord! Nor can we deny the all-powerful, co-equal nature of the Holy Spirit. We must be “all in,” fully immersed in the fresh, living water of the third member of the Trinity, acknowledging Him as the powerful Person that He is!
Please understand that I am not trying to split doctrinal hairs or ruffle anyone’s feathers. The same Holy Spirit who lives in you because of your initial decision for Christ is the One who will pour out revival! To be ready for this, you must be “revived” yourself. You must settle, once and for all, who He is and what He has come to do. (Please see the attached handout for Scriptures on who He is.)
He is not here as Comforter and Guide alone! He is here to magnify Jesus, equip the saints, and edify Christ’s Body. The Holy Spirit is looking for a partnership: ALL of you working with ALL of Him to see God’s glory cover ALL the earth!
If you are hungry for more of the Holy Spirit today, know that this is by Divine design! God is calling the saints to get ready, to fill our lamps with oil, and to welcome Him fully ourselves so that we can “fully preach the Word of God.” Take the time to immerse yourself in the Scriptures I’ve provided for you in today’s free download. Ask Him to fill you with ALL that He is so that you can do ALL things IN HIM.
When revival comes and this dark world is at last hungry for freedom, will you have the one thing you need to set them free?
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.