THE HOLY SPIRIT
Chapter 5: The Holy Spirit Gives You Power
You say: "Can we have this power
equally with the early disciples?" I say: "Yes."
I say yes because I am as unworthy and as needy as
they were. I do not think we have any better preachers
today than the preachers in the New Testament. And
they needed this power.
Do not talk about "Can we have this Baptism
today?' We are of no use without it. Christianity
without the Holy Ghost in it is a shell, a beautiful
form, but lifeless, dead. Only God, the Holy Ghost,
can produce the spark that quickens -- the flame that
If I need this power so badly, is it likely that
God will withhold it if I meet the conditions? The
Bible is full of promise and exhortation to me to
approach God with a full confidence of faith to receive
this promise. There is not one paragraph that suggests
that God will withhold.
Our Savior goes on record that He bought this gift
for us. It is an integral part of the full gospel.
It is meant to be. There is no other inference in
the New Testament.
Jesus said that it was more expedient for His people
to have this infilling than that He should remain
with them. That is how important the baptism of the
Holy Ghost is to the believer. It is promised to all
believers to the end of time.
Let me say this to you with conviction! God holds
us responsible. God holds every believer responsible
for what that believer could have accomplished in
the kingdom of God had he obtained the gift and used
it. The gift is there for you to use now!
Condensed from The Holy Spirit Is For You by Revivaltime
evangelist C. M. Ward. © 1966 Assemblies of God.
Springfield. Missouri 65802.
for Many Purposes: Learn How to Use Power
The Holy Spirit and Power
Think of how many ways electricity is
used: With it people light their cities, cook, heat
their homes, run their factories and operate all kinds
of machinery. Because men have learned how to use
electric power they can do what used to seem impossible
-- even go to the moon.
The Holy Spirit wants to fill your life with a power
greater than electricity -- power to do what is impossible
without it -- but you must learn to use it. Used in
the right way this power will bring glory to God and
blessing to your life. Power of any kind used in the
wrong way will always bring trouble.
Three mistakes to avoid:
1. Some people use the Holy Spirit's power as a toy
to be played with.
This was the problem of the Corinthian church. They
so enjoyed talking in other tongues by the Spirit's
power that they were just having a good time in their
services. There was a lot of disorder. Outsiders thought
they were crazy. Paul let them know that all things
should be done decently and in order. They should
learn to so channel the power of the Holy Spirit that
souls would be saved, not turned away from Christ.
2. Some people call attention to themselves instead
of giving glory to God.
If the Holy Spirit gives a man faith for healing the
sick, it is not so that he can shout: "Look at
me, everybody! Miracles! I have lots of power!"
Or if God uses someone to give messages in prophecy,
it is not so that he can say: "Everyone had better
listen to me! I am a prophet! Come to me if you want
to know what to do." Such pride brings many problems.
3. Some people just don't use the power that the
Holy Spirit has for them.
This is the most common mistake of all. Some have
seen the misuse or imitations of the Spirit's power
and are afraid of anything supernatural. The Thessalonian
church had this problem. Paul told them to test the
spirits to see if they were of God and not to accept
any false prophecies or imitations of God's work.
But they were not to throw away the real along with
not restrain the Holy Spirit; do not despise inspired
messages. Put all things to the test: keep what is
good, and avoid every kind of evil (1 Thessalonians
Being filled with the Holy Spirit is like having
your house wired for electricity. It's not wired so
you can sit in the dark and say: "I've got electricity
at last!" Turn the light on! Use the power! In
the Book of Acts you have God's pattern for the right
use of the power of the Holy Spirit.
This is the Pattern for You
The power of the Holy Spirit in the early Christians
made their lives clean and good in a civilization
noted for its crime and corruption. An inner joy and
peace made them sing and praise God when they were
beaten and thrown into jail for Christ's sake. Full
of God's love, they forgave and prayed for those who
tortured them. This is power used rightly!
They had a powerful message and gave it with powerful
personal conviction. They knew what they were talking
about. Anyone without Christ was lost, but Jesus would
save those who believed on him. They spoke with wisdom,
logic, and courage beyond their own abilities -- power
that convicted their hearers of the truth and convicted
them of sin.
They had a powerful faith. They knew that God was
with them and would work through them as He had promised.
So in Jesus' name they commanded paralytics to walk
and they did. They prayed and things happened. Sick
people were healed. Prison doors opened. Multitudes
of sinners turned to God.
This power in the early Christians made them witnesses,
just as Jesus had said. They had the boldness and
urgent desire to tell all their neighbors about Jesus.
They had a mission to fulfill. Courage, love, a great
vision and total commitment to Christ drove them on
from town to town and country to country. They were
determined to give the good news of salvation to every
man, woman and child in their world.
This is the pattern of power in the early Church.
Their power then was the power of the Holy Spirit
who filled them and worked through them. What they
did was the natural outflow of Spirit-filled lives.
The Bible tells you their experience in detail because
it is the pattern for Christians today.
For You to Do
1. Draw a circle around each of the results of the
Spirit's power in the early Christians.
fear faith message worry
courage popularity healings vision
money conversions love
Promise of Power
John the Baptist promised that Jesus would baptize
with the Holy Spirit and fire. This was a general
promise made to all those who were being converted
and baptized by him in water.
baptize you with water to show that you have repented;
but the one who will come after me will baptize you
with the Holy Spirit and fire (Matthew 3:11).
Jesus had a great work for Christians to do all down
through the ages. He knew they could never do it in
their own strength. So He told His followers to wait
until they received the power of the Holy Spirit and
then they would be His witnesses. Jesus' command and
promise were for all His followers.
I myself will send upon you what my Father has promised.
But you must wait in the city until the power from
above comes down upon you" (Luke 24:49). "Wait
for the gift my Father promised. ... For John baptized
with water, but in a few days you will be baptized
with the Holy Spirit. ... You will be filled with
power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will
be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in all of Judea
and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts
For You to Do
2. Read Acts 1:1-14. Memorize verses 4, 5, and 8
Back to Top
Promise Fulfilled at Pentecost
What did Jesus' followers do to receive the promise
Holy Spirit? For ten days 120 of them waited -- praying
and expecting something to happen. And it did! On
the Day of Pentecost they received what we call the
Pentecostal experience or the baptism in the Holy
all joined together in a group to pray frequently
(Acts 1:14). When
the day of Pentecost arrived, all the believers were
gathered together in one place. Suddenly there was
a noise from the sky which sounded like a strong wind
blowing, and it filled the whole house where they
were sitting. Then they saw what looked like tongues
of fire spreading out; and each person there was touched
by a tongue. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit
and began to talk in other languages, as the Spirit
enabled them to speak. There were Jews living in Jerusalem.
religious men who had come from every country in the
world. In amazement and wonder they exclaimed: "These
men who are talking like this -- they are all Galileans!
How is it, then, that all of us ... hear them speaking
in our own languages of the great things that God
has done!" But others made fun of the believers,
saving. "These men are drunk!" (Acts 2:1-5,
7-8, 11, 13).
Before this, Peter had been afraid of ridicule. What
a change after he received the power of the Holy Spirit!
He stood up and preached a powerful message. He explained
that what they saw was the fulfillment of God's promise.
God had poured out His Spirit.
Peter stood up with the other eleven apostles, and
in a loud voice began to speak to the crowd: ... "These
men are not drunk, as you suppose. ... Rather, this
is what the prophet Joel spoke about: This is what
I will do in the last days, God says: I will pour
out my Spirit upon all men; Your sons and your daugh-ters
will prophesy." Many of them believed his message
and were baptized; about three thousand people were
added to the group that day (Acts 2:14.17, 41).
From then on Acts is the record of how the Holy Spirit
worked through the Christians; He helped them witness,
spread the gospel and win souls to Christ.
For You to Do
3. What book is the pattern for the work of the Spirit
4. Read Acts chapter 2
Back to Top
Normal Experience After Conversion
Believers Filled with Power
The apostles expected all believers to be filled
with the Holy Spirit after their conversion. Peter
made that plain.
said to them: "Turn away from your sins, each
one of you, and be baptized in the name of Jesus
Christ, so that your sins will be forgiven; and
you will receive God's gift, the Holy Spirit. For
God's promise was made to you and your children,
and to all who are far away -- all whom the Lord
our God calls to himself" (Acts 2:38-39).
If new converts did not receive the baptism of
the Holy Spirit right away after their conversion,
someone went to pray for them so that they would
apostles in Jerusalem heard that the people of Samaria
had received the word of God: so they sent Peter
and John to them. When they arrived. they prayed
for the believers that they might receive the Holy
Spirit. For the Holy Spirit had not yet come down
on any of them. . . . Then Peter and John placed
their hands on them, and they received the Holy
Spirit (Acts 8:14-17).
After Saul was converted, the Lord sent Ananias
to pray for him.
"He sent me so that you might see again and
be filled with the Holy Spirit" (Acts 9:17).
Cornelius and his family heard the gospel, believed
and were saved as they accepted the truth. Before
Peter finished preaching they were filled with the
Holy Spirit. The experience of the believers in
Ephesus was different. Like many Christians today,
they had not even heard that God wanted to fill
them with the Holy Spirit. Paul asked them:
you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?"
"We have not even heard that there is a Holy
Spirit," they answered. Paul placed his hands
on them, and the Holy Spirit came upon them (Acts
Judging from the pattern in the early Church, God
wants to fill all His children with the Holy Spirit
and power. Who received then? Rich and poor. Men,
women and children. Illiterate and well educated.
Religious leaders and persons recently delivered
from deep sin. Persons of many nations. Peter said
in the house of Cornelius, a Roman soldier:
now realize that it is true that God treats all
men alike. These people have received the Holy Spirit,
just as we also did (Acts 10:34, 47).
For You to Do
5. Who said: "God treats all men alike?"
Back to Top
of the Holy Spirit's Power: Speaking in Other Languages
When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, He gave
several signs of His power. People heard a sound
as of a strong wind. They saw tongues of fire. And
they spoke in languages that they had never learned.
In Acts you find that one of these signs -- speaking
in tongues -- was repeated when others received
the Holy Spirit. This was how Peter knew that Cornelius
and his family had received the Holy Spirit. The
same sign was repeated at Ephesus.
Compare the experiences.
were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to
talk in other languages, as the Spirit enabled them
to speak (Acts 2:4).
Peter was still speaking, the Holy Spirit came down
upon all those who were listening to the message.
The Jewish believers who had come from Joppa with
Peter were amazed that God had poured out his gift
of the Holy Spirit upon the Gentiles also. For they
heard them speaking in strange tongues and praising
God's greatness. Peter spoke up: "These people
have received the Holy Spirit, just as we also did"
placed his hands on them, and the Holy Spirit came
upon them; they spoke in strange tongues and also
proclaimed God's message (Acts 19:6).
Speaking in other languages by the power of the
Holy Spirit is the supernatural sign that God has
chosen to show that the Holy Spirit has filled a
person. Both Jesus and Paul referred to speaking
in tongues as a sign or proof.
will be given these signs of power: ... they will
speak in strange tongues" (Mark 16:17).
gift of speaking in strange tongues is proof for
unbelievers (1 Corinthians 14:22).
Christians throughout the world are continually
experiencing this wonderful gift of the Holy Spirit.
Usually the language is not known to anyone present.
However, many times the Spirit has spoken through
a person in a language unknown to the speaker but
understood by someone in the audience, just as at
Other Signs of Power
You have read about many other signs of power that
follow as we keep filled with the Holy Spirit: the
clean life, love of God, courage and complete dedication
to Christ. Signs of power are seen in powerful faith,
powerful prayer, powerful witnessing and powerful
preaching. The results -- conversions, healings,
baptisms in the Spirit and church growth -- are
also signs of power.
Dr. Alexander MacLaren writes:
There is no such force for the spreading of Christ's
Kingdom and the witness-bearing work of His Church,
as the possession of this Divine Spirit. Plunged
into that fiery baptism, the selfishness and the
sloth which stand in the way of so many of us, are
all consumed and anni-hilated, and we are set free
for service because the bonds that bound us are
burnt up in the merciful furnace of His fiery power.
shall be strengthened with might by His Spirit in
the inner man" -- a power that will fill and
flood all your nature, if you will let it, and make
you strong to suffer, strong to combat, strong to
serve, and to witness for your Lord.
Check Your Answers
1. faith, message, courage, healings, vision, conversions,
3. Acts (or the Bible)
Go to Chapter 6: The Holy Spirit Does Another
Go back to Chapter 4: The Holy
Spirit Leads You
Back to Top