The greatest need and the only help
Two Scripture references summarize what the Lord has placed on my mind and heart for today’s column. “And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light” (Romans 13:11-12). “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord Almighty” (Zechariah 4:6).
The first reference confronts us with the urgency and the necessity of a spiritual awakening in individual believers and in the churches for now. I believe that God’s first word to the Church and churches and true believers today is, “The hour has come for you to wake up from your sleep!” The time is now for a spiritual awakening.
The second reference confronts us with the only help for a spiritual awakening. I believe God’s second word to the Church and churches and true believers today is, “Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord Almighty.” My condition, the condition of the average Christian and the condition of most churches is that we are and have been asleep. A person or church which is asleep is unaware of the surrounding conditions and circumstances and unaware of the life and potential that is within the church body and within each believer. That life and potential is the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit). We must have a discovery and a rediscovery of the Holy Spirit and His works in the life of the saved believer and through the believer to an unsaved world. And I speak a word of faith: we will have it because of God’s grace. We don’t deserve it but God is initiating it by his grace.
God’s command to every saved believer is to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Bible uses a contrast and speaks to all saved church members in Ephesians 5:18 saying, “Do not be drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit.” A person drunk on alcoholic beverage will do, say, attempt and experience hurtful and even evil things which would not happen without “being under the influence.” On the other hand, a believer under the control of the Holy Spirit can do, say, attempt and experience great and good things which will bless himself and others and bring glory to Jesus Christ.
To be filled with the Holy Spirit means to be controlled or dominated by the Spirit’s presence and power. We find two commands in the above Scripture verse. The first command is, “Do not be drunk with alcoholic beverage.” We all agree that would be sinning. The second command is, “Be filled with the Spirit.” So, to not be filled with the Spirit is sinning day after day. And I estimate that the majority of saved church members continue to commit the sin of not being filled with the Holy Spirit. And this is the tragedy which must be turned into triumph, and it will.
A county full of churches,
Good preachers, excellent men!
Good music, choirs and organs,
If these all fail, what then?
Good workers eager, earnest,
Who labor many an hour,
But where, Oh where, my brother,
Is God’s almighty power?
Equipment, buildings, programs!
We have the very best.
Our plans and our goals are perfect,
We give ourselves no rest.
We get the best of talent.
We try our uttermost,
But what we need our brothers
Is God, the Holy Ghost.
Join me in prayer that we and our saved church members will go further than just to be born again by the Spirit of God and be indwelt by the Spirit of God: that there will come a great awakening of being filled with the Spirit of God.
Next time: What the Holy Spirit wants to do in us.
Note: Charles Christmas is a religious columnist for The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears each Saturday.