FOUR KEYS TO SPIRITUAL POWER
Time and again I have realized victory in my life through four key truths. The first One mentioned breathes
life and power into the other three and activates them.
KEY No.1. GOD’S HOLY SPIRIT: THE SPIRIT OF MIGHT
In both Old and New Testaments, the anointing of the Spirit of God is likened to fire. Apart from the Spirit of God, the other keys to victory, wonderful though they are, would be like sticks
of dynamite without the fire to empower them. Jeremiah said of God’s prophetic word: “His word was in mine heart
as a burning fire shut up in my bones” (Jere.20:9). Jeremiah felt God’s Word burn deep in his heart to the extent
that keeping silent about it was impossible.
In Matthew 3: 11 John the Baptist speaks of One Who would baptize the disciples with the Holy Ghost
and fire. Interestingly, the next verse also promises that the wicked would be
burnt up with fire unquenchable. Either we
make friends with the Fire of God or it will, in the end, become our enemy. In
Acts Chapter 2, the Holy Spirit descends upon the praying disciples, appearing as flames of fire. The Holy Spirit is able to take a naturally timid person like me and impart holy boldness in proclaiming
the Truth, however unpopular it might be in today’s world. That alone testifies
to the mighty power of God working in those who take their eyes off their own inadequacy and focus instead on the power of
Christ within them.
Trying to live the Christian life without the power of the Holy Ghost is like trying to start your car
without gasoline. Our faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God (I Cor. 2:5). Just before His ascension
back to heaven Jesus promised His disciples in Acts 1:8: But ye shall receive
power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you. Inside the margin is a clarification
of the translation from the Greek: The power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you. “Power” in this verse is taken
from the Greek word “Dunamis”, the same word “dynamite” is taken from. Jesus did not qualify this
promise by saying that after the death of the original apostles, you might still get the Holy Ghost Baptism but without the
dynamite to do the good works! Lots of traditional churches reluctantly accept
that people might get baptized in the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues, but they get mighty nervous when people want to see
miracles from the Hand of God. That just doesn’t gel very well with their
sacrosanct manmade traditions!
One day I met somebody who was “on fire for Jesus”
WITHOUT the fire. A man stopped at the corner and got out of his car as I was
walking home from the store. He claimed Jesus had
told him to turn his car around and talk to me. He offered me a tract, but I said I was already a Christian. We got into a deep discussion and ended up disagreeing on some fundamental points. He debunked the Baptism of the Holy Spirit as a delusion. He said tongues was “of the devil”,
and let me know he had repented of being in the Charismatic Movement.
I told him God promised to pour out His Spirit upon all
flesh in the Last Days, and I had received this Blessing more than thirty years before. He said the last days were in the
days of the Apostles. Well, if these aren’t the last of the last days of
satan’s rule on earth, then where else could we be on God’s time
line? If anything, we’re much further into the last days than the original Apostles were! We certainly aren’t
in the Millennial Age of Christ’s earthly Reign yet!
2 Timothy 3:1: This know also, that in the last days perilous
(dangerous) times shall come.* * *The worst criminals “get away with it” these days because there is a spirit
of lawlessness in the earth. Modern man lives under the threat of thermonuclear
Verse 2: For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous
(greedy), boasters, proud (arrogant), blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy.* * *Check out any magazine
newsstand and you’ll find out how self-obsessed and vain this modern culture is.
People might have all they need, but they are encouraged to “aim higher” and covet better possessions than
their neighbors have. Bullies disobey and detest their parents (and all authority
figures). They curse God. Bullies
never thank God for providing the air they breathe and the food they eat. Instead,
they try to destroy other souls He has made.
Verse 3: Without natural affection, trucebreakers (treaty breakers),
false accusers, incontinent (promiscuous), fierce, despisers of those that are good,* * *Recently, a gang of teenage thugs ganged up on a helpless father of three and beat him to death in front of his daughter. The devil’s children are without human feeling.
They lie about others to try to get them in trouble. They use others for
cheap sex. They despise and persecute people who APPEAR to be good, whether they
are Christians are not. Teenage tearaways promise to “be good” when they’re let out on bail, but go on to
break their agreement and commit even worse crimes.
Verse 4: Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasure more
than lovers of God.* * *Bullies usually hate their parents so much they’d betray their own mother for a nickel. They live only for the gratification of their lusts.
They think they’re cooler and better than everybody else around them. They
abuse the Lord’s Name in filthy conversation.
This passage proves that Paul was speaking of the Last Days as a future time from when he himself lived. If we aren’t in the Last Days, then where are we on God’s timeline? That confused guy thought we weren’t in the Last Days so God wasn’t able
to give us His Spirit of power anymore! He actually appealed to Scripture to
try to persuade me to disown the greatest Blessing I’d ever received since my conversion. He said that “when that which is perfect is come”, then the spiritual gifts will pass away. He also cited this one: Now we see through a glass darkly, but then face to face. When that which is perfect is come, then that which is part shall be done away (I
Corinthians 13:10). But his notion of “that which is perfect” was foggy. All he did was mumble: “Get out
there and witness.”
Get out there and witness. That’s all they told me in church when I was a teenager. I felt no
reality of God’s power or Presence, and God seemed to me to be only a far-away Being I paid lip service to on Sundays and Wednesday nights. It wasn’t long before
I lost all interest. God seemed dead and far away before I received the
fullness of the Spirit. Despite the fact desperate prayer on my part saved my little brother from dying of a sudden meningitis
attack. My Sunday School teacher did her best to keep me enthusiastic about church attendance, but my life was a bummer and
will-power and promises to get on fire for Jesus always fell through.
Why I Know God’s Offer STILL Hasn’t Expired!
Fellow believers, we need God’s spiritual power as never before.
Only a person ignorant of the awful shape Planet Earth is in could ever
truly think that “that which is perfect” has already come! Demons
STILL infest the air all around us, inciting sinners to blaspheme and commit abominable sins. Little children and women are
STILL afraid to walk city streets. People are STILL subject to sickness and premature death. Crime STILL goes unpunished.
Wars STILL rage. Wicked men STILL suck off the misery of the poor. Crooks STILL infiltrate all society, even religious
organizations. The devil STILL destroys innocent kids in bully-infested schools.
Satan STILL deceives millions with a convenient, politically correct “gospel”,
which is nothing more than a whimsical doctrine of “love” dispensing with
Scriptural standards of morality. Satan STILL calls the shots in societal trends. Two thousand years of the Church Age has
failed to stamp out sin and immorality in this world.
We do NOT YET see Christ face-to-face, but rather, see Him through a glass darkly ( I Cor. 13: 12). Our understanding of Him and our service for Him is STILL imperfect, because we STILL
dwell in perishable vessels of clay. We have NOT YET been perfected into the
glorious image of Christ, nor attained to perfection of wisdom and power. Though heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ,
we have NOT YET received our ultimate reward. Christ does NOT YET reign as King over this earth. He does NOT YET sit upon His father David’s Throne on Mount Zion, enforcing His righteous decrees.
Rather, most of mankind STILL holds His Word in the basest contempt. This is a world at enmity with its Creator.
I beg to differ, but if this present rotten world is the
perfection God’s children are promised, and, as a result, God must divest
me of weapons I badly need to fight the devil, then I’m in BIG trouble!
Jesus said in Mark 16: 17-18, just before ascending up to heaven: And these signs shall follow THEM
THAT BELIEVE; In My Name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents and if
they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands upon the sick, and they shall recover.
Notice. These signs shall follow “THEM THAT BELIEVE”.
If this offer was to expire after the death of the last of the Twelve Apostles, surely Christ would have included that crucial clause in His will before His Ascension. But it’s a good thing for me He didn’t!
Saints, it makes no sense for a general to strip his army of their most effective weapons just when
the enemy has brought out his deadliest nukes. This is an age of gross darkness,
and I need every spiritual weapon I can get
from God to win the victory.
Don’t Throw the Baby Out With the Bath Water
How much wiser it is to receive God’s spiritual gifts and grow in the use of them, than to reject
them in the name of denominational doctrine and to hobble the Life of Christ in you, and to be helpless in the face of enemy
Many have screwy notion that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are rivals for the affections of the saints,
that if you seek the power of the Spirit and express love and gratitude to Him, you’re neglecting the Son. But the goal of the Holy Spirit is ever to glorify the Son
(John 16:13-14). No one thinks you’re slighting the Son if you praise and
adore the Father Who sent Him, so why should you fear to love the Holy Spirit? God
is a Trinity. The Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are all the same God.
Love without power is feeble and little more than sweet sticky sentiment that cannot free satan’s
captives. It’s like trying to row a boat with only one oar. You just spin
round and round in mad circles as you strive to sell an anemic, politically correct Gospel
with intellectual arguments alone. More often than not, your listener is one tough customer who can present 10,000
reasons why he won’t buy Jesus
and why all Christians are hypocrites.
Unquestioning acceptance of dead doctrine not only hobbles
the saints but robs God of His Glory before an unbelieving world. Many want to
give God a makeover to fit in with their respectable churchianity. They want to make Him a quiet mascot smiling
down on nodding pew-warmers who stare hypnotically at a sleepy preacher, passive
spectators who can’t wait till the boring sermon is over so they can go out to eat.
Flawed Church Tradition Serves Men, Not God
Did Jesus’ offer of Holy Ghost power expire with the demise of
the original apostles? Not one Scripture substantiates that false assumption. And nowhere does it say the offices of apostle, prophet, and teacher would be discontinued
and only powerless pastors and anemic evangelists would remain to take up the
slack! Anything which involves the supernatural side of God tends to be disparaged
by nominal churches and hid beneath a bushel basket in hopes it will be forgotten
about. It appears to me that a lot of church traditions serve the interests of
men, not God.
Limiters of God give lip service to a respectable Sunday god who has retired from the miracle business;
a god who sits with folded hands looking on helplessly as people pray prayers
they don’t expect ever to see answered. But that isn’t my God!
The Baptism of the Spirit: Christ’s
Notice in Luke 22:31-32. Jesus and His original disciples
were gathered in the Upper Room for the Last Supper, just prior to His trial and crucifixion.
Jesus was about to warn Peter that he would deny Him three times. He says: “Simon, Simon, listen. Satan has
desired to have you. He wants to sift you like wheat. But I have prayed for you, that your faith will not fail: and
WHEN YOU ARE CONVERTED (saved), strengthen your brethren.” The disciples had walked with Jesus for at least three years, but they had not yet been born again. Jesus had not yet offered up His life as an atonement for their sins.
For some 40 days after His resurrection from the dead, Jesus continued to make appearances to His followers
in His immortal resurrected body. Immediately after Jesus’ execution, His eleven disciples (Judas had committed suicide), were hiding in a locked room,
petrified that those same Jewish leaders who’d just murdered Jesus were out gunning for them. They were surprised when Jesus suddenly materialized before them without going through the door. Now Christ could do this because His wonderful resurrected body was not hindered by the laws of nature,
or time and space. He showed the
disciples the marks left in His hands by the nails, and the deep scar left by the spear which had been thrust through his
side. Having satisfied His men that He was indeed the risen Savior Who possessed
a body of flesh and bone, and not a mere apparition, he gave them the commission to preach the Gospel. Then He breathed upon His disciples and said, Receive ye the
Holy Ghost (John 20: 21-22).
Which sparks a question: If Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit into His disciples at the time of their first
encounter with Him after His Resurrection, then why this subsequent scenario: Ten
days before the Jewish Feast of Pentecost and immediately before He went back
to heaven, Christ gave parting instructions to His disciples: It is written that Christ must suffer and rise from the dead the third day: and that repentance
and forgiveness of sins should be preached in His Name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
You are all witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My
Father upon you; but you must first wait in the city of Jerusalem until you have received power from above (Luke 24:46-49). And again, in Acts Chapter 1 Christ says:
Verse 4 And, being assembled together with them, (Christ) commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father,
which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
Verse 5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days
Verse 6 When they therefore were come together, they asked
of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom again to Israel?
Verse 7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know
the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
Verse 8 But YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER, after that the Holy
Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the
uttermost part of the earth.
Verse 9 And when he had spoken these things, while he beheld,
he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight.
The very last words Christ uttered on this earth before being taken up to heaven was His promise to
send us the Holy Spirit. I should think the thelogians who debunk the Baptism of the Spirit would agree that the final words
of Christ on earth should carry at least as much weight as everything else he said during His ministry. And Jesus didn’t
restrict His promise to those disciples standing with Him on the Mount of Olives either, anymore than He limited salvation
from sin to that particular group of disciples.
Salvation, Water Baptisms and Holy Spirit Baptism
If salvation and the Baptism of the Spirit were one and the same blessing, then it follows that throughout
the forty days the Resurrected Christ walked among the disciples, they were still unconverted sinners, because they did not
receive the Baptism of the Spirit until the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:1-4. But this just can’t be. Jesus had breathed the Holy Spirit into the hearts of the disciples immediately after His Resurrection, many days before His departure date. The Holy Spirit simply does not dwell in the hearts of unconverted individuals! His Presence in
a heart sanctifies it.
I firmly believe Jesus had earlier breathed His Holy Spirit into the hearts of His disciples to regenerate
them spiritually to eternal life. When He did this, they were converted, for it was then the Holy Spirit entered their hearts by faith and imparted eternal life to men once spiritually dead ( see Ephesians 2:1). But Christ would not send his followers
off to the mission field until they had first received the Baptism (total immersion
into) the Holy Spirit, to empower them.
This can be likened to a soldier being inducted into the army. Once he is sworn in, he knows his duty
is to fight to defend his nation. When we enter the Kingdom of God by faith,
we receive the status of soldiers of the Great King (2 Tim. 2:3-4).
But a soldier’s zeal is never enough to defeat an enemy stronger than himself. He needs weapons. The Baptism of the Holy Spirit empowers
you, as a believer, to keep the
Faith in an ungodly world and pray strong prayers in the Spirit which get the
devil running when he dares to cross the Christ in you. If you don’t receive
the power and wisdom of the mighty Holy Ghost, you’re a dead duck, waiting to be picked off on satan’s shooting
Acts 8: 14-17 also bolsters my belief that salvation and
the Baptism of the Spirit are two separate occurrences. It could hardly be plainer.
Verse 14 Now when
the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
Verse 15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them that
they might receive the Holy Ghost:
Verse 16 (For as yet He (the Holy Ghost) was fallen upon NONE
of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
Verse 17 THEN laid
they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
By the time the apostles got to Samaria to check on the new believers who had received the Word of God,
they had ALREADY BEEN WATER BAPTIZED in the Name of Jesus. Now, if salvation
from sin and the Baptism in the Holy Ghost are synonymous terms and water baptism is the only baptism needful for believers,
then why would the apostles have prayed for them to receive the Holy Ghost upon their arrival in Samaria? What’s more,
if these people had been unconverted before the apostles prayed for them, then why on earth were they ALREADY water baptized
in the Name of Jesus? It just isn’t scriptural for people to be baptized to bear testimony to others that they are born again BEFORE the fact, is it?
In Acts 19 Paul visits a group of disciples in Ephesus. By
clear inference, they must be ALREADY saved to be Christian disciples! In verse
2 he asks them: have ye received the Holy
Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, we have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost (KJV).
Here we have the same paradox not common to powerless churches:
The disciples, who had earlier received John the Baptist’s baptism
unto repentance, had heard of Jesus, but not the Holy Ghost! Yet God in His mercy
has already enabled them to believe in Christ’s saving power. This is implied in verse 4 where Paul says: John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the
people; that they should believe on him that should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Verse 5 When they
heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.
Verse 6 And when
Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; AND THEY SPAKE WITH TONGUES AND PROPHESIED.
Notice, this particular group had ALREADY believed on Christ unto salvation. If any of them had died before the arrival of Paul, they would have doubtless gone straight to heaven. Though they had been baptized in water by John before Christ’s crucifixion,
they received another water baptism as an outward testimony to men of their conversion to the risen Christ. Then Paul laid
hands on them to receive the Baptism of the Holy Ghost, which enabled them to speak in tongues and prophesy.
Bypassing the Natural Mind to Access the Mind of the Spirit
No other point of theology seems to pose more of a stumbling block to seekers of the Baptism of the
Spirit than speaking in tongues. Why? Because speaking in tongues is an ability
imparted by the Holy Spirit, Whose understanding is infinitely superior to human
intellect. The fallible human mind falls far short of the Glory of God. Speaking in tongues bypasses the intellect
altogether, and thus we do not know what we are praying when we exercise this gift.
Tongues is a supernatural Gift of the Spirit, exercised at the will of
the speaker as the Spirit provides the utterance (Acts 2:4). This heavenly speech
is unintelligible to the speaker, but understood by God (I Cor. 14:14).
People of great accomplishment or intellectual geniuses sometimes have a harder time receiving tongues because there is no room for human pride in
the exercise of this gift. It’s one example of that which is lightly esteemed in men’s eyes confounding things
highly esteemed in the sight of men (I Cor. 1: 25-29). Ironically, it is
the very simplicity of moving in the Gift of Tongues which humbles human pride.
I’m one of those who didn’t find human pride an obstacle in receiving tongues. I had been
so badly treated in school there was no room to be proud of anything except the fact I had a cup with lots of room for God
to fill up with more of Himself. When I received the Baptism at the tender
age of 19, I was totally disgusted with the ways of the world. I loathed the
idea of living out my life to impress a world full of phony entities who didn’t care two cents about me anyway. My sights
were set strictly on the things of God’s Eternal Kingdom. The day I received
the Baptism of the Spirit was like heaven itself to me. After I prayed for the
fullness of the Spirit I sang in tongues to praise the Lord Who offered me true dignity as a child of God, as one whom others
had striven to rob of dignity. My soul was lifted up with unutterable joy. And
my only regret was the Lord didn’t
also lift me up off my chair to be with Him in heaven. Any believer who
knows he is dead to a dead world wants all the life God can pour into him or
Benefits of Speaking in Tongues
In Acts Chapter Two Spirit-baptized apostles spoke in foreign languages they’d never learned before
and Jewish proselytes from all over the known world heard the wonderful works of God proclaimed in their own tongues. That is a miraculous phenomenon, rather than being the product of years of laborious
language study! Even in that case, the believer does not understand what he is saying when speaking in tongues, because the
content of the message is not governed by his intellect. The Gift of Tongues does not make it unnecessary for missionaries
to study the native languages of the countries they’re being sent to, as a common UNDERSTOOD language is still essential
for personal interaction.
Tongues are of enormous benefit to the believer’s prayer life.
In the natural realm, we are limited by our own intellect, insofar as expressing ourselves is concerned. But there are times our communion with God transcends the depth and range of our natural language and vocabulary.
The ways of the Spirit are a deep mystery. As you pray in tongues He could be offering up a petition for some situation you
know nothing about. Our natural minds are not always aware of matters which need praying for, either in our own lives or those
of others. Except in the case of the
Gift of Tongues with interpretation exercised in the Christian assembly, tongues are directed exclusively toward God, not
men (I Cor. 14:2; verses 14-15).
Whenever you’re under attack, pray in the prayer language of the Spirit, out loud in the face
of danger. Your enemies aren’t ashamed to make noise for the devil, so
why should you feel self-conscious? Remind satan that he is defeated by Jesus’ blood and has no right to bother you. If you feel the devil making you worry, you could say something like this:
Devil, in the name of Jesus I submit myself to God and His Word.
I resist you in the power of the Holy Spirit. I command you to flee! Jesus defeated you 2,000 years ago on the Cross of Calvary. I take authority over you through the Blood of Jesus. Your destiny is the Lake of Fire, God’s garbage
incinerator. My destiny is to rule with Christ in the world to come. You are a defeated foe.
Jesus has already won the victory through His death, burial and resurrection.
Jesus spoiled your principalities of darkness and triumphed over them openly in the sight of all the universe. You
are a squatter, devil. You’ve got no right to touch God’s property.
Get out and don’t ever bother me, my loved ones or anything we have ever again. If satan keeps coming back to hassle
you, keep reasserting your right to be free (John 8:32,36). Pray for God to give His angels charge over you to keep you in
all your ways, according to Psalms 91. God’s unseen army of angels are well able to fight for you to deliver you (Psalms
At times, I might feel a deep burden in my spirit and not
even know what it’s about. It is then I will direct my heart heavenward
and pray as the Spirit gives me utterance. I don’t worry that I don’t
know exactly what I’m saying, because the Holy Spirit knows better than I do what the Father needs to hear concerning
a situation which may not even be at the forefront of my consciousness. The Spirit
makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot even be uttered (Romans 8:26-27).
Our understanding often fails, but the mind of the Spirit is always perfectly attune with the will of God. That’s
part of the reason I disagreed with that fellow I met on the road when he insisted that the Gifts of the Spirit are “done
away” because “that which is perfect” is already come and there
was no further need for them. How absurd, to think our own natural knowledge and power to present accurately our petitions to the Father is as perfect as that of the Holy Spirit!
One benefit of praying in tongues is that the inner man feels refreshed afterward, as if it’s
just had a good spring cleaning. Often I have felt oppressed, discouraged or weary and a few minutes of praying in tongues
has driven those feelings away. Isaiah 28:11-12 speaks of unknown tongues and the stubbornness of unbelievers who hear them: For with stammering lips and another tongue will he (God) speak to this people. To whom he said, this is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this
is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. That’s great news for those
who hesitate to pray in tongues privately or exercise the Gift of Tongues in church because it doesn’t sound fluent
enough. The world pokes fun at stammering or any kind of weakness whatever. But in God’s book, tongues can even come with stammering! Not only that, God
delights in using weak things to confound things idolized by the world, so that there can be no room for pride or boasting
(I Cor. 1:25-29).
The devil trembles whenever God’s faithful people pray in the Spirit. It is then God’s power is released to tear down the devil’s strongholds of darkness and release
Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of Hosts (Zech 4:6).