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« on: January 29, 2010, 04:34:44 AM »

THE HOLY SPIRIT AT WORK

BY

S. Franklin Logsdon

"It is expedient for you that I go away . . . I will send him unto you"

Copyright @ 1960

CHAPTER EIGHT

THE SPIRIT PROVIDES POWER

"Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord"

WHAT A STINGING, stunning blow herein is dealt the ego of man! In language singular and sublime, yet simple and solemn, it is settled once and for all that spiritual accomplishments are dependent not upon the might of man but rather upon the dynamic of Deity.

THE MIGHT OF DAVID

What may be said of one who is filled with the Spirit?

Simply this:

- He is one who walks like a wise man amid the folly of a self-reliant age.
- He is one who moves like a victor against vicious opposition.
- He is one who stands resolutely on the side of godliness.

The Who's Who of ancient days listed King Saul as one who stood head and shoulders above all in Israel. His armies were impressive to view and their equipment excellent for the day, but they trembled at the sight of the Philistine. David, by contrast, marched forthwith to a decisive victory over the taunting, terrifying Goliath without assisting forces or blaring fanfare. Saul was bulwarked with human might and power, but failed; David was clothed with the Spirit as he advanced in the name of the Lord, and succeeded.
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2010, 04:37:52 AM »

THE CASE OF STEPHEN

There was Stephen who stood on the threshold of a new era and decried without restraint the empty traditions of men which counteracted the message of hope. The account is reported from two viewpoints; namely, the human and divine.

Men said: "This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and the law" (Acts 6:13).

God said: "Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people" (Acts 6:8).

The discrepancy in these reports is at once revealing. "All that sat in council" (Acts 6:15) came up with the same decision.

- They were unanimous (Acts 7:57).
- They gnashed upon him with their teeth.
- They stopped their ears.
- They ran upon him.
- They cast him out of the city.
- They stoned him.
- They resented his words.
- They resisted his works.
- They rejected his Saviour.

Thus, Stephen became the first recorded example of one emulating the words of the Lord Jesus: "Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul" (Matthew 10:28).

This man's soul could not be killed. His spirit could not be broken. As his body collapsed under the punishing attack of his persecutors, his faith, forgiveness and fearlessness caused Heaven to smile with approbation. At the same time, Christianity's greatest advocate-to-be was being impressed with a demonstration of supernatural power manifested in a human life.

Saul of Tarsus stood by.

What was the secret of this phenomenal death? There was no secret! The explanation is an open letter to be read and known by all men. He had not been famous in the sight of men. He left no fortune of gold and silver, of stocks and bonds, of real estate and possessions. The fact which is monumental to the memory of Stephen is that he was "full . . . of the Holy Ghost" (Acts 6:5). This was his supporting power, even in martyrdom.
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2010, 04:38:39 AM »

THE SPIRIT VERSUS SATAN

The early church faced severe tests of faith.

There were problems within as well as pressure without, and dealing with internal matters is usually the more trying. Enemy soldiers are more recognizable on the field than are enemy saboteurs in the factory, and more easily disposed of. All subversive agents are dedicated to destructive enterprises. Their design is to weaken the internal structure. The overall pattern is essentially the same whether in the political, economic, moral or spiritual realms.

The church, with the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit, alarms Satan. He energized Herod to plot the destruction of the Babe of Bethlehem. He later employed diverse artifices to ensnare the Son of God and to controvert His message. His stratagems were multiple at Calvary, but when the phenomenal tongues of fire and rushing wind bespoke the manifestation of the Holy Spirit, Satan was little prepared to do more than produce a few mockers (Acts 2:13). Soon, however, he feverishly deployed his forces and organized opposition became evident.

He faced Jesus in person in the wilderness temptation and failed. Later, he faced the Spirit indwelling Peter and fell.

Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, were evidently prominent people in the assembly. (Subversion succeeds more effectively where there is position, prestige or popularity.) They pretended to be "in fellowship," to be co-operative, but they withheld part of the sale price of their property. Of course, there was no legitimate reason why they should not have retained the total amount for themselves, but for the fact that they had promised it all and pretended to have so given.

Here is the divine record on the matter: Peter, specially commissioned by his resurrected Lord, was "filled with the Holy Ghost" (Acts 4:31). Ananias entered the assembly filled with Satan. The peace and wholesomeness of the fellowship were thereby threatened. Discerning Peter withstood him.

"Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost?" the great apostle demanded firmly.

That day, the two greatest of all powers were arrayed one against the other. One had to go down. One did go down!

"Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God"! thundered the old veteran of the faith.

Ananias, hearing these words, "fell down, and gave up the ghost" (Acts 5:5). It was the victory of the Holy Spirit.
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2010, 04:39:45 AM »

FAITH AND THE FLOGGING POST

An unprincipled mob ruthlessly prodded a humble man to a place of penal striping. Lashed to the post as though he were a cruel monster of vicious intent, the executioner administered the stripes. As the whip fell with no lessened force or fierceness for the thirty-ninth time, one wonders how the system of a mortal could endure such unspeakable infliction.

Not once, but twice; then the third time the penalty was imposed. On still another occasion, the persecutors resorted to rods with their bone-bruising impact. At yet another instance, they took up stones against the man of little stature but of great faith. Perils, painfulness and poverty multiplied. In the midst of such intense maltreatment and bodily discomfort, this stalwart, battle-worn and scarred servant quietly prays: "Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me" (II Corinthians 12:9).

He had discovered:

- A possessing power,
- A sustaining force,
- A persevering energy.

It was the dynamic of Deity, the power of Christ resident within through the Spirit. It was the stabilizing factor in all the triumphant testifiers of Truth who willingly hazarded their lives for the cause of Christ. It enabled the martyrs to defy the frailties of the flesh as the flaming fagots burned their skin and sizzled the blood from their veins. This is the supreme might imparted by the Spirit (cf. Philippians 4:13).

THE FETTERS OF STATE CONTROL

With the spirit of feudalism rampant, the feeling of clanship fervent, the brutality of the aristocracy rough, the ignorance and profligacy of the clergy disheartening, the spiritual cast in Scotland was most confusing in the mid-sixteenth century. The state-controlled church left little alternative to the dissatisfied and despairing people. Then Knox, though previously exiled for his dissenting boldness, dared to oppose the use of the English Prayer Book. In 1555, he preached with great effect in different parts of the British Isles, "thundering against idolatry, and the people responded by breaking in pieces the images of the saints and pulling down the monasteries. He denounced the mass as the worship of a false god." (History of Christian Church by Fisher).

The kings and the queens had at their disposal both might and power, but the Lord spoke by His Spirit through Knox who was willing to wield, not carnal weapons, but the Sword of the Spirit which is mighty under God to the dismantling of strongholds.
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2010, 04:41:16 AM »

CONTEMPORARY SYSTEMS

We witness in our day stupendous attempts to operate in the spiritual realm through humanly mobilized might and organized power.

Church councils spread out from boundary to boundary in a nation, and then join hands in a world-wide amalgamation. From a centralized office, a few men or even a lone individual may sign documents of far-reaching significance or speak concerning a policy, purporting to represent the "strength" of many millions.

When God wants to shake the dominion of Satan, however, He noticeably bypasses these colossal machines and moves upon a man. It may be a Finney or a Moody, a Judson or a Taylor, but God energizes a man instead of organizing a movement; and what an organization of global proportions could never accomplish with its boasted might and power, God can do through a Spirit-filled man who is propelled by the dynamic of Deity.

THE POTENCY OF THE SPIRIT

As the resurrected Christ gathered His little group of servants about Him before His glorious ascension, He made it clear that they would need power as they went out against the forces of wickedness. He knew of what that power would consist. He knew what it would accomplish.

Power to preach convincingly

Dear old lovable Peter, unschooled in logic, exegesis and public speaking, found power to drive the message of the Gospel to the very core of three thousand at one time.

The cultured Corinthians charged that Paul's bodily presence was weak and his speech contemptible, but they acknowledged with honest confession that his message was weighty (II Corinthians 10:10). If he were not handsome in appearance, he could not help it. If his voice lacked resonance, that too was beyond his control. But it would have been inexcusable with a revelation from Heaven (I Corinthians 11:23) and the Spirit of power within had he delivered anything but a weighty message.

Physical deficiencies of the messenger will fade into nothingness if the message is one of life and power. If we believe "an ounce of divine revelation is worth more than tons of men's empty speculations," then let us present Heaven's message with vision and vigor. God's words are spirit, and His words are life (John 6:63).

- Hearts are hungry for this food;
- Souls are thirsty for this water.

Indeed, they will perish without it. Let us herald the message in the demonstration of power.
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2010, 04:41:40 AM »

Power to submerge differences

"And all that believed were together, and had all things in common" (Acts 2:44).

People differ in temperament and, therefore, reflect varying reactions. But something had actually homogenized hearts. There was an impressive unity. They volunteered to share and share alike in all things. Love abounded. Sympathy flowed. There was a new relationship. There was a changed atmosphere.

This was not a Utopian dream come true. They could not have previously conceived it. The fire of the Holy Spirit had welded souls together in a tie that binds hearts in Christian love. They found no points over which to argue, no dogmas to dispute, no liturgical procedures to divide them. Old things had passed away, and now all things had become new. How sorely the church of Jesus Christ today needs a baptism of this power!

Power to evangelize

"Neither is there salvation in any other"; Peter emphasized, "for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved" (Acts 4:12).

The atmosphere was not congenial. There were no praying saints. He faced the cold, stoic, reactionary leaders of a decadent Judaism. There was a mortuary cast about the courtroom, a bitterness in the air. His life was in jeopardy. But the prisoner preached. He pressed home to their hearts the claims of Christ as the Spirit gave him utterance.

Power to withstand opposition

Peter stood before the Sanhedrin. Perhaps it was Annas himself who put the question in solemn tones to the Gospel preacher as the members of the august body looked on with disdain.

"By what power, or by what name, have ye done this? " the high priest demanded.

Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, answered: "By the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole" (Acts 4:8,10).

The power of the Spirit has given a firm stability and a wholesome steadiness to all those who have drawn upon its inexhaustible store.

- With it, Paul withstood Felix and Agrippa.
- With it, Titus overcame the heretics of Crete.
- With it, Timothy became a good soldier of Jesus Christ:

Lord, as of old, at Pentecost Thou didst Thy power display;
With cleansing, purifying flame, Descend on us today!

~ end of chapter 8 ~

CHAPTER 07. THE SPIRIT GIVES ASSURANCE

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