Imagine with me for a minute a furnace that has no fuel, or an automobile without any gasoline. Picture in your mind a light bulb with no electricity. Is it still a furnace even though it has no fuel? Is it still an automobile although it has no gasoline? Is it still a light bulb even though there is no electricity present to light it?
The last time I was invited to speak at a church as a revivalist I brought something with me to use as a sermon illustration. I placed a light fixture with a bulb where everyone could see it, before the service, in front of the pulpit, on the communion table. I set up a dimmer switch, which I could reach while speaking. I had the lamp all plugged in and ready to go before service started.
After I was introduced, I started my message by asking everyone a simple question; “Does everyone agree this morning that this is a light bulb sitting here in front of us?”
People’s curiosity had already been aroused by the bulb and socket on the communion table, and everyone agreed; “Yes it is a light bulb.” I then asked them, “Is it working?”, to which they all responded “No”. I then stated, “ Watch what happens when we give it a little power!” as I gently slid the dimmer switch up, allowing only a small amount of light to glow in the bulb. I then pointed out, “It is still a light bulb, but now its glowing!”
With the illustration concluded for the time being, I proceeded to preach, using the following text from Philippians 2:15; “that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world,”(NKJV)
Throughout the message I used supportive scripture, which describes the power of the Holy Spirit as being a gift to the believer. I reminded everyone that by God’s gifting, though what Jesus purchased on the cross for us as we ask God for it, more and more Holy Spirit’s power is available to us to meet every need.
To illustrate what happens when we ask for the power of the Holy Spirit, I returned to the lamp and gradually slid the dimmer a little more and still more until the light bulb was shining brightly. Everyone clearly recognized that we are called to be such bright lights, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
One day Jesus was explaining to His disciples that He was going to be crucified but that on the third day he would rise again. For whatever the reason, and although we do not fully understand why, they just were not hearing Him. Perhaps the thought of them losing someone they loved so much was too much for them to accept? In John 16:7, we are told that Jesus said to his disciples, “Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you: but if I depart, I will send Him to you.”(NKJV) In John14:26 we read that Jesus explained that “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”(NKJV)
I believe that the Body of Christ needs to come to an agreement that the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit and that He is a “Gift” that Christ made possible for us to receive when He by shed His sinless blood for us. We should stop debating endlessly about how someone receives that gift. One faction of the Body of Christ believes that you receive all the Holy Spirit you will ever need, as a part of your salvation experience. Another faction of the Body of Christ believes that you must ask for the infilling of the Holy Spirit as a separate experience following your conversion. Is it possible that Jesus might be up in Heaven saying “Wait a minute church, what difference does it really make at the end of the day? I made it plain in my teaching that I died and rose from the dead so that you can receive the Holy Spirit. Please quit fighting over how to receive that free gift!” Is that possible? Does that thought make sense to anyone in addition to this revivalist?
In his great sermon on the first day of Pentecost, Peter quoted Joel 2:28,29 in Acts 2:17,18 on the day of Pentecost proclaiming “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour our My Spirit ON ALL FLESH; your sons and daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams, and on my menservants and on my maidservants I will pour out my Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.”(NKJV)
In this hour are we like furnaces that do not put out heat because we have no fuel? Are we like automobiles whose engines will not run because we have no gasoline? Are we like light bulbs that burn dimly or not at all because we have little or no of the Holy Spirit’s power? If so, could it be because we have believed these teachings which overemphasize grace, teachings that excuse our prayerlessness, our unsanctified state, and our “not God seeking” condition? My prayer is that God’s Word clear up any differences we have in today’s church in this regard, as this is what will determine our level of brightness and power. Ephesians 3:20,21 confirms, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (NKJV)