1 Corinthians 4:20 says, “For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.” What is that power? Where does it come from? Can we live in a way that hinders this power? Are there different ways we experience this power? What does it look like to live in this power? Likely there are many more questions we can ask, but what I would like to do over the next couple of weeks is to attempt to answer these question by doing a book report on Secret Power by D.L. Moody. There are five chapters in this book and I will summarize each chapter in an attempt to answer these questions.
The first chapter is titled “Power – Its Source”. Moody very quickly answers the question, “What is its source?” It is the Holy Spirit of God. Moody says, “The first work of the Holy Spirit is to give life – spiritual life. He gives it, and He sustains it. If there is no life, there can be no power. When the Spirit imparts this life, He does not leave us to droop and die but constantly fans the flame. He is ever with us. Surely we should not be ignorant of His power and His work.”
The first thing Moody writes of is the “Identity and Personality” of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is part of the Trinity; 1 John 5:7 says, “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. (KJV)” Throughout the Bible we see that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are distinct and yet inseparable in union. If you are wondering if I can understand this I am quick to say no, but by faith I will trust the inspired Word. We also see clearly from the Word that the Holy Spirit has personality, He has the qualities belonging to a person. He has the ability to understand, to will, to do, to call, to feel, to love. This is important to recognize because this means that He is more than just a mere influence. This means that He is someone we have a relationship with. I think too often the Holy Spirit is thought of as some mystical force and not as someone; Jesus never referred to the Holy Spirit as a mere influence but always as a person. So when we seek “power” we are seeking a relationship with the Holy Spirit, a relationship with someone.
Moody then goes on to talk about the different “Emblems of the Spirit” and how they reveal His character. We see that water is an emblem of the Spirit (Exodus 17:6, Isaiah 44:3, John 7:37-39). Water is cleansing, it is refreshing, it is abundant, and it was freely given when Jesus ascended. Fire is another emblem of the Spirit (Acts 2:1, Isaiah 4:4). Fire has purifying and illuminating qualities. We talk about searching our hearts but the truth is we can’t do it apart from the Holy Spirit (Psalm 139:23-24). The wind is another emblem (Acts 2:2, John 3:8). Wind is independent, powerful, and observable in its effects. Still other emblems are the rain and the dew (Psalm 72:6-7, Hosea 6:3, 14:5-7), refreshing; the dove (Luke 3:22), gentle; as oil (Luke 4:18, Acts 10:38, Hebrews 1:9), oil indicates light, healing, and anointing for service. We also see the Spirit as a voice (Luke 3:22, 2 Peter 1:17-18), speaking, guiding, warning, and teaching. The Holy Spirit is a seal (1 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13), securing and making us His own. All of these emblems help us understand the character of who the Holy Spirit is.
We see in the Word that the Holy Spirit is the “Agent and the Instrument” of the Word (John 6:63). The gospel message cannot be separated from the Holy Spirit. In 1 Peter 3:18 we see that Jesus was raised up from the grave by the power of the Holy Spirit; and that same power that raised Jesus must raise our dead souls. There is no other power on earth that gives life to those dead in their sins. So if we want that power to give life to our lost family and friends we must look to God and not to man alone to do it. “If we look to the Spirit of God and expect it to come from Him and Him alone, then we will honor the Spirit, and the Spirit will do His work.” (Moody)
The Holy Spirit is the source of God’s love in our lives (Romans 5:5); and as coworkers with God we know we must possess love (1 Corinthians 13). We spend a great deal of time talking about the necessity to do everything in love and yet how much time to we spend seeking to be filled with that love? We also know that God seldom if ever uses a man or woman who has lost hope; and the Holy Spirit brings hope (Romans 15:13). The next thing the Spirit of God does is to give us liberty. He imparts love, inspires hope, and He gives liberty. Unfortunately liberty is often missing in many people’s lives and in many churches. Sure most all Christians when told they are not living in freedom and not doing all the good they could be doing will say, “I have life. I am a Christian.” They probably are a Christian but they are still “bound hand and foot”. The condition of many is like Lazarus when he came out of the tomb, “bound hand and foot” (John 11:44). He had life but he could not speak or do much. He was still bound, just as many people are today. I believe the Holy Spirit comes to set us free, and wants us to work and speak for Him. Don’t we want it? Don’t we want love in our lives? Don’t we want to be hopeful? Don’t we want liberty? All this is the work of the Holy Spirit, and so we should pray daily, asking God to give us love, hope, and liberty. Hebrews 10:19 says, “Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus.” “We can go into the Holy of Holies, having freedom of access, and plead for love and liberty and glorious hope, that we may not rest until God, through His Spirit, gives us the power to work for Him.” (Moody)