Pleading For The Power Of The Holy Spirit
by Pastor Jack Hyles
(Chapter 14 from Dr. Hyle's excellent book, Meet The Holy Spirit)
Luke 11:8, 13, "I say unto you, Though he will not rise and give him, because he is his friend, yet because of his importunity he will rise and give him as many as he needeth. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?"
When a middle-easterner received guests into his home, it was the custom to set food before them. If the first thirteen verses of Luke 11, we have a guest arriving at midnight. The embarrassed host had no bread to feet him so he went to his friend at midnight and ask him if he would let him borrow three loaves of bread. The friend and his family were all asleep; consequently, he refused to be bothered. The embarrassed host, however, was unwilling to take "no" for an answer and continued to plead for bread. Though his friend would not give him the bread simply because of their friendship, verse 8 reveals that he did give him bread because of his importunity. The word "importunity" means "much begging." What he could not get just because of friendship, he could get by continuing to beg. Verse 13 teaches us that this represents the Christian begging for the power of the Holy Spirit. "If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask Him?" Note the work "ask" in verse 13. This is durative action. It means "continue to ask."
Notice verses 9 and 10, "And I say unto you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock and it shall be opened unto you. For every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened." The words "ask," "seek," and "knock" are also durative action, which means that we are continually to ask for the power of the Holy Spirit!
Some would say that the power of the Holy Spirit is obtained as salvation is obtained, simply by faith. There is a basic truth that needs to be examined concerning which of the workings of the Holy Spirit are obtained instantaneously by faith and which are obtained by sincere supplication. The answer is determined by whether a certain work of the Spirit is TO us and FOR us or whether it is His working THROUGH us FOR others. Those works of His that are primarily FOR us such as salvation are given to us in response to our faith. However, when the Holy Spirit decides to work THROUGH us and to let us become partners with Him in working for others, it is a different matter! For these things He insists upon such sincerity that we demonstrate to Him our intense desire by paying a higher price than that of faith only.
If a person would come to the First Baptist Church of Hammond to be ministered TO, he simply walks in and we minister to him. If that same person is being considered for a staff position whereby he MINISTERS TO OTHERS, we would take extra care by investigating his past record; we would want references concerning his credit, his service for God, his character, etc. When we minister TO him, he simply presents himself; when we minister WITH him, he must pay a price and be the object of our intense scrutiny. When the Holy Spirit ministers TO us (as in salvation) we must simply come to Him in faith. When He ministers TO us by teaching the Word, by leading us, by comforting us, etc., we simply come to Him by faith. If, however, we would desire to be used as an instrument OF His, there is a price that we must pay. This price, of course, includes personal separation and purity. It includes, among other things, a complete surrender to Christ. It also includes supplication, or begging for His power.
It is one thing for a son to ask his dad to drive him somewhere in the family car; it is another thing for that son to ask to USE the family car!
In the model prayer, known as the Lord's Prayer, there are several things for which e are to ask. First, we are to ask for daily bread. The very fact that it is DAILY bread teaches that we simply ask for it and receive it. Then there is the prayer for forgiveness. God offers forgiveness to us by sincere request in faith. Then, we are to ask protection from temptation and deliverance from evil. This is received in response to our earnest request.
The lesson on prayer, however, does not end there with Luke 14:1-4. It goes on to the discussion of the aforementioned host who was embarrassed because he had no bread when his friend came to him at midnight. When one receives bread for himself, he may simply ask his father. When he works in the bakery, he must pay a great price of cleanliness, purity and supplication. God will not allow us to enter into His very work and He will not impart to us the fulness off His Holy Spirit for the winning of others until we have proved our purity and our sincerity.
When our son David was a teenager he could receive his food at the table by simply saying, "Dad, pass the meat, please. Pass the bread, please." One day, however, he said to me, "dad, could I have $20? I want to take my girlfriend out and buy her a steak." Now he got the $20, but not as easily as he got the meat and bread when he said, "Pass the food."
I said, "Twenty dollars? What are you going to do-buy that girlfriend a cow?" He said, "Oh, come on, Dad. This is something special. Please let me have $20 so I can take my girlfriend out to eat and buy a steak." I said, "When are you going? Where are you going? Why are you going? With whom are you going???" I then replied, "I've got to think about this, son." He kept begging and kept on pleading. Finally I realized how important it was to him, and I gave him the $20. It was simple for him to get bread for himself, but when I gave him that which he needed to feed another, it was another matter.
When we employ somebody to work on the staff of the First Baptist Church of Hammond, he is required to be clean. He is required to be faithful. He must share our beliefs. He must convince me of his intense desire to work with me and for me.
When God employs someone to work in His work, He also requires that one be clean, that he be faithful, that he agree with the true doctrines of the faith and that he be in agreement with what God has written in His book.
This is why yielding and praying for His power is constantly necessary. When the Holy Spirit was ministering TO you, He did it in response to your simple faith. When He ministers WITH you, He requires that you pay a great price in your personal life in your supplication.
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"I am an old-fashioned preacher of the old-time religion, that has warmed this cold world's heart for two thousand years." —Billy SUNDAY