What do the following texts tell us about the preparation needed in order to receive the Holy Spirit’s power in its fullness?
The Scriptures invite us to ask God for the Holy Spirit (Luke 11:13). The disciples believed Christ’s promise, waited in unity, and prayed for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:8,14). The reason that God asks us to pray for the Holy Spirit is not because He is unwilling to give us the Spirit but because we are not prepared to receive it. As we pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, God works on our hearts to lead us to deeper repentance. Praying in small groups with other church members draws us into a closer bond of unity and fellowship. Both prayer and Bible study prepare our minds to be sensitive to the ministry of the Holy Spirit in our lives.
All spiritual revival and genuine reformation lead to a passionate desire to witness. When our hearts are filled with a deep appreciation for everything that Jesus has done for us, then, like Peter and John “‘we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:20, NKJV). The outpouring of the Holy Spirit in the early rain on the day of Pentecost empowered the disciples to effectively witness. Their witness was so powerful that a rebellious mob in Thessalonica screamed in fear that “‘these who have turned the world upside down have come here too’” (Acts 17:6, NKJV).
Just as the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost enabled the disciples to be a formidable witness to their generation, the outpouring of the Holy Spirit in latter-rain power will empower God’s church to reach the world in the final generation. It will take nothing less than latter-rain power to complete God’s mission on earth, and God offers nothing less. Heaven’s most precious gift is offered in infinite supply in order to accomplish the most urgent and important task ever entrusted His church.
The early disciples turned the world “upside down” with their preaching and witness. Why isn’t that said of us?