The late Dr. Gordon, of Boston, once said at Northfield that as you walk up the thoroughfares of our great cities you often see the sign, "This store to let, with or without power."
Back in the building there is an engine, and if a man wants to manufacture he can hitch on to the power; if not, he can hire the store without power.
Dr. Gordon thought it would be a good thing to ask a man who wants to join the church if he wants to be a member "with or without power." If he said "without power," we could honestly say we have plenty of that kind already.
What the church needs to-day is more members with power. "Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bring forth much fruit." I have no sympathy with the idea of toiling all night and catching nothing. And yet nine-tenths of Christian workers, not to speak of church-members in general, never think of looking to the Holy Ghost for this power.
There is a difference between strength and power. Goliath had strength; David had power.
There is a difference between influence and power. The high priests and the Pharisees had influence; Peter and the apostles after Pentecost had power.
There is a difference between the indwelling of the Holy Ghost and his filling one with power. Every true child of God, who has been cleansed by the blood of Christ, is a temple or dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost. But yet he may not have fulness of power.
In the third chapter of John, Nicodemus went to Jesus by night to get light, and I have no doubt he got it; but he did not receive it in abundance, or he would not have stayed in the Sanhedrin three years, listening to all the mean, cutting things they said of Jesus. It took the death of Christ to bring him out manfully and boldly.
In the seventh chapter of John we find a different character. That last day of the feast Christ stood in the temple, crying, "If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink, and out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water."
A man like that would not have stayed in the Sanhedrin three years; he would have smashed up every Sanhedrin on earth. Four walls cannot contain the influence of a man who is full of the Holy Ghost and power. "Rivers of living water!" Think of the rivers that flowed from C.H. Spurgeon and George Müller!
Let us pray for this power. The disciples were told to wait now because the Holy Spirit is here.
The power of the Holy Ghost is the one thing that can save the church and save our country. We need more preaching in this power, not in the power of human eloquence and mental gifts. We need more singing in power, the way that the Levites were singing when the Shekinah came and filled the temple of Solomon. Many a church has lost power because of an ungodly choir, or a choir that sings in an unknown tongue. Fathers and mothers need power to live right and teach their children the ways of righteousness.
I wish we were all dead in earnest. What does a hungry man want? Money? No. Fame? No. Good clothes? No; he wants food. What does a thirsty man want? Stocks and bonds? No; he wants water. When we really hunger and thirst for Holy Ghost power, nothing else will satisfy us.
God has commanded us to be filled with the Holy Ghost. We have his promise that he will pour water on him that is thirsty. Claim that promise now in faith, fulfil the conditions laid down in the Word, and God will not disappoint you.
From Golden Counsels by D. L. Moody. Boston: United Society of Christian Endeavor, ©1899.
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