Power of Works
In a seminary missions class, Herbert Jackson told how, as a new missionary, he was assigned a car that would not start without a push. After pondering his problem, he devised a plan. He went to the school near his home, got permission to take some children out of class, and had them push his car off. As he made his rounds, he would either park on a hill or leave the engine running. He used this ingenious procedure for two years.
Ill health forced the Jackson family to leave, and a new missionary came to that station. When Jackson proudly began to explain his arrangement for getting the car started, the new man began looking under the hood. Before the explanation was complete, the new missionary interrupted, "Why, Dr. Jackson, I believe the only trouble is this loose cable." He gave the cable a twist, stepped into the car, pushed the switch, and to Jackson's astonishment, the engine roared to life. For two years needless trouble had become routine. The power was there all the time. Only a loose connection kept Jackson from putting that power to work.
J.B. Phillips paraphrases Ephesians l:19-20, "How tremendous is the power available to us who believe in God." When we make firm our connection with God, his life and power flow through us.
Ernest B. Beevers.
One New Year's Day, in the Tournament of Roses parade, a beautiful float suddenly sputtered and quit. It was out of gas. The whole parade was held up until someone could get a can of gas. The amusing thing was this float represented the Standard Oil Company. With its vast oil resources, its truck was out of gas.
Often, Christians neglect their spiritual maintenance, and though they are "clothed with power" (Luke 24:49) find themselves out of gas.
Steve Blankenship in God Came Near by Max Lucado, Multnomah Press, 1987, p. 95.
In his book Sit, Walk, Stand, Watchman Nee describes a preaching mission to an island off the South China coast. There were seven in the ministering group, including a sixteen-year-old new convert whom he calls Brother Wu. The island was fairly large, containing about 6,000 homes. Nee had a contact there, an old schoolmate of his who was headmaster of the village school, but he refused to house the group when he discovered they had come to preach the Gospel. Finally, they found lodging with a Chinese herbalist, who became their first convert.
Preaching seemed quite fruitless on the island, and Nee discovered it was because of the dedication of the people there to an idol they called Ta-wang. They were convinced of his power because on the day of his festival and parade each year the weather was always near perfect.
"When is the procession this year?" young Wu asked a group that had gathered to hear them preach.
"It is fixed for January 11th at 8 in the morning," was the reply.
"Then," said the new convert, "I promise you that it will certainly rain on the 11th."
At that there was an outburst of cries from the crowd: "That is enough! We don't want to hear any more preaching. If there is rain on the 11th, then your God is God!"
Watchman Nee had been elsewhere in the village when this confrontation had taken place. Upon being informed about it, he saw that the situation was serious and called the group to prayer. On the morning of the 11th, there was not a cloud in the sky, but during grace for breakfast, sprinkles began to fall and these were followed by heavy rain.
Worshipers of the idol Ta-wang were so upset that they placed it in a sedan chair and carried it outdoors, hoping this would stop the rain. Then the rain increased. After only a short distance, the carriers of the idol stumbled and fell, dropping the idol and fracturing its jaw and left arm.
A number of young people turned to Christ as a result of the rain coming in answer to prayer, but the elders of the village made divination and said that the wrong day had been chosen. The proper day of the procession, they said, should have been the 14th. When Nee and his friends heard this, they again went to prayer, asking for rain on the 14th and for clear days for preaching until then. That afternoon the sky cleared and on the good days that followed there were thirty converts. Of the crucial test day, Nee says:The 14th broke, another perfect day, and we had good meetings. As the evening approached we met again at the appointed hour. We quietly brought the matter to the Lord's remembrance. Not a minute late, His answer came with torrential rain and floods as before.
The power of the idol over the islanders was broken; the enemy was defeated. Believing prayer had brought a greatvictory. Conversions followed. And the impact upon the servants of God who had witnessed His power would continue to enrich their Christian service from that time on.
Roger F. Campbell, You Can Win!, 1985, SP Publications, pp. 35-36.
CONDITIONS OF POWER.
Ⅰ. Saved by Christ’s grace. “ Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter, for thy heart is not right in the sight of God” (Acts 8:21).
Ⅱ. Standing in Christ’s acceptance. “ The Gospel……which also ye have received and wherein ye stand” (1.Cor.15:1).
Ⅲ. Obedience to Christ. “ The Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey Him” (Acts 5:32).
Ⅳ. Fellowship with Christ. “ By Whom ye were called unto the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord” (1.Cor.1:9).
Ⅴ. Waiting upon Christ. “ These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication” (Acts 1:14).
Ⅵ. Expecting from Christ. Tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
Ⅶ. Faith in Christ. “ Doeth he it by the works of the law or by the hearing of faith?” (Gal.3:2,5).
── F.E. Marsh《Five Hundred Bible Readings》