1. THE PROMISED POWER
a. What power is promised to us if we commit ourselves fully to God? Acts 1:5, 8. For what purpose is this power promised? Luke 6:38 (first part)
“It is not because of any restriction on God’s part that the riches of His grace do not flow to men. His gift is godlike. He gave with a liberality that men do not appreciate because they do not love to receive. If all were willing to receive, all would be filled with the Spirit. . . . We are too easily satisfied with a ripple on the surface, when it is our privilege to expect the deep moving of the Spirit of God.
“With the reception of this gift, all other gifts would be ours; for we are to have this gift according to the plentitude of the riches of the grace of Christ, and He is ready to supply every soul according to the capacity to receive. Then let us not be satisfied with only a little of this blessing, only that amount which will keep us from the slumber of death, but let us diligently seek for the abundance of the grace of God.”—My Life Today, p. 57.
“That which we receive from Christ we must give to others. . . . None who receive the grace of Christ can keep it to themselves.”—Medical Ministry, p. 334.
2. PREPARING TO RECEIVE THE POWER
a. How were the disciples to receive the promised blessing? Luke 24:49.
“In obedience to Christ’s command, they waited in Jerusalem for the promise of the Father—the outpouring of the Spirit. They did not wait in idleness. The record says that they were ‘continually in the temple, praising and blessing God’ (Luke 24:53). They also met together to present their requests to the Father in the name of Jesus.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 35.
“When we have entire, wholehearted consecration to the service of Christ, God will recognize the fact by an outpouring of His Spirit without measure; but this will not be while the largest portion of the church are not laborers together with God. God cannot pour out His Spirit when selfishness and self-indulgence are so manifest; when a spirit prevails that, if put into words, would express that answer of Cain—‘Am I my brother’s keeper?’”—My Life Today, p. 59.
b. What was the condition of the disciples before they received this power? Acts 2:1.
“The disciples prayed with intense earnestness for a fitness to meet men and in their daily intercourse to speak words that would lead sinners to Christ. Putting away all differences, all desire for the supremacy, they came close together in Christian fellowship. . . .
“These days of preparation were days of deep heart searching. The disciples felt their spiritual need and cried to the Lord for the holy unction that was to fit them for the work of soul saving. They did not ask for a blessing for themselves merely. They were weighted with the burden of the salvation of souls.”—The Acts of the Apostles, p. 37.
c. What do each of us need to do to prepare to receive this power? Acts 3:19.
“Let there be a work of reformation and repentance. Let all seek for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. As with the disciples after the ascension of Christ, it may require several days of earnestly seeking God and putting away of sin.”—My Life Today, p. 58.
3. RECEIVING THE POWER
a. What was the experience of the disciples as they received the power of the Holy Spirit? Acts 2:2–4. How will this experience compare to the experience of God’s church in the last days?
“The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the ‘former rain,’ and glorious was the result. But the latter rain will be more abundant.”—My Life Today, p. 60.
b. What did they do with the power they received? Acts 4:33.
“The disciples . . . were weighted with the burden for the salvation of souls. The gospel was to be carried to the uttermost parts of the earth, and they claimed the endowment of the power that Christ had promised. Then it was that the Holy Spirit was poured out, and thousands were converted in a day.
“So may it be now. Instead of man’s speculations, let the Word of God be preached. Let Christians put away their dissensions and give themselves to God for the saving of the lost. Let them ask in faith for the blessing, and it will come.
“Zeal for God moved the disciples to bear witness to the truth with mighty power. Should not this zeal fire our hearts with a determination to tell the story of redeeming love, of Christ, and Him crucified?”—Ibid., p. 61.
c. What is the condition upon which we receive this power? Joel 2:15–17.
“Those only who are constantly receiving fresh supplies of grace will have power proportionate to their daily need and their ability to use that power. Instead of looking forward to some future time when, through a special endowment of spiritual power, they will receive a miraculous fitting up for soul winning, they are yielding themselves daily to God, that He may make them vessels meet for His use. Daily they are improving the opportunities for service that lie within their reach. Daily they are witnessing for the Master wherever they may be, whether in some humble sphere of labor in the home or in a public field of usefulness.”—Ibid., p. 60.
4. A PROMISE FOR US TODAY
a. What promise is given to us today regarding the special power of the Holy Spirit? Joel 2:23.
“It is true that in the time of the end, when God’s work in the earth is closing, the earnest efforts put forth by consecrated believers under the guidance of the Holy Spirit are to be accompanied by special tokens of divine favor. Under the figure of the early and the latter rain, that falls in Eastern lands at seedtime and harvest, the Hebrew prophets foretold the bestowal of spiritual grace in extraordinary measure upon God’s church. The outpouring of the Spirit in the days of the apostles was the beginning of the early, or former, rain, and glorious was the result. To the end of time the presence of the Spirit is to abide with the true church.
“But near the close of earth’s harvest, a special bestowal of spiritual grace is promised to prepare the church for the coming of the Son of man. This outpouring of the Spirit is likened to the falling of the latter rain; and it is for this added power that Christians are to send their petitions to the Lord of the harvest ‘in the time of the latter rain.’ In response, ‘the Lord shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain.’ ‘He will cause to come down . . . the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain’ (Zechariah 10:1; Joel 2:23).”—The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 54, 55.
b. What work has been prophesied by John? Revelation 18:1. How can we have a part in the work of the fourth angel today?
“The Spirit of God is moving upon men’s hearts, and those who respond to its influence will become lights in the world. Everywhere they are seen going forth to communicate to others the light they have received as they did after the descent of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. And as they let their light shine, they receive more and more of the Spirit’s power. The earth is lighted with the glory of God. . . .
“Hundreds and thousands were seen visiting families and opening before them the Word of God. Hearts were convicted by the power of the Holy Spirit, and a spirit of genuine conversion was manifest. On every side doors were thrown open to the proclamation of the truth. The world seemed to be lightened with the heavenly influence.”—My Life Today, p. 63.
5. PRAYING FOR THE HOLY SPIRIT
a. In view of the times in which we live, what is God’s desire for us today? Zechariah 10:1.
“The latter rain, ripening earth’s harvest, represents the spiritual grace that prepares the church for the coming of the Son of man. But unless the former rain has fallen, there will be no life; the green blade will not spring up. Unless the early showers have done their work, the latter rain can bring no seed to perfection. . . .
“There must be a constant development of Christian virtue, a constant advancement in Christian experience. . . .
“Only those who are living up to the light they have will receive greater light. Unless we are daily advancing in the exemplification of the active Christian virtues, we shall not recognize the manifestations of the Holy Spirit in the latter rain. It may be falling on hearts all around us, but we shall not discern or receive it.”—Testimonies to Ministers, pp. 506, 507.
“Let us, with contrite hearts, pray most earnestly that now, in the time of the latter rain, the showers of grace may fall upon us. At every meeting we attend our prayers should ascend, that at this very time God will impart warmth and moisture to our souls. As we seek God for the Holy Spirit, it will work in us meekness, humbleness of mind, a conscious dependence upon God for the perfecting latter rain. If we pray for the blessing in faith, we shall receive it as God has promised.”—Ibid., p. 509.
PERSONAL REVIEW QUESTIONS
1. Why do we need the power of the Holy Spirt even more than the disciples did?
2. What can we learn from the disciples’ experience in preparing for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit?
3. Instead of looking to a future time when, through a special gift of spiritual power, we will be miraculously fitted up for soul winning, what can we do today?
4. How do we become lights in the world? What happens as we let our light shine?
5. What is the work of the former rain? How does it relate to the latter rain?