18-21, "But there was a certain man, called Simon, which before time in
the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving
out that himself was some great one. And when Simon saw that through
laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered
them money, saying, Give me also this power, that whomsoever I lay
hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost. But Peter said unto him, Thy money
perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be
purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter:
for thy heart is not right in the sight of God."
sorcerer sought to obtain the results of the Holy Spirit's power by
purchasing it. The end that he sought was a noble one, but the means
that he used to reach that end were carnal and wrong. The
Holy Spirit is a very sensitive person. If we try to do His work in our
way, He will not do His work. He will not sing a duet; either He does
the work that He is supposed to do or He quietly tiptoes away and lets
us flounder with our own flimsy substitutes.
It is His job to
comfort me. If I comfort myself, He will quietly tiptoe away. His
departure is such a quiet one that Samson did not realize that the Holy
Spirit had left him powerless. He "wist not" that the Spirit had
departed from him. (Judges 16:20). If I comfort myself, I do it alone.
If I pity myself, I do it alone. If I yield to Him for comfort, what
sweet solace is the result!
It is the job of
the Holy Spirit to strengthen me. If I strengthen myself, He will not
do His work but will quietly tiptoe away. This does not mean that I
should not stay in good health, exercise, eat right, get proper rest,
etc. This is spiritual strength or spiritual power. If I supply my own
power for preaching, then he will tiptoe away and quietly leave me to do
it alone. If I go soul winning in my own strength, He will not argue
with me or push Himself on me. He will, as a quiet peaceful dove, take
His flight, leaving me to wallow in my own strength and to flounder
He is my
teacher. If I read the Bible and use my own human wisdom, He will not
pursue me. He will gently take leave and allow me to study the Book
alone. How foolish of me when the Author is desirous to teach me!
Many years ago
Henry Ford was driving down a highway. Soon he noticed that a car had
pulled off the road, that its hood was up, and its driver was attempting
a repair job. Henry Ford pulled his car behind the ill one, got out and
asked the driver if he could help him. The driver, in anger, said
something like this: "Old man, there's not anything that you can do that
I can't do. You go your way; I'll take care of this myself." Very
quietly, graciously and gently, Henry Ford got back in his car and drove
off. Little did the driver realize that he had turned down the maker of
the car! Certainly the maker could repair it. The Holy Spirit comes to
me and says, "I notice your having trouble with your life."" I say to
Him, "I can make it by myself, thank You." He will very quietly and
unobtrusively take His flight, and I will have turned down my Maker,
certainly the only One Who can adequately do the repair!
When I teach in my own power, this sensitive One takes leave. When I preach in my own power, He likewise departs.
When I seek to
make my own synthetic joy, I deprive myself of His joy. This is likewise
true in teaching a Sunday school class, singing a special musical
number, teaching in a Christian school, rearing a child, and in the
doing of every endeavor of life pursued by the child of God.
The Holy Spirit
must be invited to help. He must be invited every day. He must be
invited for every task. He must have free course to do His work alone.
He will not force His away to your side. He will simply tiptoe out
unnoticed and will not help again unless invited. Be careful! Be
careful! Be careful! Do not offend Him! Do not insult Him. Invite Him
into every area of your life. Depend on Him to do that which He has been
ordained to do for you. Love Him, talk to Him, be friendly to Him, lest
He quietly slip away and leave you to work in your own energy which is
doomed to failure. Please notice II Corinthians 3:5-7, "Not that we are
sufficient ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made
us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the
Spirit; for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. But if the
ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so
that the children of Israel could not steadfastly behold the face of
Moses for the glory of His countenance; which glory was to be done
words, "for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life," in verse 6.
The word "letter" comes from the Greek word which means "something
traced." Paul is comparing two ways of doing the same thing: first, with
the Spirit; second, trying to trace it or copy it without the Spirit.
It goes back to two witnesses in court. The Jewish law requires two
witnesses for a matter. One witness would kill the case; two witnesses
held up. When we witness alone in our own energy, it actually hurts. The
When we and the
Holy Spirit witness together, it giveth life. When the Christian
witnesses in the power of the Holy Spirit, conviction comes and with it
comes conversion. Oftentimes the Christian who witnesses alone apart
from the power of the Holy Spirit is simply used to harden the heart of
the sinner. When the teacher of the Bible teaches with the Holy Spirit
and His power, how exciting it is! How refreshing it is! How thrilling
it becomes! Yet when the teacher of the Bible teaches in his own
strength without the second witness, he becomes unbelievably boring, and
the attitude is given that the Bible is boring.
When a Gospel
singer sings and the Holy Spirit sings with him and through him, how
heart warming, how life changing it is! But what is more formal and dead
than to hear a singer just perform in his own flesh for his own glory
without the Holy Spirit? There is no better example of the letter
killing. When the Holy Spirit leads us as we rear children, what a
challenge it is to them! They respond. They feel our love, our care and
our concern. When the same rules are enforced by the letter and not by
the Spirit, they become harsh, cruel and hard.
There is nothing more wonderful than to serve God when the Holy Spirit works through us and empowers us. There is nothing more laborious and difficult than to serve in our own strength. Every servant of God should be very, very careful to invite this dear, sensitive Holy Spirit into every endeavor of his life and should take extra care to prevent His quiet departure, leaving the Christian to serve in the letter, which killeth.