Left to itself the church of Christ is powerless and helpless. Instead of being majestic and militant it cowers in fear and dread in the midst of an unbelieving world. But the church is not left to itself. Prior to Christ’s ascension He promised His disciples, whom He had previously commissioned to go into all the world and preach the gospel, that they would receive power after the coming of the Holy Ghost upon them.
Had Christ promised them finance, respect, or popularity it would have been a poor substitute. But to promise them His power was to promise them the one thing that they needed most. The very substance of this promise was that the disciples would know the power of the Holy Spirit. He would fill them and in filling them would empower them for their future service. They would know power that was irresistible, unlimited, mighty, miraculous, and inexhaustible. This remains the need of the church.
But we cannot presume on the Holy Spirit—He can remove his presence. We are no match for a wicked world, and our gospel work will never succeed if we try to go it alone. Our best efforts will be doomed to failure. We will be like a shaven Samson, acting as if all is well, but full of empty boasts, powerless and ineffective. There really is no substitute for the power of the Holy Spirit. Without Him we can do nothing, and although we may work, we will surely work in vain. This is what I need to pray for my church and for my pastor. It is this power I need in my life!