Jesus Himself is an illustration of what He told them about this. He was on a missionary errand. He had been sent by His Father, even as later these men and we have been sent. With awe ever growing, one remembers that the divine Jesus in the days of His humanity gave Himself over to the control of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit was the dominant factor in His life and in all His activities. All His teachings and movements were at the suggestion and direction and control of the Spirit. The power in speech and action, in healing, in raising the dead, and in the wondrous mastery of Himself was the Holy Spirit's power working upon and through Jesus.
Then it was that as He was going away He said, "As the Father hath sent me, even so I send you." And with that He coupled the significant breathing upon them, with the word, "Take ye the Holy Spirit." We are to be as He, both in our utter dependence upon the Spirit and in our assurance of His power in us.
Ever since then that has been the effective partnership for world-service: men and the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit and men. If you are thinking of the human side you say, "Men and the Holy Spirit." If you are speaking of the divine side, you say, "The Holy Spirit and men." The two belong together. Where men have failed to go the Spirit has been hampered in speaking to men. He has spoken, but the story of salvation through Jesus has not been known. The Spirit's mouth-piece for the telling of that story was lacking. That seriously hindered Him in His work.
Where men have gone without the Spirit, that is without yielding themselves habitually to His control, they have been sorely hampered. It is like having the kindling wood set in order for a fire, but the fire not started. There is no heat, nor any of fire's results. The kindling must have the flame, and the flame must have the coals. The two are partners in service.
This partnership belongs peculiarly in the world-wide service of winning men. If anybody needs the Spirit's presence, he does who attempts to win a man to Jesus anywhere. But if any man-winner needs that presence more than another, he does who goes into the peculiar atmosphere of a non-Christian people. And, on the other hand, if anybody can be sure of the Spirit's presence and power always with him, and working through him, he can who has gone out on the world-errand.
That man is in the direct line of obedience to Jesus' command. The Spirit Himself is sent by Jesus, and comes to us in direct obedience to Jesus' desire. These two, the man and the Spirit, are as one in the purpose that controls them. That man may depend on the gracious, irresistible Spirit's power at every turn. He is a thrice blest man, if he have learned to depend upon His unseen Partner.