The chances are that you, if you believe you are a Christian, are today on mighty dangerous ground!
You’d better STOP—and check up!
Open your Bible! Take a look at the real Christians back in the days of Peter, John and Paul—and compare! Take a look at the power in the original true Church—in the lives of those Christians. See how your life stacks up!
. . . But are you sure?
You think you are under God’s grace? Safe and secure for all eternity? Well, listen! “Let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he FALL”! So warns God’s Word (I Cor. 10:12). It’s time to realize you are going to be finally judged by the very word of God. You need to see to what standard you must measure up.
Jesus told His disciples, just before He ascended to heaven, that they should receive power when they were converted.
“You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you,” (Acts 1:8).
Do you have that same POWER today? Did you ever study closely to see what that power is? Have you ever been concerned about how you may receive it?
Have you ever checked to see whether you need it? It’s time you did, for without it you are not truly Christ’s!
What we do see
Of course many of you professing Christians see that you must accept Jesus Christ as personal Savior, to be saved.
You may even see that you must repent of transgressing God’s law—His spiritual law, as summarized in the Ten Commandments—because sin is the transgression of the law.
Perhaps you’ve gone far enough to realize why you were born —you’ve learned God’s great purpose being worked out here below.
You may see that today all nations are spiritually drunk on the false pagan doctrines of the modern spiritual “Babylon”—that all nations are deceived (Rev.12:9, II Cor.4:4 )—that the truth has been turned upside down.
You may see that even the churches are deceived, and have turned away from the truth and embraced fables.
You may realize that grace has been turned into license!
You may even have progressed so far as to comprehend that God is molding our lives until we shall be literally born of Him —His character created within us—this mortal becoming immortal—this human becoming divine in the very Kingdom of God.
But haven’t you overlooked, or failed to “see,” the power of the Holy Spirit of God within you?
You may have come to see how evil and paganized this world has become, and to be disgusted with its ways.
You may recognize that you must forsake your way, and turn to and live God’s way! Yes, you may fully understand that Isaiah said: “Seek the Lord while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts” (Isa. 55:6-7).
But have you overlooked, or neglected, verse 1: “Ho! everyone who thirsts, come to the waters”? Thirsty for what? What “waters”? Why, the very “waters” Jesus spoke of:
“If anyone thirsts,” He said, “let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart [innermost being] will flow rivers of living water. But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified” (John 7:37-39).
Have you ever fully realized that the Holy Spirit is something that was not born in you?
We hear a lot today about tapping your own inner hidden resources—the dormant powers within your mind. Modern religions are springing up calling that sleeping, dormant, latent part of your mind “God”!
But the Holy Spirit is something you have not had— something you must receive from God! Something infinitely greater and more powerful than any powers within you— something from the great God who created you—who created the entire vast universe and all that exists!
It is the essence—the very life—the nature of God. But it also is something from God, which He gives you from Himself, which is actually a part of Himself—and that imparts power!
Do you know what that power is? Has that power come into you, so that you can wield it?
You, as a professing Christian, may have come to realize, to see, to comprehend, many of these things—to have accepted them—but is this power actually being manifested in your life? Are you sure you know what that power is?
What IS this strange power?
First, let me tell you what this power is not.
It is not an emotion physically worked up through the senses. It is not something that you can generate, or work up, yourself.
It is not a “loosened tongue” that suddenly becomes glib and loud and forward in “spiritual” sounding phrases. It is not a bragging tongue.
It is not falling over backward “under the power.” It is not being robbed of all power, as some people who have accepted the counterfeit emotional religion are, while “under the power.”
It is not something that makes people shout, shriek, jerk, laugh insanely and uncontrollably or go through ridiculous and childish antics in a meeting where the preacher generates a fake, false “power” and a counterfeit spirit by constantly calling for loud emotional responses of “Hallelujah!”, “Praise the Lord!”, “Amen!”, etc., in response to his oft-repeated “All who believe it say ‘Amen!’ ” etc.
To know what it truly is, look into your Bible!
Jesus is our example, and we find this power first of all in His life. It was nothing physically inherent within Him. He said: “I can of Myself do nothing” (John 5:30). But, He said, “The Father who dwells in Me does the works” (John 14:10). The Father dwelt IN Jesus by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit imparted power. What was that power?
The inspired Peter, bringing salvation to the first gentiles, explained: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
Notice: That power in Jesus did none of those things that are done today by the very ones who most loudly profess to have the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus used that power, going about quietly, unobtrusively, not shouting, bragging, falling helpless “under the power” or any of those “wildfire” things—but doing!
Yes, His was a life of doing—but doing what? Doing good! Serving, helping other people! There was divine power—with it He performed miracles— He healed all that were sick—He cast out demons and had discernment to know when a person was demon-possessed.
His was the power of the Creator God! The very same power that produced all creation—when “He spoke”! God is a miracle-working God! With that power, which came from the Father and was in Jesus, He stilled the storm, He turned water into wine. He fed 5,000 with only five loaves and two fishes!
The power of the TRUE Church!
Now notice that power in the original Church, before the apostasy set in, and the degeneracy of our day.
Soon after being filled with that power from God, Peter and John went up together into the Temple at Jerusalem at the 3 p.m. hour of prayer. They entered through the gate called “Beautiful.” At the gate a beggar, crippled from birth, asked for money.
“Look at us,” said Peter. “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk”!
Grasping the beggar’s right hand in perfect faith, Peter lifted him sharply to his feet. The beggar was healed instantly. He leaped up, and then walked with Peter and John into the Temple, leaping as he went, shouting out praises to God (Acts 3:1-8).
Jesus, powerless of His own human self was filled with the divine power of the Creator. The very supernatural power of God did the work of God through His human body. Jesus said,
“The works that I do in My Father’s name, they bear witness of Me” (John 10:25). And again: “If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do . . . believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (verses 37-38).
Today that same Spirit—that same supernatural power—utilizes the collective body of the true Church of God as God’s human instrumentality, through which God accomplishes His Work here on earth. In that way the true Church is also the body of Christ (I Cor. 12:27).
And Jesus said: “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do” (John 14:12).
That same power of God was in Peter and John. It did the work of God in proclaiming Christ’s Gospel.
God’s power in action!
The miraculous healing of the beggar aroused the antagonism of the priests and Sadducees until they seized Peter and John and threw them in prison for the night. The next day, these religious leaders threatened them, commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus and let them go.
Then these true Christians went immediately to their own group of believers. And here is a point I want you to get. They were human. They had none of this power inherent within themselves. They, themselves, were not the source of this dynamic power. It had come from God.
And the important point is this: WE DO NOT RECEIVE ENOUGH OF THIS DIVINE POWER ALL AT ONCE TO LAST FOREVER.
Remember, Jesus said this power of God shall flow out from our innermost being (John 7:38)! This power of God is active— dynamic! It is not static. You cannot get a supply of God’s Spirit and then bottle it up within you. This power comes into you from God daily! It circulates from God into you and then on out from you in love, in faith, in joy, in patience —even in performing miracles.
You might have been imbued with this power yesterday and depleted of it today!
A re-filling of power
The threatening of these chief priests and elders, after a night in prison, apparently left Peter and John a little depleted of faith and the confident power of God. Yes, they were human!
They went to their brethren in Christ. When they reported what had happened, all their brethren were shaken. They, too, being human, must have felt a sudden sense of spiritual inadequacy —a lack of power!
But they sensed and knew their need. They knew the source of constant refilling of this power of God within them! They didn’t delay! They went immediately to the source of their divine power!
“So when they heard that, they raised their voice to GOD with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them . . . Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus’ ” (Acts 4:24, 29-30).
Yes, suddenly this company realized their own human inadequacy —realized their need of renewed power from God. They didn’t run from their difficulty! They didn’t cower and tremble in fear. They didn’t give up in their great commission. They went directly to the source of their power.
They yielded themselves into God’s hands, as His servants, anew. They urgently, intensively, cried to God to fill them with His power—to give them boldness, faith, power of speech. They asked God fervently and believingly to heal and perform miracles.
Was there any God listening? Was there any response? Listen:
“And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness . . . And with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:31, 33).
We need it today
Do you, today, have the same power the original Christians had? They were just as human as you! The real question, then, is this: Do you yield yourself as fully —surrender your will as unconditionally to God—pray as often, as earnestly and intensively, as they? If you do you will be filled with as much of the divine power as they— for God is no respecter of persons!
This same power of God operated actively in those early, original Christians continually. They actually did do greater works than Jesus—until even the shadow of Peter passing over the sick healed them! They did the very work of God!
The Work of God, which God started in the individual body of disciples, now becoming the body of Christ—the true Church of God!
The same power of God’s Spirit that worked in the human body of Jesus worked in the collective body of God’s Church in the days of the original apostles. That same power works in the collective body of Christ—His Church—today!
The great commission is this: “Go into all the world and preach the gospel” (Mark 16:15). Not some other gospel, as Paul prophesied would be preached (II Cor. 11). That true first century Church, empowered by GOD, carried on this true work of God!
Then the great apostasy set in. The apostate false church (Rev. 17:1-5) rose up in A.D. 33, two years after Christ started His true Church. It professed to be Christian, taking on Christ’s name.
This professing Christian church turned away its ears from the truth and turned to fables (II Tim. 4:4). Pagans flocked in, embracing what they called “Christianity” wholesale— bringing in with them their pagan beliefs and practices! The ancient Babylonian “mysteries” came to be labeled, falsely, “Christianity”! The whole world today is deceived (Rev. 17:1-2, 12:9)!
But there continued, also, God’s true Church, pictured in Revelation 12—persecuted by Satan and his great false church of Revelation 17. No longer was this persecuted Church able to proclaim the true Gospel to all nations—to the whole world—in great power.
But Jesus had said, prophetically, that just before the end of this world—right now
“This gospel of the KINGDOM will be preached in all the world as a witness to ALL the NATIONS, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14).
Today God is opening gigantic doors—the doors of radio, television and the printing press. Doors of mass communications. The original, true Gospel of Jesus Christ— the same Gospel He brought from GOD and taught—is broadcast into every continent around the world! It is hitting this world with terrific impact—with tremendous power!
This very work of God for our day is foretold in the prophecy of Revelation 3:7-13. But there it is revealed that we, today, are a people of but little strength—little power (verse 8)!—within ourselves—though we have faithfully kept God’s word! The impact of this work of God today is going out only through the power of God! Are you having your part in this very work of God?
But—let’s face it!—WE DO NOT HAVE WITHIN OURSELVES, AS GOD’S INSTRUMENTS FOR HIS WORK TODAY, ANYWHERE NEAR THE POWER OF GOD THAT ACTIVATED THAT ORIGINAL FIRST-CENTURY CHURCH!
For that very reason, the living Christ says (verse 8), He has opened to us the gigantic door of mass communication! The magnified power of the microphone and the printing press. Yet that is only physical, mechanical power! The real power that makes God’s Work vital and alive is the Holy Spirit of God!
We need to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God (Rom. 12:1)! We need to receive a greater transforming—and to be less conformed to this present evil world! We need to repent! We need to more earnestly seek God! We need to put on the whole armor of God, as we are admonished in Ephesians 6:10-18! Perhaps some of us need to fast and pray—as Jesus did!
Have you enough of the power of God flowing dynamically into and out from you? You need to seek a much closer contact with your God!
Source: Good News February 1983