Are Christians spiritually powerless, are our prayers being answered? If not, then there must be a problem. Is it possible even, if we claim to be a Christian, that we could be on dangerous ground?
What we need to do is open our Bibles and take a look at the real Christian 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, and then see how we stack up.
In the book of Acts Jesus told His disciples: “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). The question is: do we have that same power today? What is that power, and are you concerned if you have it or not, and, if not, how to get it?
Have we ever checked to see if we need it, if not then it’s time we did, for without it we are not Christ’s.
We know that we must accept Jesus Christ as our personal Savior, in order to be saved; we know we must repent of sin and we understand that sin is transgressing God’s Ten Commandments (I John3:4). We have come to understand why we were born, and what God’s great purpose is being worked out here on planet earth.
We know that all nations are spiritually drunk on false pagan doctrines of today’s modern spiritual Babylon. We know from the book of Revelation that “all nations are deceived” (Rev. 12:9) and the truth of God has been turned upside down.
We know that the churches that meet on Sunday are deceived and have turned away from God’s truth and have embraced fables, and that “grace has been turned into license to do what we want to do.”
We have come to understand that God is molding our lives until we shall be literally born of Him, God’s character created within us; knowing that this mortal being is becoming immortal, and as humans developing the divine nature of God. But have we failed to see or have we overlooked “the power of the Holy Spirit within us?
We have come to see how evil and paganized this world has become, and we are disgusted with its ways. We have come to see that we must forsake our ways and turn to and live God’s way of live. We may fully come to understand what Isaiah said: “Seek ye the Eternal while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts” (Isa. 55:6-7). But have we overlooked or maybe even neglected verse 1 “Ho, every one that thirst, come ye to the waters.”
Thirst for what? What waters; the waters that Jesus Christ spoke of: “If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believes on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters, (“But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom believing in Him would receive: for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified”) (John 7:37-39).
Today we hear a lot about tapping into our own hidden resources, or the dormant powers within our mind. We were not born with the Holy Spirit .The Holy Spirit is something we must receive from
God, something far greater and more powerful than any power within our minds. The Holy Spirit is something from God who created us, who created the entire universe and all that exists!
The Holy Spirit is the essence, the very life, the nature of God. But it is also something from God, which He gives us from Himself, which is actually a part of Himself and which imparts power. Do you know what that power is; and has that power come into your mind so that we can use it?
As someone who professes to be a Christian, and someone who is in God’s true Church, is that power actually being manifested in your life? Are you sure that you know what that power is?
The Holy Spirit, the power from God, is not an emotion that is physically worked up through the senses, it is not something that you can generate, or work up by yourself.
The Holy Spirit is not a “loosened tongue” which suddenly becomes glib and loud or speaking in spiritual sounding phrases. It is not a bragging tongue, or falling over backwards “under the power.”
For us to understand what it is. All we have to do is look in the pages of the Bible. Now, first of all Jesus Christ is our example; we find this power first of all in His life. Jesus did not physically inherit this power within Himself.
Notice what He said “I can of mine own self do nothing” (John 5:30). Then Jesus went on to say “The Father that dwells in me, he does the work” (John 14:10). The Father dwelt in Christ by the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit imparted power, what was that power?
When the Apostle Peter was bringing salvation to the first Gentiles, notice what he said: “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil, for God was with Him” (Acts 10:38).
That power in Jesus Christ did none of the things that are done today by the very ones who profess to have the power of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus Christ used that power going about quietly, not shouting, bragging falling helpless “under the power,” or any of those wildfire things, but just doing. Christ lived His life by doing good, serving, helping other people. There was divine power; with it He performed miracles, and He healed all that were sick.
Christ cast out demons; He had discernment to know when a person was demon possessed. Christ’s power was the power of the Creator God! The very same power that produced all creation, when “He spake.”
God is a miracle-working God, that power which came from the Father, was in Jesus Christ. He stilled the storm; turned water into wine, fed five thousand with only five loaves of bread and two fishes.
Now notice that same power in the original Church, before the apostasy set in, and the degeneracy of our day.
Not very long after being filled with the power of God, Peter and John went up together into the temple at Jerusalem, at the third hour of prayer. They entered through the gate called “Beautiful.” At the gate was a beggar, crippled from birth, he asked for money.
“Look at us,” said Peter, “silver and gold have I none, but such as I have give I thee: in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk” (Acts 3:1-8).
Then, in fullest confidence and faith in God, never doubting for a moment that God would honor this prayerful command, “he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up; and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. And he leaping up stood and walked, and entered with them into the temple, walking and leaping, and praising God!” No wonder! What a joyful, exciting moment in this poor man’s life!
Jesus Christ was powerless of His own human self, but He 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 the Father’s name, they bear witness of me” (John 10:25).
Jesus went on to say: “If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him” (vs. 37-38).
The point is this: That same Spirit, that same supernatural power, filled the collective Body of the true Church of God through which God accomplished His work here on earth. Again notice what Jesus said: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believes on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he 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. The healing of the beggar aroused the antagonism of the priest and Sadducees until they seized Peter and John and threw them in prison for the night. The next day these religious leaders threatened them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus Christ, and then let them go.
These true Christians went immediately to their own group of believers. Now here is the point: these people were human, they had none of this power inherent within themselves. They were not the source of this dynamic power; it had to come from God.
Upon the baptizing and the laying on of hands, the Holy Spirit is given, but this divine power does not last forever. Now what did Christ say about this power: “it shall flow out from our innermost being” (John 7:38).
In other words, God’s power is active, dynamic, it is not static. We simply cannot get a supply of God’s Spirit and then bottle it up within us. God’s power (if we are doing what God requires of us) comes into our minds daily, it originates from God into us, and then on out from us in “love, joy, in patience, even in performing miracles.”
We might have been imbued with this power yesterday and depleted of it today.
Now the threatening of Peter and John probably left them a little depleted of faith and the confident power of God. These men were human, just like you and me. So they went to their brethren in Christ. When the brethren heard this they also were shaken. They were human, but they must have felt a sudden sense of spiritual inadequacy, a lack of power. They didn’t delay; they went immediately to the source of their divine power.
“And when they had heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all in them is, and now God, behold their threatening: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of that holy child Jesus” (Acts 4: 24, 29-30).
These people 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 their Great Commission. They went directly to the source of this power. They yielded themselves into God’s hands, as His servants.
These people urgently and intensively cried out 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 God listening? Was there any response?
“And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the Word of God with boldness. And with great power gave the apostles witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 4:31-33).
Question: Does the Body of Christ today, have this same power that the original Christians had? After all, these people were just human beings like us today!
So the real question then is this: Do we yield ourselves as fully, do we surrender our will as unconditionally to God, pray as often and as earnestly and intensively as they did? If we do, then we will be filled with the same power as they, for God is no respecter of persons.
This same power of God operated actively in those early original Christians continually; these people actually did do greater works than Jesus Christ. Peter’s shadow passing over the sick healed them; they did the very Work of God.
When Jesus Christ began His Church, He gave members of that Church power to fulfill the Great Commission. What was that commission? “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel, the good news of the coming Kingdom of God.”
Two years after Christ started His true Church the great apostasy rose up in 33 A.D. It professed to be Christian, taking on Christ’s name. But they turned their ears away from the truth, and turned to fables (II Tim. 4:4). Pagans flocked in, embracing what they called Christianity, 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 by believing this false Christianity.
But the true Church of God continued also. God’s true Church is pictured in Revelation 12, being persecuted by Satan and his great false church. No longer was the true gospel going to all nations in great power. But Jesus Christ said that just before the end comes: “This gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations: and then shall the end come” (Matt. 24:13).
Today, (if you are reading this article) that prophecy is being fulfilled right before your eyes this very second. This very Work of God for our day is foretold in the prophecy of Rev. 3:7-13. Verse 8 says: “we are a people of little strength, little power within ourselves,” though we have faithfully kept God’s Word.
We do not have within ourselves, as God’s instruments for His Work today; anywhere near the power of God that the original first century Church had. For that very reason God has opened to us the door of mass communication. The power of the microphone, television, the internet and the printing press; but 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 of the mind 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, we need to pray and fast more as Jesus Christ did.
Have you enough of the power of God flowing dynamically into and out from you? If not why not! Could it be that we need to seek a much closer contact with our Father and Jesus Christ? Will you?