Saturday, July 12, 2014

Denying His Power

For the past semester I have been soaking myself in the book of Acts. From the very first verse I have been left in awe of truly how incredible God is in revealing Himself through His church.

In fact, one of my favorite verses is 1:8 where the Lord Jesus told His disciples, "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit  has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

Him sending these men out to be His witnesses all over the world is the second command written in this book and it contains something that I have thus far missed for most of my life.

I have always read over it and haven't given it much consideration, but there are two things here in this verse that Jesus says His disciples will receive:
  1. Power
  2. Holy Spirit
We not only gain His very presence, but also His power...

What does this mean? Well...for many of us, it obviously means that it's not for today.

Now, I say that jokingly, but in one sense it is very true. There is a huge sect of Christianity that says any type of miraculous power cannot be from God. They immediately think of the sign gifts and claim their cessation.

Please here me out, because I do not disagree. I believe that the majority of the "sign" gifts held a very important role in the early church in confirming the authority of the apostles and the word in which they were bringing to the world, but the world hasn't been reached yet.

What if there are still people out there that need to see some confirmation before believing? The opposer will claim, "They shouldn't need confirmation! They should just believe and trust in Christ. For even Jesus said, 'blessed are the ones who have not seen yet have believed.'"

This is very true and highly Biblical, yet when we come to Scripture we always want to give God's Word functional authority in our speech and writing. Thus, as a result, if we were to base Scripture on this argument, then that very statement would have been true 2,000 years ago to the Jewish people.

The argument made by the opposer is basically saying that there was absolutely never a need for sign gifts in the first place because they should just believe and trust in Christ.

I am not saying that I believe in every charismatic and pentecostal movement. I am saying that I will never limit the Almighty Creator of the universe. He chose to work signs and wonders through Moses when dealing with Pharaoh and leading the nation of Israel out of bondage.

The Spirit manifested Himself in the prophets and apostles for a purpose. That purpose was to glorify God as Supreme Authority by revealing to fallen man that this God is alive and well and is in control of all human affairs.

Even Judas, the betrayer who is now suffering the torments of Hell, was granted power and authority over demons and given the capability to heal diseases (Luke 9). The disciples never told Jesus, "I don't need Your power...I am just thankful that You are with me." They obeyed and received.

Why is it that we are content only with His presence? God gave us two things. He gave us His Holy Spirit. The Spirit of truth and Life and the One who will guide us into all truth and understanding of the deep things of God. This same Spirit intercedes for us on a daily basis and has been for all of eternity. He has been waiting for you to be born again so that He can come into you and dwell within your soul in full and everlasting fellowship. He desires to not only be with you in your midst, but also to give you power beyond your wildest dreams.

This same God who made the universe in all its splendor is somehow living fully inside of us. His desire is to always reveal His power and authority. He is overjoyed to exercise His divine glory, yet too often we say no thanks. I don't believe that You are as powerful as You say You are. I especially don't believe that You would use such an insignificant pawn as myself in advancing Your kingdom.

When I pray for miracles, I add "if it be Your will" onto the end of every prayer because I don't actually believe You can do it.

I am not pointing fingers. I am hurting. Have I ever performed miracles? No, but everything I have written I have written to myself. I am the man that prays with distrust. I am the man that doesn't actually believe God is big enough to work wonders such as He did in the Scriptures.

Jesus said in John 14:13 "And I will do whatever you ask in My name, so that the Son may bring glory to the Father. You may ask Me for anything in my name, and I will do it." I just wonder if sometimes we are missing out on the blessings that God desires to work in and through us.

When Peter walked on water he took his eyes off of Jesus and placed them on his surroundings. Jesus, after pulling him up and getting back in the boat said, "you of little faith." He walked on water for at least a couple of feet and he has "little faith?" How much smaller is mine?

After Jesus had fed the four thousand in Mark 8, the pharisees came out and began to argue with Him. He rebuked them and told His disciples to "Beware of the leaven of the pharisees..." (Mark 8:15). The disciples did not understand what He meant and thought He was referring to bread. Jesus, knowing they didn't understand, asked them if they were hardened at heart?

So ask yourself these questions. Are we as believers content with His presence but appalled with His power? Is our desire only that He would be our friend (presence) and not our God (power)?

Do I lack faith? Is my heart hard? Yes, Lord I need You! You promised me these two things. Your presence and Your power are mine for the taking. Help me, God. Manifest the Spirit of Christ in my life. Allow me to see Your glory and Your power. Create in me a spirit of humility and rest Your Spirit of power upon me. Cause me to walk in the footsteps of the Lord and make my path straight. Mold me into a man that believes You and takes You at Your Word...personally. I love You, God and I am Yours for the taking. Bless me and have Your way in my life. Amen.

What is their fate?

Will those who have never heard the Gospel spend an eternity in Hell because they have never heard the name of Jesus Christ?
The question is...what about those who have never heard the name of Christ? What is their fate? Where will they spend eternity? Will God have mercy upon them since they have never heard of His Son?

Almost two billion people all across the globe have never heard His name. No one has ever told them of His coming to earth and dying for all of mankind. These people have no knowledge of the blood that was shed and the grave that was left.

So what would you say to someone who asked you about their fate?

This is a legitimate question to have, however it is the wrong question?

No one will ever go to Hell because they have failed to hear of the name of Christ. They will go to Hell because they have transgressed the Law of God by breaking His righteous commandments.

These people are not innocent. They are guilty, just as you and I are apart from Christ. They are covetous, idolaters, drunkards, evil thinkers, malicious gossips, fornicators and adulterers, thieves, liars, etc.

They are without God, just as some of us were...

However, something is happening. Can you see it?

In my parents' generation alone there were over four thousand unreached people groups and now there are just under two thousand. Over half of them were knocked out of the park by one generation.

I believe God is bringing in the finale for all to see. This could very well be the last generation that will ever again, for all of eternity, have the privilege of joining in on the family business in taking Christ to the ends of the earth.

Is it possible that we are the forerunners of the long-awaited Messiah? If one generation before us accomplished over half of the work, imagine what God can do in our generation on the mission frontier!

Therefore, the fate of them as of now may be unreached, but God is on the move. Their fate is in His hands.

Come, LORD Jesus, come!