The Church is not a social club that happens to espouse good morals and values. At least it shouldn’t be. We celebrate a gospel of POWER. There is wonder working power in the blood of the Lamb! It conquers sin and changes lives! True Christians are in on this, yet many still come short of all the power that is really available to them. Besides life changing power, there is also power to do the very works of Jesus.
Most Christians don’t have a problem acknowledging that God is powerful. The problem is that they don’t acknowledge or understand that His power is in them and working on their behalf. The power of God not only works toward us who believe (Ephesians 1:19), it also works on the inside: according to the power that works in us (Eph.3:20).
“Well if I had God’s power I think I’d know it!” The fact of the matter is that you can actually have it and not know it. That’s why Paul prayed for the Ephesians, not that they would get it, but that they may know…what is the exceeding greatness of his power toward us who believe (Eph.1:18-19). Paul prayed that they would get the spirit of wisdom and revelation (vs.17) about it, and that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened (vs.18). So it is possible that you can have God’s power available to you and yet never benefit from it.
And that is the sad state of so many in the church today. They ought to be Christ indwelt vessels of God’s mighty power, and yet they are continually overpowered by the world and the devil.
We recently answered phones at a Christian radio station to take prayer requests. It was disheartening to hear so many sad stories and situations that believers were caught up in. Why weren’t they experiencing more of God’s power in their lives?
Where is the Power?
One reason God’s power is not experienced is because of poor choices. Many people just don’t think about where their path is leading them. They choose not to stay in the Word, so they have no idea how to battle the devil when temptations come. They choose to satisfy their flesh and take the easy route when God’s way would ensure a better outcome.
God loves you unconditionally in Christ. If you choose to follow the world’s ways or the devil’s ways, or your own ways, God still loves you! That’s the good news of the Gospel. But you step out of the power that is working toward you. You invite all kinds of problems and heartaches that God never intended for you to have. Your poor choices keep you from enjoying and exhibiting God’s power in your life.
Another reason God’s power is not experienced is because, as I mentioned, people just don’t know that it’s available. The theologians have taught that the age of miracles passed with the apostles. Not only is that bad theology, it shows a blatant ignorance of church history. God never stopped performing signs and wonders throughout church history, although there have been different seasons of intensity.
Pastors have taught that the promises regarding healing and prosperity only apply in a spiritual sense now. Most are seminary graduates. There is some good that can be learned in seminaries, but generally seminaries tend to train their students away from faith in the supernatural. Thus they become cemeteries! Any idea of actually living in God’s power is often overridden by an emphasis on “doctrine.” Then the churches hire new pastors who have degrees, placing more importance on diplomas than on displays of God’s power in their lives.
The danger in all of this is that the church settles into having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof (2Timothy 3:5). The Christian faith was never meant to be just a system of morals, values and consolation. It’s not just about a change in worldview. Those are certainly involved, but the gist of the faith has to do with the kingdom of God.
God wants His will done on earth as it is in heaven (Matt.6:10). Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1John 3:8), and now we remain as His body on earth. That means we need to be continuing His mission. He as much said it: He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father (John 14:12).
How many of you believe you can walk on water? If Jesus truly lives in us, and His word means what it says, we ought to believe we can do the same works He did. Now I’ve never walked on water and I’m not suggesting you go out and try today! Before we work on calculus, we need to at least master basic math! But the point is that we should believe that God can and wants to do supernatural works through His people.
The key is that the power works toward us who believe (Eph.1:19). The only qualification is faith. It doesn’t say that His power works toward the super saints, or toward the ones with the most good deeds. It is toward us who believe. That means you can heal the sick and cast out demons. It’s not because you believe in your ability. You have no ability for that, but Christ in you does.
Many do not experience His power because they don’t believe. They say, “I tried it and it didn’t work.” But that is not what faith is about. Believing faith is not about trying it here and there. It is a lifestyle commitment. You have to draw the line and side with God. You have to agree that what the Word says has the final authority, even above and beyond what you immediately see, feel, taste, hear, or smell.
Most people don’t want it that way. Most say, “I’ll believe it when I see it!” But biblically speaking, faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1). You have to believe before you see. Otherwise, it really doesn’t require faith if it is seen and obvious already.
This means that you might have to believe that your needs are met before the money actually gets into your hands (Philippians 4:19). You might have to agree that you are healed before the pain actually leaves your body (Isaiah 53:5). You might have to confess that all is well in spite of the threatening circumstances (Romans 8:28).
Just How Great?
God’s power exceeds the power of any situation or circumstance. If we believed that, we would never be afraid. If God is for us, who can be against us?
It is according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places (Eph.1:19-20). The same power that raised Jesus from the dead is the same power working toward us who believe! If that mighty power brought life to a dead body, it can surely bring healing to a sick body.
“But this is talking about spiritual power, not physical power!” Why are you trying to limit God’s power? God’s power is all encompassing. Jesus demonstrated both physical and spiritual power. He healed the sick and He forgave sins. His physical body was brought back to life, and then He bodily ascended into heaven before the eyes of His disciples (Acts 1:9).
The same power that raised Jesus from the dead also set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named… (Eph.1:20-21).
Can you see Jesus being powerfully lifted up to be seated at the right hand? The exceeding greatness of His power bypasses all principality, which refers to angelic powers; power, which refers to all authorities; might, which refers to physical strength; dominion, which refers to governmental rule; and every name, which refers to anything else that’s left over!
Why do we so often give into desperate situations and fail to stand strong and make use of this power? Because we are inundated with unbelief. The people asked Jesus, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” (John 6:28). Jesus didn’t say, “Go to church regularly. Have Bible studies. Support missions.” These all have their place, but He answered: “This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent” (vs.29). You don’t have to trust God to go to church, have Bible studies, or support missions. But you have to trust God to lay hands on the sick.
Did Jesus say, “He that believes, the works I do he also shall do” (John 14:12)? Then believe for supernatural works.
If God changed the weather for Elijah (James 5:17-18), it’s not wrong to believe He will change the weather for you! On different trips in China, I’ve seen God answer weather prayers at different times. Once I was in a hut in Myanmar. I was awakened by a terrible whistling wind and everything began to shake violently. I thought the roof would fly off! I started to pack my things in my bag, so they wouldn’t fly away also. Then it dawned on me. What did Jesus do with the wind? I stopped and spoke: “In the name of Jesus, peace! Be still!” Almost immediately, the wind stopped and all became calm! I praised the Lord and lied back down to sleep.
A few minutes later, however, drops of rain began to fall. Thinking about the mountain roads we had to travel the next day made me nervous. If that rain continued, we would have a rough and dangerous time. Then the rain began to fall harder. After a while of nerves, it dawned on me again. What did Jesus do? So I sat up and spoke: “In the name of Jesus, stop raining!”
Unfortunately, the rain seemed to be a bit hard of hearing that night! It continued, so I tried again. It was hours before it eventually stopped. Nonetheless, God kept us safe on the roads the next day. So even though I couldn’t stop the rain, the Lord took care of us anyway. And one out of two is better than nothing- at least the wind had calmed down!
You may think, “It wouldn’t work for me,” but it might. At least there’s a chance. If you don’t humble yourself and try, it won’t happen for sure.
You may think it sounds silly to speak to the wind and the rain, but that is what Jesus did. And Jesus told us to speak to the mountain (Mark 11:23). He spoke to infirmities and fevers. We have to understand that we have power over the spiritual entities that may be behind our troubles. We have authority in Jesus to command them to stop. But you have to understand there is a spiritual realm beyond immediate appearances. You have to believe.
A Dangerous Message
This message has awesome implications, but it’s also dangerous. When you step up to the plate and start believing for bigger and better, you face opposition and possible disappointment. It is much easier to preach a message that says, “It’s all out of your hands and whatever God wills, that’s what’s going to happen.” That’s how many churches teach it. It releases them from any responsibility to take action.
It’s easier to console people and say, “there, there” than to say, “take authority and resist the devil!” But I believe God is waiting to show himself strong on behalf of those whose hearts are perfect towards him (2Chronicles 16:9). I believe He is pleased when we take steps of faith and dare to believe for miracles. I don’t think He wants to hide the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe! But the church must rise up to it. Though there may be some disappointments, in the end, there will be greater testimonies. You know it will be more worth it then settling for the comfortable status quo.
We have a responsibility, to allow this power to work in us, to allow the rule of Christ to dominate our lives. This must affect our character, that we would be godly. But it is not just limited to character. God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us (Eph.3:20).