SELL ME THIS POWER
In biblical Christianity there is power! Saints sing of it often in such hymns as “There Is Power In The Blood.” Repentant lost people rejoice in it at the altar of their heart. Saints who are wise reject the time consuming offerings of the world in order to know Him and the POWER of His resurrection as did St. Paul as he told the Philippians.
Jesus said that all power is consolidated in Him as He commissioned the church in Matthew 28:18-20. Just before ascending, He told His church that they would receive power after that the Holy Ghost was come upon them. According to Acts 2, they certainly did. But it was not a temporary power. It was an age long power to be resident in New Testament churches; power sufficient to bring them through the age with the proper testimony of God, and His love for the world.
But power is one of the objects of the sinful, greedy world which sees material advancement as the purpose of life. Thus the very existence of understood power draws men either to God and Salvation or to Satan and the ladder of materialism and creature comforts.
Such was the case of one Simon the sorcerer as noted in Acts 8. It is interesting to note that Simon was a long time practitioner of sorcery. Doubtless, he accumulated a considerable amount of wealth with it. However, the introduction of Bible Christianity in Samaria was mightily blessed of God so that many were saved and baptized. Make of this what you will, the Bible declares that Simon also was saved and baptized. Simon then continued with Philip, drawn by the miracles which he did.
Some days later Peter and John were dispatched from Jerusalem to Samaria who prayed for them, and laid hands upon them, and they received the Holy Spirit that had come upon the church in Acts 2. Simon was impressed, so impressed that he offered the apostles money to have their power conferred upon him. Peter minced no words rejecting the request, and directing him to repent of such wickedness, 8:22-24.
Unarguably, the apostolic years were filled with extraordinary displays of holy power as credentials of holy men in the absence of the New Testament. But with its completion, focus is shifted more precisely upon the church of the Living God. It is the pillar and ground of the truth under the constriction of the Holy Spirit and the eternal Word. In these things there is staying, aggressive, authoritative, energetic power from heaven. Surely, the world remains filled with satanic inspired charlatans, who emulate Simon saying, sell me this power that I may accumulate wealth through deception. But, as it was then, so it is now. The gifts and calling of God may be only enjoyed God’s way. They are not for sale.
We left with Jesus having all power and the church having been given their marching orders, the Great Commission. Now Jesus tells of his death twice, Matt. 16:21 and Matt. 20:17. Later, there was drama at a meal because Mary anointed Jesus. His statement, she did this for my burial. He is emphasizing that He is leaving His church, that is His physical form is leaving His Church.
What does this mean to His Church? He will no longer teach them in physical form. He will no longer lead them in physical form. He will no longer send them in physical form. His physical presence which motivated this church will no longer physically be the Power, the Position, or the Program of the church.
John 14 gives a promise to His Church. Verse 7 gives the expediency of Jesus leaving and going to the Father. His expediency will bring the Comforter, Paraclete, to be with the Church. If I may use Bro. W. Dewey Owen a quote from his book, “An introduction to Systematic Theology,” contained on page 140 second paragraph titled – V. Empowering By The Holy Spirit. ( I recommend this book.) I will do some paraphrasing. SOTERIOLOGY, the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ were necessary: without these there would be no means of salvation and no basis or authority for the church. PNEUMATOLOGY, the bodily ascension of Jesus back to the Father was necessary so that the omnipresent Holy Spirit could indwell each scriptural church, since the limitations of the flesh prevented Jesus, God incarnate, from doing this. Just as Jesus led the one church during His earthly ministry, the Holy Spirit – another manifestation of the same God – has led all scriptural churches from its Pentecostal outpouring forward. Christ is the head of each scriptural church today as Ephesians 5:23 clearly states. Yet not in physical form.
John 16 now gives what the Holy Spirit indwelling the Church, (not to be confused with indwelling and sealing of a person being born again) will accomplish. 1. Reprove the world of sin. 2. Reprove the world of righteousness. 3. Reprove the world because of Judgment. The Holy Spirit will be the Spirit of truth and will guide us into all truth. The Holy Spirit is intimately involved in the Church.
We also have in John 16:32 the prophecy of the scattering of the Church.
Another day will bring more. Gentlemen if you disagree with anything, let it be know. If there is an area that needs to be refine through a better explanation, please make that known also.
As noted the other day, ’āhaḇ (H157) speaks generally of desire, affection, or inclination, but the real issue is the object of that love, desire, affection, or inclination. Let us conclude today by examining two objects of love:
First, and most important, is God’s love for His people. Several times we read of God’s love for His chosen people Israel. He declared, for example, He “loved Israel for ever” (1Ki_10:9). He loved them, in fact, in spite of their spiritual adultery and loving other gods (Hos_3:1; cf. Mal_1:2; Mal_2:11). Further, what is the basis of God’s choosing (or electing) Israel? “The LORD did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: But because the LORD loved you” (Deu_7:7-8; cf. Deu_4:37). Not only did God love and choose Israel, He loved and chose His elect before the foundation of the world (Eph_1:4-5).
Second, let us consider carefully our love for God. Perhaps the key text here is Deu_6:5 (cf. Mat_22:37-38): “Thou shalt love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Heart is lēḇāḇ (H3824), referring not only to the physical organ, but figuratively to the whole of the inner person and personality. Soul is nepeš (H5315), meaning “breath, the act of breathing, and figuratively the inner being with its thoughts and emotions.” “Might,” then, is me’ōḏ (H3966), indicating might, power, will, or even “muchness.” While the world tells us that love is feelings (which often amounts simply to lust), real love is an act of the will.
While we respect writers who maintain that these three should not be considered individually, rather as a whole, as in loving God with “all that is within [us]” (Psa_103:1), we respectfully disagree. Words mean things, and by considering each of these words, we discover the true depth of God’s command. Let us each ask ourselves: Does my heart beat with God’s, does my personality reflect Him, do I live and breathe Him and His Word, and is all my might and will set upon Him?
Oh, let there be no other “objects” in our lives that we love as we love Him!
Scriptures for Study: One of the great themes of Deuteronomy is our love of God. Read the following verses and reflect on your love for Him: Deu_4:29; Deu_10:12; Deu_11:13; Deu_13:4; Deu_26:16; Deu_30:2; Deu_30:6; Deu_30:10.
Psa_63:1 is one of those verses of Scripture that once you read it, you can’t leave it: “O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is.” Once David understood who God (’Elōhiym, January 7) is, he longed for God in a way that should strike all of us.
To get the full impact of this verse, we need to set the stage (2 Samuel 15). After being driven from his throne by the political intrigue of his own son, Absalom, David is forced to leave Jerusalem and head into some of the most desolate, dismal, and depressing land on earth, the wilderness of Judea, which stretches right to the banks of the Dead Sea to the east.
David, therefore, writes: “My flesh longeth for thee.” Longeth is kāmah (H3642), which appears only here in the OT and literally means “to faint” and is related to an Arabic word that means “be pale of face, gray.” Driven into exile, it wasn’t his possessions, power, or position that David missed; rather it was God and the “sanctuary” (2Sa_15:2), that is, God’s presence in the tabernacle, that place of prayer and public worship, that David longed for.
Especially striking is that kāmah speaks of something physical. David’s craving for God was not some “emotional high,” rather a physical need; without God’s presence, his face was pale and he was physically ill. As the story continues, Zadok and Abiathar actually brought the Ark of the Covenant to David, sincerely thinking this would comfort and encourage him, but David sent them back. Why? It wasn’t some object that David needed, no matter how sacred. It was God that David needed. He didn’t want a picture; he needed the Person.
We, too, live in a “dry and thirsty land,” a desolate world. While it has amusements, some of which we can certainly enjoy, as did David, true pleasure is found in God alone. Likewise, if we were driven into exile, what would we miss most? Would we long for our nice house, creature comforts, and possessions? Or would it be God’s presence that we missed most? Would we miss the house of God, being with God’s people, and being immersed in His Word?
Scriptures for Study: What does Psa_63:1 say concerning how David began His day? Compare that with the following: Psa_5:3; Psa_119:87; Psa_119:147-148; Pro_8:17.
“Here is wisdom. Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast: for it is the number of a man; and his number is Six hundred three score and six,” Revelation 13:18.
During the ministry of Jesus, He encountered many who opposed Him. As you read through the Gospels, you might be surprised to notice that many people who opposed Him were possessed by powerful demons. Some demons worked so powerfully in the lives of their victims that the person was unable to speak or walk, or possessed super-human strength. It is interesting that the opponents of Jesus never questioned the strength of demons or the power of Satan, they simply refused to believe that Jesus was on God’s side. One day, they even accused Jesus of casting out demons by the power of Satan (Matt. 12:22-32), to which Jesus replied, “If Satan cast out Satan, he is divided against himself; how shall then his kingdom stand?” (verse 26).
Here is the point. If Jesus recognized and battled against the power of Satan, even calling it a “kingdom,” why would we think that he is not just as powerful today and in the days to come? In the Revelation text, one of the most powerful teaching points is that Satan has the power to deceive large crowds of people. He has the ability—allowed by God —to perform works that most people will label as supernatural. Today, alarmingly, many Christians have become quite comfortable with Satan. In our minds, he may have become a mythical legend instead of a powerful fallen angel hell-bent on destroying every work of God. Do not take the enemy of God too lightly. Remember the words of Paul, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Eph. 6:12).
JUST A THOUGHT
Will you arm yourself against Satan today?
2 Peter 1:16-19
“For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty,” 2 Peter 1:16.
God elevated the experience of Jesus’ transfiguration when He announced from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matt. 17:5).
Peter did not understand the entire situation at that time, but later, when the Holy Spirit enlightened his mind, he understood that, if a man will listen as God speaks to his heart through the Word, he will see Jesus Christ clearly, a more sure word of prophecy, Creator—the Shekinah glory of God—the Light, the Comforter.
Like a dim light shining in a dark room, the Old Testament presented Christ clearly enough to know that man is a sinner. Then, when He walked among us in the New Testament Gospels, it was like the sun had risen and shined in the window, paling the dim light of the Old Testament. We saw His glory as of the Only begotten of the Father, and He became our standard of measurement to see that we fall far short of God’s glory. But, better than that, when the day star arose in our own hearts, we saw clearly that He didn’t come to condemn us with the schoolmaster—the Law. He came to save us from the awful consequences of our sin. We don’t have to concentrate on how evil we are. In Hebrews 10:5, we see how much God really loves us and cleansed us for His fellowship. Hebrews 4:12 teaches that God’s Word does spiritual cataract surgery on us, and then in verse 13 we can be quiet and revel in His glory.
If you are an eyewitness of Jesus’ majesty in your life, no one on earth can say you haven’t seen what you saw (John 14:21).
He made it clear that all associations are entirely “voluntary”.
December 06, 1821 – The First State convention was formed in South Carolina, “for the promotion of evangelical and useful knowledge, by means of religious education and the support of missionary service among the destitute…and the promotion of the true interest of the churches of Christ in general, and of their union, love and harmony in particular.” And yet again, “The Convention shall recognize the independence and liberty of the Churches of Christ, and consequently shall not in any case arbitrarily interfere with their spiritual obligations.” Denominational colleges were begun rapidly in the states that followed the pattern of establishing state conventions. The first cohesive effort among Baptists began in 1707. It was for the purpose of educating its ministers and the spread of the gospel in the world. The growth of associations was very slow among the Baptist churches for fear of the assumption of power by the associations. It was 60 years after the Philadelphia Association that the Warren Association, of Rhode Island was formed. It was only after assurances from men like Edward T. Hiscox in his Baptist Directory (1866) did the growth of the associations proliferate. He made it clear that all associations are entirely “voluntary”. No church or individual was obligated to unite with them and they “can leave them when they wish.” The research by Robert G. Gardner reveals that in 1780 there were approximately 1066 Baptist churches in America and only 14 Associations, representing 286 churches which were less than 25%. However that was to change drastically when Luther Rice returned from the field from India. The birth of the Triennial Convention for the cause of missions, the development of associations and state conventions became a reality.
Dr. Greg J. Dixon from: This Day in Baptist History Vol. I: Cummins Thompson /, pp. 508-10.