Think about it ... the modern Church covers a broad spectrum when it comes to how we conduct our faith. Pentecostals are on one end of that spectrum; they represent the "event" character of the Church, desiring to display the power of God, and the experience of the Spirit within us. They actually gather with the express purpose of expressing the Church in action. Then you have the mainstream, structured, Conservative denominations who are more interested in head knowledge and doctrine. They are conscious of themselves as representing a Body dedicated to proclaiming the Word, and worshipping God, with community and fellowship in unity as their guideposts. But if we are to follow Jesus's example, then we need to embrace both knowledge and power to set the captives free. So, it seems to me that this "either/or" dynamic has greatly diminished the modern Church's ability to do the works of Jesus, and to do them even greater, as He said we would (John 14:12).
Then add this immediate encounter with Jesus to the rich history of the nation of Israel. The Jews present during the years Jesus was on earth knew very well the acts of power shown their forefathers -- the parting of the Red Sea; the giving of the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai; the ten plagues of Egypt; God's presence in the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night; His power to stop the moon and sun in Joshua, Chapter 10; the widow's son that was raised from the dead in 1 Kings 17, and many more. The power of God was part of their heritage, both in historical knowledge and actual experience.
But take our 21st Century Church. We are told that the purpose of miracles in the Bible were to authenticate the performer of the miracles; to show that they had authority from God -- therefore, miracles are no longer necessary, as the message of Jesus and His apostles has already been attested to and accurately recorded in the Scriptures. I have to disagree, in the sense that I believe the purpose of the miracles was to attest to the power of God and as evidence of His presence. Jesus made it very clear that He was doing the Father's will in the performance of each miracle, and that it was important that we pray for His will to be done.
So, if the Church no longer believes in miracles, what good is knowing God’s will, if we don’t exercise the power to perform it? As Nancy Missler at Koinonia House explains so well, it is His power that enables us to do what His Word demands. So it is necessary to have both the knowledge of God's will and the power to carry it out! We must apply both to be effective servants in His Kingdom here on earth.
It's time that the 21st Century Church comes out of its comfortable doctrine-infused state and begins practicing what it is to be a Christian! We feel safe and secure in our salvation, and we don't bother to recall the times the power of God has delivered us from evil. We have no heart and spirit appreciation for all His acts of rescue or His miracles in our lives; our intimate history with Him may be remembered today, but it's gone tomorrow. Therefore our knowledge of Him is not experience-based as it was in the Early Church or ancient Israel. It's head knowledge -- what we've managed to memorize in our catechism/sunday school classes or whatever our doctrine/vision/purpose statement is for our particular denomination.
|God's Power is as real today as it was 2000 years ago!|
The Lord first passed along this Resurrection Power to His disciples in order that they might accomplish the work He called them to do. Then, on the Day of Pentecost, He passed this same life-giving power on to all who would believe in Him. He intended for God's power to be present in His disciples until He returns; to be present to nullify the power of the devil... and He intended for us to use it! The state of our culture and the world today is ample evidence that we have decided that being born again is enough to be a disciple of Christ -- that the knowledge of Christ is all we need. But a true Disciple of our Lord is one who participates with the Holy Spirit, recognizes the power of God within them, and uses it to overcome the schemes of the Enemy. The power of God is meant to be active -- to be used, shared, and partaken of. Let's move beyond our head knowledge of God and start building our own history of the power of God in our lives!
Ephesians 1:18-19 "And [I pray] that the eyes of your heart [the very center and core of your being] may be enlightened [flooded with light by the Holy Spirit], so that you will know and cherish the hope [the divine guarantee, the confident expectation] to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in the saints (God’s people), and [so that you will begin to know] what the immeasurable and unlimited and surpassing greatness of His [active, spiritual] power is in us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of His mighty strength..."