That is probably the most common response I get when I suggest that we, as the Body of Christ, should be doing the things that Jesus commanded His Disciples to do to advance the Kingdom of God. I realize that the idea of stepping out and laying hands on someone to heal them, or having the confidence that we could stand up to a demon and command it to leave a person are unfamiliar concepts to most of this generation of Christians. Those activities are usually assigned to "charismatic" movements, which the more traditional (and dare I say) "powerless" denominations oftentimes want to label as being on the fringe of Protestantism. Combine those deeds with speaking in tongues and, well, the conversation is over.
Believe me, all of these arguments are ones that I have had myself. But the more that I studied exactly what Jesus said, I could not deny His instructions to us to do "the works that I do" (John 14:12). And a study of that word "works" reveals that it is the Greek word ergon, which means "act or deed". And if that wasn't enough confirmation that I could move forward [without fear] in healing the sick and setting people free from demonic torment, there is the actual Greek translation of John 14:10-12 ... Do you not believe that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me? The words which I am speaking to you, not from myself as a source am I speaking. But the Father who in me is abiding. He is doing the works. Be believing me, that I am in the Father and that the Father is in me. But if not, because of the works (acts and deeds) themselves be believing. Most assuredly, I am saying to you, he who believes in me, the works (acts and deeds) which I am constantly doing, also that one shall do. This Scripture has so convicted my heart, that I can confidently put forth several Biblical premises for you to consider:
1. I don't have to be afraid, just obedient as Jesus was. I don't have to fear doing it wrong, because it's not me doing the works, it is God in me who uses His Power deposited in me when the Holy Spirit came into my heart. Will we feel awkward at first? Yes, but when we love Jesus and follow His commands, the Bible says that a "doer of the Word" will be "blessed in his doing". Obedience is the first step.
2. There is assurance in the fact that Jesus states all Authority has been given to Him (Matthew 28:18) and He has given us authority to overcome all the power of the enemy, and nothing will harm us (Luke 10:19). I have given lots of long, hard thought to the big picture that I think Jesus is conveying here. And it goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden. God gave mankind (made in His image) dominion over the earth and the authority to subdue it (Genesis 1:26-28). Adam and Eve were tricked into giving over that authority to Satan when they disobeyed God and gave into temptation. Satan actually boasts of this transfer of authority when he tempts Jesus in the wilderness: And he led Him up and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, “I will give You all this domain and its glory; for it has been handed over to me, and I give it to whomever I wish (Luke 4:5-6).
But the joke is on the devil! Jesus defeats him at the Cross and after His resurrection, He appears to the Disciples and tells them, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. He has taken the Authority back, and then tells them "now I am giving you the Authority [back] to overcome all the power of the enemy". That promise extends to us! But there is a responsibility that comes with regaining that Authority ... we must teach and do all the works that He commanded the Disciples to do. So, there should be no fear or doubt that this is what we are to be doing!
3. The Bible says that the Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the Devil. If we stick with God's plan from the beginning in the Garden of Eden, we can see that there was no sickness, no death, no demonic torment or oppression. But ever since Man's Fall, the works (acts and deeds) of the devil have been to cause sickness and pain, death, and destruction of our souls -- all with the purpose to separate us from a relationship with the Father. He comes to kill, steal, and destroy that relationship. But Jesus came to destroy the works of the Enemy by doing the works of the Father ... healing the sick, casting out demons, and securing the ultimate victory over Death.
We were never designed to have cancer or Alzheimer's; or to be tormented in our souls and flesh. I mean, we were never even supposed to die! But our spiritual parents were tempted and disobedient, and sin entered the Garden. There has been a spiritual battle ever since between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Darkness. Satan's authority has included sickness and disease and spiritual torment. Until Jesus came, he also ruled over death. But Jesus conquered Death, and when He returns, He will wipe out all the remaining works of the devil. Until then, we are to continue in the spiritual battle, and take back territory with our Authority to heal and deliver. And since Jesus has given us the opportunity to overcome the greatest fear of all (Death and eternal separation from God), then we can proceed in our duties as Sons and Daughters of the Kingdom, and continue to defeat the works of the devil.
4. The works of Jesus [which we are to do] amount to spiritual warfare, and that's why we have been given spiritual armor. Pain, sickness, disease, and demonic torment come from the devil, and are his weapons in the battle to keep people from a relationship with Christ. Therefore, Jesus's works of healing our minds and bodies, and delivering us into freedom from spiritual bondage and oppression are His weapons in this spiritual war. And if we follow Jesus's model, our source of power is the Holy Spirit and the Word of God. He used both to fight the Enemy.
If you carefully study the Word, you will find that Jesus used all these weapons in His destruction of the spiritual works of the devil. And we must not forget the Spiritual Armor that Paul speaks of in Ephesians 6. This is armor that God gives us to protect us in the fight we will most certainly be engaged in. It is my sincere belief that this armor is given to us precisely so we will get on the battlefield. I do not think it is given to us with the idea that we are to sit safe and secure in our bunkers, while the battle rages on all around us. Jesus engaged on the front lines of the battle and so should we!
By now, I'm sure that you have a pretty clear idea that I wish to encourage every Believer to renew their mind in the matter of the Power of the Church. When Jesus makes the statement in Matthew 16:18 that the gates of hell will not prevail against His Church, it is important that we understand [in the culture of His day] that the importance and strength of "gates" made them viewed as synonymous with power; in this case, figuratively as the power of hell. It is pretty clear to me that He is saying there will be a power struggle on earth between the power of hell and the power of Heaven as exemplified through the Church . But in order for hell's power not to prevail (win), then we need to strap on our armor, secure our weapons, and get in the fight. Just wearing the armor for our protection [with no action on our part] will not win the war.
Now, I know there are those who will quote Scripture that says the Battle is the Lord's; it is not yours. That was so in the Old Testament and before Jesus came and transferred the Father's Power and Authority from Himself to us. We are now commanded to continue His works against the devil.
So, can I tell you that Jesus has called us to a life of comfort, peace, and joy? And that there is nothing to fear? That is certainly what He desires for us. But we have an Enemy who wants to kill, steal, and destroy our lives and that means we need to plug into our Power Source, strap on our armor, and be prepared to battle for our King and His domain here on earth!
When God came to earth as His Son, Jesus Christ, the Kingdom of Heaven collided with the Kingdom of Darkness here on earth -- and mankind experienced a real encounter with God, Himself. That encounter exhibited the power of God in signs and wonders through Jesus Christ. That power was never designed to fade away. We have access to it [through the Holy Spirit] to invade the nations and demonstrate what an encounter with God looks like. With more encounters, comes more Heavenly power, with the result that the works of the devil will be destroyed ... and the powers of hell will not win against The True Church of our Lord!
2 Corinthians 10:4 "For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have Divine Power to destroy strongholds".