“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."
Receiving the power of the Holy Spirit has been one of the most controversial topics in the church during the last 50 years at least. I am raising this topic again as we do really need to achieve the right mind set of why we are here! Largely, I see the church as a place for believers to enjoy being the family of God and generally learning how to live a spiritual life to know God and be sanctified. Although that is OK at one level it does not generally demonstrate that the God of history is One who likes to reveal Himself with “power”. The God of the Bible is undoubtably One who reveals himself with acts of power; He is the LORD God Almighty after all! He likes to be revealed in the world as He truly is and He is surely powerful beyond measure.
Isn’t it extraordinary that when He started the church after the resurrection of Jesus He sent the Holy Spirit to live IN His people. He did not restrict His power by so doing. What would be the point? No, He gave us supernatural gifts to make us totally different to people of the world so that the world and its systems could be challenged and changed by us bringing the kingdom of God to bear, instead of the kingdom of darkness which needs to disappear! Perhaps it would be more accurate to say it should be destroyed! That needs God’s power and our willingness to participate.
The ministry of Jesus was full of works to show who His Father was; how kind, loving and merciful He was, and how much He was determined to establish His kingdom, destroying the works of the devil in the process. When Jesus told His disciples they would become His “witnesses”, He surely meant that they would become a pretty good picture of who He was by continuing in the same sort of ministry lifestyle. The Acts of the Apostles states the facts which illustrate this is what actually happened. More than that the church become a radically different type of community with totally different principles of living which blessed all within it and challenged all outside of it!
When we as Christians live as seemingly better versions of what people are like in the world but create no challenge to the people of the world, I believe we have missed the point. God did put His Spirit in us, not just to make us better, but to be carriers of His Presence that would activate us to create change in others through their salvation – yes – but also to show His power in a radical way to transform them too. We must become “world changers” showing the emptiness of the “world” point of view and replace it with the righteous perspective belonging to the kingdom of God (or heaven). Only when we accept who we truly are in Christ as “sons of God” with the same type of character as the “Son of God” will we start to get there. We should change our mind set from thinking about what we don’t have and start to believe what we do have because the Spirit of Christ lives within us and can’t wait to “bubble-up” so to speak! If we truly believe that the Lord never leaves us nor forsakes us, then, wherever we are, are we not also the answer to so many situations right where we are, if only we could see it and believe it!
Galatians 2:20 (KJV)
“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”
I believe this is what Paul was talking about in a very radical way. It speaks of a transformed life which is not just a forgiven life. Something needed to die and when it did, what a powerful transformation!
Let us be challenged by the life of Jesus sufficiently to become His witnesses.