You shall receive power
Week 3, in a multi-part series
Signs and wonders played a critical role in the ministry of Jesus and throughout the New Testament. Miracles drew the multitudes to hear the truth and confirmed the validity of the message and messengers while revealing the true nature of our loving and compassionate God.
Researching this topic in the 1980s, I could not help but wonder, where are these miracles in the church today? Jesus put signs and wonders on the forefront of His ministry and commanded all believers to do the same. Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father (John 14:12 NKJV).
In his letters to the Corinthians, Paul tells the new church these supernatural gifts are to remain until Jesus returns and we see Him face to face (I Corinthians 13:8-12 NKJV). For the church to do the works that He did, much less greater works, we should be growing in the power of the Holy Spirit, instead of trying to explain Him away.
Even though the disciples had been born of the Spirit and had performed mighty works, Jesus commanded them to stay in Jerusalem to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. Some of them surely wondered, as some do today, why was it so important to be baptized in the Holy Spirit, especially since He came into us when we were saved? Why do we need this other experience?
The answer is simple, power; But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me … (Acts 1:8 NKJV). This is supernatural power to demonstrate the reality of the living Savior and to minister to the sick and broken.
To win an entire city, Jesus used the power of a simple “Word of Knowledge,” one of the nine gifts given to us by the Holy Spirit. Many of the Samaritans of that city believed in Him because of the word of the woman who testified, “He told me all that I ever did” (John 4:18, 39 NKJV).
Paul greatly affected the entire city of Ephesus, turning them from their idols and magical arts to the living savior (Acts 19:19). And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God (I Corinthians 2:4-5 NKJV).
Over the past few decades we have seen or heard of a few ministers used mightily in this supernatural power. Through the ministry of these few superstars, seemingly impossible situations were dramatically and totally changed, sweeping millions into the Kingdom of God. Entire denominations have been established to perpetuate this power. The baptism, or infilling, of the Holy Spirit has come out of the shadows of fanaticism and into the largest churches throughout the world.
But, all of this has failed to meet God’s original mandate. The infilling of the Holy Spirit, and the gifts that accompany, are for all who believe, not just for a few superstars (I Corinthians 12:7-11; Mark 16:15-20).
Buddy and Maude Dawson are the founders and directors of the River of Life Worship Center, 3504 Carolina Beach Rd., Wilmington, NC. firstname.lastname@example.org