Do you have any idea of the enormous power that God has placed within you?
Peter and John were on their way to a prayer meeting when they encountered a crippled man by the temple gate. The lame man was asking for alms and he expected to receive something from the two disciples of Jesus. What he received, however, was beyond what he could have asked or imagined. Peter said to the crippled beggar, “I do not possess silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene—walk” (Acts 3:6). What an incredible response! Peter released what he was most full of; namely, the power of God.
This story reminds me of what I heard Dennis Kinlaw share. He spoke of holding a glass of water in his hands and having someone shake his arm. Of course, water spilled on the floor when his arm was shaken. When the question was asked about why water spilled, the obvious answer was given: “I shook your arm.” The question was asked yet again with emphasis, “Why did water spill?” At this point, people began to understand that what spilled from the glass was not determined by the shaking, but by the contents. In every situation that confronts, squeezes, bumps, agitates, or challenges us, something will get released from our lives. What gets released from your life?
Peter was full of the Holy Spirit and His power. But the same potential is true for you and me, too. Jesus said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8). It’s not possible to be full of the Holy Spirit and not have His power functioning within you and released out of you. This is why Jesus told His followers to remain in the city until they were “clothed with power” before venturing into ministry (Luke 24:49). Jesus knew that any ministry endeavor would be superfluous without power. He realized that His Church could not advance forward and push back the gates of hell without power.
The early church was a church of power. Years ago, a secular historian, by the name of Ramsay MacMullen, wrote a book called, Christianizing the Roman Empire A.D. 100-400. He was fascinated, from a historical point of view, by how the Roman Empire with its quest for power and obsession for false gods could crumble in the presence of simple followers of Jesus Christ. This Yale University professor’s conclusion was that these believers functioned in a power that was greater than Rome had ever experienced before. That is why the early church experienced many wonders and signs (see Acts 2:43). It is why there were no needy persons among them (see Acts 2:34). It is why people lined the sick up on cots for Peter’s shadow to fall on them and release healing as he walked by (see Acts 5:15). It is why the church never quit preaching the message of Christ, and why persecution only perpetuated the gospel, and why a layperson, like Philip. caused an entire city to rejoice (see Acts 5:42; 8:4 and 6). I could go on and on, but the point remains that the early church was a church of power.
When Paul preached it was more than just a good sermon. In fact, he declared that his messages “were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (1 Cor. 2:4). When he spoke to the church in Thessalonians he said, “Our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power” (1 Thess. 1:5). That same power is inside every believer today who is filled with the Holy Spirit. What does this power mean for you and me? Simply, it is a power to witness, a power to share the gospel, a power to lay hands on the sick, and a power to declare healing over people. This extraordinary power enables us to cast out demons, cleanse the lepers, and even raise the dead—activities that are normal for Jesus’ followers (see Matt. 10:7-8). This extraordinary power enables every Christ follower to walk in righteousness and holiness. Also, this power enables holy people to operate with supernatural gifts.
It’s not possible for the Church to accomplish her mission without the power of the Holy Spirit operating in our lives. We will never see explosive moves of God that transforms a church and a city without the extraordinary power of the Holy Spirit. My prayer is that we will never become a church that holds to a form of godliness, but denies its power (2 Tim. 3:5). Paul warned us that this kind of demise would take place in the last days. Even the church in Galatia started out in the Spirit but later tried to operate in the flesh (see Gal. 3:3). Think about your life, your ministry, and your church. Can it be described by extraordinary power? I’ve been provoked by this very question in my own life and ministry.
So let me close with a few suggestions. First, chase Jesus and not power. The absence of power can be a sign that we’ve been absent from His presence. Second, cry out for a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit every day. We can be filled and “filling” each day. Third, live in the Word of God; especially read the gospels and the book of Acts. Fourth, follow His prompting every moment of your day. Jesus was filled with the Spirit, but He was “led” by the Spirit, too (see Luke 4:1). Remain in a posture of obedience; allow yourself to be led by the Spirit. Fifth, steward what you’ve been given. Don’t ask for more of the Spirit if you’re not attempting to release what you have been given. Give Jesus away everywhere you go.
If Jesus is in you, then you carry His kingdom and His power. So, the next time you see someone in need, among other things, give them the power of the Spirit.
Flow through me Jesus; fill me, use me, and empower me for your cause. May I be a conduit for God’s power to operate through, amen.