Why Did The Early Church Seem To Experience Higher Levels Of Spiritual Gifts?

The difference between manifestation of God’s power seen in the book of Acts and the modern Church is something that has always intrigued me. We see pockets of spiritual manifestations here and there but as a general rule it seems Christians are not experience what early Christians considered normal. I’ve come to believe that a reason for this is the traditions that have crept into our beliefs.

Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.
Mark 7:13

It is easy to point at other groups and talk about their traditions. How many of us are willing to look in the mirror and examine our beliefs? Some struggle with healing because they know of a “good” person who died as a result of not receiving their healing. In these cases the belief is based on a bad experience.

So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
Romans 10:17

Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. Not everyone will be healed but this cannot be our determinant for believing in healing. Unfortunately, many Christians allow themselves to be swayed by painful experiences such as losing a loved one early.

My father passed away suddenly. He was seventy-seven and his death was unexpected. Dad and mom came to visit my wife and I, drove eight hours home, and then two days later he had a stroke. This was not God’s will. I cannot explain it but was given an amazing gift from God. The Lord actually allowed me to be present for my father’s arrival in heaven. Dad looked like he was in his mid twenties. It was amazing to see him pain free. His parents and twin brother who had died when he was five were waiting for him with Jesus. Words fail me in trying to describe the experience. During it though the Lord showed me that dad had gone early but the reason was something I did not need to know.

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.
1 Corinthians 13:9

We are finite beings and will not always understand everything. Things happen that are not God’s will because we live in a fallen world. Through it all we can rest assured in God’s faithfulness to carry us through.

Another reason for the lack of powerlessness today seems to be a lack of understanding regarding Christian authority. There are churches that hold classes and seminars on how to walk in authority. Doing so though has nothing to do with our abilities or training. It has everything to do though with our position in Christ Jesus!

I have shared the story of Paul and the tumor in an earlier post. Paul was only a few days into his Christian journey when he was used to bring a miraculous deliverance from cancer. He had not been trained or discipled “properly”. The Holy Spirit prompted Paul and the pastor had a witness to allow him to pray.

The focus of these posts is Christian authority. There are several things to keep in mind as we move forward in our discussion:

  • Christian authority is about releasing God’s power
  • Christian authority is not about making a name for ourselves
  • Christian authority enables us to release His power

God has given us His supernatural power. I believe that it is dishonoring to the Holy Spirit for us to talk about how weak and feeble we are. It is true that we are weak and feeble without Jesus, but He said that He would never leave us and so we are never without Him!

Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus .
Hebrews 3:1

I believe that far too many of us are focused on our weaknesses and past failures. There are a lot of people who believe they have disqualified themselves from walking in authority because of past failures or sins. The author of Hebrews tells us that we should be considering Christ Jesus who is the “Apostle and High Priest of our profession”. We are not told at any point in Scripture to consider ourselves!

In my experience it seems as if many are lacking a revelation of who they are in Christ. It seems that this is the foundation for our Christian life. I believe that it will not be possible to fully walk in the authority given us in Christ without first developing this revelation.

Christians run around talking to their “mountains” based on Mark 11:23:

For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. 

I agree that we should talk to our mountains but have noticed for many this does not bring about any change in their lives. They talk and talk and talk but then become discourage when the mountain does not move. Jesus said that we must “believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass”. He did not tell us to mechanically confess something based on what we have heard.

We can talk to our mountains until we are blue in the face. If we have not taken the time to build a deep foundation in the Word of God then this will not produce results.

Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
Acts 19:13-17

The seven sons of Sceva tried to cast out a devil based on what they had seen Paul do. Our faith will not work if we are doing what other people do. In all things we must be led by the Spirit or possibly face a similar outcome!

Let me give you a few examples of what I mean by developing a revelation of who we are in Christ.

  • “I have been blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ.” (Ephesians 1:3)
  • “I was chosen in Him before the foundation of the world to be holy and without blame before God in love.” (Ephesians 1:4)
  • “I was made acceptable in the beloved.” (Ephesians 1:6)
  • “I have redemption and the forgiveness of sins through His blood.” (Ephesians 1:7)
  • “He has abounded to me in all wisdom and prudence.” (Ephesians 1:8)
  • “He made known unto me the mystery of His will according to His good purpose which He purpose in Himself.” (Ephesians 1:9)
  • “I obtained an inheritance in Him and was predestinated according to the purpose of Him who is working all things after the counsel of His own will.” (Ephesians 1:12)

I recommend starting with the book of Ephesians. Use this list as a guideline. Find the verses that use phrases like “in him”, “through him”, etc. Write these out and start to meditate on them until they become revelation.

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