We closed the last chapter by discussing the common practice of blaming God for our spiritual failures. Many people have gotten into trouble doing this. We must learn to accept responsibility for our decisions and relationship with God if we walk in the highest levels of faith.
I recognize that it is much easier to blame God than to admit our faith was not at the level required to release His healing power. We must repent if we do not see signs and wonders following our lives. We are supposed to be “doers” of God’s Word; in it, we are told that those who believe will have signs following them (Mark 16:17 – 18).
We may think we’re a “super saint,” but any Christian who is not doing the works of Jesus is not obeying Scripture. I think it is time for us to repent and put our noses in the Word of God. Jesus will return for His Church soon, and it is time for us to get out of our religious ruts and walk in His Spirit’s power.
When the early Christians entered a town, the people would know they had arrived. Paul even had the people of one town refer to him as the man who had turned the world upside down (Acts 17:6). We should be walking in the same power that they did because we have the same Holy Spirit dwelling in our spirits as they did.
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
The early Christians operated at a much different ministry level than today. Acts 4 contains an account of Peter and John being arrested, with verse 10 telling us those who had captured them marvelled at their boldness. The Jewish leadership had thought they had put an end to Jesus when they crucified Him, only to find themselves confronted by one-hundred twenty Holy Ghost-anointed preachers on Pentecost.
People outside of the Church could tell the difference between themselves and the followers of Christ. Can we say the same thing about us today? In our day, it would be challenging to determine the difference between a person who is not a Christian and one who professes to be in most cases. We have allowed too much mixture into our circles in our attempts to make the Gospel message “comfortable.”
Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus. (Acts 4:13)
The leaders of the Jewish people “marvelled” at the ministry of Peter and John. They could tell that these two apostles had a relationship with their risen Savior. Their boldness and the miraculous power manifesting through their ministry testified to this.
4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. (1 Corinthians 2:4 – 5)
Men and women fill our pulpits preaching “the wisdom of men” learned in seminary or Bible college. Paul had sat under the most outstanding religious teachers of his day. He could have delivered “polished” sermons that would have astounded audiences throughout the Roman world. Instead, he cast aside his wisdom to pursue the Spirit’s anointing. “Demonstrations of the Spirit and power” followed his preaching.
Satan thought he had ended Jesus’ ministry with the crucifixion. Jesus rose though on the third day and then poured out His Spirit on the day of Pentecost. More than one hundred and twenty people emerged from the upper room with the Holy Spirit on them! They flowed in the same power and anointing as Jesus. Three thousand people turned to Jesus after hearing Peter’s first sermon, and the Church grew from there.
And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch. (Acts 11:26)
The term “Christian” was first applied to the followers of Jesus in Antioch. It was meant to be a derogatory term, but the Church embraced it, and we still use it to describe ourselves to this day.
Initially, the people of Antioch called Christ “Christian” followers because they acted as Jesus did in their lives and ministry. How many people who come into contact with us would accuse you or me of acting like Jesus?
Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ. (1 Corinthians 11:1)
God expects us to follow the example of Jesus in our lives and ministries. The Gospel account provides us with details of how He operated and ministered. One glaring detail I’ve noticed is Jesus; the disciples did not sit around praying for the Spirit of God to move or be poured out. They walked in the anointing and power of the Spirit. Revival followed in each city they ministered.
Jesus either caused a riot or revival in every place He ministered. Indifference is a commonly adopted mindset of Christians today, but it was missing in His ministry. The people who heard Him may not have believed in Him, but they could not ignore the demonstrations of the Spirit that accompanied His ministry.
There was no such thing as indifference in either Jesus or the early Church’s ministries. People either loved or hated them, but the Gospel account and book of Acts make it clear that no middle ground existed. Today, our pews are filled with people indifferent to the things of God who are satisfied with merely checking the boxes to show they’ve completed their required spiritual disciplines.
4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.
5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.
6 When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?
7 And he said unto them, It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power.
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. (Acts 1:4 – 8)
The concept of “waiting” for the anointing of the Spirit of God is foreign to most Christians today. We lead people to Christ and immediately send them out with handfuls of tracts to “win” the lost. Modern Christians have become skilled at making converts but need to improve at making disciples. A disciple is a follower of Christ who will declare the Word of God in authority and power.
People will respond to disciples of Christ just as they did to the preaching of the early Church. They will either turn to Christ or rebel and attack those who are preaching. The lost will be unable to react with indifference to the anointing of the Spirit accompanying the preaching of the Gospel message. We accept this as a universal truth, so I cannot help but wonder why the lack of power in our churches today is not causing more significant levels of reflection.