Summary: This is the third in a series of 8 messages centered around the importance of changing the climate in which we live, work or play.
CHANGING THE CLIMATE
Possessing the Promise
I believe that the greatest challenge facing the 21st Century Christian is the amount of knowledge that is so readily available. And because of that knowledge, we can very easily get drawn in to a ‘Seven Steps to………’ mentality. That all we need to do is to follow clearly defined steps and all of our problems will be solved.
If it had been left to the religious leaders of Jesus’ time, the church would never have been born! Jesus told them . . .
(MAT 22:29 NIV) Jesus replied, "You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.
The early church was born in a demonstration of the power of God, not through great public speakers or theological debate. Paul wrote:
(1 COR 2:4-5 NASB) And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.
He also recognised that. . . the kingdom of God is not in word but in power (1 COR 4:20)
Jesus left us with a great mission of reaching the world and this task will not be accomplished by words alone. As in the early church, there also must be a demonstration of the power of God.
Many people know the Word of God but many have never experienced the power of God. In fact, in many churches throughout the world today, people will preach the scriptures with enticing words attempting to turn people to God, but there will be limited demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power.
In some churches the miraculous has been replaced with human reasoning. Power has been replaced by theological debate. And when reason and debate take the place of the miraculous, do you know what we end up with? Religion! But people do not want mere religion; I for one want to experience reality; the reality of the fullness of God’s Word and His power.
For us to be effective as a people, we must experience the same flow of power, as did the early church.
(MARK 16:20 NIV) Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it.
We plan our ministry for God and ask Him to bless it. But the Biblical method of effective ministry is the Lord working with us, confirming His Word with miraculous signs.
The world is not interested in what you have done for God. The world is attracted to Jesus when they see the visible results of the power of God which has changed your life. The world will be attracted by the demonstration of spiritual power as the Lord works with you to confirm His Word with miraculous signs.
There are many types of power in the world today: Political, Intellectual, Physical, Financial, Military and probably many others too.
But the call from Jesus is not to exercise worldly power, but rather SPIRITUAL POWER. It is not a power that asks, "How can I be master?" but rather it asks, "How can I serve?"
THE DIFFERENCE IN STRUCTURE
(MAT 20:25-28 NIV) "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave--just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."
Spiritual power is given for the purpose of serving a suffering, lost, and dying world. It is not given by majority vote, or by buying it. It is not given by having a title. Nor is it based on education or ability.
The source of spiritual power is the true and living God and if you are willing to serve God, that power is available to you.
THE DEMONSTRATION OF POWER
When Jesus began His public ministry, it was a ministry of miracles. His ministry did not succeed because of its great organisation. He started with twelve disciples and ended with eleven. It did not succeed because of popularity. In the end, everyone turned against Him including His own followers. His ministry touched the multitudes because of the demonstration of power:
(LUKE 4:32) They were amazed at his teaching, because his message had power.
(LUKE 4:36) All the people were amazed and said to each other, "What is this teaching? With authority and power he gives orders to evil spirits and they come out!"
(ACTS 10:38) God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and power, and He went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil, because God was with Him.