Summary: Certainly, every believer should live a life that is respectful but there is more. It’s the "more" part that is so often lacking.
Powerlessness: Unbalanced & Unnecessary
Introduction: Think about this quote for a moment: "I’m not impressed with anyone’s life unless they have integrity. But I’m not happy with their life until they are dangerous!" Many believers have made it their primary goal in life to be well-respected citizens of their communities. Good character enables us to be solid contributors to society, but most of what is recognized as a "Christian" lifestyle can easily be accomplished by people who don’t even know God. Certainly, every believer should live a life that is respectful but there is more. It’s the "more" part that is so often lacking.
While character should be at the heart of our ministry, it is the power within us that revolutionizes the world around us. The world around us that is dying and going to hell is in desperate need of something more than just a bunch of nice people. They need people who have experienced the resurrection power of Jesus Christ in their own personal lives and have learned to put that power into action in order to to help others overcome.
We’re talking about two things here: character & power. Too many believers have placed their focus on character and allowed power to fall by the wayside. From a scriptural standpoint, you cannot separate the two because together they bring us to the only real issue: obedience. Consider the words of our Lord here:
Text: Acts 1:8
Introduction: The word used here is Power. The Greek word is dunamis from which we derive words such as dynamic or dynamite. This power being spoken of is actually a "divine enablement" - an ability from on high.
Let’s stop here and consider this obedience thing for a moment. Remember first that our reason for being here - why God created us in the first place - is to bring glory unto Himself - basically you and I are here to "impress God." Thus, we impress Him by obeying Him. We are commanded to live holy lives - thus the character or integrity part. But our text goes on to show us and the church of Acts illustrates it that we are also to have and utilize this power factor. Look at what Jesus said in Mt 10:7-8:
"As you go, preach this message: the kingdom of heaven is near. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give."
We have been given a message to proclaim and the power to make it believable. So true obedience is living a life that is acceptable to God coupled with a life that puts His power into action. Thus, a believer without power is living an unbalanced and unnecessary lifestyle. Evangelist Mario Murillo in his book Fresh Fire puts it this way: "When I pick up a Bible, my focus is not on receiving an emotional healing or building my self esteem. I want to know where the trigger is and to fire it. When I read the Word, I want to apply it to the taking over of neighborhoods for God!"
So, I believe it is important that we begin by understanding the:
1. Purpose of the Power
A. Too many believe His power exists only to help us overcome sin.
1. Such an idea falls far short of the Father’s command to "become witnesses."
2. Why spend a lifetime attempting to overcome something that has already been defeated?
a. That battle has already been fought and won.
b. By constantly bringing up the old issues and battling with them, we actually impart new life into these dead issues.
B. The power is a divine enablement to fulfill His great commission given to all the church.
1. It is being clothed with God’s ability.
2. We have a tendancy to do only those things which we have the power within ourselves to do - so in case God doesn’t happen to show up we have nothing to try to explain away or be embarrassed about.
3. Power usage requires faith usage.
a. Believing in God’s word
b. Believing in God’s ability
c. Believing in God’s perfect timing
Application: The purpose of the power is to be witnesses - not show-offs - witnesses. The power of God to transform a sinful life is recognized when His ability to touch a physical life is displayed. Signs and wonders are pointers - they point to God’s ability to bring change.
Attaining this power is based upon our personal:
2. Pursuit of an Encounter
A. You must pursue after an encounter with the God of power to attain His power.
1. When I think about pursuit, I think about effort - putting something extra into it.
2. In 1 Ch 16:11, David instructs us to: "Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His face always."