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After Jesus Christ suffered on the cross for the sins of all mankind, He was raised from the dead. He then appeared to many over a forty-day period, and during that time He commanded those assembled together not to leave Jerusalem but to stay and wait for the Promise of the Father (Acts 1:4). Jesus said to them, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8
Prior to these last words of promise, Jesus had commissioned the disciples to the work of the ministry. He stated His authority and then told them to go; make disciples and baptize them, teaching them to observe all the things He had commanded them to do and then He reminded them that He would be with them to the end.
A disciple is a pupil, a learner of the instructor, but they are also doers. James said, be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. and if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. James 1:22-24
We are not only to read the word but we are to do as it teaches us to do. The Word is God. Jesus said to follow Him, that means to what He does. He said people would do greater works than even He did and yet we rarely hear of miraculous works happening in our assemblies. Christians today are desperately lacking in the power of God, and yet several scriptures tell us that we have it. As believers of Jesus Christ and His disciples in this generation, we have been given the same power as those that received the immersion of the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost. We have the same power that resurrected Jesus from the dead living in us. God’s Spirit is alive and active in us, and yet so many followers of the Way are not walking in the resurrection power!
I have discerned a variety of reasons why the people of God are living without His power operating in their lives. Sin, lack of faith, error in doctrine, laziness, and lack of knowledge of the word of God are a few of these reasons.
Sin is the first reason why there is so little power operating in the church today. Sin quenches the Holy Spirit; it puts the fire out. We are to reject every kind of evil, and we are not to despise prophecies. Sadly, many believers are living a lifestyle of "church on Sunday" but not the other six days a week. They are living a worldly lifestyle and calling themselves Christians even though they are not being Christ like.
We live in a day and age where many denominational churches are living in the belief that there is a cessation of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. I don’t see anything in the Bible that tells us that the gifts are no longer active today and yet it is being preached by many popular teachers that the gifts are no longer needed.
In a letter written to the church in Ephesus, we read that when Jesus ascended to the Father, He gave gifts to men. And He Himself gave some [to be] apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; - Eph 4:11-13 NKJV
These positional ministry gifts, often called five-fold ministers, were to be in place until we all come to the unity of the faith and knowledge of Jesus, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ. These gifts are to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. Last time I looked we still need to equip people, I don’t see that ending anytime soon.
In a letter written to the Corinthian church, we see that Apostle Paul is educating the readers on spiritual gifts encouraging them not to be ignorant about these gifts. It is the same today; we need to be wise to the enemy’s schemes to keep us powerless by believing a doctrine that is not true. If God is the same yesterday, today, and forever then so are His promises and His word. He equips us through the Holy Spirit to be empowered to do the work of the ministry.
4 There are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit. 5 There are differences of ministries, but the same Lord. 6 And there are diversities of activities, but it is the same God who works all in all. 7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit [of all]: - 1Co 12:4-7 NKJV
Paul goes on to describe nine different gifts that the Holy Spirit has and distributes at His will. These gifts are to be used in love for without the love of God working in the gifts, and through the person, there is no long-lasting fruit. Love should be the catalyst for the gifts of the Spirit. In spite of what is preached by those who say the gifts have ceased, the word of God tells us that the gifts are still for today because that which is perfect, Jesus Christ, has not returned for His bride yet. Until that day comes, we must be equipped and empowered to continue the work of the ministry that began with the first disciples.
But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. - 1Co 13:10 NKJV When Jesus returns to take us with Him the gifts will not be necessary any longer.
When Jesus left this world, He said He would send the Holy Spirit to live in us. The Holy Spirit would remind us of all that Jesus Christ taught. He would play a vital role in our walking in the Spirit so we won’t fulfill the lust of the flesh (Gal 5). Jesus’ final command to the disciples was to make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them, and teaching them to observe all the things He commanded them to do. He said He would be there with them until the end of the age.
There is so much to say about the Holy Spirit and His gifts as well as the work that Jesus displayed and instructed while on earth but I will keep it brief and encourage you to study the scriptures for yourself.
Jesus gave gifts, as mentioned earlier. He also gave authority and power. In Luke 9 Jesus called His twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases. Then in the next chapter, we see He appointed and anointed 70 others in the same way, and He commanded them to pray for more laborers because there were a lot of people (harvest) but not enough workers. Later these 70 came back to Jesus with joy stating that even the demons obeyed them! We are a generation of those who have been birthed from the previous saints' prayers!
The authority we have been given is exousia; it is a delegated influence, liberty, a right and strength to do the work that Jesus did. The power that we have is dynamis, and it is the power to perform miracles. This Greek word means ability, abundance, power, and strength. We are fully equipped with the authority, power, and grace to do the works that Jesus did and greater or He would have never required it of the disciples.
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater [works] than these he will do, because I go to My Father. - John 14:12 NKJV
According to the word of God we are to "Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.” - Mat 10:8 NKJV
We have been commissioned to
Preach the gospel
Baptize people in water (and in Spirit)
Cast out demons
Raise the dead
Heal the Sick
We have been given keys to bind and loose, and lock and unlock the kingdom things of God. These things are done based on what the Father’s will is. Like Jesus, we should do as we see and hear the Father do and if we operate fully relying upon the Holy Spirit to direct us, we will live and breath the power of God. We will find ourselves living a supernatural lifestyle in the Lord instead of one of bondage, fear, and complacency.
"And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." - Mat 16:19 NKJV
Isaiah the prophet also spoke of keys in chapter 22, governmental keys. Keys represent delegated authority; we read earlier that Jesus gave us all authority and that word means delegated influence. We have the ability to shut and open doors in the spiritual realm but only as the Holy Spirit reveals. Jesus said, “I know your deeds. See, I have placed before you an open door that no one can shut. I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name.” Rev 3:8 NIV
Only the Spirit of God knows the thoughts of God, and it is God’s privilege to conceal things and the king’s privilege to discover them (Pro 25:2). After we have sought the Lord for things that are concealed and He reveals them then the keys we are given will open and shut or bind and loose whatever is necessary for the will of God to prevail on earth as it is in heaven.
Heavenly Father, I thank You for the spoken and written word given by inspiration and useful for doctrine, correction, and instruction in righteousness so that we may be equipped for every good work. I believe Your word is powerful and life-changing. I also believe that the Holy Spirit was sent here to do more than seal me with salvation for He is Your Spirit and all-powerful, not a Person that should lay dormant within me. I choose to allow the Holy Spirit to fully operate in me and ask You to set me free from all bondage to wrong doctrine. I repent of every time I quenched the Spirit of God and ask for forgiveness and another chance to flow in the power of Your Spirit. In Jesus name, Amen.