The Bare Soul - July 12, 2009
God's P
ower

The following is the message text and audio recording of a sermon titled "God's Power" delivered to the homeless
at the Kansas City Rescue Mission Chapel on July 9, 2009.

God's Power - July 9, 2009

Acts 1:8 - "... but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.

Another Independence Day has come and gone. I remember as a youth loving the excitement of fireworks. For me, it wasn't much fun watching a display but I wanted to be the one to light the fuse and then scurry for cover. There was a sense of suspense and titillation as my pals and I waited for the impending BOOM! Occasionally, there was the deafening sound of silence as the firecracker refused to ignite because of bad powder or a faulty fuse. While we as youngsters felt empowered when the explosion was predicted and then engaged, to the same degree we also felt disappointed and impotent when the explosion didn't occur. Our enthusiasm over the previous blast would be darkened by the "dud that would fail to blow". Oftentimes, we would cautiously creep toward the seemingly benign popper only to have it explode when we least expected. This would send us into whoops and hollers and the enthusiasm would peak once again. Although I no longer indulge in this bit of Independence Day Americana by setting off "crackers", I certainly understand why others spend small fortunes to indulge themselves in this way. Americans spent more than $925 million in 2008 on legal fireworks. In the coming years, many believe that we will eclipse a billion dollars on fireworks annually for both personal and public displays. So, what is the fascination with making things go BOOM in the night? Is it an inner desire for predictable power in our often times unpredictable, powerless lives that makes us want to ignite the spark to release this might? Or, have many of us now grown accustomed to others putting on their "displays" while we sit back and enjoy at a distance? While many of us are content to be spectators, others of us wish to be handling the "power". As in the physical, this is also true in the spiritual.

In Acts 1:8, Jesus uses an incredibly demonstrative word when using the word "power". The Greek word that Luke (the author of Acts) quotes Jesus using is dunamis, which means power of a miraculous ability. The implication of context is one of explosive power -- power that is not of this earth but is ssupernatural. Dunamis is where we derive our English language word of dynamite. Jesus is saying in this scripture that life will never be the same for the disciples once the Holy Spirit has come upon them. Something explosive was about to happen to them and all those whom they touched. On the day of Pentecost, 3,000 souls were awakened from a deep sleep by a supernatural BOOM that resounded throughout Jerusalem. These unregenerate souls were literally made to stand upright out of their spiritual slumber as they were transported from the kingdom of darkness and translated to the Kingdom of Light. These newly awakened believers joined the 120 of those in the Upper Room to begin the New Testament church (Acts 2:41). Within the space of a few weeks, 5,000 others were added to the church through the healing of the lame man by Peter and John (Acts 4:4). On that day, the Holy Spirit released the "Heavenly TNT" through the grasp of Peter as he pulled the lame man to his feet. Ah, but this was only the initial explosive charge. The true explosiveness of power manifested when Peter addressed the crowd and the Holy Spirit worked like a demolition expert as the apostle preached, imploding from within the spirit of religiosity from all those who heard. For centuries, the nation of Israel had listened but did not have ears to hear because their hearts were hard and unyielding to the truth. In the space of a few weeks, the early church experienced a seismic explosion that broke through hearts of stone that had beforehand stood unyielding to God's  call (see Ezekiel 11:19-20).

Today, God's power is just as near as it was in the early church as told to us from the book of Acts. One might rightly say, "I have never experienced, seen, nor even heard about the kind of power related in the book of Acts! Oh, if only God would move like that, then I would believe and have faith!" Beloved, God's power is there to move as it did 2,000 years ago. The sad truth of the matter is that we don't NEED God to move. If we did, He would. As the ancient Greek philosopher wrote: Necessity is the mother of invention. In the same way, if we truly needed God to move out of necessity then He would move heaven and earth to bring it about. Truly, in our ultra-modern, super-technological age we have missed the opportunity for God to move demonstrably because of an idolatrous substitution for science and intellect. We have shoved God into a small corner of our existence only to call on Him on Sunday mornings or at the noon meal afterwards. God has been relegated to a place of impotence by our reliance on other "gods" more suited to our "modern" liking. However, what we have sadly found is that these expressions of a "god in a box" are nothing more than "duds" that can never unleash the dunamis power that only He can give a humble and contrite people. As the collective Body of Christ in western civilization, we have been lulled back to sleep by week after week of living with impotent power all around us. Our present-day solution and cure to this self-induced stupor comes by confessing along with the Laodiceans the indictment that Jesus spoke against this first century city-church:

Because you say, "I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing," and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see ... (For full context, see Revelation 3:14-22).

Beloved, when we truly believe Jesus and wait for His power from on high out of a sense of true need for Him to revive our lives, our cities, our countries, and our world -- then and only then will He once again unleash His dunamis or dynamite power upon our western civilization. While we languish for God in America and western Europe, areas in Africa and Asia are seeing incredible growth of the Church with signs and wonders. Why? Because they need Him. They have no other recourse but to wait upon the Lord until He would demonstrate His power amongst them. While many of us in America are experiencing a lack of divine experience due to our acceptance of the supernatural impotence that is on the Church, many in other countries throughout the world are finding and experiencing a God of power. Many of us might be titillated by the anticipation of power to come only to find that what we have been waiting for is a "spiritual dud" because it has not been bathed in need through a humble and contrite heart. We may sit as spectators and view the move of God from afar, but that is not my desire. Like many of you, we should all desire to see His power or God's dunamis moving from His heart and through our own hands. Even as many can relate to unleashing the power of a firecracker by lighting its fuse, so should we all desire to be used in a profound way to transfer God's miraculous healing and restorative power to a dying world. That, my friends, will only come when we truly need and desire for Him to fill us as He longs to make us strong in His might.

Lord Jesus, there is only one true power and that is through your Holy Spirit. Send Him in a way that we have never thought or imagined. Invade our lives with your miraculous power to save, heal, and restore. We need you, Lord, and will ever say this until you move in true fashion that befits your Person. Come Lord Jesus. In Your Precious Name, Amen!

Your Barefoot Servant,

Rick

God's Power - July 9, 2009

 

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