Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Cry for Divine Empowerment

With all our great media tools and marketing campaigns in the church today, who needs the Holy Spirit? Right? I mean, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit to give us POWER to win souls. But when souls are filling our pews and things seem great, why cry out for more? In the last decade or so the “self help” message has been filling our culture, both Christian and secular. A good percentage of Sunday sermons are simply “baptized” versions of a secular message- “positive” messages that make us feel better about ourselves. *

So, it’s easy for these churches and ministers to see no need to seek God for a greater manifestation of His power when there is an appearance of success.** Presently, a cry for divine empowerment may only be heard in the context of seeking strength to continue their programs.

In Acts 4 we read of the story where the apostles (who had previously had an “infilling” of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2) cry out for divine empowerment, and get it by an obvious manifestation of the Holy Spirit.

Why did the Apostles have this cry for divine empowerment in Acts 4?

1. They understood what true disciples were. The results they were seeking were very different than many churches today. They were commissioned to make disciples, not church members. This required the empowerment of the Holy Spirit to speak an anointed truth that “cut to the heart” of the listeners, resulting in repentance.

2. Their strategy was power. That is, they depended on the Holy Spirit’s power to heal people to prove that Jesus was alive! No street dramas, no bands, just power to heal. Their strategy? Display God’s love through His power. Preach the Gospel.

3. They were facing persecution. They needed divine boldness to continue preaching openly in the face of potential death. The guys leading this prayer meeting still felt the wounds of persecution upon their backs. Jesus had commissioned them to preach, and they needed boldness to obey.

So why don’t we have great power manifest in the church at large? Well, I’m not sure we have the same understanding and goals as the first church. May we get a fresh revelation of Jesus, our condition, and His commission to us! This would have us crying out with faith for a true baptism of the Holy Spirit!

“Acts 4:31 And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

- Richy Clark

* Does God want us to feel good about ourselves? Well yes, in the context of taking on HIS righteousness through repentance and faith. Does God want to bless us? Yes. Does God want to bless us with a new car, house, job… not biblically guaranteed by any means. In fact quite the opposite is presented in the Gospels! He wants to bless us with HIM!

**By the way, I’m all for being “seeker sensitive” as long as we are leading people to water!