THE GOSPEL OF POWER

When I was a young missionary in West Africa there was a song we used to sing, especially when we conducted evangelistic crusades. The main words to the song were:

“Jesus power – super, super power! Satan power – powerless power!”

I loved that song because it always filled me with great joy by reminding me of the eternal defeat of Satan and the victory of Jesus (Col. 2:15).

This revelation was hidden from past ages, but has now been revealed to the saints. The prayer that Paul prayed for the Ephesian Christians (Eph. 1:16-23) was so they could understand this mystery. By the spirit of wisdom and revelation – to know the hope of our calling, our glorious inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of His power … to know we’ve been raised up with Christ and seated in heavenly places far above all principality and power is the wisdom of God. But this manifold wisdom of God must be displayed by the Church to the powers of darkness (Eph. 3:10).

Here’s a truth:

Maximum damage is done to the kingdom of darkness, and maximum blessing is done to advance the kingdom of light, when miracles accompany its messengers.

The demonstration of God’s power in signs, wonders, and miracles is a major part of the gospel and actually sets the tone for the demands of Christ. You really have no right to demand repentance without demonstrating the power of God. Taking up the cross seems like an unreasonable demand except following a miracle. Jesus rebuked the cities pronouncing woes on the people who did not repent after witnessing His mighty works.

“Then He began to rebuke the cities in which most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent” (Mt. 11:20).

“Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I say to you, it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the day of judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, who are exalted to heaven, will be brought down to Hades; for if the mighty works which were done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day. But I say to you that it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment than for you” (Mat 11:21-24).

In the above scripture Jesus infers that mighty works give people a greater opportunity to respond to the gospel, but also a greater condemnation on those who reject Him. To whom much is given much is required (Lk 12:48). According to Jesus, even Sodom and Gomorrah, that wicked city, would’ve repented and not been burned to the ground had they witnessed His mighty works (Mat 10:15). Therefore they will be judged less severely in the day of judgment than the cities where mighty works were done without ensuing repentance.

When Jesus sent out His disciples He gave them power over demons and disease (Mat 10:1). He equipped them with an ability and authority to demonstrate the power of God. Without it the gospel is incomplete.

“And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give” (Mat 10:7-8).

Notice in this context that Jesus did not tell His disciples to pray for the sick, the lepers, the dead, and the demon possessed. He commanded them to heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, and deliver the demon possessed. In other words, Jesus authorized them to heal the sick, not pray for the sick. Of course, it is scriptural to pray for the sick (Jam 5:14), but it’s interesting that in the gospels and in the book of Acts we don’t find one reference to praying for the sick. This tells me that these early apostles had an understanding of the authority they’d been given in a way that much of the Church and its ministers today do not.

It was Jesus’ purpose that the supernatural power of God would signal the kingdom of heaven’s arrival. His purpose has not changed. We who are followers of Jesus can expect to do the same. The power is in the proclamation. He commands us to say, “The kingdom of heaven is here!” He authorizes you to confirm it with power. God will back you up. Act and you will see.

A few years ago I traveled to an interior city in Sierra Leone, West Africa to minister. Upon arrival my hosts escorted me to go see some city officials. When I stepped into the female mayor’s office I was met by approximately 20 of her staff. I asked the Lord what kind of introduction I should give. He told me to proclaim that the kingdom of heaven had come to their city and to heal the sick in the mayor’s office. I asked for a show of hands of who was sick, and instructed them to put their hands on their own bodies, and then commanded them to be healed. Several testified of being instantly healed either through pain leaving their bodies or being alleviated from an afflicted condition. The mayor then told me that I could do anything I wanted to do in the city, that it was my city, and they would give me any assistance I needed.

Kingdom authority can stir up persecution or command instant favor, or both. In this case, we received great favor. They recognized that God was with me. The bolder you are the more results you will see.

Until the power of God is demonstrated the gospel has not been fully preached.

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