16. THEN & NOW, THERE ARE GIFTS OF POWER DURING REAL REVIVAL, BECAUSE THE LORD IS WORKING WITH THEM
Mark 16:17-20 (KJV)
17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
18 They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
19 So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.
20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
Of course, we believe that passage. It is the Lord speaking and I would never call Him a liar. Signs do follow Holy Spirit filled believers, and signs follow demon influenced people too, only the signs are different.
The ''serpents' we battle are not rattlesnakes, but evil spirits. We cast them out, we are not hurt by their attacks. The 'deadly thing' we may drink is the attempts of the world to kill or destroy us, and that is also not hurtful. We lay hands on the sick, they recover.
These are the kinds of signs that follow all believers. When Spirit filled, we are gifted with special anointings of the Holy Spirit to battle the evil in this world.
Too often though we miss that it says these signs follow all believers. It is not just the Holy Spirit filled ones that need this power, it is a power the Lord knew all of us needed. To be Spirit filled puts us on the front line, in battle gear, armed with weapons that make the devils tremble.
All power is the Lord's. The Spirit filled Christian therefore is 'filled' with the power to do mighty acts, not of their own power, but by the power of the Holy Spirit.
Zechariah 4:6 (KJV)
... Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.
The Holy Spirit is the MIGHT of the Trinity. The prophets of the Old Testament did miracles and spoke by the power and inspiration of the Spirit. Jesus came as a Man, and did mighty miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, we are to be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
"BUT TRULY I AM FULL OF POWER BY THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD AND OF JUSTICE AND MIGHT."
For us to have power, we need to connect to the Source of Power. The power of the Spirit changes us. Before Pentecost, the disciples were unsure, unsteady, and unfaithful. They forsook Jesus and fled during His arrest and trial. They were weak and fearful. Yet, after Pentecost, they were brave, faithful, steady, sure, able to stand in face of persecution, victorious, enthusiastic, and bold. The change was effected by the arrival of a Person known as the Holy Spirit.
Only the Spirit's power is needed.
Christians need to cease: -hero worship (glorifying the saint, and not the Lord of the saint), -glorying in numbers, -glorying in denominations, and instead, find the power of the Spirit.
The Holy Spirit imparts power for a reason. He wants to have a work done. Not a work inside the four walls of the church only. Programs and activities inside the church are just part of the work. Yet, seven days a week, people are in contact with the world. At work, at home, in the community, etc, there is a need for the Holy Spirit to exhibit His power through His people.
Without the Spirit, we are powerless. One may have a cannon, but without the gunpowder and a cannon ball-- it is powerless. Even the gunpowder is powerless, without a spark. So it is with the church. If the Spirit can get the cannon, the ball, and the gunpowder together and provide the spark -- there is power. If we ignore the Spirit, we ignore the power.
The PLACE is not important, it is the POWER that is important. The Pentecostal revival started in an upper room of a house, not in the Temple.
Later, another revival of Pentecostal power occurred in Los Angeles, California, a place we call 'Azusa St.'. This outpouring at 312 Azusa St., was in a former Methodist church, that had been converted to a storefront. The second floor was a tenement building. The first floor was a large, unplastered, barn-like room. It was near a tombstone shop, a stables, and a lumberyard. Yet, in this unlikely place, came a mighty rushing wind. A three year revival went on, day and night. There was no choir, no musical instruments--yet the Spirit was manifested in His power.
"YE SHALL RECEIVE POWER AFTER THAT THE HOLY SPIRIT IS COME UPON YOU."
The words "COME UPON" mean "supervened" or "added to." We have Someone Who is "added to" us. We may now go through the same kinds of trials as before, yet, now there is a difference. The Spirit is present within us to move mightily. The Power is "upon" us. This power is available, especially after we have received the baptism of the Spirit.
The terminology - "full of the Spirit" is often used in Christian circles. Some have been ‘baptized’ in the Spirit, but still are not ‘full of the Spirit. This filling can come and go. One can become carnal of thought, doubting in faith, weak in determination and consecration, and still ‘baptized’ in the past in the Spirit. We need to learn to be ‘full of the Spirit’. There are many fillings, many opportunities to tap into this power that originally came when we were baptized in the Spirit. This ‘full of the Spirit’ refers to the liberality of God in His pouring out of the Spirit. God crams us full, overflowing, filled to the brim. Vacuums are contrary to nature. We can let worries, cares of life, etc fill our minds, or we can let the Spirit fill us with His power. We must become full of something.
We are commanded to "BE FILLED WITH THE SPIRIT."
Stephen and Philip were "full" of the Spirit (Acts 6:3,5). How did they know that they were full of the Spirit ? It was by the demonstration of the power (dunamis) of the Spirit. The gifts of the Spirit were evident.
Spirit filled men were men of power. Peter and John had healing to offer the lame man at the temple (Acts 3). Peter could preach boldly, and not fear as he did when a maid questioned him.
Stephen was a man "full of faith and of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 6:5)
Paul and Barnabas were also empowered of the Spirit's fullness (Acts 13:9, 11:24).
These men and others that were filled with the Spirit were used of God to turn many to the Lord. Great revival followed these men.
Ananias was a man that was "full" of the Spirit. How do we know ? First God spoke to him with a word of knowledge about Saul. Then Ananias obeyed God's instructions. Paul was healed as Ananias prayed. Paul was filled with the Spirit when Ananias lay his hands upon him. These were the manifestations of the power of the Spirit. (Acts 9:11-18)
Power is evident wherever people are Spirit-filled. Following the outpouring of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost, there were "many signs and wonders." Many believers were added to the kingdom. (Acts 5:12, 14)
The move of the Spirit in our lives fills us with GIFT POWER.
We have 'gifts' from the Spirit even before salvation... Conviction is a gift, and I am glad I can still feel it work at times when I need it. It began before salvation, and its Author was the Holy Spirit.
The fruit of the Holy Spirit comes at salvation. What some do with that 'gift' varies greatly, and the love, joy, peace, etc are not always demonstrated by some Christians, but it was given at salvation.
There are what we call 'power' gifts, that Jesus promised to the disciples and us that after the day of Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit came to 'infill' and not just be 'upon' us, there would be power given from the Holy Spirit.
Acts 1:8 (KJV)
8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto Me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
The conviction gift was to bring us to Jesus, the fruit gift is to change our nature to be like that of Jesus, the power gifts are to make us better and able witnesses for the Lord. There are multitudes of gifts, and we have not ceased to count them.
The word "gift" is from the Greek - charismata. From this word we get the word "charismatic." We are presently in a "charismatic" revival. This type of revival is a fresh endowment of gifts from the Holy Spirit on believers. Paul told us to "EAGERLY DESIRE SPIRITUAL GIFTS." (I Cor. 14:1 NIV)
The conviction gift comes upon all sinners, and it is accepted or denied...
The fruit gift is given to all who accept the conviction and repent, and accept the salvation by grace, it can grow or be buried....
The spiritual gifts of power are to be 'eagerly desired'.
These are not desired for the purpose of just receiving personal blessings. They are meant to edify the entire body of believers. All of us should desire to have many gifts in operation within the church. Messages in tongues, and interpretations are common in churches that desire them. The same is true for the other gifts. The Spirit will manifest this power of gifts whenever He finds the desire for them.
Some have mentioned one denomination that does not allow manifestation of the power gifts in the Sunday a.m. service. Well, since they are not desired then, they are not found then. The Holy Spirit is a Gentleman, and does not force us to exercise the spiritual power gifts. Yet, in every service, in places not even a church service, the Holy Spirit is grieved if we do not accept conviction for sins, or do not exercise the fruit of the Spirit constantly. In churches where the gifts are 'eagerly desired' we find them in operation. In persons who 'eagerly desire' spiritual power gifts, we see that signs and wonders are abundant in their ministry.
I Cor. 12:4
"THERE ARE DIVERSITIES OF GIFTS, BUT THE SAME SPIRIT."
The POWER OF UNITY AND PEACE is from the Holy Spirit.
There is much diversion of belief in charismatic circles. Doctrines differ, methods of worship differ, yet- the power of the Spirit can get us to fellowship and love one another. We are told to endeavor "TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE." (Ephesians 4:3)
Early charismatics of these last days emphasized the experience of receiving the fullness of the Holy Spirit, instead of emphasizing doctrine. Thereby Calvinists, Arminians, Holiness, etc. could worship together.
The unity is to grow. The Holy Spirit will also aid our ability to feel unity with even those within our own church who have wronged us in the past, or with those who look to us as an adversary. This "peace that passes all understanding" is from the Holy Spirit.
There is LIBERTY POWER. Too many churches are like prisons. The congregations are bound by rules, forms of worship, power structures, and traditions. Yet when the Spirit fills believers, and where the Spirit is made "Lord" or master of the service, there is liberty and the service is moved and directed by the Holy Spirit.
Too many try to live their lives within a bondage of legalism. Hair lengths, clothes, make up, jewelry, etc are arguments for the non-Spirit-filled. The Spirit filled believers will follow the leading of the Spirit and the "liberty" of that walk will amaze all.
II Cor. 3:17
"NOW THE LORD IS THE SPIRIT, WHERE THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS, THERE IS LIBERTY."
Someday soon we will find that suddenly our mortal bodies have been transformed and raptured up into the clouds to meet our Savior, Jesus. This TRANSLATION POWER will come from the Spirit.
"OURSELVES...WHO HAVE THE FIRST FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT, EVEN WE OURSELVES, GROAN WITHIN OURSELVES, WAITING FOR THE ADOPTION, TO WIT, THE REDEMPTION OF THE BODY."
So, the current gifts are the 'first fruits' of the Holy Spirit. There are more to come. One mentioned in the passage above is the 'redemption of the body' which is the rapture event, wherein our bodies are changed from mortal to immortal, and we rise to meet the Lord in the clouds... That is gift we long for...
The devil mimics the power of the Spirit. So we must beware. We cannot be over credulous. There are many counterfeits of the Spirit's power. The signs and wonders must be tested by their fruits, by the Word of God, by the witness of the Spirit, and by the word of knowledge, word of wisdom, and the discernment of spirits. The false must be rejected.