A POWERLESS CHURCH: WHAT A SAD COMMENTARY!
by Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
“But ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you...” (Acts 1:8)
Nearly two millennia have passed since these eternal words were uttered by our Master to His disciples, after His vicarious (substitutionary) efficacious (effective) death for us, and His glorious resurrection from the dead!
AND BECAUSE JESUS CHRIST ROSE FROM THE DEAD, HIS PROMISES AND COMMANDS TO US HAVE NOT CHANGED. THEY ARE STILL INTACT, OPERATIVE AND HIS POWER IS STILL AVAILABLE TO HIS CHURCH TODAY!
Without doubt, ‘the norm’ for the church is for His power to be working and His life pulsating through our lives at all times! It is also true that unbelief has plagued God’s people from Day One. Here are two classic examples from the Old and New Testaments that underline this blemish!
Example #1 - The children of Israel in the wilderness: UNDER MOSES!
“For some, when they had heard, did provoke: howbeit not all that came out of Egypt by Moses. But with whom was He grieved forty years? was it not with them that had sinned, whose carcasses fell in the wilderness? And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” (Heb. 3:16-19)
Example #2 - The disciples after the resurrection: UNDER JESUS!
“After that He appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country. And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them. Afterward He appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen Him after He was risen.” (Mark 16:12-14)
As we near the end of this dispensation, it is incumbent upon us to demonstrate the power of God now more than ever before. His Word is steadfast and His promises are true, therefore it is imperative that we learn to live in His Word and walk in the Spirit in order to effectively tear down the strongholds of Satan.
It is our duty as His servants, to challenge Satan’s authority over the human race and set the captives free!
UNBELIEF IS SIN - CLEAR & SIMPLE!
There is “no getting around it”, to disbelieve God’s Word is a slap in His face, an insult to His integrity and a definitely “non-confidence vote” against everything God is and stands for!
The Bible says that Jesus rebuked His disciples for “unbelief and hardness of heart”, because they believed not those that had seen Him after His resurrection. (Mark 16:20). When Jesus was asked by unbelieving “doctors of the law” regarding the resurrection of the dead, He effectively closed their mouths by His answer!
Then He said, “Ye do greatly err, knowing neither the scriptures, nor the power of God”. (Matt. 22:29)
GREAT CHURCH LEADERS ON FAITH & MIRACLES:
Martin Luther, the great reformer said, “How often has it happened, and still does, that devils have been driven out in the name of Christ; also, by calling on His name and prayer, that the sick have been healed”.
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church stated: “I believe that God can open the eyes of the blind, cause the lame to walk, and the deaf to hear, if a man will have faith in God, and pray according to the faith that God has given them. God will do the things He said He would because He is a never-changing God”.
A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance stated: “If ever there was an age when the world needed the witness of God’s supernatural working, it is in this day of unbelief and Satan’s power. Therefore, we may expect, as the end approaches, that the Holy Ghost will work in the healing of sickness, in the casting out of demons, in remarkable answers to prayer, in special and wonderful providences, and in such forms as may please His sovereign will to an unbelieving world.”
The Bible says, “And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen”. (Mark 16:20)
St. Paul attested to this truth with this testimony: “For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles, obedient, by word and deed, Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” (Rom. 15:18-19)
The Holy Spirit also gives us this confirmation: “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him; God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will?” (Heb. 2:3-4)
“And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” (Acts 19:11-12)
St. James writes to the church in general: “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him”. (James 5:14-15)
And Jesus Christ said: “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes”. (Mark 9:23); “And Jesus Christ looking upon them saith, With men it is impossible, but with not with God: for with God all things are possible.” (Mark 10: 27).
“And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have FAITH in God. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever saith unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe those things which he saith shall come to pass, he shall have whatsoever he saith.
“Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye PRAY, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.” (Mark 11: 22-24). “And this is the confidence that we have in Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He heareth us: And if we know that He hear us, whatsoever we ask, we KNOW that we have the petition that we desired of Him.” (1 John 5: 14,15). Amen.