The Bible speaks of God's "power" and many are wondering if we still today can make use of the power of God in the same manner as in biblical times?
Opinions on the power of God differ greatly. The interpretations vary much depending on whether you are trying to take advantage of the power of God or not. But many feel uncertain about what the Bible really teaches about these things. Some say that the Bible is not very clear, or at least that one can interpret in different ways how the power and mighty deeds works. In this article our guest writer Kamau Mweru helps us sorting out the concepts.
The article text is based on a blog article by guest writer Kamau Mweru which has a background in denominations outside the High Church and he lives in Kenya. The original text is edited. Published with permission.
The Apostles described the power of God with several examples. Paul prophesied also about how it towards the end would be that many would have a form of godliness "but denying the power thereof" (2 Timothy 3:5). Below are some Bible verses that highlight the importance of the power of God for the followers of Jesus and the kingdom of God:
"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.” (Acts 1:8)
"Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the POWER of God;" (2 Tim 1:8)
"And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death." (Rev 12:11)
But God speaks not only about great power and mighty works, but also about spiritual deception. Jesus said, "Let no man deceive you." Paul wrote several times about the same thing using other words, and John gave a description of the Antichrist in his first letter (Chapter 3:7 - 10). He also gave detailed descriptions of false apostles and warned that it is very dangerous to deal with self-willed wayward interpretations of the Scriptures. In 2 Peter 1:20 - 2:3 we read:
Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.
One must be very nearly blind to not be able to see that Peter describes exactly what we see around us today. Greedy preachers who call themselves apostles and prophets is profiting on the "many" that follow them. They sneak into false and damaging teachings and it has become very common to deny Jesus Christ in different ways. No wonder then that the way of truth is so much reviled in our day.
And if you tell someone that you practice yoga and transcendental meditation and mutter names of devils half an hour a day, and that this makes you fresh and creative, then your colleagues at work may say 'Oh, so interesting." But if you dare tell them that you draw back into your bedroom and bend your knees and pray to the Creator of the universe, then they say: - "What? Are you crazy ! Have you gone religious?"
The way of truth is openly blasphemed but everything else is accepted as normal.
Peter continues with descriptions of the antichrist spirit, 2 Pet. 2:9-13:
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished: But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, self willed, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord. But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you.
An important hallmark is that the leading figures become brazen and selfconfident, and that they revile high powers, although the angels refrain from doing so. Judas also spoke about this in his letter, saying:
“Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves. Woe unto them! for they have gone in the way of Cain, and ran greedily after the error of Balaam for reward, and perished in the gainsaying of Core.”
Now, what does this have to do with "power" and false prophets? It has to do with the fact that it is a standard behavior in the so-called faith movement to rage and boss with demons and showing contempt for the Lord. And this should be a clear indicator of what spirit is controlling the faith movement's preachers. One wonders how these preachers read the Bible and how they interpret Peter's second letter as well as Jude's and Paul's writings about the haggling with the Gospel and about those "great apostles." An example of a warning concerning these false prophets is given in 2 Peter 2:14-15:
"Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness".
from his side gives descriptions in his first letter (3:4-10) of the Son of God, born of God, and the Antichrist, who
is of the devil:
Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.
And ye know that he [Jesus] was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
Another part of the text, seemingly insignificant, has been underlined ("he", i.e. Jesus). But the underlining is very important if you read the quoted text with the intention of determining whether you can be called saved, or you may give up all hope completely.
But what John is really saying is that you can recognize the Antichrist because his lifestyle is not in order. He lives in sin.
And you may wonder how anyone calling themselves Christians can be fooled by them, but when the lifestyle isn't in order it's time to wake up and be watchful!
And yet millions of people who call themselves Christians already accept that their leaders live in luxury and opulence and fly to their crusades and from one miracle conference to the other in private jets with gilded handles and faucets. All the while they are exposed with fornication and fraud, and much more. The same spirit has since long haunted Islam, with its God who excuses the great prophet's debauchery in fornication, murder, theft, fraud and pedophilia.
And now these world famous faith movement teachers and prosperity preachers managed to fool millions that, despite their lifestyle, they are still God's servants. They have paved the way for the Antichrist and they rake his stables and sweep his runway.
And now we're approaching the real theme of this article , namely the power as hallmark, a token. In this light we shall again examine the first three citations of this article:
Acts 1:8 - "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.”
2 Tim 1:8 - "Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the AFFLICTIONS of the gospel according to the POWER of God;"
Rev 12:11 - "And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the WORD of their TESTIMONY; and they loved not their lives unto the death."
We are now reading about life and death, and testimony - and power. But why are witnesses, power, and suffering and death so closely connected?
An explanation for this connection is found in the word witness. In
the original Greek text in Acts 1:8 a word "μαρτυρες " (Martyres) is used, based on the word "μαρτυς", which has been translated into English as "witnesses".
You do recognize the word "martyr", don't you? We who live closer to the time called the Tribulation will probably need a lot of the power of the Spirit to not be afraid and to have the strength be witnesses and martyrs.
And if the connection between a witness and suffering is not clear enough it becomes more apparent in 2 Tim 1:8 where we learn that there is a suffering being proportional to the power provided by God. And Revelation 12:11 speaks of those who loves the truth to the extent that they did not hesitate to offer their lives while giving their testimony. But in 2 Timothy 3:5 we read about a quite different attitude:
"Having a form of godliness, but denying the POWER thereof: from such turn away." (2 Tim 3:5)
It is at this point that many people misunderstand the "power" of God. And not all is aware of that those mentioned in Timothy who are said to have only a form of godliness, they are also talking about a completely different kind of power! They speak a lot about a power to carry out spectacular manifestations. They scream and yell. They manipulate the masses. They practice merchantry with the Gospel. And they make improper use of God's promises. Etcetera.
But would these great apostles want to become martyrs ("witnesses")? No they wouldn't, instead they would go forward in luxury and be admired for their great "powers". Now compare this with the person described in Acts 8:9-11:
But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the GREAT POWER OF GOD."
And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.
Against this background we can go on comparing with some other texts that speak of power:
Rom 1:16 - "For I am not ashamed of the GOSPEL of Christ: for it is the POWER of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (The Gospel is the power of God)
1 Cor 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. (The cross is the power of God).
1 Kor. 1:24 But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. (Christ is the power of God).
Perhaps all this makes it more obvious how to market the wrong kind of power? Let's summarize:
if the healers and the apostles of the strong manifestations do not make
use of the proper power, then what is the power they use and what kind of
apostles are they? Could it be false apostles?
In the closing we compare against the descriptions given in 2 Peter 2 in order to find out what hallmarks are missing for proper discernment of false apostles:
And the answer to our initial question is obviously; yes, the gospel still has the power to save sinners, and to bring up a man out of the horrible pit, and the cross is still the focus of those who are truthful witnesses about the Christ which is the power of God.
Or do you feel that the Bible's is lacking in distinguishing the characteristics of false apostles?
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