By What Power?

Proverbs 2:3-5. If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, Then you will understand the fear of the LORD and find the knowledge of God.

How do you in this new covenant age receive knowledge from God? You may answer right away that the Bible and prayer are methods. Another important aspect is the indwelling of holy spirit. It is the link, or spiritual connection, between us and God and our mediator, Jesus Christ. We receive understanding, knowledge, and power of God.

Dallas Willard states:

“What we do or do not understand, in any area of our lives, determines what we can or cannot believe and therefore governs our practice and action with an iron hand. You cannot believe a blur or a blank, and the blanks in our understanding can only be filled in by careful instruction and hard thinking. It will not be done on our behalf.”1

Willard encourages Christians not to be lazy about learning and searching for answers to spiritual questions. Where we search for spiritual knowledge is of upmost importance. Our only source of faith and practice has to be the Bible. This is God’s Word directly to His people. He has given it to us for instruction in righteousness.

When we read and study, how do we know and gain understanding of godly spiritual truths?

Christians and non-Christians alike look at spiritual matters at times as if they are opposed to reason or knowledge. We reason out the Scriptures guided by the holy spirit. The thought that God communicates directly with us is consistently questioned or over-exaggerated. By reading and asking for wisdom, Scripture gives us what we need to know about communicating with Yahweh. When we have faith, that faith is informed by spiritual knowledge and may be in opposition to what we see. We have commitment to Yahweh because of insights that are given only when we believe on Jesus as the Messiah. Through our own personal careful thought and study of the Scriptures, we will attain a true relationship with Yahweh and His Son. Our brothers and sisters in Christ contribute to our knowledge also, but we are ultimately responsible for what we believe.

Jesus very clearly stated that we are not only to love Yahweh with our whole heart and soul, but also with our whole mind. This thinking and reasoning part sometimes is overlooked.

Mark 12:28-30. And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’

Our thoughts are what we think. This thinking informs the brain to act. If my thoughts are those that are carefully reasoned from Scripture by way of holy spirit, I have faith in those thoughts/words, and my actions will be Christ-like. Peter knew (thoughts) the Hebrew Scriptures and lived with Jesus. He had a lot of knowledge and experience (actions).

Peter stood up in the Temple during the early morning prayers and addressed thousands of Jews. For many weeks, he and the other disciples were hiding away for fear of the Jews. Now after receiving the gift of holy spirit, he boldly and with power proclaimed salvation to the Jews who had, just weeks earlier, crucified Jesus. The change in Peter came when he received Yahweh’s gift that dwells now within all who believe that Jesus is the Son of Yahweh. After Peter finished speaking at the Temple, the Jews asked what they could do to remedy their lost situation. Peter responded.

Acts 2:37-38. Now when they [the crowd of Jews at the Temple] heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

With repentance would come baptism of holy spirit in the name of Jesus Christ resulting in, not only forgiveness of sins, but also access to Yahweh. We are made holy and righteous. We now belong to Christ as Paul tells us in the book of Romans.

Romans 8:9. You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

After this miraculous day of Pentecost, many believers were added to the body of Christ every day (Acts 16:5).

Acts records many healings and deliverance of believers as the gospel was preached. The lame man jumped up and leaped for joy, dead were raised, devil possessed were healed. About five thousand were born again at one time. Peter, John, Silas, and others were arrested and released in miraculous ways. Reading these records gives us a view of the incredible power of Yahweh when people believe. The high priest, Annas, knowing he did not have such power, asked Peter and John how it was that they as unlearned Galileans could heal the lame man.

Acts 4:7. And when they had set them in the midst, they inquired, “By what power or by what name did you do this?”

The power of Yahweh was dwelling in Peter and John for all to witness. They had knowledge, wisdom, and faith and were able to heal and deliver those who were oppressed. Cornelius and his Gentile Roman family, among many others, spoke in tongues, and Yahweh’s power was clear for all to see.

The second aspect of receiving holy Spirit is that we now live by the fruit of the spirit. These “fruit” are listed in Galatians.

Galatians 5:22-23. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.

The early church needed to see healings and deliverance along with the miraculous events for the church to grow. The power of Yahweh was manifested in the senses’ realm by His love for His people. With the inclusion of the Gentiles, came another whole new way of living—a course of action based on love for one another who were enemies.

There is nothing that can compare to someone loving us with Yahweh’s love. This love is transformative. It is what turned Saul, a hater of the Christians, to a most beloved Christian. People who are mean, cruel, heartless become kind, thoughtful, and compassionate with the acceptance of the gospel. There is no better billboard for Christianity than a soul that has been changed by love. When a sinner has been renewed by the love of Yahweh and the sacrifice of Jesus, we know a supernatural miracle has taken place. Not even a lifetime of psychotherapy would ever accomplish this kind of phenomenon.

The church today needs the same power exhibited as was evident in the first century church. We need to have healing, deliverance, and boldness. Along with those needs, Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:1 that we are useless noise if we do great things without love. Love is the glue that holds us together, gives us compassion, grace, and mercy. We cannot think that healing is less than love or the only way to love. We cannot think that miracles are the only way to see Yahweh and forget patience and humility. The church needs all the gifts that Yahweh has chosen to give us. He is the one in charge. We choose to obey. As we do, Yahweh and Jesus give us instructions for what is needed. To have knowledge and understanding of spiritual matters, we are instructed to search the Scriptures (John 5:39) and to be doers of the Word and not just hearers (James 1:22). Where we are weak or fuzzy in our faith, we need to become knowledgeable and deliberate. The church needs each of us to be strong in all spiritual matters.

Notes

1 Willard, D. (1999). Hearing God: Developing a conversational relationship with God. Illinois: IVP Books.

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