7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or epochs which the Father has fixed by His own authority;
8 “but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.”
Most young Christians, and even many old timers who have not submitted to the Lord’s discipline, immediately think of miracles and healings and casting out of demons when they hear or read the words, ‘you shall receive power.’ They inevitably begin a desperate journey of seeking ways to make that power work when they want it to work; thus claiming the promises, standing on the word, declaring and decreeing things, etc. Yes, these beliefs had their beginning in the minds of people who thought they were equal to God and His Son.
I have never understood this. When I was born again I could not help but walk in humility, because I had experienced the presence of the Son of the living God. I walk that way to this day because I have tasted the compassion of God’s mercy and the generosity of His grace, and the infinite depths of love that spring from both the Father and Son.
I would never claim a promise from such a loving Father, even in the name of His Son. I can’t think of anything lower than a human being demanding something from Him, as if he had a right to it, or declaring and decreeing that He make something happen for them.
What happened to denying yourself? What happened to taking up your cross and following Jesus? How did it get so twisted, that now Christians are telling Jesus which way to go, rather than following Him? In many Christian circles today “Thy will be done” has been superseded by “I claim it,” and “I speak it,” and “I declare it,” and “I decree it”; thus “My will be done.”
Dear ones, the Holy Spirit does so much more than hand out gifts. He leads us down the path of submitting to the Lord, and learning obedience from the things which we suffer. He does this in order that we may share God’s holiness, Hebrews 12:20. It is without a Jesudoubt that the Holy Spirit is powerful. But He uses His power in a myriad of ways. He is our Comforter and our Guide into all the truth. He is holy; He is holy; He is holy; how dare someone attempt to use Him to make himself appear spiritual.
As for those who claim to have the authority of Christ, Jesus lived a life of suffering and obedience and was crucified before He was given all authority in heaven and on earth. These people think they can just lay claim to the authority given Him after He had fulfilled the perfect will of God. How can that be right?
Some might call attention to Jesus giving authority over all the power of the devil to the twelve and the seventy. But He had to give them authority because they were separate from Him. Since the day of Pentecost we are no longer separate from Him. We are now members of His risen body, the church, a new creation. We now walk by faith in Him and in His name, not by authority.
Why would anyone need authority if they have faith in the name of Jesus? Peter said the lame man at the gate of the temple was made whole by faith in the name of Jesus. He said nothing about authority. Doing something in the name of Jesus is not doing it with His authority; it is doing something through faith in His name.
Peter made this perfectly clear:
16 And on the basis of faith in His name, it is the name of Jesus which has strengthened this man whom you see and know; and the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect health in the presence of you all.
So all who think they have the authority of Christ are just spitting in the wind, and, at the same time, raising themselves up to a lofty place, which will one day bring punishment upon themselves:
2 Corinthians 10:5–6,
5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,
6 and we are ready to punish all disobedience, whenever your obedience is complete.
Woe to those who do not learn to obey and take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ:
8 But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
Jon David Banks, God’s most unworthy servant
“Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995, 2020 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.lockman.org”