Supernatural Power For World Missions
By Peter Hammond
We, Christians, are in a full-scale spiritual war, but we do not seem to be doing much fighting! The church is being attacked by the powers of darkness (Eph. 6:13). Spiritual warfare, sin and worldliness are crippling and undermining church outreach and growth and, worse still, we do not seem to be aware of it.
All of us have friends and family who are under the attack of the evil one. We have family members chained by the devil, friends trapped in addictions and sinful habits. The church has sheep who are being carried away captive by the false prophets and filthy demons of hell (Isa. 42:22). By tempting, blinding, deceiving and deluding Christians to engage in false priorities, embrace false doctrines, employ human solutions, become ensnared in sinful habits and addictions, and by keeping Christians from the Bible and hindering us from prayer, the devil has tragically rendered whole congregations ineffective. Weakened by worldliness, many are casualties of carnality.
The devil is waging an all-out war against the forces of Jesus Christ and we seem to be confined to barracks, tamely singing our choruses and enjoying fun and fellowship or locked into the internet, video-game and cell-phone world. We are missing opportunities, squandering our resources and wasting our time on trivialities.
Napoleon once said as he looked over the vast expanse of China: "There lies a sleeping giant – let him sleep; for if he wakes he will shake the world!" And the devil could be saying the very same of the church today: "There lies a sleeping giant...if she wakes, she will SHAKE THE WORLD!"
No Limit to God’s Power!
I believe that we can liberate the world for Christ (1 John 5:4). I believe that we can reach every tribe, tongue and people for Christ in this generation (Mark 9:23). Christianity without Christ’s mighty Holy Spirit is dry, dull, powerless, inept and ineffective. Christianity in the power of the Holy Spirit is dynamic, fresh, spiritual, powerful, earth-shaking, history-making, and invincible!
The greatest power in the universe is the power of God’s Holy Spirit. There is no limit to what God can do in and with and through you (Mark 10:27), if He is not quenched (1 Thes. 5:19) – No limit! "‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord Almighty" (Zech. 4:6).
It was said of the Christians of the first century that they "turned the world upside down" (Acts 17:6), and that is exactly what true Christianity, in the power of the Spirit, always accomplishes! Read through the book of Acts and notice the incredible impact that the Christian lifestyle and message had on the Roman Empire. Whenever the Gospel was proclaimed in the power of the Spirit there was either a revival or a riot! Indifference was impossible to such a radical message and such an invincible power (Rom. 15:18-19). "With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and much grace was upon them all" (Acts 4:33).
Are you dissatisfied with your present spiritual experience? Are you frustrated by the inroads that the world and the flesh have made into the church? Do you long to see Christians making a greater impact on society? Is it a burden of your heart that the evangelization and discipleship of the whole world in this generation becomes a reality?
If you determine to stop quenching and resisting the Holy Spirit and humble yourself, seek His face and turn from your wicked ways (2 Chron. 7:14); if you seek first God’s kingdom and His righteousness with a thirsty heart (John 7:37-38), then as you ask, seek and knock, God promises to fill you (Luke 11:9-13) with supernatural power and vibrant spiritual vitality and abundant life. God promises. He assures us (Matt. 5:6). He stakes the honor of His Name (John 14:14) on these promises, stating that as we fulfill the simple conditions, He will work miracles and endue us with power from on high (Luke 24:49).
What, then, do we need in order to turn this world upside down, right side up, back to God? What is needed for us to reclaim the nations for Christ?
Well, firstly we need dedicated Christian disciples whole-heartedly committed to Christ (Acts 20:24) and freed from the chains of sin, selfishness and worldliness (Heb. 12:1). We need Christians filled with the Holy Spirit. The fruit (or evidence) that this fullness of the Spirit produces is to be seen in any life surrendered to God and thirsty for His Word. It is real love, overflowing joy, deep peace of mind and heart, exceptional patience, real kindness, true goodness, invincible faith, genuine humility and great self-control (Gal. 5:22-23).
Secondly, we need these Christians to be able to be led by the Spirit into God’s will (Rom. 8:14) to do and to say the right things, at the right time, to the right people, in the right place. God gives the best to those who leave the choice to Him. And for God’s master strategy of freeing this world from Satan and turning it to Christ we need Christians Master-controlled so as to know the most appropriate word or effective action to do or to say to the most prepared person, at the most crucial time, for the greatest effect and the best results (Rom. 12:1-2). We need Christians led by the Spirit!
Thirdly, we need Christians who will pray in the power of the Spirit (Jude 20). God acts in answer to prayer and if we do not pray then we cannot expect God to act. Prayer releases the power of God. The only foundation for spiritual work is prayer. Prayer is our priority. A prayerful life is always a powerful life. A prayerless life is always a powerless life. Nothing lies beyond the reach of prayer, except that which is beyond the will of God. When we pray in the Spirit then we are releasing the greatest power in the universe.
Fourthly, we need Christians endued with supernatural power to win the spiritual warfare at present raging. There are far too many of our friends, families, churches and ministers that are being undermined, chained and crippled by the forces of evil (2 Cor. 4:4). The time has come to rise up and go out in the power of God’s Spirit and wage war on wickedness and worldliness. We must set the prisoners free (Isa. 61:1). We must win the victory (Rom. 8:37). We must win our world for Jesus (1 John 5:4) and in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the Name of Jesus we shall, we must, we will prevail.
In order to set free the prisoners of sin and Satan, the Lord has given believers power to bind evil (Matt. 12:29). We can restrict, limit and oppose the powers of rebellion, doubt, unbelief, sin, sickness, slavery and hatred (Matt. 18:18). We have power to overcome the gates of hell, to storm the very strongholds of evil (Matt. 16:18-19) and to set the prisoners free (Luke 4:18; 11:22). As the Lord Himself declared, "I have given you authority, so that you can walk on snakes and scorpions and overcome all the power of the enemy, and nothing will hurt you" (Luke 10:19).
Even the demons must obey us when we give them a command in Jesus’ Name (Luke 10:17; Acts 16:18; Mark 16:17). This is because as we place ourselves in submission to the power of God we are able to resist the lesser power of the enemy (Jas. 4:7). "Greater is He who is in [us], than he who is in the world" (1 John 4:4).
The church of Jesus Christ needs dedicated Christ-centered, Bible-based, prayerful Christians endued with God’s supernatural power in order to win this spiritual world war and turn people back to God. As John Wesley said: "Give me one hundred men who love God with all their hearts and who fear no one but God and who hate nothing but sin, and I will change the world."
And this is just what it means to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5:18), for to be filled with God’s Spirit is to be filled with the very nature of God (Eph. 3:19), which is to be filled with Christ (Col. 2:9-10), which is to be filled with love (Eph. 3:17-19). They are inseparable. To be filled with God’s power is to be filled with His love (Rom. 5:5) and the power of that love of Christ’s Holy Spirit shows itself in dynamic action, that moves the world – back to God.
The mark of a Christian is love (John 13:35). The mark of love is action (1 John 3:18). We need Christians who will love God with all their hearts (Mark 12:30)...Christians who fear no one but God (2 Tim. 1:7)...Christians who hate sin (Prov. 8:13)...Christians who will make an impact on this world (Acts 17:6).
Power through God’s Word
As we expose ourselves to the Word of God, as we submit to its authority, we open ourselves to the powerful working of God’s Spirit who works through the Word of God. The Word of God cleanses us (John 15:3), imparts and builds faith within us (Rom. 10:17) and accomplishes the purposes of God (Isa. 55:11). That is why First Thessalonians 2:13 teaches us that God is at work in us who believe and receive His Word in faith.
A Christian filled with God’s Word is filled with faith and love and power. Such a Christian is able to be directed and guided by God into His perfect will to accomplish His mighty purposes. Such a believer who is filled with God’s Word finds that as he prays sincerely from his heart, according to the Scriptures cherished in his mind, he has a vital contact with and union in Christ. "If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you" (John 15:7).
As the will of God, as revealed in the Scriptures, and the desires of the Christian, as transformed by the Scriptures (Rom. 12:2), meet and harmonize together they make combined contact with God’s prayer answering power and God’s purposes are accomplished. This is spiritual dynamite! Or more like nitroglycerine! This is praying in the Spirit! And it releases that mighty power of God that is needed to transform our lives and change our world.
Power for living, power for guidance, power for prayer, power for conquest.... Your world needs this power. Your church needs this power. You need this power. "You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be My witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (Acts 1:8).
– Edited and used by permission. Peter Hammond is Founder and Director of Frontline Fellowship based in Cape Town, South Africa (www.frontline.org.za).