Divine Power For Life And Ministry In The Last Days
By Rich Carmicheal
You may sense, as we do here in the Herald office, that the signs of the times indicate that we are in the final season before our Lord’s Return. Regarding such signs, Jesus talks about wars and rumors of wars, nation rising against nation, and about famines, pestilences and earthquakes in various places (Matt. 24:6-7). Does this not sound like our world today?
For example, consider the war between Russia and Ukraine. Not only is the war itself cause for much concern, but there is the possibility that it could escalate to a much larger conflict involving other countries. There are also growing concerns that the war may soon affect the world’s food supply, causing a global food crisis.
The war is also raising the possibility of nuclear warfare. Along with this is the concern that Iran is nearing nuclear capabilities and could soon be a threat to the region and to Israel. And what about the nuclear capabilities of North Korea?
On the international level there are also tremendous concerns over the economic power, military might, and political aspirations of China. What will it mean for the world if China decides to invade Taiwan? And what about the movement in the world toward globalism and a new world order? Or what about the growing hostility in the world toward the State of Israel and the Jewish people?
Consider as well the rise in the frequency and intensity of natural disasters. And how about the global pandemic we have endured the last two years?
Jesus says the signs of the end times also include deception and spiritual, moral and social breakdown (Matt. 24:9-12). Are we not even now experiencing these very conditions throughout the world, including the terrible decline in the United States? Just take the issues of marriage and gender identity. The significance of these issues cannot be overstated, and the Lord made it very clear, even from the beginning of Creation, that 1) He creates us as either male or female, and 2) that He ordains marriage as a sacred relationship between a man and a woman. Consider how late the hour must be when such basic and foundational truths are being forsaken and redefined.
The Apostle Paul likewise forewarns us that conditions will break down spiritually, morally and socially, and that perilous times will mark the last days. Note how his description of those days seems to read like today’s headlines: “…For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – having a form of godliness but denying its power…” (2 Tim. 3:1-5). The last phrase in this list brings to mind one of the most grievous signs of all – the growing apostasy in the church.
These signs and more should serve as a serious wakeup call to us. If ever there was a time when the world had desperate need for God’s people to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth, it is now. Instead of a time to deny the power of godliness, it is time for the church to be filled with the power of God, the power to live a life that brings glory to God and that helps draw others toward Him.
There is no doubt the Lord wants us filled with His power for life and ministry. As Jesus shared with the disciples, “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high” (Luke 24:49). Incredibly, we are to have the same power working in us that our Heavenly Father used in raising Christ from the dead – “…the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places…” (Eph. 1:19-20)!
This is divine power for “all things that pertain to life and godliness” (2 Pet. 1:3).
This is divine power for witnessing nearby and throughout the earth: “…You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
This is divine power for overcoming in spiritual warfare: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” (Eph. 6:10); “For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds…” (2 Cor. 10:4).
This is divine power for perseverance: “…Strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy…” (Col. 1:11).
This is divine power to endure suffering: “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me His prisoner, but share with me in the sufferings for the gospel according to the power of God” (2 Tim. 1:7-8).
This is divine power to make us strong in the midst of infirmities, reproaches, needs, persecutions and distresses: “And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Cor. 12:9-10).
This is divine power for ministry: “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people” (Acts 6:8); “To this end I also labor, striving according to His working which works in me mightily” (Col. 1:29).
This is divine power to be filled with the love of Christ and fullness of God: “…That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height – to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:16-19).
This is divine power to be filled with joy, peace and hope: “Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Rom. 15:13).
The Gospel in Word and Power
With all of this in mind, the Herald staff hopes you are stirred by the messages in this issue to seek the Lord for the fullness of His power in your life and ministry for these last days. One of the encouraging signs that Jesus gives regarding the nearness of His Coming is the spread of the Gospel: “This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matt. 24:14). Couple this with the Apostle Paul’s reminder to the Thessalonians regarding the Gospel: “For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake” (1 Thes. 1:5). This is what those around us and throughout the world need today – the Gospel of Christ shared by believers who have the power of God in their lives and ministries!
“Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen” (Eph. 3:20-21).