Sunday, July 30, 2006

Acts 1:88 But ye shall receive POWER, after that the Holy Spirit is come upon you: and you will be witnesses..."

In 1866 the Swedish industialist, inventor and engineer, Alfred Nobel, invented what is now commonly known as dynamite. As a noted bridge and road builder in Stockholm, Noble sought a means to remove obtstacles that would prevent the spanning of areas which would otherwise be off limits.

His research led him to a discovery that would serve to revolutionize bridge and road building and provide a mechanism that would also be used to fight battles and change the literal face of this world. His development of dynamite and blasting caps put the power to move mountains in the hands of man and allowed roads to be cut through previously impassible geographical boundaries.

In Acts 1:8, we see Jesus giving His final salutations to the people who had followed Him during His abbreviated public ministry. They had heard His revolutionary teachings. They had seen Him perform astounding miracles. They had been witnesses to Him terrible death upon the cross; and now they find themselves as witnesses to His miraculous resurrection and subsequent forty days among them.

After all of these things, their first and only question to Him was, "Lord, is this where you restore the Kingdom back to Israel?" At first glance, this may seem like the appropriate question to be asking Jesus--seeing that He has gotten up from the dead! But looking more closely, one has to consider their motivation behind asking such a question.

This is a group of people who had faced enormous persecution for their stand with Christ (and would soon face even more.) They had been forced to go into hiding. They had been obstracized from their families, their synagogues, and their lifestyles. They were tired from all of the opposition and now were wantingto know if the battle was over and if they could now "take it easy."

Jesus response was basically, "That is really none of your business.."! Even the elequent King James vernacular has a hard time softening the statement in saying, "It is not for you to know the times or the seasons, which the Father hath put in his own power." Then without even taking the time to explain He says," You shall receive POWER..."

This was a group of people less interested in power and probably just hoping for a little peace! They had already been in a fight for their lives! They were quietly expecting and looking for a small pause in the action, but instead, Jesus begins His final salutation with, "You will receive POWER...”

The word that Jesus chose to use in this text is the Greek word dunamis. This dunamis can be translated as "miracle working power." This is where we get our English word dynamite from! It could be said, "You shall receive dynamite when the Holy Spirit comes upon you...!"

The most interesting part about Alfred Nobel's dynamite is how it is manufactured to begin with. The active ingredient in dynamite that gives it its explosive characteristic is nitroglycerine. Nitroglycerine or "nitro" is a very volatile and highly explosive chemical that is also very unstable and unpredictable in and of itself.

In developing dynamite, Nobel sought a means to harness the effectiveness of the nitro while also providing a means of delivery that would be more deliberate than dangerous. He would find out through his extensive experimentation that regardless of the container, this chemical could not be effectively utilized as a stand alone explosive agent. He had to find a way to somehow combine the power of the nitro within a containment property suited for both stable hosting and predictable release when needed for a blasting project.

The one compound that was a perfectly suited agent for nitroglycerine was none other than earth! Noble discover that by combining the nitro with diatomaceous earth than it would not lose any of its explosive capabilities but would gain stability, and a means to direct its effectiveness towards the desired target.

The effect was like combining the nitroglycerine with the clay-like substance and them forming the compound into the typical cylinder-like explosive tube that is most often associate with dynamite. This is the exact same principle that God employed 2,000 years earlier when He chose to pour His "spiritual dynamite" into us on the Day of Pentecost!

2 Corinthians 4:77 "But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power (dunamis) is from God and not from us."

We, the clay in His hands, have been given the opportunity to be interlaced with this all-surpassing DYNAMITE power through faith in the Blood of Jesus and in the subsequent promise of power that was made available as well!

Look closely at this "promise of empowerment" from Luke 24:49 "Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but wait in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high." To be endued with power is literally to be clothed or dressed in His power. They were told that they were going to receive a spiritual garment or their uniform for battle that would specifically identify them as a part of this newly enlisted army!

This is of extreme importance that we get this part of what He was saying because the audience in which He was speaking were already believers in Him--in other words these were "saved" or "born again" people whom He was addressing. He wasn't giving them instructions on How they would recieve something to keep them from going to hell! His "promise" was for something beyond where they were- it was a commissioning for the rest of Acts 1:8:

"You shall receive power after the Holy Spirit is come upon you and you will be witnesses...!"

The purpose of this "dynamite" was now being revealed. They were to utilized this "gift of power" as His witnesses. This was the directive to take the Gospel message to "Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and throughout the whole world." Oh, you have got to catch this:

"Just as Albert Nobel had developed dynamite with the primary purpose being to enable men to build bridges and construct roads that otherwise would have been deemed impossible, we have we been given the spiritual dynamite to be 'repairers of the breach' and 'road builders' for people to find their way back to God."

Isaiah 58:1212 "Those from among you shall build the old waste places; you shall raise up the foundations of many generations; and you shall be called the Repairer of the Breach, the Restorer of Streets to Dwell In."

Power was promised so that we could be more effective to do one thing, and that one thing is to be a witness to the saving grace of the Lord Jesus Christ. This dunamis or dynamite may perform other duties along the way, but even these duties are designed to provide opportunities to bring people to Jesus (span valleys of dispair and remove mountains of sin and shame).

Let's look further at additional details of this Acts 1:8 account as provided in Marks account of this very same period of time just prior to Jesus' ascension into heaven:

Mark 16:15-20 "He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well."

After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it."

This further confirms that the "empowerment of the Holy Spirit" or the dynamite was for them to "Go" and to "preach the Gospel" with the accompanying "power" to be more effective and more efficient in getting the job done! This may require "delivering people from demons", "speaking in tongues", "being thrust into dangerous situations", or "healing the sick" and all of these things were the effect and not the purpose of this power!

Consider as well these (5) scriptures that relate directly to this point; all of which utilize the exact same Greek word dunamis (our dynamite) in describing why we have been entrusted with "power from on high."

Mark 5:30 "And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?"

This "virtue" as translated here in Mark 5:30 is actually the same word "dunamis." The context of this scripture is the story of the woman with the issue of blood. She had been sick for many years and had tried all type of means of remedy--all without success. On this day she came to Christ and the dunamis brought healing to her body instantly.

We have seen this same type of thing happen on the streets of this nation as we have gone forth preaching the Gospel. We have seen dozens of cases of people who were sick instantly healed by the power of the Holy Spirit as a testimony of His power and mercy! All for a witness to bring them to salvation.

Luke 4:36 "And they were all amazed, and spake among themselves, saying, What a word is this! for with authority and power he commandeth the unclean spirits, and they come out."

Once again we see the "dynamite" at work blasting away at the strongholds of satan and building a bridge of salvation to a man possessed by demons! Many times we have found people in various places across this nation who were under the spiritual control of the adversary. I have seen people demonically "possessed" to the degree that they resembled the man called "Legion" in the Gospels. The question is: What is one to do when confronted by this type of situation? The answer is: "I have given you authority (dynamite)...to overcome every power of the enemy." Luke 10:19

We can't just leave a person in that condition---God has called and empowered us to be liberators to those held captive by the power of the enemy! This dunamis provides us with the power to see deliverance come into a person's life so that they can then make the decision to come to Jesus---out from under the spiritual and mental control of Satan.

2 Corinthians 10:3-4 "For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war after the flesh: For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds."

The above reference in Luke 10:19 also reveals the third point I'd like to make concerning God's empowerment for the believer in the area of being a "witness" and that is in divine protection against the enemy.

"Behold I give you power (dynamite)...and nothing shall by any means hurt you."

This truth is further reinforced in Isaiah 54:17 "No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and every tongue which rises against you in judgment you shall condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD...".

This past May I was witnessing in New York City in the Staten Island Ferry Station. As my team dispersed to share the Gospel with the 3-4 thousand people waiting the 20 minutes for the next ferry to come, I spotted a rough looking guys seated by himself and decided that he was the one I was going to go after!

I sit down on the bench next to him and began sharing the Word of God. A minute or so into my presentation of the Gospel, he looked at me and said, "If you don't shut your %#&^ mouth, I am going to kill you!” To which I responded, "No I don't think so" and continued to share the life-transforming message of the Cross to which he again said, "You don't understand me! Shut your #$%& mouth or I am going to shut it with my fist!"

At no point did I ever feel physically threatened--but much to the contrary---I felt invincible in Jesus and I said, "The Bible says that no weapon formed against me will prosper and that means you too!" Needless to say--He never laid a hand on me and he ended up running out of the station like a man who had been caught on fire!

Another time I was called upon to find a young man at a crack house and was surrounded by 5-6 drug dealers outside of the house and they too ended up running for their lives because of the dunamis! Still another time I stood down a group of about 75 gang members who had invaded my church property one night while I was pastoring an inner-city church--and about a dozen of them ended up showing up for service the next morning!

When the "Holy Spirit empowers you as a witness--you are packing dynamite in Jesus!" There is absolutely no need to fear anything that the devil would try to bring against you. He is the one should be intimidated not the Spirit-Filled child of God!

Another benefit that the dunamis brings in regards to "witnessing" is in the area of personal holiness or the ability to overcome sin. Consider this passage of scripture in relationship to that statement:

1 Corinthians 10:13 "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."

That phrase "may be able" is actually just one Greek word and that word is dunamai which comes from the same root word as dunamis! We have been handed a "stick of dynamite" to blow up every temptation that would get in the way of our being a witness for Jesus!

The work that God has called us to often takes us to places that are known as strongholds for sin and sinful behavior. We regularly witness in front of strip clubs and bars. We share our faith with prostitutes and people of very questionable character. We are often in situation where it would be easy to retaliate verbally at some of the verbal onslaughts levied our way---but the dunamis--- seems to always blast a hole through any temptation the enemy would try to bring!
Your witness is only as good as your testimony!

If you are telling someone that Jesus can "set free", then you had better be free! If you are telling someone that "lust" will damn you to hell, then you had better be walking in holiness in that area of your life. This Holy Spirit "dynamite" is your tool in keeping your testimony intact!

Finally, this dunamis is the power to see souls saved and brought into God's Kingdom. I see people all the time "witness" without results. I have had people question and doubt me when I share testimonies of the thousands of people that we have seen come to Jesus over the years. They just can't believe it!

Many times, the testimony of people witnessing for Jesus is about the rejection of the Gospel rather than the acceptance of it! But consider these two scriptures:

Romans 1:15-16 "So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek."

1 Corinthians 1:17-18 "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect. For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God."

This "power" is also the very same dunamis that was promised in Acts 1:8! This time it is related to being the dynamite that BLASTS a person out of the hand of the enemy and into the Kingdom of God! Where there were NO ROADS and where there was NO BRIDGE it "moves mountains" that stand in the way of sinners and creates a venue wherein they can be reconciled back to the Father!

Healing, deliverance, divine protection, overcoming temptation, and soul-saving power are all tightly packed into this dunamis or dynamite that has been offered to every beleiver who would believe, ask and receive!

The reason that the Church of today seems so powerless and ineffective is that it has attempted to take the dunamis power which had an intended us for "witnessing or soul-winning" and instead attempted to utilize it for other less nobel purposes.

Alfred Nobel's famed invention soon was discovered to have applications that far differed from his intended purpose of "building bridges and roads." Men of less than impeccable character found that this dynamite was not only good for "construction" but also for "destruction" and it became a tool to use in battle and warfare against people!

Some in the Body of Christ have also thought the dunamis was something that could be used to divide rather than unite and this "infilling" or "baptism" of power has become an issue of great division among otherwise God-fearing and God-loving people.

Others found that Nobel's dynamite could be used to "entertain" with its loud sound and blasting effects much like the smaller and less powerful black powder based fireworks. This has also proven to be a problem in today's Church. Many have tried to use this dunamis to create an entertaining environment where people throng to see the "spiritual show" or "miraculous manifestation" of power---with few people ever feeling compelled to "Go tell people about Jesus."

The power or dunamis was given as a gift/or promise to empower the believer with a "tool" to be used in witnessing or sharing the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. If the Church is going to be that "Glorious Bride" adorned for the Bride Groom (Jesus) hen we have got to get back to His intended plan and purpose for every single beleiver: to be empowered with the spiritual dynamite necessary to BLAST HELL WIDE OPEN and pave the way to heaven for the multitudes yet to hear the GOOD NEWS of Salvation!

Explosive Christianity. That is my hearts desire. You can keep the other stuff.

3 comments:

RAVEN Deb said...

BRING IT ON, AMEN...

Raven Midwest said...

Let's have it my brother!!!!

RAVEN Deb said...

This is the Word, the message, that fires me up and confirms my mission to deliver with Holy Ghost power, the Gospel message to the ends of the earth. To lay my life down, leave the 99 and go after the one. To respond to God, "Send me". Acts 1:8 gets my heart pumping and fills me with fire to bursting. Wherever i go whatever i am doing, it is all about saving souls for His kingdom, Amen. That's it, go and save, go and preach, go and heal, go and pray. JUST GO. Thanks brother, i can't hear it enough. It's the truth, the real deal. Where the rubber hits the road! Amen and PTL. :)