POWER OF BELIEVERS
Jesus tells us in Mark 16:17-18, KJV what power believers possess: “And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.
If we look around, not far, it’s all around us; Satan is having a ball, even in our church memberships. We hear complaints that things are in a mess, morally, spiritually, and socially. And no wonder, Christians seem to be oblivious to what belongs to them in the kingdoms of God and the world. We hear hymns such as “Victory in Jesus”, “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and like. But where is the evidence of His power? We pray for the sick, take them to the doctor, give them their medicine, follow the instructions, and usually they get well in time. The instruction above does not say, “take them to the doctor, and they will recover.” It says, “lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.”.
Now why were the sick stricken to begin with? Our enemy is not far from us; he is the power of the air: “Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: (Ephesians 2:2 KJV) This enemy is working in those who refuse to believe God’s Word, clearly given. This “prince” also attacks people in spiritual ways. He puts doubts in their mind and hearts, doubts concerning their safety, their relationship with God, their relationship with one another, their ability to perform in many areas, such as their jobs and social activities.
Since this problem is a spiritual one, it takes a spiritual offensive to overcome it. This is all well and good to know, but how to perform it is another thing. Those afflicted know the source of the problem, Satan. But do they know that his imps who serve him are the contact being made against them; they are evil spirits, and evil spirits can easily be dealt with through the name of Jesus. “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7 KJV) Also, from the text above, “In my name shall they cast out devils” .
There are two words in these texts that are restrictive, and will first have to be satisfied before these promises can be fulfilled. The words are, “yourselves” and, ”they”. The Bible here is speaking of particular sorts of persons, they are believers, not just anyone. If a person is not a believer, there will not be victory in this effort. As a matter of fact, it can cause deeper distress, as we shall see later. Not only must one be born again, a new creation in Jesus Christ, but have the Spirit of God indwelling them. This is referring to the Holy Spirit, or the Holy Ghost, the third person of the Godhead. His Spirit is given to those who obey Him, “And we are his witnesses of these things; and so is also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” (Acts 5:32 KJV). Also, one must ask to receive Him, “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” (Luke 11:13 KJV)
There is presumptuousness on the part of some Christians to think they have received all things of God at the time of their salvation. It is true they have received the promise, but the fulfillment of the promise comes at God’s time and will for each person. For a Christian to live in laziness and lack of obedience to follow Jesus, and then expect God to give him His gift at their whim surely is presumption. To obey is to follow, leaving all else for our Lord. These are those who when they ask of the Lord are heard and provision given. This is not to say that God does not hear His children when they cry unto Him in times of distress; He surely does and answers quickly. But power for ministry is given only to those who are ministering, and as needs arise.
I referred earlier of an account in scripture that relates to some men who were presumptuously using God’s name, actually using His name in vain. The scene is the attempted exorcism of evil spirits from a man by seven men, all sons on one Sceva. The account follows: “Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded” (Acts 19:13-16 KJV)
A similar result fell upon persons having used our Lord’s name without His power or calling, persons who desired all the benefits of God’s grace without giving their lives to Him. Many are still in this dangerous condition today. Read the account and take heed: “Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.” (Matthew 7:21-23 KJV)
Many church-goers think they are Christians for multitudes of reasons, but if they are not born again, they cannot either see nor enter the Kingdom of God. These dear folk need to hear the true Gospel of the cross of Christ and respond in repentance from sin, that they may become sons and daughters of God, assuring them that in their new life they have been saved for the Kingdom of heaven, to live eternally in peace with our Lord who has come to save all who will call upon Him. Then if they will be disciples of the Lord they will ne Christians, indeed.
Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. (1 Cor. 12:3 AV) Here we see another reason for lack of power. Many will say that Jesus is their Lord and Master when they have not the authority to do so. Just because a person is saved does not mean that he/she has been anointed by the Holy Ghost as is shown following: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you:” (Acts 1:8a AV) This is the power and authority needed to call Jesus, “Lord”. Many who claim Him as Lord are sitting or lying about with no concern for the lost whom Jesus died for and directed His followers to bring to Him for their salvation. If you are a believer, do you believe the things you have just read? If not, we suggest that you begin to get serious about who you really are in God’s kingdom and seek to be baptized with the Holy Ghost as were the hundred and twenty believers in that upper room on the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, after which Peter preached Jesus with power and 3,000 souls were saved. “For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.” (1 Cor. 4:20 AV) Then, when coming against the enemy while ministering, you will have power to stand fearlessly against that evil spirit and expect victory in deliverance for the victim, thus glorifying our blessed Lord.
If you have not been born again, this is another opportunity for you to call upon the name of the Lord with a repentant heart and a mind to truly serve God for the rest of your life. He will be faithful to His Word, for He said, “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Romans 10:13 AV) Then as a disciple, by being obedient to His Word in spirit and in works the Lord will baptize you with His Holy Ghost for your power in the name of Jesus.