Why the lack of Power in the Church?
Behold, the LORD's hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear: But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
If I sin, then thou markest me, and thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity.
This is clear, this is concise, the Lord has not changed about sin according to our times, our whims, or our attitudes. Mal 3:6 “For I am the LORD, I change not” and so where sin is in the church or person, He will not hear.
33If I covered my transgressions as Adam, by hiding mine iniquity in my bosom
Now I believe that our concept of sin has changed over the years. Somehow our consciences have been dulled, things that once we would not have even countenanced we now do, and accept as the done things in our lives and in our society, The Holy Spirit when speaking to the 7 churches said “He that hath ears to hear let him hear.” Only those who were spiritual enough heard what God was saying. To the majority it passed them by. Do you have ears to hear?
Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith), To day if ye will hear his voice,
Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years.
Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.
So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.)
Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;
And there are so many more of these pertinent warnings. Do you think the Holy Spirit has uttered them for nothing? Just to take up paper space?
To make little of them or to think of them as of little importance or not relevant is an insult to the Holy Spirit
So from this exhortation from God’s Word we know that the Christian (for this was written to the Heb “holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling.”)
“It is possible to be so hardened by sin, which deceives and so be separated from God.”
In the OT we see Samson who didn’t know that the Spirit of God had departed from him.
In the NT we read of the Laodicean Church who didn’t know that Christ was out side Heb 3:12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.
So I ask a realistic and pertinent question
“where is the Power of God the Holy Spirit in the church of today?” Could it be that the Church has fallen asleep, too comfortable and living in the passed, and has let its head been shaven by the whore Delilah? Are we the Laodicean church? Is Christ out side?
We talk of this power, sing of power but I see it, as a lot of empty words. We profess that which we do not possess.
And then when we get down to the nitty gritty situations, the Church doesn’t know what to do any more and sometimes gets desperate to do something and mistakes desperation for inspiration.
The whole situation has been turned around, if it’s a situation that demands money then we can muddle through and even here the Church has its pockets well zipped up. Usually an offering is taken up for a mission or good cause so as not to go into the banked funds. (We lifted £1000 wasn’t that generous? And all the while ten’s of £1000’s sitting in the bank for the rainy day) Silver and gold we have and such we wont give, (Tithes and offerings were never meant to buy property and shares to sit in a bank to accumulate and heap up treasure on earth) but then we have nothing else to boast of. The “such” that the early Church had and which Peter spoke off is an unknown factor in the Church to day. Is that not the situation?
The first reason for our impotence in the spiritual realm is the rank disobedience to and twisting and turning the Holy Scriptures and so belittling the Word of God. Which is blasphemy.
The claim to be a Bible believing church is only wishful thinking. And before you protest too much just hear me out.
It appears that nowadays according to the name tag that the Church has adopted so is the believing or rejecting certain portions of Scripture.
For example, 1Cor. 12-14 speaks of the Spiritual gifts available to the Church. Certain would hold dear to that, but the mention in the same context that a woman is to keep silence in the Church is of no importance (not relevant) to them. Nor would the subject of head covering in chapter 11 be relevant, but the rest of chapter 11 concerning the Lord’s Supper would be. And for another denomination it would be the opposite. Those gifts are not for today they faded out with the Apostles. But they would hold that a woman is to keep silent in the Church. And they would not allow a woman to sit at the breaking of bread without a head covering. And there are many other deviations in different assemblies. This would be quite amusing if it weren’t so serious.
Again thinking of sickness. Some would take James 5:14
Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And practice it. Others would pretend its not there. Or take a meaning (which if the context is listened too, could never mean this) that it’s a healing of a sick soul because of sin. Nevertheless, each would claim to stand foursquare on Scripture.
Tell me is it possible to have different meanings for the same Scripture?
Of course not. There is only one meaning.
There are some who interpret Scripture from a traditional denominational standpoint, some from books and others just follow the leader never having studied for themselves.
Let me point out to you what Scripture says about these private denominational interpretations.
2 Peter 1:20-21
Knowing this first that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.
For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.
There is only one meaning of Scripture, Gods’. So knowing how different interpretations are, that each denomination puts on different texts of scripture. There must be a lot who are wrong.
If I interpret a text to have a certain meaning, then further along I come across another verse that would seem to contradict my interpretation. Then I must bow to Scripture and readdress my understanding of the Text. Scripture interprets Scripture.
Robert Shank in his book ‘Life in the Son’ speaks of the sign over the old blacksmith’s forge. “All things turned and twisted here” A relevant word to the goings on in the Churches is it not?
So it comes to the place that there are many who are confused because of lost confidence in the scriptures. No more can they know what they can trust in. This takes away faith so that in the meetings they are powerless to take hold of God.
And I tell you its out of this pernickety acceptance of the Word of God there comes a powerless Church.
So leading on from this sin in the Church.
I would raise the subject of the Lord’s Supper and bring to your notice the consequences of belittling the Word as to the wrong participation in the Lord’s Supper.
In 1Cor.11; 27
Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.
Now these are serious words, to be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord is a critical matter. 1 Cor 11:23-34 Guilty of crucifying Him
This institution that was left us by the Saviour, is observed with little thought, has become a habit, the done thing. None of the warnings are paid attention to. So in a manner crucifies the Saviour over again.
Instead of being cleansed by His blood, they are guilty of His blood.
Guilty of the death of Christ.
Listen to the word of God in Heb. And note it was not written to or for the unsaved it was written to the people of God.
Heb 3:1 Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling,
He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:
Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite (Insult) unto the Spirit of grace?
So, According to the ‘Word of God’ such an act, an attitude, is insulting the Holy Spirit.
So Paul exhorts us in 1 Cor. 11:28 but let a man examine himself,
How am I living? Are all things right between my wife and me? My children, my parents, my bros., and sisters in Christ? Is there an unforgiving spirit there?
It has been known for members of the Church not to be on speaking terms, sitting on the opposite sides of the meeting place and both partaking of the Lord’s Supper.
This is not the Oversight examining you (although if they know any who are living in sin, they should warn that person) This is the “Word of God”
Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more:
As a builder puts a line to a wall, so God puts His line on you to see if you line up straight.
God wants you coming before Him with a Heart that’s true and clean. A sunlit heart with not a cloud between”
Are you as hard on yourself as you are on others in criticism?
For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.
And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?
Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye?
Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.
Matt 7:1-6 Matthew Henry puts it like this!
There are many that have beams in their own eyes, and yet do not consider it. They are under the guilt and dominion of very great sins, and yet are not aware of it, but justify themselves, as if they needed no repentance nor reformation; it is as strange that a man can be in such a sinful, miserable condition, and not be aware of it, as that a man should have a beam in his eye, and not consider it;
And the results of not judging yourself right is that of the following verses.
1 Cor 11:29-30
For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.
In the final analysis God sees the whole assembly. The unsaved that dares to come without a wedding garment. Those who are walking in disobedience. Those who harbour grudges. Those who have an unforgiving spirit. Those who have a bad attitude. Those who have not judged themselves in a right manner. And so have come, “not discerning the Lord’s body”
1 Peter 4:17
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?”
Do you think that this warning is for fun and that all the other warnings in the NT to the people of God are just to take up paper space? That God does not mean what He says?
Or for some reason you think that these warnings are not relevant for to day? Or that you’re outside these warnings. On what authority have these warnings no effect on you?
Maybe you say Please take note of John 10:28-29
28And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
29My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand.
True a precious promise. But please also take note the conditions that is set down in the previous verse for this promise. 27 My sheep hear (listen to) my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Here we touch on eternal security.
The security for the belever is in Christ. Out of Christ there is no security.
Look at what God says in Deut. 23:14
For the LORD thy God walketh in the midst of thy camp, to deliver thee, and to give up thine enemies before thee; therefore shall thy camp be holy: that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee.
And to his people he says, "You only have I known of all the families of the earth: therefore I will punish you for all your iniquities" Amos 3:2.
There is a discipline for the Church of God, which is the oversights responsibility, but if the oversight fails for whatever reason then God steps in. Men die before their time, and others are sick that might be well, through ill behaviour in the church of God. So said the apostle: "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep" 1 Cor 11:30.
The important thing for true fellowship at the Lord’s Table is that “that he see no unclean thing in thee, and turn away from thee”.
I urge you to rethink the importance of such a word and give credence to the warning of bad self judgment as is in 1Cor. 11 as you go to the Lord’s Table.
But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
This brings me to the subject of prayer.
Obviously the first concern when coming to prayer is our relationship with God.
If there is any denial of the word of God to suit your pet doctrine, if any travesty of worship any insult to the Spirit of grace. Any not speaking to so and so. Any sin. Then your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.
This came to me afresh, as my wife and I were reading the scriptures before lying down for the night. We were reading in Ezra Ezra 9:15 and after much confessing to God He ended with these words.
O LORD, God of Israel, you are righteous! We are left this day as a remnant. Here we are before you in our guilt, though because of it not one of us can stand in your presence."
This is the bare fact, we can make all the excuses and work ever so hard in every Christian work, attend all types of meetings. Give ever so much in offerings. But these things do not cover sin; they are with many, only a conscience easer.
Just as King Saul done in the battle against the Amalekites, when Samuel accused him for not obeying the Word of the Lord. 1 Sam 15:21-22
But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal. Was this not a good thing? Here was a religious work that God would be pleased with.
And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams.
So I say nothing can take the place of obedience to the word of God.
I say again, the bare fact is your sins have hid his face from us that He will not hear.
If we come into a meeting, and there has been in the lives of the people, slander, gossip, huffing, lying, adultery and when I say adultery I’m not thinking about the 10 commandments. I’m thinking of the words of Jesus
Matt 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Here is a realm that has to be dealt with. the imaginations and thoughts.
2 Cor. 10:5
Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
Coming into a meeting with God with imaginations, thoughts which have grieved the Holy Spirit and praying for this and that, will be all hot air.
God will have none of it. He WILL NOT HEAR
We need to come in humility and with the conviction of the words of the hymn
"Wash me. 0 Lamb of God,
Wash me from sin!
I will not, cannot, rest
Till pure within.
All human skill is vain,
But Thou canst cleanse each stain,
Till not a spot remain—
Made wholly clean."
Because its only from this experience that flows the faith that is necessary to be able to approach the eternal throne of God
1 John 3:20-22
For if our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart, and knoweth all things.
Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, then have we confidence toward God.
"And whatsoever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight."
Wesley put it well in the words of one of his hymns
"No condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine.
Bold I approach the eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through
Christ my own."
And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
We hear much about the “whosoever” and it’s well accepted, but what is it about the “whatsoever” that many find so difficult? If I asked you, do you have any doubts that this is the word of God? You would answer me, none whatsoever. The whatsoever emphasing the none.
Anything you ask In My Name
Now here is a wonderful thing THAT Jesus says, “That whatsoever you ask, ask it IN MY NAME” Luke 24:47
Repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord:
And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
24Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.
This is the most wonderful thing given to the church. The use of His name.
This is not the time to do a study on the Name of the Lord, you should do this on your own you will find it a great blessing.
In MY Name (with my authority) Kenneth E. Hagan puts it like this. “You have heard of the “Power of Attorney”, a designated person or party as an agent empowered to act for another person in a legal capacity. The power of attorney authorizes the named agent to act on behalf of the principal in any legal circumstance.
Most frequently, people give another person power of attorney when they are ill or for other reasons unable to conduct their own affairs, or when they are absent from home or business for a long period of time.
This is exactly what the church has.”
So Jesus has told us to use his name. He has given us permission to use it. This is how Peter and John done with the cripple at the gate of the temple.
James 5:15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick,
Jude 20 But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost,
But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed.
For let not that man think that he shall receive any thing of the Lord.
A double minded man is unstable in all his ways.