Kingdom Culture: Jesus Empowers Supernatural Ministry
1 Dear Theophilus, in my first writings I wrote about all the things Jesus did and taught from the beginning 2 until the day He went to heaven. He spoke to the missionaries through the Holy Spirit. He told those whom He had chosen what they should do. 3 After He had suffered much and then died, He showed Himself alive in many sure ways for forty days. He told them many things about the holy nation of God.
Jesus Speaks Before He Goes to Be with the Father
4 As they were gathered together with Him, He told them, “Do not leave Jerusalem. Wait for what the Father has promised. You heard Me speak of this. 5 For John the Baptist baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.”
6 Those who were with Him asked, “Lord, is this the time for You to give the nation back to the Jews?” 7 He said, “It is not for you to know the special days or the special times which the Father has put in His own power.
8 “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes into your life. You will tell about Me in the city of Jerusalem and over all the countries of Judea and Samaria and to the ends of the earth.”
JESUS TELLS HIS CHURCH THAT IT WOLD BE MARKED BY THE SUPERNATURAL POWER OF GOD
“…you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you.” (Acts 1:8)
There has been much debate amongst Biblical scholars for what type of “power” Jesus was referring in Acts 1:8. The Greek word for power, “dynamis” in Acts 1:8 can mean a variety of things:
- power for performing miracles
- moral power and excellence of soul
- the power and influence which belong to riches and wealth
- power consisting in or resting upon armies, forces, hosts
Dr Luke, who wrote the Book of Acts uses the same word “dynamis” 9 other times in Acts. In each and every time Dr Luke uses dynamis he uses it to describe a supernatural work, 8 times from God, 1 time from Satan in the case of Simon the Sorcerer Acts 8:9-11.
In other words, Jesus made the supernatural, miracle-working power of the Holy Spirit a prerequisite for the Church.
The Church today is known for its Good works not the supernatural. Yet, if we look at the Church, how much of its work could be described as a supernatural activity?
I am all for practical, good works, of love and service. We would not be the Church without this. However, if we were to make a decree that the only activity the Church could do was of the supernatural category, how much activity would truly be happening?
“If the Holy Spirit was withdrawn from the church today, 95 percent of what we do would go on and no one would know the difference. If the Holy Spirit had been withdrawn from the New Testament church, 95 percent of what they did would stop, and everybody would know the difference.” A W Tozer
WHY DON’T WE SHOW VALUE FOR THE SUPERNATURAL?
Why doesn’t the church, which Jesus said was meant to be known by and marked with the miracle, working power of God, have a value for the supernatural?
The power of Social Norms
I want to propose the number one reason we don’t have a value for the supernatural is the power of the social norms.
Social researchers have for many years know the power of social norms. Social norms are a pattern of behavior in a particular group, community, or culture, accepted as normal and to which an individual is accepted to conform.
One of the clearest ways we see the power of social norms happening is in elevators.
Social researchers tell us that our ability to follow social cues helps us fit in, succeed and survive. When everyone’s doing something, we assume there’s a good reason, and we follow along. Unconsciously, we adapt our behaviors to survive. Taking social cues great when the culture in line with the Kingdom, but not great when off the mark
Imagine if the social norm of en environment is out of whack? You unconsciously replicate behaviors which are unhelpful and maybe even unhealthy.
The Church practicing with a foot sawn off happened little by little
There is an old Chinese proverb which says:
One day a man wanted to install a pipe on his oven. He measured the length with his ruler and asked the coppersmith to make a ten-foot long pipe. When the pipe was delivered, it seemed to be a foot too long. It would not fit. He reprimanded the coppersmith for the mistake. The coppersmith measured it again with his own ruler and found it was exactly ten feet. But the customer insisted that it was a foot too long. Finally, the coppersmith examined the customer’s own ruler and discovered that it was sawed off a foot. The customer’s child had done this as he was playing with this ruler. No wonder, then, that the measurement always ended up a foot longer.
What if the Church is practicing being Church with a foot sawn off and we have not realized it?
Where are we meant to take our reference from? Jesus.
Where do we take our reference point from? From those around us. Where did they get this from? From the people before them. And where did these people get this from? The people before them.
This is what Paul described to Timothy:
And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also. (2 Timothy 2:2)
Paul describes the principle of discipleship.
But what if in the transmission of discipleship we lose an inch here and an inch there. Little by little, we are a whole foot out.
We need to look at Jesus. Jesus is normal Christianity.
When Jesus is your reference point for normal Christianity it looks a lot like this.
We need to press the reset button
How do you change the social norm? We need to create a new normal. That requires intentionality.
I believe another reason we don’t have a value for the supernatural is gift comparison.
We all want to be where the stars are at. We wish that someone could just pray for us and their anointing would come upon us- then we could do what they do.
Years ago at a pastors’ conference, John Wimber stopped in the middle fo his message and said to the large crowd,”Many of you what to know the secret of how I operate of how I operate in spiritual gifts. I will tell you right now exactly how I do it.” There was an immediate stir throughout the room and sudden surge of interest.
“As soon as you walk out of this session,” John shared, “watch for any situation where you want God to join Him. Whether what is needed is simply kindness or revelation or prayer – give whatever you feel Holy Spirit provides you.” Then John continued, “After that, look for the next situation that seems to you to be one that God cares about and do the same thing.” John repeated this two or three times. By the time he was done, most of the crowd had stopped taking notes – this information didn’t seem like much of a secret at all. In this teaching moment, John said, “All of you want to be where I am now; none of you wants to start where I started.” It all begins with giving what we have.
Best, Gary. Naturally Supernatural . Vineyard International Publishing. Kindle Edition.
What John Wimber describes is actually the Biblical principle of stewardship.
These wrong beliefs can be varied in their form, but I want to touch on some common wrong theological assumptions:
Jesus did His miracles because He was God.
While Jesus is eternally God, He emptied Himself of His divine powers and became a man (see Phil. 2:7). It’s vital to note that He did all His miracles as a man, not as God.
If He did them as God, I would still be impressed. But because He did them as a man yielded to God, I am now unsatisfied with my life, being compelled to follow the example He has given us.
You only get one gift theology
There was a teaching that when you got baptized in the Holy Spirit you only got one gift and if you were super lucky two.
Holy Spirit lives in you. You have access to all the gifts because he is the gift. If you have never used it means you have not accessed that part of the tool belt.
We don’t understand the true meaning of discipleship
Most people understand discipleship to be primarily about good beliefs and behaviors.
Principle of discipleship = You become like your rabbi
Discipleship was about becoming like your rabbi. Not just what He was like, and how he thought but also to do what He did.
It was the reason Peter got out of the boat. I can do whatever Jesus did.
Chad Dedmon’s LA youth group would come up to Jesus Culture Youth Conference with 35 kids. They would hear the message that they could do the same as Jesus. One of them read that Jesus walked on water. They decided that they were going to do so likewise. They all thought it was a great idea.
The parents of the youth leader offered their pool to practice where they were staying. Two kids tried all summer to walk on water. They were in their proper clothes and cell phones in their pockets because they expected to stay dry. Each time they tried to walk on water the fell through the water into the pool. This went on for 3 nights.
They kept at it. Then they walked on water at the beach during a baptism.
All 80 kids started to walk out hand in hand towards the water. One of the two kids took 5 steps on the water.
I only what I see the Father doing
It is commonly believed that Jesus followed the Holy Spirit in everything He did.
When Jesus answered and said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do; for whatever He does, the Son also does in like manner.
I want to propose to you no, there were times He acted on His own accord. In doing so He never broke free from John 5:19. What if Jesus in John 5:19 meant that He only did what He saw His Father doing in a general sense and not a specific sense. Jesus saw how the Father was bringing heaven to earth. That made every possible sickness a target.
It would make me a target of the devil.
Many people say, “Greater levels greater Devils.” In other words, the more authority, responsibility, and notoriety you have, the worse the warfare will be over your life.
If you believe this then you are right because everything in the spirit operates by faith. Therefore believing a lie empowers it. Believing this lie rolls out the red carpet for the devil and invites him into the palace of your heart. Then not only does he wreak havoc in your life, but he validates the lie you believed which creates a destructive ecosystem in your life. This relegates you to a life time of torment, but it all began by FAITH in a LIE that became your reality!
The truth is that whoever God promotes He protects! For example, when a person becomes president of our country, they are immediately assigned an army of secret service people to protect them. It’s an insult to the intelligence of God to think He doesn’t do even more to protect everyone He commissions.
I’m to old
Moses was 80 when he started his ministry. Smith Wigglesworth was aged 48.
People step up and out and nothing gets to happen.
Disappointment is inevitable for everyone pursuing this miracle lifestyle. It is also the biggest stumbling block for those who desperately want to see the ministry of Jesus restored to the Church.
Pastor and author Don Milam once studied the lives of many atheists and existentialists, he noticed that nearly every one of them believed for a miracle for a dying family member or friend and did not get it.
Their coping mechanism became a belief system that got rid of the ‘God is personal, powerful and at hand’ part of the equation… I have seen pastors do this a lot. They become practical atheists, people who have a belief in God, but approach a problem the same way an atheist would – without a miracle-working God at the centre of their answer. Why did Jesus raise people from the dead? Because not everyone dies in God’s timing. If we have the Father assigning people to die and Jesus raising them from the dead, we have a divided house. Those who believe that everything that happens is God’s will are contributing to the perpetual immaturity of the Church…learning to live with the unexplainable is one of the most necessary ingredients for the Christian life, especially for those pursuing the authentic Gospel …”
Other Sermons In This Series
June 17, 2019
June 30, 2019
July 22, 2019