By Patrick Hawthorne
“It’s gone!” Well, gone is such a harsh word. Perhaps “Greatly diminished,” would be a better choice of words. Can anyone pointedly say with great accuracy the exact moment it declined? Better yet, what is the remedy for getting it back?
Surely by now a question has arisen in your heart. “What is he babbling on about now?”
It is the power…the power of the Church! Where has it gone? Why are we no longer walking in the same great power the Apostles walked in during the time of the early Church? Why we are not seeing the dead raised, the lame walk, blind eyes opened…?
Some speculate that the power bestowed upon the early Church was momentary, used for the sole purpose of establishing the Church. I find that line of thought seriously flawed – a weak excuse to provide an answer for lack, not in our Lord Jesus, but in His followers. After all, if our God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, is not His Word and power equally eternal?
Do I have the answer? No, but I wish I did. I am praying about it, but as of yet nothing is firm. I do, however, have some thoughts. Could the answer be found in Acts chapter four where we read that the early Church was in full agreement of heart and soul?
Let’s be totally honest for a moment. The Church of today would fit in well with the Pharisees and Sadducee’s of yesterday. On one side we have the Humanist (Sadducee’s) who wouldn’t know Jesus even if He tapped them on the shoulder. Their whole message revolves around how special we are and how God’s desire is for our individual happiness. Their message is like cotton candy…all sugar with no nutritional value. It taste good going down but will cause you to rot from the inside out.
On the other side, we have Pharisees whose life mission is to debate the Sadducees and call it evangelizing. Oh, they believe in the Holy Spirit, but from a distance. After all, they wouldn’t want to make a mess of their finely organized theological arguments, now would they? The Pharisee might not mind a touch from the Holy Spirit, but it must be on their terms and shall not interfere with their tee off time.
In the Middle we have those who are earnestly seeking to be holy even as He who called them is holy. To these, the Pharisees and Sadducees call heretics – excrement found on the bottom of one’s shoe – making a mockery of their organized religion. The Middle fail, fall, trip, stumble, but keep pushing forward toward the mark. The Middle earnestly craves the power and desperately desire for the manifested presence of the Holy Spirit.
So, the question that begs answering is this, “Where do you fit within the Church?” I have the feeling that if you, like me, were to seriously check yourself you might just find a little bit of all three, Sadducee, Pharisee, and the Middle at war within your inner man. And, maybe…just maybe if we, through our Lord Jesus, purge ourselves of the Ananias’s and Sapphira’s (see Acts 5), the power will be restored. Because then we would stop living as hypocrites and would start living as a family in full agreement of heart and soul. Be blessed.