After the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and just before He ascended into heaven, He made a promise to His apostles, saying,
“…ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…” (Acts 1:8).
The power of which the Lord spoke was the power they received when they were filled with the Holy Ghost (Acts 2:4). At Pentecost, the disciples like Peter and Stephen were filled with the Spirit and given the “power” to do “great wonders and miracles” (Acts 2:43; 6:5,8). Earlier the Lord had told them to “tarry” in Jerusalem until they were endued with that “power from on high” (Luke 24:49).
Of course, the reason the Lord gave them the power to do mighty works was to confirm the WORDS they were preaching. After receiving that power, we read,
“And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following” (Mark 16:20).
Now here we have a dispensational difference. God hasn’t promised you that kind of power. You can tarry in Jerusalem all you want, and you will not be endued with power like that from on high. I know that churches often hold what they call “tarrying meetings,” where they get together to wait for the Spirit to come upon them in that miraculous manner. But no one today receives that kind of power from the Spirit, simply because the Father didn’t promise it to us members of the Body of Christ, living in the dispensation of grace.
If you want to confirm the power of God’s Word today, you have to do it by demonstrating God’s power in your personal life. When you display God’s patience in the midst of your difficult circumstances, you exhibit the power of God in a mighty way! And when difficult people tax your patience, you can display the power of God mightily by exhibiting His longsuffering. You can also show the power of God’s holiness when
you are tempted to sin and you resist the temptation steadfastly. If you want to talk about demonstrating the power of God, that’s how it’s done in this dispensation. We still live in the hour of power, but the nature of God’s power is different than it was at Pentecost.
But the filling of the Spirit didn’t just give the disciples the power to work miracles. It gave them another kind of power, the kind the Spirit gave the prophet Micah in ancient Israel:
“But truly I am full of power by the spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin” (Micah 3:8).
Do you have any idea how much power it took to stand in front of a bunch of unsaved Jews, who thought they were the favored people of God just because they were born of the seed of Abraham, and tell them how sinful they are? Micah knew!
And so did men like Stephen, who bravely charged the Jews with the death of the prophets (Acts 7:51,52), and the twelve apostles, who charged the people of Israel with the death of Christ, and threatened them with His resurrection. Their message at Pentecost said, as it were, “You killed Him, but He rose from the dead, and now He’s angry with you, so you’d better repent!” (Acts 2:22-36).
But here we have yet another dispensational difference. It’s not up to us to show the nation of Israel her sins, or any other nation for that matter—including the nation in which we live! Though you wouldn’t know it from the way most of Christianity conducts itself, by going around pointing out how sinful our nation is in legalizing things like abortion and gay marriage. All that does is make unsaved people hate Christianity, and turn a deaf ear to the gospel we proclaim.
Our job is rather to remind individuals of their own personal sins. All that does is help people see their need of a Savior! Once they get saved and learn to accept the Bible as God’s Word, then they are willing to accept what God says in His Word about things like abortion and homosexuality.
Remember, God has called us to be fishers of men, not clean up the pond! That means if you want to fix what’s wrong with our nation, don’t become a political activist. Become an evangelist and change the nation by changing the hearts of men, one precious soul at a time.
To the Reader:
Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:
"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."
To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.