Acts 3:16 And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.
Over the course of the last month, we have looked deeply into the implications of the passage above. There is power in the name of Jesus Christ or Yeshua Hamaschiah or however His name, which is above all names, is spoke in one’s native tongue; so long as it is proclaimed in faith. The power in His name means He is present with us, do perform all the promises of His word; and the word of God never so much as gives any inkling of that power being diminished over time. In fact scripture indicates otherwise.
John 14:12-14 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father. And whatever you ask in My name, that I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask anything in My name, I will do it.
Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
Therefore in any nation anywhere in the world, Christ’s followers ought to expect the same expression and outpouring of power encountered when exercising faith in Jesus’ name. The problem for those of us who dwell in a nation of every kind of cure, product, program or diversion, is we tend to justify the use of these things over God’s prescribed means (Exodus 15:26; Psalm 103:2-3; Mark 16:15-20; Acts 1:4, 8), because of convenience, impatience or even a lack of faith. When this occurs we tend to behave as though God affirms whatever we do, in an effort to get rid of our discomfort. This attitude is in error.
What we fail to grasp is that all true transformation (‘spirit, soul or body” I Thessalonians 5:23) comes through our encountering His presence, with us by the Holy Spirit. As the woman with the issue of blood, who tried all other means till exhausted, we must walk by faith through hindrance, in order to encounter His presence and touch the hem of His garment. It is our seeking to touch our Savior and bringing other people to believe they can trust Him alone, that releases the power that is inherent in Jesus’ name. Our choices, concerning the exercises of faith in the power of Jesus’ name, affect all areas of encounter with God, including the conviction of sin, repentance and faith in ministering to the lost–including deliverance from the demonic, healing and signs and wonders in Jesus’ name–and the life of Christ for the physical body of the believer.
Outside of what is referred to as developed nations of the west (America, Australia, Great Britain, Europe), where we have a drought concerning these truths, we find regular occurrences that could have been written in the book of Acts of the Apostles. Why is it such a struggle in our geography and culture?
- In the United States of America we live out our faith in a Christian culture largely devoid of the biblical paradigm of the power of God present and evidenced by supernatural works. One need only consider evangelistic events in relation to America and the country of India. In our evangelistic idea the responsibility is placed largely on men, who preach in stadiums, with great music and kindly counselors to dot every “I” and cross every “T” concerning the question of Christ. Great effort is made to not come off as kind and not judgmental. In India, evangelism is lead and modeled by leaders and taken up by the rank and file of believers. Miracles, signs and wonders are expected as a means of displaying God’s Almighty power over the very real demonic personages, which had held millions in bondage. Consider this is the case almost across the board regardless of country. In one southeastern Asian country, Christians were kicked out of their village, having their homes confiscated, and being forced to flee to a neighboring village. They were allowed to stay in a filed where sick , injured and undesirable people lived. They began to pray for the sick and afflicted and God healed in Jesus’ name supernaturally. Many others came to faith in Christ.
- Saving faith is misrepresented in American Christian culture. In our educated and “enlightened”culture, we treat matters of faith, as matters of intellect that leads to transformation of behavior. This is not only an error, but a great and semantic change in what faith in Christ is. Biblical and saving faith is not mere assent to biblical truth concerning Jesus Christ’s death, resurrection and implications of those truths, anymore than it was for Abraham. Real saving faith is first seen in true immediate repentance, a necessary implication to the truth of Christ’s atonement on our behalf, because our faith calls us out of darkness and into His marvelous light. Saving faith is seen in beginning the walk out, as He conveys us into the kingdom of the Son of His love (Colossians 1:13-14). With acting upon this understanding, because we believe that if you “believe and confess” you are in, we stifle God’s power to transform us as truly new creations in Christ. This leaves an incomplete sanctification and no true resurrection power to minister in Jesus’ name.
- In this culture we categorize two accepted classes of Christian’s, the “carnal” and the “spiritual”, because we assume Paul’s intentions in the Book of I Corinthians. God does not accept two categories of Christians. To be a carnally minded Christian means you are in enemy status in your behavior towards God (Romans 8:7). Some have taken this error as far as to produce separate terminology for the “carnal” and the “spiritual”. The “carnal” is said to be “saved” and “accepted Jesus:, while the “spiritual” has “made Jesus Christ Lord”. WOW, how dangerous. A mere cursory reading of Roman’s 10:9-10 declares that for the saved, Christ is and must be both Lord and Savior”. Once more the reason behind this is to accommodate the rebellious and unrepentant. This leaves countless without the ability to be transformed, by thinking they can remain master of their own lives. This error also grieves the Holy Spirit, and diminishes the spiritual power of the church in ministering the gospel.
- A lack of consecration to Christ, by coming apart and being separated to God alone, arises from the above error (II Corinthians 6:14-7:1). We certainly do not lack for effort in trying to minister the gospel, but with little effect. We must remember that our life is not our own, we are to redeem the time, know what the will of the Lord is and not to love the world. we are also called to deny ourselves continually and love God with all our heart, expressing this love in loving our neighbors. This takes one who is a willing bond-servant, not looking to meet their own desires, and needs. In essence this is what it means to be sanctified, or consecrated to God alone as a sacred vessel (I Thessalonians 4:1-3). No matter how great our faith in Jesus’ name is, He will not fill a vessel, which is holding other contents.
- We lack operational faith in the power of His name and are merely giving “lip service” to the truth of Christ and it’s implications. We all have to admit that we are masterful in saying something with great confidence in profession, but denying it by how we walk after we have spoken. This is hypocrisy and we are all being cleansed from it. So long as we are aware and not letting ourselves off the hook, we will grow to great operational faith in Jesus’ name. It is when we begin to justify not walking in nor ministering according to a biblical pattern, that we become “lip service” Christians; where we hinder the power inherent in Jesus’ name.
If you have not read the first four parts of this series please click the links below.