Editorial: The Power of God (Image Vol 10, No 2 – March/April 1994)

By Matt Dabbs

By Denny Boultinghouse

Storms are a natural part of our world. Whether it be the ocean storms on the West Coast that tear away the coast line, or the black thunderstorms of the South that cause flooding, or the blizzards of the North that wreak havoc in major metropolitan centers – storms are inevitable. They are a natural port of the process.

Storms are also temporary. But in the midst of the upheaval, the sensation that time is standing still may overwhelm. But time doesn’t really stand still; things continue. The rushing water, the swirling black clouds, the wind – they will all stop. The sun really does come out tomorrow, the seas really do become calm, and the snow finally does melt.

In our great brotherhood, storms are not new. In the midst of the storm, some fear the storm will never end and that it will destroy all that is good. We need to remember that calm will return. To paraphrase: if your house is built firm on the rock, it will stand firm during the storm.

Amid every transition, there are the prophets of doom who proclaim that “the current crisis will destroy all that we hold dear. It will ‘restructure’ the church as we know it. It must be fought with renewed intensity. All those who are truly informed can clearly see all the ramifications of this new threat.”

Well…yes, we need to be vigilant. Yes, we need to be responsible. But we need not panic, for ultimate survival of the church does not depend on our meager efforts. God is in control. Every generation has had its prophets of doom, and yet the church continues. Could it be that God is still active and working?

Perhaps the ultimate response to all our great concerns is to just allow God to be in control of his church, to allow his power to work.

Some fear that if we talk about the power of God working through the Holy Spirit in the church, we somehow deny the power of the Word. But actually, to believe that the Holy Spirit of God is alive and active in this world is not a denial of the Word, it is an affirmation of the Word. To affirm the working of the Spirit in the church is to affirm that God did not leave his people alone. It is to reject deism, which suggests that God set up the system and i now allowing nature to take its course without any intervention. Deism regulates God’s activity to the distant past and maintains that now he just watches us make it on our own.

The Bible clearly affirms that God has given the Holy Spirit to his people. It affirms that he is alive and well. If you do not believe that the power of God is active today, why do you pray? Where do you get the power to be conformed to Christ? Where do you get power to battle the evil one?

It is not our goodness, our logic, nor our study skills that really produce change in the hearts of people. Yes, it is important to be as good as we can be; yes, we must use our reasoning; and yes, we must be the best student of Scripture possible. But the real power is not in any of these things. Instead it is in the power of God and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

In reality, it is by the power of God that any of us are changed, and that should encourage us. we have plenty reasons to be optimistic about the church. In the church we are never without hope, because his power is greater than the imperfections of the church. We must depend upon his perfection and power to change the church.

Since the power comes from God, we must develop a deep yearning for him. We must have a passion in our hearts for God and not merely some stories in our mind. We must not only talk about him in our churches we must allow him to control our churches.

What does it mean to let God control our churches? None of us know all that it might mean. But amazing things will happen. It means that our churches will do things that actually require the power of God. we will do things that require more than mere human effort and ingenuity.

We will have elders who are literally on their knees in prayers of unworthiness. We will have elders who confess their sins to one another. We will have elders who never even appear to be lording over the flock.

We will have people who glorify in their weakness, rather than affirm their own strengths. We will have churches that are more concerned about being the living manifestation of Jesus on the earth today, they they are about some humanly devised “checklist for soundness.” Churches will be full of struggling sinners who need the power of God to overcome. Christians will extend helping hands to life one another up. We will have power-packed assemblies that praise God for what he has done and continues to do.

When God controls a church, people don’t panic, because their confidence in the power of God is always greater than their fear of the power of the evil one. Dependence upon the power of God always brings the strength to weather whatever storms come.

categoria commentoNo Comments dataFebruary 15th, 2017
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Profile photo of Matt DabbsThis author published 1594 posts in this site.
Matt is the preaching minister at the Auburn Church of Christ in Auburn, Alabama. He and Missy have been married 12 years and are raising two wonderful boys, Jonah and Elijah. Matt is passionate about reaching and discipling young adults, small groups, and teaching. Matt is currently the editor and co-owner of Wineskins.org.

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