It is easy for us to equate the character of God with incredible power. From the beginning of the New Testament – “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever” (Matthew 6:13) – to the end of the book – “After these things I heard something like a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, ‘Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God’ “ (Revelation 19:1) – the power of God is proclaimed. God equals power.
But what if I told you that this power is not reserved for God alone? What if I told you that some aspect of the power of God resides in you? “Whoa,” you might say, “We may have some power, but not THAT power. No, we are way below that.” Are we?
The word “power” appears over 100 times in the New Testament. And as you can probably guess from where I am going with this, many of these occurrences refer to God’s power in us. If you have believed the gospel message of Jesus Christ, God’s power lives in you and supplies the overcoming and abundant power we need to live the Christian life.
Before we look at how that power works in our lives, let’s consider the timeline and person of how that power came to us. After Jesus’ resurrection, He delivered this charge to His disciples, “And He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high’ “ (Luke 24:46-49).
Look at the last sentence. Jesus is saying, “Don’t even start on this mission until you have received power from on high.” Hmm. What is this power the disciples are to be waiting for?
The next power reference is in Acts 1:8 where the promise of a coming power becomes clearer. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8). Ah, the Holy Spirit, the Helper that Jesus promised would come to live in us; He will be the source of this power. Said another way, the Holy Spirit living in us will be the power of God acting through us.
So what is next in the timeline? THE POWER ARRIVED !!! THE POWER CAME !!! “When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves, and they rested on each one of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance” (Acts 2:1-4). The promise is fulfilled. The promised power of God has come by way of His Spirit filling His people.
So how did the disciples put this outpouring of power into action? We will look at that next time.