The Dynamics of
THE RESURRECTION SERIESPart 3
Young David faced both the lion and the bear in preparation for his encounter with Goliath (I Samuel 17:36), who typified the latter day anti-Christ. So, the skirmishes we face now can be preparing us for any coming encounters we may have with anti-Christ forces—or, for that matter, even with the anti-Christ himself. The greatest time ever yet known for his devilish attacks on us lies ahead of us. We won’t be alone in it; it will be upon all believers. But, if we will allow the Holy Spirit to teach us, and if we grow in the trials of this present time, we can become strong enough to face whatever he may send our way. And— in these trials—we can learn to keep our loved ones covered, along even with those we’re not close to emotionally but for whom we hold an intercessor’s concern. That’s part of the purpose for The Discipline of Intercession. This is the book we have published that many are using.
Some people have problems in their lives so demeaning and so demanding that nothing short of a series of miracles can provide answers. As some of us have been considering the power released out of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we are seeing that in His Resurrection lie the answers for all the miracle-demanding problems any of us could ever face. From the opened tomb comes hope for every cruel situation. That hope is amplified and brought to us by the Holy Spirit. He is ready to respond to every believer’s cry and make real in us the Word we are about to see.
A SCRIPTURE THAT HAS BEEN DRAWING OUR ATTENTION with regard to the Resurrection and its effect on us is Ephesians 1:19. Here Paul is teaching us to pray that we may know .. .the exceeding greatness of His power (dúnamis) to us-ward who believe, according to the working (enérgia) of His mighty (krátos) power (ischúos)... In the Original of this, we can see four dimensions of power that Paul named, All were effectual in raising up the Lord Jesus. There is · dúnamis, the power of ability and/or miracles; · enérgia, the above power harnessed so it can work in the least, or most demanding, situation; · ischúos, the muscle power that breaks the back of the enemy. This is the strong man, Satan himself, and any of his emissaries we recognize as demons. And there is · krátos, the power of government, set up in any realm from within us as individuals all the way to the rule of a nation.
Paul directs us particularly to the Government of God at work in our inner man, overruling dark forces trying to drive us. It is this for which we are learning to pray and that will make us into overcomers. As we look at the larger passage, Ephesians 1:19-22, we may find at least twelve realms of power. Some of them are negative forces which the Lord overcame in His resurrection and enthronement. That power of His Resurrection—and enthronement at the Father’s right hand—is for us now who will believe and receive as we yield to His rule in us.
There is yet another dimension of power, not told by Paul in the above mentioned passage, but told by the Lord Jesus as He was about to ascend back to His Father in Heaven. He said, All power (exousía) is given unto me in heaven and in earth (Matthew 28:18). This is the power of authority. It means “executive power”— the power of a ruler who is absolute beyond whom no other one’s power can reach. He implied this power would work in our behalf, ready to back those of us in any situation, who are ready to obey His Great Commission. We conclude this because in the next verse He said, Go ye therefore.... This means, “Now you can go to any nation in My Name because all authority has been given to me. Anywhere you go in my Name, this authority will back you.”
Knowing these words and the Scriptures in which they lie will help us greatly in praying. We are learning we can hold the power of our own darkness before the power of the Resurrection and see the power of our darkness brought down. What a liberation is becoming ours in this awesome hour! As we are doing this, we are learning how the testimony that became Paul’s can become more and more the testimony of our own lives. He said, But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that is, a hopeless circumstance for which no other answer availed, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead (II Corinthians 1:9). What a glorious expectation this is giving us!
WE MAY BE THE GENERATION FACING THE GREAT TRIBULATION to which the Lord Jesus made reference in Matthew 24:21. We must not close ourselves to this possibility. If we are that generation, it is in the power of Christ’s Resurrection and in God’s faithfulness to His eternal Word that our hope lies. What a great hope this is for us who are willing to receive it!
In this article—and the accompanying “prayer starters “—we want to get a glimpse that will grow in us to become a light that will guide us through the darkest day ever known. Never have there been contradictions against our Lord, and us who follow Him, like the ones now developing over the earth.
But—let me stress it again—those of us who know the power of His Resurrection can withstand every attack and counterattack of the enemy whose design it is to defeat us. All the time he is attacking us, our spiritual muscles can be growing to make us ready for the great Day of the Lord. We are beginning to discover why Paul could say, We glory in tribulations (“pressures, trials”)…knowing that tribulation worketh (“is the energizing force that brings about”) patience (“steadfast endurance”) (Romans 5:3). See what Jesus said in Matthew 24:13—But he that shall endure (“bear up with steadfast endurance”) unto the end, the same shall be saved.
The first word of the four Paul used in Ephesians 1:19, dúnamis, is the same word Jesus used when He said, But ye shall receive power (dúnamis), after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you…Acts 1:8.
Sadly, many churches today try with all their might to explain away this promise. And, perhaps it is even sadder still, that many who have opened themselves to receive it have misused the “power” and sometimes made it into a means for their own prosperity.
Others—and I was part of this group— explain that Gifts of the Spirit were for the early church only, and those Gifts, as Paul named them in I Corinthians 12:8-10, are no longer necessary in this age of enlightenment. I no longer believe this! As the age moves on, those gifts will become more necessary than ever.
DUNAMIS BASICALLY MEANS “POWER,” BUT IS OFTEN translated in the New Testament as “miracle.” Generally it means the ability to do anything necessary beyond the strength of the one called upon to perform a task. When Jesus made promise of this “power” to His disciples, which they would receive after lie ascended back to His Father, He said it would be the power that would enable them to be witnesses unto Him in all the world (Acts 1:8).
It is marvelous—and maybe strange to some—that this word witnesses is from the same Greek word from which our word “martyr” comes. Could Jesus have been telling them they could be His witnesses even if it meant giving their lives in doing so? Probably He meant that. Many—through all the ages, and more today than ever—have given their lives because they bore witness to Him. What wonderful use of this power from on high! Many, in giving their lives for the Lord Jesus, have done more in spreading the Gospel than those of us who have never suffered at all for His Name’s sake.
While some are complaining about Sunday morning services that last longer than one hour, others are laying down their lives for Him even today. It is these who complain who do their best to explain that the power Jesus promised is not for us in this age. Oh, how much better to learn to endure, even if it means sitting through a longer worship service—and maybe experience an outpouring of the Holy Spirit!
LET US LOOK TOGETHER AT SOME OF THE PASSAGES, particularly in the Book of Acts, that make use of this word dúnamis. There is a great statement in Acts 4:33 which we should receive into the deep parts of our soul and let it work there as we ponder on its meaning for us each as individuals. And with great power (dúnamis) gave the Apostles witness of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all. Take note of several things in this verse. It was with great power that the Apostles gave their witness. What can we say to this, except that their witness was accompanied by conviction, signs, wonders and miracles? These things, plus an enthusiasm that gave them a certain grace to rejoice that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name (Acts 5:14). • The word gave (Acts 4:33) is interesting in that the Original causes us to believe they were giving answer to people who were questioning them, or perhaps arguing with them. They were not in a friendly setting. Hostility was common against them. · The Word they carried was of the Resurrection. This was—indeed!—The Message of the early church, that the Lord Jesus was risen from the dead. He was the anticipated Messiah. What greater reward could have come upon them than that great grace was upon them all? Great grace means “mega-grace.” Great is from the word megále. It means “vehement, intense, sumptuous, extraordinary, magnificent.” How different today are those who try with all their might to minister with power and then follow it by taking an offering! We have seen grace depart from some who count the success of their ministry by the amount they receive in their offering.
Let us allow the Holy Spirit to do His great work in us and through us, wherever we may go or be, and then let the reward come from the Lord Himself! There is no greater reward than the “mega-grace” that He will release unto us in His Own time and way. Let me assure you, God is faithful in payment.
ONEOF THE GREATEST WITNESSES IN THE EARLY church was a man named Stephen. He was the first martyr that we know by name. See this passage regarding him: And Stephen, full of faith and power (dúnamis), did great wonders and miracles among the people (Acts 6:8). Wonders is from the Greek téras which means awesome signs and miracles. We’re not told what they were. Probably they were miracles so significant that they could only prove that the power by which they came were from the Lord Himself. Yet, as we read on, we find that some of the people were so bound in their religious traditions, which held no power but only traditional rites and ways, that they could give no heed to the mighty witness of Stephen. He did indeed become a martyr. A man called Saul watched as he died.
Stephen’s witness was not lost. We’re recipients today of the grace that was released when he died. Surely, that man Saul came under conviction as he beheld the horrific scene of the martyrdom and the glory with which Stephen died. Saul soon became a believer, who came to be known as Paul, and gave us a most powerful explanation of Christ’s Resurrection. His Epistles bear witness to the Lord like none other. We trace Paul back to Stephen.
We know we cannot discuss all the passages where we find the word dúnamis in the New Testament. We will, however, take up more of them in the “prayer starters” that accompany this article. And we will do this with the conviction that the promised power is yet for us to know with greater abundance even than known in the beginning days of the Church.
FOR NOW, LET ME TAKE YOU TO THE FIRST TIME A POINT of conviction was born in me regarding the movement of the Holy Spirit that is yet to come. This comes as a point of change in this article, but I pray you can come with me and gain understanding—and hope—that there is a greater expectation for us than for any believers who lived before. It is a hope for the promise of the power, but with an expectation that there will be more suffering, and thus, more grace.
Sometimes the Holy Spirit draws us to a Scripture that is beyond our full grasp, but will not let us go. We can read it and understand it on a superficial level, but with a conviction that something lies within it that our spirits wait to see. Then, all of a sudden, we began to gnaw upon its rich meat while its juice of life takes release into the deep parts of our souls where it makes an everlasting change in our lives.
Such, for me, has been Peter’s “sermon” addressed to that Pentecostal gathering in Jerusalem about fifty days after Jesus was raised from the dead. It is recorded for us in Acts 2:14-36. In it he drew upon four powerful texts from the Old Testament: Joel 2:28-32, Psalm 16:8-11; II Samuel 7:12 and Psalm 110:1.
It does seem rather strange, but the Holy Spirit drew me to the Scriptures from Joel and the Psalms years before I realized their importance to that early body of believers upon whom the Holy Spirit fell.
That Pentecost day saw the beginning of the Church of the New Covenant. It had been only a few days since the Great Commission from the Lord Jesus had come to them (Matthew 28:18). The Scriptures Peter used were the first the Lord wanted brought to the attention of the newly Spirit-baptized believers.
The people round about in Jerusalem said the disciples were drunk after the Holy Spirit came upon them and they were seen acting and speaking in an unusual manner. But Peter denied the crowd’s judgment, saying, instead, that the Prophecy found in Joel 2:28-32 was being brought to pass. Peter, greatly changed after the Holy Spirit came upon him along with the others, understood things he had never seen before. As he stood there in that Pentecostal gathering, he was opening his light to the people who soon became the first Church.
THE JOEL PASSAGE PETER MADE USE OF IN HIS MESSAGE was the first Scripture ever to come to my attention that there would come in the last days an outpouring of the Holy Spirit exceeding Pentecost.
I was a young student in New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Watts, head of the Old Testament department, spoke one day in chapel and drew our attention to a comparison of the Joel passage as Peter made use of it and as it occurred in Joel. Dr. Watts, Hebrew scholar that he was, pointed out that Peter’s Word was not exactly as it occurred in the Prophet Joel’s original Word. There was this difference: Joel said, …I will pour out My Spirit upon all flesh...; Peter said, I will pour out of My Spirit upon all flesh.... So slight a difference! It would have missed my attention had not a man of so scholarly a disposition drawn us to see it.
What Dr. Watts saw, when comparing the Old Testament Hebrew of Joel with the New Testament Greek of Peter, led him to say there would yet be an outpouring of the Holy Spirit exceeding what took place on that early Pentecost day. When Joel said, …I will pour out My Spirit..., it was clear that the outpouring would be complete, nothing withheld. It would be full and upon all flesh. But in Peter’s “quotation” of that passage, he added the little word of—the Greek ápo. This indicated that the mighty coming of the Holy Spirit upon the early church was only in part. It was not complete but unfinished, like the pouring out of some water from a pitcher, while the greater amount remained, as if for an emptying of the pitcher at a later time. An outpouring of God’s Spirit upon all flesh like never known, unrestrained by God, waits to flow like a flood over all flesh. This, as amazing as it may seem, has reference to a movement of the Holy Spirit upon all people everywhere.
Hope laid hold on me that day long ago in the Seminary chapel service. A hunger for the things of God’s Spirit came like I had never known. From then on I waited for my own Pentecost. It came, and with it the knowledge that there was yet to come an outpouring of the Spirit of God like the world has never known.
Another Prophet said, And the glory of the LORD
shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together:
Continue to PART 2: Discovering our Release from The Sin
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