Saturday, June 21, 2008

A form of godliness that denies the power.....

For quite some time I have had this phrase swirling through my mind....." a form of godliness that denies the power." (2 Tim. 3:5) This verse sums up most of my Christian experience. Christians, myself included, that seek godliness, but don't know or live in the power of God. The bible says .."avoid such people." Wow!!  It almost seems to say that there is no point to being a Christian, if we don't experience God's power.(my interpretation here, feel free to disagree) I mean should there even be a Christianity that is simply just learning how to be more holy and pursuing godly ways of doing things?  Without His power we simply are denying the truth of His word and the Gospel. When the Gospel is preached, truly truly, there should be evidence of people getting saved, healed - signs and wonders should follow the one true Gospel of the New Testament. Paul says to the Corinthians, when I came and proclaimed the mysteries of God, I didn't do it with lofty speech or wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God. (1 Cor. 2:1-5)  I wonder what exactly he meant by "in demonstration of the Spirit and of power"?  I simply can't ignore these kinds of verses any longer. Jesus also always preached and demonstrated in power God's love and desire to heal all who He touched. Everywhere He went, He taught and healed the sick, raised the dead, cast out demons and set the captives free.  Why is it that modern Christianity does not look like the Christianity of the Bible? Why are people so skeptical of the Lakeland Revival and the outpourings of the Spirit's power going on there? Do we not read our Bibles and believe the whole thing? For me, a lot of it has been naivety, a lot of it has been a wrong focus when I did study my bible and some was the teaching I received and believed to be true, that never once taught me about the power of God or understanding the Holy Spirit's job in the life of a believer. A lot of my own issues were fear of man or seeking approval of people. That truly was a fetter keeping me back from moving on in the things God truly has for my life. But, thankfully, the Spirit will lead us into all truth, as we seek to be led and are hungry for God and long to know Him at a deeper level. And He is truly doing this in my life!! Hebrews 2, talks about  Without His Holy Spirit working in us and through us we cannot generate genuine fruit. Real fruit comes from the inside out. Not from applying biblical standards and disciplining ourselves, etc, etc. - but is the priority of our whole life to be focused on our own walks or on the big picture, seeking first the kingdom of God, seeing the lost saved, the captives set free, the cripples walking, the blind eyes opened. This was Jesus main ministry!  
Last night Todd Bentley preached a wonderful message at the revival. He has come under much criticism and last night shared that people want to know why he wasn't preaching the gospel. He went on to share that the gospel is not just preaching a message, but it demonstrates the power! The same "method", that Jesus Christ and Paul the apostle used. He preached the on the Lord's prayer and gave a compelling message( which unfortunately I did not take notes and eventually fell asleep before hearing the whole thing), that we should pray thy kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. On earth as it is in heaven. What is it like in heaven? Well go look in your Bibles and study up on what heaven is like, and then you will know what to pray for. The kingdom of heaven is at hand, it is for now. We do not have to wait for the whole shebang until we die and go to be with our Lord. God wants us to bring heaven down to earth and invade it for His Kingdom and for His glory!! 
Another thing, what does salvation mean anyway, does it simply mean you are forgiven of your sins, which that in itself is amazing?! Salvation in the Greek is sozo, which means healing, provision, wholeness and preservation. By His stripes we are healed. Not just from the power of sin, but from sickness and poverty and emotional deprivation! Folks this salvation we have is far more amazing than we realize. I want to live in it! No longer do I simply want to pursue a form of godliness that denies the power of God in my life!!  


Amy said...

amen sister-friend.

Steve said...

Here is my thought on this.

Denying the power could mean various things.

Contextually Paul was talking about people’s sinful actions and character. One could deduce that Paul was referring to people leading a sinful life and holding to a religious appearance but denying God’s power to change them.

One example I think of is when I use to see the bumper sticker that said “Christians aren’t perfect just forgiven.” One person commenting on this “slogan” said they might as well say Christians aren’t perfect just immoral/thiefs/liars, etc. It implies that becoming a Christian doesn’t involve God’s transforming power. The statement focuses only on forgiveness and not God’s power to transform us.

Denying the power could mean someone who has a temper or other struggles before they become a Christian who denies that God can help them change that. Titus 2:11-12 promised that the grace of god teaches us to say no to ungodliness. II Peter 1:4 talks about how through God’s word we can become partakers of His divine power.

Greek wise the same word was also used in reference to a number of Jesus’ miracles.

This came from the Complete Word Study Dictionary:

(D) Spoken of miraculous power, "the mighty power of signs and wonders" (a.t.) means the power of working miracles (Rom 15:19, explained by the power of the Spirit in the next clause; see Acts 10:38; 1 Cor 2:4; 2 Cor 12:12; 2 Thess 2:9). By metonymy of effect for cause, the pl. ‎dun├ímeis‎, powers, is often used for mighty deeds, miracles (Matt 7:22; 11:20,21,23; 13:54,58; 14:2; Mark 6:2,5,14; Luke 10:13; 19:37; Acts 2:22; 8:13; 19:11; 1 Cor 12:10; 2 Cor 12:12; Gal 3:5; Heb 2:4; Sept.: Job 37:14 Ps 106:2 ). The abstract for the concrete, meaning a worker of miracles (1 Cor 12:28,29).

Thus this passage could also refer to the signs and wonders that happened early in church history.

Paul’s command to avoid men who are denying the power is quite a statement.

lydia said...

Don and Steve,
Thanks for your comments, I appreciate and value what you shared and what you can both teach me just through your apparent love for and study of God's Word!!!

lydia said...

Amy, your Amen means much to me!!! :)