Tag Archives: Power

The Power to Edify

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“Therefore I write these things being absent, lest being present I should use sharpness, according to the power which the Lord hath given me to edification, and not to destruction.” (2 Corinthians 13:10)

The older English word “edification” is used to render the Greek oikodomos that pictures the building of a house. We still use the word edifice to describe a structure of some importance. Paul specifically said he had the power to edify in the above text and later called himself a “wise masterbuilder,” an architekton, who laid the foundation we would build on (1 Corinthians 3:10).

When Jesus used oikodomos to depict those who build their house on a rock (His Word) or the sand (ideas of men), He was painting a picture of how we should edify each other (Luke 6:48-49). Leadership gifts are to be used to perfect the saints in the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:11-12), using the living stones that will build the “spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5).

And like any good builder, the Christian carpenter has tools of the trade to assist the process. There are “things which make for peace” that must be employed (Romans 14:19). Most certainly love is a major tool (1 Corinthians 8:1), along with good communication that does not corrupt the building work (Ephesians 4:29).

Since “all things” are to be done so that the church is edified (1 Corinthians 14:26), it surely follows that “fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions” are not helpful (1 Timothy 1:4). Effective communication demands that those we speak to understand what is said, therefore a mysterious tongue does not publicly edify like prophecy does (1 Corinthians 14:2-4).

An edified church walks “in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 9:31). HMM III

The Power of Spiritual Control

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“Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is. And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:17-18)

Two factors need to be identified with these verses. First, the preceding context confines the primary application to behavior, just as the following context relates the behavior to the fellowship of believers. Secondly, the imagery stresses control of that behavior by the Holy Spirit, contrasting drunken behavior with filled behavior.

The filling is not synonymous with the baptism of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:12-14) since all twice-born are so baptized but not all are filled. Nor is it equal with or subsequent to speaking in tongues since some specifically identified as being filled with the Holy Spirit (John the Baptist, Elizabeth, Jesus) never spoke in tongues. Some individuals (Paul, Peter, Stephen) were filled on different occasions. Apparently, the filling produces a temporary effect like alcohol does. The effect of the filling of the Holy Spirit enhances or encourages a God-like behavior in contrast to the Satan-like behavior stimulated by alcohol.

Some passages equate power with this filling (Acts 1:8; Romans 15:13; 1 Thessalonians 1:5), and others equate it to wisdom (Colossians 1:9-11; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 3:15-17). However, the immediate context lists four evidences of the Holy Spirit’s control: songs of praise together, personal singing and private melody to God in our hearts, thanksgiving, and voluntary submission to one another in the Lord (Ephesians 5:19-21).

Since the Holy Spirit distributes gifts to the saints (Ephesians 4:7-11) for the purpose of building the body of Christ (Ephesians 4:12-16), it stands to reason that the Holy Spirit’s control would be designed to enhance and stimulate the ministry of believers to each other and their personal joy and awareness of the goodness of God. HMM III

The Power of Spiritual Tools

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“But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:7)

The grace that is given (charis) is a distribution by the Holy Spirit of gifts (charisma) to every believer (1 Corinthians 12:4-11). Seventeen gifts are listed in Romans 12:3-8, 1 Corinthians 12:4-10, and Ephesians 4:11, all of them intended by the Holy Spirit to minister to the church and enhance its unity (Romans 12:3; 1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 4:12). Three reasons are cited for these gifts.

The Perfecting of the Saints

This “perfecting” describes a process of making something useful or suitable that is not yet adequate. James and John mended their nets (Matthew 4:21). Paul prayed that he might supply that which was lacking (1 Thessalonians 3:10). The gifts of the Holy Spirit mend that which is lacking in the saints. The

Work of the Ministry

This is a joint effort of service (2 Corinthians 6:1) that recognizes the public visibility of that service (2 Corinthians 4:1-2) and steadfastly displays those gifts so that the “ministry be not blamed” (2 Corinthians 6:3).

The Edifying of the Body of Christ

The building process focuses the use of the gifts on the enrichment and betterment of the local assembly of believers (1 Corinthians 14:5, 12, 26). The goal is to bring all saints to a state of doctrinal unity (the faith) so that our maturity can be compared to the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). Eliminating susceptibility to “every wind of doctrine,” growing into Him in all things, and building the “body fitly joined together . . . according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love” (Ephesians 4:14-16). HMM III

The Power of Patience

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“But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” (James 1:4)

Patience (endurance) is part of the development that will produce the experience that brings hope and assurance to those who are the twice-born (Romans 5:3-5). Patience is a discipline—a work that is necessary for our growth. Although such discipline never seems pleasant at the time, it is administered by our loving heavenly Father, who focuses His work on our spiritual maturity (Hebrews 12:5-8).

There are several key aspects identified in our text that promise victory through the process of learning patience. Wisdom is granted liberally as we ask for it during the tests that produce the “perfect work” of patience. As we endure the tests that will come to those who love the Lord, the endurance practiced will produce a “crown of life” as an eternal testimony to our patience (James 1:12).

The principles for gaining patience during this life are outlined in Psalm 37. First, trust in the Lord (Psalm 37:3) and follow His leading in everything we do (Proverbs 3:5‑10). Second, delight in (get excited about) the Lord (Psalm 37:4)—amplified so often in Psalm 119 (vv. 16, 24, 35, 47, 70, 174). Then, commit your way to the Lord (Psalm 37:5), becoming such a part of Him that you are as a branch to the vine (John 15:4-7).

Finally, rest (be still) in the Lord (Psalm 37:7) and wait on the Lord (Psalm 37:34). These traits are not meant to be understood as “hanging around.” They describe the fully prepared servant, waiting for his Master’s orders to implement. The “profitable” servant (Luke 17:10) has learned what his Master wants and stands ready to respond to the needs of the Kingdom. Patience is never obtained through bored indifference. HMM III

The Power of a Sound Mind

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“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2 Timothy 1:7)

The gift spoken of in the previous verse is based on a transfer of authority from God, and we are exhorted to “stir up” that gift (2 Timothy 1:6) because God did not give us a “spirit of fear.” The word fear (deilia) stresses timidity or cowardice, not terror. The gift does not function well if we are too timid to use it.

The gift referred to is not power. That spiritual gift comes with dunamis—the innate ability to do the gift. Whatever the Holy Spirit has gifted us with upon our entrance into the Kingdom (1 Corinthians 12:11), that gift comes with the power necessary to implement and use that gift.

The gift also comes with love. Again, love is not the gift. It is only part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit that comes with the gift. Were it not for the reflection in us of the unilateral and sacrificial love of our Redeemer, these supernatural gifts could well be misused, distorted, and abused for personal glory. Diotrephes misused his gift, failing to use the spirit of love (3 John 1:9).

Sophronismos (sound mind) is a unique Greek word that is a combination of the verbs “to save” and “to control.” Its basic meaning would be “safe control” or “wholesome control”— perhaps even “control that saves”—the perfect combination of abilities that empower the gift, the love that keeps the gift focused on others, and the “safety controls” to keep it from doing damage unwittingly.

“As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10). HMM III

The Power of Grace

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“. . . whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.” (Ephesians 3:7)

In the New Testament, the words for gift and grace are closely related. Charis is usually translated “grace,” and charisma is most often rendered “gift.” The twice-born are to use their gifts with one another as “good stewards of the manifold grace of God” (1 Peter 4:10).

When God gifts us with faith so that we are saved by His grace (Ephesians 2:8), we are then “created in righteousness and true holiness” (Ephesians 4:24). This “new man” is granted the potential to understand the “exceeding greatness of his power” (Ephesians 1:19) and to participate in the divine nature so we can escape the corruption pervading this godless world (2 Peter 1:4).

When we preach the gospel, we use “the power of God” that will result in the salvation of those who respond (Romans 1:16). Right after the Day of Pentecost, the apostles gave testimony of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus in a demonstration of that power so that “great grace was upon them all” (Acts 4:33). The message, the power, and the grace of God are inseparable.

When our lives radically change in response to the new man created in us by God, we do so by “the grace of our Lord,” which is “exceeding abundant with faith and love” (1 Timothy 1:14). When we access the strength to rise above infirmities or difficult circumstances, we experience the Lord’s grace that is sufficient to deal with or overcome whatever may be hindering us (2 Corinthians 12:9).

When we “work out” the salvation God graced us with, we can be sure that God is working in us “both to will and to do of his good pleasure” (Philippians 2:12-13). HMM III

The Power of the Comforter

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“It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.” (John 16:7)

Declaring the gospel becomes a delightful use of the “power of God” (Romans 1:16), speaking God’s words to a heart that has been prepared by the trifold ministry of the Holy Spirit, who will “reprove [convict] the world” (John 16:8).

Conviction of Sin

“Of sin, because they believe not on me” (John 16:9). All sin has been forgiven (1 John 2:2). The only sin that condemns is unbelief (John 3:19), or conscious rebellion against the Holy Spirt’s conviction of the need for salvation through Christ. Rejecting that is blasphemy and unforgiveable (Matthew 12:31).

Conviction of Righteousness

“Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more” (John 16:10). When the Lord Jesus went up into heaven, there was “none righteous” (Romans 3:10) on Earth. The Holy Spirit must convince people that righteousness exists. Otherwise, they wouldn’t understand why they need to be saved.

Conviction of Judgment

“Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:11). Some suggest the ruler is Satan, but there’s no need to convince us that Lucifer needs to be condemned. But that the sinless Son of God was condemned on calvary for your sin and mine—that needs supernatural convincing!

Our powers of persuasion could never bring about a spiritual conviction of these matters in the heart of an ungodly and sinful person. However, the “One who comes alongside us” could indeed bring about such conviction. Our job is to speak the truth. The Holy Spirit’s job is to be the supernatural Convictor and Persuader of that truth. HMM III

The Power of Forgiveness

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“. . . to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins.” (Acts 26:18)

There is a point in our lives where the forgiveness of Christ was granted—even though He was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8) and we were “predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son” (Romans 8:29).

Christ has subdued, cleansed, and forgotten our sins.

The triune Godhead paid the price to “subdue our iniquities” and metaphorically throw our sins “into the depths of the sea” (Micah 7:19). The Scriptures clearly tell us God blots out and forgets our sins (Isaiah 43:25; 44:22; Acts 3:19). God’s forgiveness is an eternal act of forgetfulness as well as judicial payment and propitiation.

Christ has replaced our sins with His holiness.

A holy God cannot fellowship with an unholy being. “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” We must “be made the righteousness of God in him” (2 Corinthians 5:17, 21) so that He “might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus” (Romans 3:26).

Christ has given us victory over sin.

Since all of the above is true and active in the life of every believer, there should be an obvious exhilaration that enables us to confidently stand against whatever “fiery darts” the Enemy may throw at us. “Sin shall not have dominion over you,” we are told in Romans 6:14. Since sin has been dealt with on the cross, we should “reign in life” through Jesus Christ (Romans 5:17).

Do you rejoice in your forgiveness and therefore reign over sin in your life? God has made this possible. HMM III

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