Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Power Trips

Acts 1:8 (NLT) But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit
comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses...

The power of the Holy Spirit is given so that we might witness
to Christ's finished work on the cross. Today many use this
charismatic power to witness to their own glory in a wave of
revivalist hype, where their signs and wonders are the main
headline. For those burned out on sensationalism, on pilgrimages
to whatever American hub happens to be the source of power that
season, the choice has to be the Giver over the Todd Bentleys of
this world.

For the church the Gospel is not a footnote but accompanies
everything we do, including signs, wonders, tongues, etc. Where
true signs and wonders touch Christians and non-Christians alike,
Christ alone is proclaimed (Acts 2:14-40, 3:12-26) for the Spirit
wants to give glory not to Himself, nor to the charismatic speaker.
JI Packer writes that "the Holy Spirit's distinctive new covenant
role is to fulfill... a floodlight ministry in relation to the Lord Jesus
Christ"(Keep in Step with the Spirit, p.57):

The Spirit's message to us is never, "look at me; listen to me;
come to me; get to know me", but always, "look at him, and see
his glory; listen to him, and hear his word; go to him and have life;
get to know him, and taste his gift of joy and peace". The Spirit we
might say, is the matchmaker, the celestial marriage broker, whose
role it is to bring us and Christ together and ensure that we
stay together
(Keep in Step with the Spirit, p. 57-58).

So where signs and wonders spring forth within the church, we
should not give witness to ourselves, our performance, our
charismania, or even to the witnessing Spirit, but to Christ and
Him crucified (Revelation 19:10). For as 1 Corinthians 13 reminds us,
the sign gifts and their accompanying miracles will die away.
But the effects of the Gospel, our death and resurrection in
Christ Jesus, are eternal. Though Christians in this life may
receive healing it is only temporary for everybody dies while we
still live in this body of sin (1 Cor 15:22). Our hope looks beyond the
temporary to our final glorification where death is put to death
(1 Cor 15:55) through Christ's victory which wipes away all tears.

He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be
no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain
anymore, for the former things have passed away.
(Revelation 21: 4 ESV).

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