“For I will not dare to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed, by the power of signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God, so that from Jerusalem and as far around as Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.” Romans 15:18-19 MEV(Below is a portion of a lecture by Dr. Daniel Thimell, ORU Church History 1.)
The Greek word that is translated “power” is dunamis. The word dunamis clearly encompasses the meaning of miraculous power. Dunamis is supernatural power, power that exceeds the boundaries of human power. Dunamis is the power that is in God, and is made available to humanity only within the context of Jesus’ authority. This power is not independent of Christ, but flows from His hand as the One who baptizes His church (Acts 2:33), and achieves proper expression through Christ’s authority as Head of the church. It is power with a purpose, for Christ’s unique mission through the church involves the use of supernatural gifts, signs and wonders. Supernatural power is always for the purpose of setting people free from various bondages and making them whole and well. The act of requiring His disciples to wait for Pentecostal empowerment before launching out in ministry (Acts 1:4-5) speaks volumes to us regarding the significant place of Spirit baptism in the practice of ministry.
Given the vital place was given to empowerment in the life of the New Testament church, we cannot help but be grieved by the considerable lack of power characteristic of Christianity through the centuries. We have found no period in Christian history where the supernatural flows as freely as we see recorded in Jesus’ earthly ministry and in the Book of Acts. Even with the revival of the supernatural dimension emphasized by the Pentecostal/Charismatic segments of the twentieth century Christianity, the modern church’s level of empowerment does not seem to have exceeded the ministries of Jesus and the early church.
A more lamentable problem remains, however, when Christians within a given period fall short both in belief and desire. For instance, some sectors of the church through the centuries allow no place for the supernatural in their Christian experience. The historical accounts that have dominated scholarship and have influenced generation after generation of students and Christian leaders are tinged with anti-supernatural bias. This means that most church history books, regardless of their strengths in other aspects of scholarship, have not presented us with a true picture of the role of the supernatural in Christian belief and experience.
TELLING THE WHOLE TRUTH.
To include in this presentation the full story of continuous miracles in every age of the church would fill numerous volumes. The story of the church is the greatest story ever told. But the supernatural must no longer be ignored as part of our continuing legacy. I have concluded that Christianity is inherently supernatural. Let us rise and participate with a new generation of scholars and believers who refuse to suppress this essential dimension of Christian life and ministry.
SUMMATION OF CHRISTIAN IDENTITY.
The New Testament gives us a solid foundation of knowledge concerning our identity as the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Scripture has left us with a clear picture of the background and substance of the church in normative expression. The church is a new covenant community, initiated by Jesus and under His authority. Because of the Scriptural witness, we are given a basic standard of measurement for historical evaluation. The living Christ is identifiable in the Scriptural picture given to us of the church in the Book of Acts. As we now begin to unfold the story of the church advancing through history, we have a normative model of church life from which to compare more recent expressions.
PATTERN OF DECLINE.
As we move beyond the generation of the first apostles, it becomes obvious that a decline rather than an increase from the normative Scriptural expression of the body of Christ has set in. Generally speaking, as the church marches through the centuries, she never really climbs back to that initial standard of normalcy found in the New Testament record. Generally, through the ages, normal church life is the exception rather than the rule. Through the centuries, the church has contracted various ailments that impede her normal functioning in various ways. The cry of the church, in this and in every age, should be for the manifestation of healing and restoration of health. Yet if we do not know that we are sick, perhaps a careful study of Christian history will help convict us of our unhealthy state. As we become aware of our need, and unashamedly cry for help, our deliverance is not far away.
CRY FOR REVIVAL.
This scenario also can be understood in terms of the notion of revival. The cry for revival flows from a desire to see some or all dimensions of the church’s life that had been lost restored to normalcy. If we are not up to at least His standard, we are not being the church as He commissioned it to be. We need revival.
The term revival has become misused in our day to the extent that it’s meaning has become trivialized. Until we manifest to our world at least the same life, grace, love, and power that is found in Jesus, then we are not revived.
CALL FOR REVOLUTION.
Our greatest need today as a church is to tap into the potential resident in the Gospel itself. Jesus’ coming has brought a revolution both in personal life and in our relationships, but we as a church have failed to be revolutionary. We are not contagious to the world because we are not experiencing revolution within. The primary motive for our study of church history is to provide a perspective that will motivate us to change. As we personally and corporately tap into the revolutionary potential that is implicit in our relationship with Jesus Christ, unprecedented revival will follow. We will have experienced a transformation from being students of church history to being makers of church history in the twenty-first century.
We are going to look at the role miracles playing in the establishment of the church. The Apostle Paul tells us that the Gospel is “fully preached” by a combination of the preached word and the power of signs, wonders, and the Spirit of God (Romans 15:18-19). We are also going to be confronted with why there seems to be a drop in miraculous occurrences, as well as what we are the church needs to do to see an increase of the occurrences to reach this generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
The more times you come to church the more you are benefited.
We are encouraging you to come to church this summer. Every time you come to church (Sunday & Wednesday) you will receive a ticket. KEEP THE TICKET. On Sunday, September 2 at 6PM we will have a block party. At one point during the block party, we will have a drawing. Someone will win two cruise passes (certain limitations apply).
We love you. Looking forward to seeing you at Evangel North Church Sunday 9 AM & 11 AM, and Wednesday 7 PM.
Also new service: Saturdays 6PM, at Evangel World Prayer Center (6900 Billtown Road).
Pastors John & Erin Carmichael
Evangel North Church – Reaching a region with the Gospel of Jesus Christ by the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God.