The Source And The Reception Of Power

Scripture: Psalm 62:11

Sermon preached at Gospel Light Christian Church, Singapore
on 13 October 2002

Introduction: We live in a power-driven society. Without power almost all our gadgets and machines would come to a standstill and be virtually worthless, While there is no shortage of power to run the machines in our country, there is an appalling shortage of power in the Church. Therefore, in spite of the Church's impressive personalities, talents, training and programs, we Christians are consciously aware of our utter helplessness to be what we should be and do what we should do. Today we will look at the reasons for this lack of power, namely, the failure to appropriate Christ's Power in us due, firstly, to ignorance and secondly, to self-confidence. The former is usually the sin of the new Christian and the latter is usually the sin of the successful Christian.

The Source of power: "God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God" (Psalm 62: 11) - and we merely borrow power from Him.

When we step into a factory and see the hundreds of different machines working furiously, we know that each of them depends on the source of electrical power. The moment contact is cut off from the power source every machine stops and becomes useless. Similarly, power belongs to God and is never "parceled" out as a gift to any Christian, and spiritual power can never be separated from Christ Himself (Psalm 62: 11, l Corinthians 1:24). Therefore, Christians should never expect to be strong in themselves (even if they are experienced and have been successful in the past) but must always expect Christ who dwells in them (Galatians 2:20) to be strong - and to manifest His strength through them (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Mary pagan religions teach that men have a "divine potential" in them - and religious practices eg. yoga help them to "unleash" this untapped potential in them. The fundamental difference between these pagan religions and Christianity, is that one teaches that man can live independent of God and the other teaches that man is dependent on God. Adam was created to depend on God but he chose to live independent of Him. The sin of the unsaved man is his desire to live independent of God. And the sin of the powerless Christian is also the same - trying to live independent of God, through ignorance or through self-confidence.

The reception of power: Positionally-speaking (legally-speaking) every Christian is united to Christ when he trusts in Him as; Saviour (Romans 6:5 "planted together"). In the analogy of the factory, this is equivalent to it being connected to the electrical supply leg. Singapore Power). However, each machine does not start working until it is individually switched on. In the same way, though every Christian is united to the power of God in Christ, he does not have this power unless he "switches" on the connection to the Source by a step of faith (Colossians 2:6 "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord so walk ye in him'), Most Christians are like a paralysed arm - which is united to the body but powerless. They have spiritual life - but it is a useless, powerless spiritual life.

Few things are simpler than flicking on a switch. Similarly, the step of faith is a Christian's first and most elementary step in his relationship with Christ. Man do not glory in their ability to flick on a switch but glory in the wonder of electricity. Similarly, we do not take pride in our step of faith but in the wonder of Christ in us. When a man flicks on the switch, he does not need to feel or see any flow of power before getting on with his task. He simply flicks on the switch and expects the machine to do its work. Similarly, when we take the step of faith in Christ, we should expect Him to work through us - we do not need to feel or see any proof of His work before we expect results. For example, when faced with a decision to make, we need only trust Him to provide the wisdom as we ask for it ("Lord, your wisdom please") and step out in faith expecting Him to give us the right answer. This appropriation (reception) of Christ's power by faith is not something to be attempted only by mature Christians but is the very first step of the Christian fife. There is one dissimilarity between factory machines and Christian life, namely, the "switch of faith" has a tendency to slip to an "off" position and needs to be repeatedly switched on whenever it does so (ie, as we face new challenges). Another dissimilarity is the tendency of the "switch of faith" to lose contact with the Source through sin - of commission, of unbelief, of self-will or self-glory. Therefore, we must spend time asking the Holy Spirit to help us to clean the "switch-contact points.".

Conclusion: Every Christian has limitless potential to be all that be should be and do all that he should do. Yet most Christians are spiritually powerless because they are either ignorant of their responsibility to take the simple step of faith or because they are self-confident through past successes. The former thinks that he is too weak a Christian to expect Christ's power and the latter thinks that he is too experienced a Christian to need Christ's power. In both cases, Satan has succeeded in making us live independent of God!

God-centered, Christ-preaching, Spirit-dependent

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