The next thing we have to do is realize our need of God’s supernatural power. And I want to say supernatural. Christianity is a religion of the supernatural. I once read through the book of Acts, examining it to see what would happen if I removed all reference to the manifestly supernatural. That’s not just inward supernatural experiences but things that are visible, that can be perceived by the senses.
The book of Acts has 28 chapters and at the end of that I just discovered not one chapter out of the 28 would be left intact if we eliminated the supernatural. And that is the only record we have in Scripture of how the church is intended to operate. We cannot operate effectively and accomplish the will of God solely by our own natural ability. We have to have the supernatural enabling of the Holy Spirit. And one main form of that enabling is the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians, chapter 12.
We won’t turn there but let’s look at just one statement of Paul which, I think, is important. It really summarizes what I’m saying. 1 Corinthians chapter 4 and verse 20. 1 Corinthians 4 and verse 20. For the dominion of God isn’t in word, but in power. It’s not a matter of theology. Theology has its place. It’s not a matter of argument. It’s not a matter of intellectual proof. It’s the demonstration of the supernatural power of God. I’d like to look at the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians, chapter 2, just two chapters back, the first five verses.
1 Corinthians 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or wisdom declaring you the testimony of God. For i decided to not know anything among you, except Jesus , and Him crucified. You remember what we said about Galatians, chapter 3? What does witchcraft obscure in the church? Jesus Christ crucified. Paul said, “That’s all I’m getting to have an interest in. Jesus Christ crucified.”
i used to be preaching only recently to a congregation which contained an outsized number of Jews in Jerusalem and that i acknowledged to them that basically the thing which is supremely esteemed amongst the Jewish people generally is knowledge. And here is a Jew who says, “I determined not to know anything [that’s very unusual] except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” Why? Paul said: i used to be with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. He was not an impressive speaker by any means.
My speech and my preaching weren’t with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit. Capital S, the Holy Spirit, that was power. That was Paul’s secret. Why did the Holy Spirit testify to his ministry with power? Because he focused on Jesus Christ crucified. You can bring all sorts of elegant sermons and theories and quote all sorts of doctors and people, the Holy Spirit is just bored. But when you begin to lift up Jesus crucified, He says, “I will bear testimony to that.” I believe that is the primary need of the church today.
Especially here in this country today where we are surrounded by Moslems. Did you realize that? Millions of Moslems. And there is nothing going to reach the Moslem mind but the demonstration of the supernatural. And we have an opportunity. Instead of having to go to them, they have come to us. We could not go to their nations and proclaim the Gospel because we would be put in prison or executed. But God has arranged for them to come here. What’s the church doing about it? It is time the church rose up and said, “We will demonstrate to them that Jesus is alive.”
I say sometimes, “There is no extra charge for that; it is not in my outline but it happens to be true.” Let’s turn to 2 Timothy, chapter 3 again for a moment. I just want to point out something there. Remember, this is all about the last days. That’s the whole theme of this chapter. And he says in verse 8, 2 Timothy 3:8. Now as Jannes and Jambres resisted Moses… Jannes and Jambres were the magicians of Egypt.
They resisted Moses. …so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, disapproved concerning the faith; but they’re going to progress no further, for his or her folly are going to be manifest to all or any , as was the folly of Jannes and Jambres. So what Paul is saying is the contest that took place between Moses and the magicians of Egypt in the court of Pharaoh is going to be re-enacted in these days— between the servants of Jesus Christ and the practitioners of the occult. And it is not going to be settled by theology.
It is a contest of power, whose power is greater. And bear in mind the magicians of Egypt had a lot of power. The first three miracles that Moses did they could repeat. They could turn their rods into snakes. They could turn water into blood. They could call up frogs out of the river. All of that was supernatural. But when they got beyond that and Moses went further, they said, “This is the finger of God. Now we’re out of our depth.” I don’t know what you ever thought about Moses.
I particularly like Moses and Aaron. They went there with the rod and Pharaoh said, “Show me what you can do, you guys.” So (I think it was Aaron), threw down the rod and it became a snake. Amazingly enough, Pharaoh was not much impressed. So he said to his magicians, “Can you do that?” And they said, “We can.” They threw down their rods and they became snakes. But there was one thing that further happened. Moses’ snake ate up the snakes of the magicians.
I don’t know whether you ever thought about the scene that followed? The magicians walked out without any rods and Moses’ rod was much thicker and stronger. That’s how it is going to be, you understand? It is going to be: whose rod wins. People disagree with me and sometimes I say, “Well listen, don’t let’s argue. Let’s throw down our rods and see which snake wins.” Really, that’s where it’s at. It’s not argument. It’s demonstration.
That’s what’s needed. And particularly in the gifts of the Spirit we need the three revelatory gifts: the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, and the discerning of spirits. The word of knowledge shows us Satan’s operations, how he is working in the supernatural realm. The word of wisdom shows us how to counter his actions and defeat him. And discerning of spirits shows us when we are face to face with demonic power and activity. We desperately need those in the church today.