In the previous three parts of this series, we discussed the source and direction of power available to Christians. We learnt that Jesus promised the Apostles that they would receive power from on high when the Holy Spirit falls on them, and saw that this actually happened just as Jesus promised. Yet, when we look at the lives of average Christians, it is not uncommon to find a group of powerless individuals. In fact, it appears that there are cases where spiritual power is at an all-time low among Christians.

That there are diverse reasons for this powerless condition among Christian groups and individuals is a fact and for any person to claim to have a quick fix for this would be foolish. Perhaps it would be just as foolish generalize and claim that ‘this is the reason for the powerless condition in the body of Christ’. Surely, the reasons for the lack of power can vary from governmental (state) legislation binding the church’s powers, to denominations, ministries or individuals leaving the will of God and following their own heads. How then shall one address such a critical issue?

Perhaps the best way would be to return to the words of Jesus regarding this issue. The first condition for salvation is the realization of sinfulness. If any person cannot or will not understand that, he or she has a need for salvation because of the sinful nature of all flesh and the inability to overcome this in his or her own power, such a person cannot experience salvation.

God will not bless a person with the saving grace of the blood of Jesus if that person thinks in his or her heart that he or she is not in need of salvation. Hence the words that were repeatedly used in the book of acts: Repent and be baptized.

Act 2:38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and be baptized, everyone of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Many preachers have heard ‘Christians’ ask, “Why should I repent when I have never sinned?” However, if this were true, the Word of God is wrong, and that is impossible.

Romans 3:23 WEB for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;

1 John 1:8 WEB If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

1 John 1:10 WEB If we say that we haven't sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

Do we need more evidence? All have sinned, and even those that claim not to have sinned, have sinned against the Word of God by claiming to be free of sin. The first condition towards receiving the power of God is to admit to being a sinner in need of salvation.

In a previous article we have already looked at the receiving of the Holy Spirit as a consequence to accepting the offer of salvation in Jesus Christ. Does receiving the Holy Spirit constitute the receiving of power? According to Acts 1 and vers 8, it certainly does.

Acts 1:8 WEB But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you. You will be witnesses to me in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth."
The problem does not lie with the promises of God, but with what we as Christians do with the power of God. Do we really believe that we received the Holy Spirit at salvation, and if we do, do we live as witnesses for Jesus Christ? Even more, are we ambassadors for the Kingdom of God, or are we liabilities? Pastors, reverends, priests, elders and other leaders in churches are constantly bombarded with requests to “pray for me”.

Nominal Christians tend to live more in need of the power of the pastor, than the power of God. Why, if this is so, do some Christians act in this manner, one may ask. For one, the pastor does not know your thoughts, which God does. The pastor does not know what you have been up to, while God knows exactly. Hence, when a person who does not repent of his or her sins comes to God in prayer, such a person has a conscience problem, which leads them to act like the Israelites in the times of Moses.

Deuteronomy 5:27 WEB Go you near, and hear all that Yahweh our God shall say: and speak you to us all that Yahweh our God shall speak to you; and we will hear it, and do it.

Because of their impenitent hearts, the Israelites lost their confidence to come into the presence of God, and therefore suggested that God speaks to Moses, and Moses relay the message. The problem with this type of behaviour is that you cannot receive the power of God on a second-hand basis. You will not receive power when the Holy Spirit comes over the pastor. God might answer the pastor’s prayer, but you will not experience the power. Furthermore, Jesus was very specific about us ‘remaining in Him’.

John 15:7 AMPLIFIED BIBLE If you live in Me [abide vitally united to Me] and My words remain in you and continue to live in your hearts, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you.

The fact that the pastor remains in Jesus through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit cannot do you any good, and neither will the fact that the pastor leads a consecrated life. What you need is to live in the presence of God, or as the Amplified Bible aptly puts it, ‘abide virtually united to Me’. You cannot be connected to Jesus via the pastor.

John 15:1-5 WEB "I am the true vine, and my Father is the farmer. (2) Every branch in me that doesn't bear fruit, he takes away. Every branch that bears fruit, he prunes, that it may bear more fruit. (3) You are already pruned clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. (4) Remain in me, and I in you. As the branch can't bear fruit by itself, unless it remains in the vine, so neither can you, unless you remain in me. (5) I am the vine. You are the branches. He who remains in me, and I in him, the same bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. (Emphasis by author)

Thus remaining in the Pastor is not solving any problems regarding your powerless life. No wonder the Word exhorts us to live holy lives consecrated to God the Father in Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:14 WEB Follow after peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no man will see the Lord,

Sanctification and holiness means to live in dedication and commitment to God. Now, the author has heard many Christians excusing themselves by exclaiming, “I am not holy”, as if being holy was being weird. However, according to the Word we cannot serve God if we are not holy.

1 Peter 1:13-16 WEB Therefore, prepare your minds for action, be sober and set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ --(14) as children of obedience, not conforming yourselves according to your former lusts as in your ignorance, (15) but just as he who called you is holy, you yourselves also be holy in all of your behavior; (16) because it is written, "You shall be holy; for I am holy." (Emphasis by author)

This may leave some readers with the question of “how can I be holy, if I am a sinner?” It is a good thing if this bothers you, because this brings one to the absolute realization that you cannot exist spiritually without the blood redemption of Jesus Christ. As Jesus Himself put it:

John 14:6 WEB Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father, except through me. (Emphasis by author) and,

Matthew 19:26 WEB Looking at them, Jesus said, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."
To receive power we must repent, be baptized and receive the Holy Spirit. To activate the power, we must be witnesses for Jesus. The power of God is not about and for ourselves, but about Him and for the benefit of the Kingdom of God.

In Part 5 of this series we proceed to learn about the authority of the Name of Jesus.

Author's Bio: 

Dr Gerrit van Vuuren [Ph.D.] is Principal of the Shepherd Leadership Institute. Visit Shepherd Leadership Institute!
At the age of 30 he accepted Jesus as Saviour, resulting in a radical conversion, a radical calling, and a radical ministry. Dr Gerrit wrote a research doctoral thesis on the 'leadership style of Jesus Christ', and has a calling to teach the body of Christ to understand and apply Jesus' leadership style, which he calls True Shepherd Leadership ©. For more information, e-mail him at