Monday, August 5, 2013

The True Power of God

All scripture references, unless otherwise noted, are from the King James Version of the Holy Bible. The Hebrew and Greek meaning of the words mentioned are from Strong's Hebrew Greek Dictionary.

There was a man in Acts Chapter 8 named, "Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one: To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God." This man, the Apostle Peter said was "in the gall of bitterness and in the bond of iniquity," and needed to repent of his wickedness and ask God for forgiveness for thinking "that the gift of God may be purchased with money." (You can read the entire account in Acts 8:9-24) There will always be those who would like the world to think of them as "the great power of God," but the only one who was ever, and who is and always shall be is the Lord Jesus Christ. (See Hebrews 13:8)

I was at a meeting of potential managers where I worked some years ago prior to my retirement. One of the presenters made a statement about the power that management had. Then she said, "I love power!" One conclusion I have drawn over the years is that people who love and are in power almost invariably have very large egos. As I have been thinking about my last couple of posts, I decided to write something on true power, the true power of God.

The Lord Jesus said in Acts 1:8, " shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you..." Of course as Pentecostals we have always believed the power to live for God comes with the baptism of the Holy Ghost. I still believe that! But what kind of power was it that the Lord Jesus gave when He sent the promise of the Father on the Day of Pentecost? I have heard preaching, indeed I have preached and taught that the word for power in Acts 1:8 came from the same word from which we derive the word dynamite. That word is, "G1411 δύναμις dunamis (pronounced) doo'-nam-is From G1410; (and means according to Dr. Strong), force (literally or figuratively); specifically miraculous power (usually by implication a miracle itself): - ability, abundance, meaning, might (-ily, -y, -y deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work.."

It is interesting to note that the word "power" is found 152 times in 142 verses of the New Testament. However they are not all translated from the same Greek word. Of the 152 times above, 116 Verses contain the Greek word, "δύναμις dunamis," translated "power" in the King James Version of the Bible. The Greek word "ἐξουσία exousia," also translated "power" in the KJV is found 93 verses. Someone may ask, "isn't there something wrong with the math here?"  Not at all, the words dunamis and exousia are found together in 9 verses. In all but three instances the word "dunamis" is translated "power." Of the three not translated as power, one is found in Ephesians 1:21, and is translated as "might" and one is in 1st Peter 3:22 translated  as "powers," and one in Revelation 12:10, translated as "strength." On the other hand, the word exousia is translated variously as, "authority," (or authorities) in Luke 4:36Luke 9:11st Corinthians 15:241st Peter 3:22, and Revelation 13:2. Otherwise it is translated as "power" three times and "strength" once.

So what of the word "power" in the King James Version of the Holy Bible? Two words translated as power from the Greek and are the ones primarily used in the New Testament. They are, "dunamis," already mentioned and, "G1849 ἐξουσία exousia (pronounced) ex-oo-see'-ah  From G1832..." (and means again according to Dr. Strong  ) "...(in the sense of ability); privilege, that is, (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence: - authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength." So we have the "dunamis" or miraculous power of the baptism of the Holy Ghost and the "exousia" or authority we receive with the dunamis of the Holy Ghost.

Someone may ask, "so what." The difference to me is that the true power or dunamis of God has the connotation of the miraculous. One might have all the authority in the world and not have the miraculous in his life. When one receives the baptism of the Holy Ghost, he or she will speak in a language they never learned. That is a miracle. Oh yes, there is a difference. Simon of old thought he could buy from the apostles their authority to give people upon whom he laid hands the baptism of the Holy Ghost. It is no wonder then what Peter's response was. Every time a person who has received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speaks in tongues, the Spirit of God in him or her is giving the utterance. That is miraculous. That is the true power of God!

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