Today Pastor Choi talks about the power of God (dunamis) that is promised to every disciple of Christ. Dunamis is God’s majestic power that created the heavens and the earth. The same power sustains every living creature. It is the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead. The sermon reminds the congregation that dunamis is available to God’s children through the Holy Spirit.
Following is a summary of the sermon:
Dunamis (the power of the Holy Spirit) Part 1 of 2
But you will receive power (dunamis) when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
Let me tell you a story of Jesus’ disciples in Mark 9: one day, when Jesus was away, a father brought his son who suffered from epilepsy. He asked the disciples to cure his son but they couldn’t. Thankfully, Jesus showed up in the nick of time and healed the boy. Puzzled and embarrassed, the disciples later asked their Master in private, “Why couldn’t we drive out the evil spirit?” Jesus answered: This kind can come out only by prayer and fasting (Mark 9:28-29).
The 21st century church in America faces the same dilemma as the disciples: We the Church of God have a great task before us: that is, to transform the lives of people in the name of Christ, yet we are unable to carry it out due to the lack of power in the Body of Christ.
Reality Check: Let us do a reality check with the following five questions.
1. What’s the spiritual state of today’s Church?
A: Many a church (including Methodists) are dying (losing members left and right). Like a drowning man, the Church of God gasps for God’s truth and God’s power. We also witness the lack of God’s power in the lives of believers today. Even though we proclaim the truth of God saying, “The Kingdom of God is not a matter of talk but of power” (1 Corinthians 4:20), we don’t see the realization of it. Paul’s prophecy on the last days seems fulfilled: we have a form of godliness yet deny (or lack of) its power (2 Timothy 3:5).
2. How well do we know what the power of God is?
A: Very little. Few of us actually realize let alone experience what God’s power is. We don’t know how majestic God’s power is that created the heavens and the earth. We also are ignorant of God’s sustaining power of the universe. We seldom read or hear about God’s miracles, signs, and wonders in today’s Church. Worst of all, many of us are Bible illiterate. We don’t spend time to get into God’s word. Many Bibles at home collect dust. Even the pew Bibles in the church rarely get opened. The danger and the sad consequence of this reality is that the ignorance of the Scriptures leads to an error and misunderstanding in God’s power both in knowledge and in practice like the Sadducees in the 1st century: (concerning the resurrection) Jesus replied, “You are in error because you do not know the Scriptures or the power of God.”
3. What is the Power of God?
A: Dunamis is the power of God. Let me begin with a definition of dunamis: it is the Greek word for power/strength/ability. The English words such as “dynamic” and “dynamite” are originated from dunamis.
The word “power” appears 335 times in the Bible (NIV). In the New Testament alone 117 times in the form of “dunamis.” Dunamis mostly refers to God’s majestic power.
What is dunamis? It is the power that solely belongs to God [majestic power]: “power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise belong to God” (Revelation 5:12). It is the power of God that created the heavens and the earth and anything in between and underneath [creation power]. It is the power that sustains them all. It is the power that is greater than any mortal or angelic powers. Actually, we cannot even compare God’s power to any other powers in the world, both visible and invisible. It is the power that wows and awes us (E.g. standing before Grand Canyon or looking into a night sky with many stars). It is the power that performs all the miracles. It is the power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
4. Does God want His Church and His children in the 21st century to experience the power of God as the Early Church did in the 1st century?
A: Absolutely. God wants every child of God in every generation to experience and live by God’s power. When we become a believer in Christ, God starts working on us in some areas such as love and self-discipline. He also wants us to experience God’s power in our daily lives. In other words, God’s power, like love and self-discipline, is an integral part of our Christian life experience: For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline (2 Timothy 1:7). He wants us to lead a triumphant life both individually as well as in the life of the Church.
5. Is God’s power still available for us?
A: Yes, definitely. Not only does God want us to have His power in our lives, but He also makes it available to us.
In fact, God’s majestic power has been in operation for ages. It still is. It still creates life on earth. It still upholds the entire universe. It still wows and awes us. It still is the greatest power we can imagine. It will be that way forever.
The good news is this: God shares His divine power with us freely and graciously. In fact, He is delighted to share His mighty power with His people. How does He do that? He does so through the Holy Spirit. By sending us His spirit and by having the Spirit dwell within us, God makes His divine power available to us 24/7.
Why does God do that—sharing the divine power— through His Spirit? Because, He loves us. His promise to send us the Helper and the Comforter was fulfilled at the first Pentecost 2,000 years ago. From then on, the Holy Spirit—the Giver of dunamis— has been with us, worked with God’s people, and demonstrated God’s mighty works in the Church (the Book of Acts is all about the Acts of the Holy Spirit).
The real question for us all is this: Why, then, don’t we see such God’s power demonstrated in our Church and in the lives of believers anymore? The more important question is: “How can we experience dunamis in our walk with God?” I am going to talk about those things next time in two weeks.
Let us pray.