“Accessing the Power”
2 Tim 3:16, 17
X. Texts that Transform
Thirteen Christian missionaries and their children were brutally massacred in Zimbabwe in June of 1978. Their murderers bayoneted them to death,
Fifty years ago a teenage girl dove into the shallow waters of the Chesapeake Bay, breaking her neck and becoming a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the shoulders down. For months she wanted only to die. Eventually she was reconciled to God’s purposes for her.
48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”
How could these fearful, mainly uneducated, common men be “witnesses” for Christ to the nations? Not in their own strength and will. They must be “clothed with power from on high.” Again Jesus said to them,
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
The promise is “power” for ministry. Only with Holy Spirit power, Pentecost
The question that remains is this:
15 … from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
God’s word, written, spoken, and made visible in the church’s administration of the sacraments “are able
2 delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
The word of God
Not only do we have the repeated promises of Jesus that if we
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”
The presence of the Holy Spirit means
The importance of prayer in strengthening the people of God can be seen both in the Apostle’s great prayers
according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being,
They need “to be strengthened.” They need “power.” By what means shall they acquire it?
To what end does he pray
10 walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; 11 being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy;
His people need to be
To what end does he pray
may approve what is excellent, and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,
How do we come to make good decisions leading to good behavior? How do we gain the capacity to “approve what is excellent” so that we might be “pure and blameless?” Through prayer.
The Apostle Paul not only prays for the churches, but also solicits the church’s prayers. Not only does the Apostle instruct the church to “continue steadfastly in prayer,” but to “pray also for us.” To what end?
We are meant to learn dependence, not for dependence’s sake, but for survival’s sake. We are meant not learn dependence, not to perpetuate spiritual childhood, but facilitate spiritual maturity. Dependence is necessary because reality requires it. In the natural realm, personal maturity, wisdom, and strength require increasing
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
How can we “lay aside” our various entanglements and sins which cling to our souls? Sin clings to us. We can’t shake ourselves loose from it. How can we “run with endurance the race that is set before us?” Only by
looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
It is only as we look to Jesus for inspiration, for faith, for grace, for strength, and for power, that we are able to run the race. He is both “a pattern” and “a help,” says Matthew Poole. “The disposition, grace, ability, and success which they have for running,” Poole continues, “is
Eric Liddell’s (1902-1945) most recent biographer
Conditions were horrible. Food was scarce. The camp was infested with rats. Lice, mosquitoes, and flies tormented the internees. Disease was rampant. Conflict was common. In this dog-eat-