Today we are going to talk about something that most of the church does not believe in. That something is the same power that was available to the disciples is available for us today. Now most people’s first response is that they would say I believe that but it does not take long to see that they are far from believing that. They would say if God so chooses to heal or cast out demons that is okay but for a human to say “rise and walk” or rebuke an impure spirit saying “You deaf and mute spirit,” “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” They would not believe this is possible, as most people in the church do not even realize that there are demons all around them and in them because of the abomination that causes desolation. Most are not even looking for more power because they are distracted from what man can do in his own strength. They have become content with a form of godliness while denying the power of the Holy Spirit that is available to all who believe. They do not even realize they are at war as the song we just listened to suggested. Ephesians 6:10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground.” Just so you know you cannot stand without the power of the Holy Spirit. Ephesians 1 tells as we read earlier that “his incomparably great power for us who believe” is still available for us as believers unless of course you have stopped believing in God’s word, which is the problem for most. According to scripture we then should be able to do what he does with the same power and authority. Why, because Jesus said we would. John 14:12Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” The power of this verse has been unplugged over the years through faulty teaching.
                The teaching that is prevalent in the church today that says this is not available for us is nauseating. I am just as disgusted when I hear ceasationists teach there is no longer power available for the church today as I am when I hear someone like Gretta Vosper spouting her atheist views on National TV and thinking she belongs in the church. Wow is she in for the eternally damming shock when she meets the God she does not believe in as a pastor in the church. The United Church is now asking how can a minister be an atheist but what they should be asking is how can a homosexual be the leader of the denomination as the United Church of Canada has elected its second gay moderator. And they are worried about an atheist minister? Wow that is a whole other subject but shows how churches have totally veered from the word of God and we are at war. Easter is about victory but not without belief. A lot of people are confused thinking Jesus won the battle on the cross and all is good. No, you must believe have faith and carry your own cross. Yes he defeated satan and you have to also in the power of the Holy Spirit but you have to wear the armour.
                Revelation 12:7 Then war broke out in heaven. Michael and his angels fought against the dragon, and the dragon and his angels fought back. 8 But he was not strong enough, and they lost their place in heaven. 9 The great dragon was hurled down—that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him. 10 Then I heard a loud voice in heaven say: “Now have come the salvation and the power and the kingdom of our God, and the authority of his Messiah. For the accuser of our brothers and sisters, who accuses them before our God day and night, has been hurled down. 11 They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death. 12 Therefore rejoice, you heavens and you who dwell in them! But woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has gone down to you! He is filled with fury, because he knows that his time is short.” By the way your time is short also. Revelation 13:7 “It was given power to wage war against God’s holy people and to conquer them. And it was given authority over every tribe, people, language and nation.” Revelation 17:14 “They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” But today if you do not believe that same power is available to you, you have been greatly deceived by the doctrines of demons and you will be defeated.
                Sadly most of the church believes this power has ceased. Paul, how can you say that? Easy, most of the church believes this power has ceased. Take a look around and compare the New Testament church with our churches today. What do you see? No Power, not even close. They do not even realize the Holy Spirit has left them due to the unbelief. Jeremiah 5:3Lord, do not your eyes look for truth? You struck them, but they felt no pain; you crushed them, but they refused correction. They made their faces harder than stone and refused to repent.” Jeremiah 8:6I have listened attentively, but they do not say what is right. None of them repent of their wickedness, saying, “What have I done?” Each pursues their own course like a horse charging into battle.” They refuse to humble themselves as the Lord has requested. Most churches have turned away from the word of God and have gone after the teachings of man and have been deceived by doctrines of demons. They have gone after their own ways. Jeremiah 5:31The prophets prophesy lies, the priests rule by their own authority, and my people love it this way. But what will you do in the end?” Moses said in Deuteronomy 32:19 The Lord saw this and rejected them because he was angered by his sons and daughters. 20 “I will hide my face from them,” he said, “and see what their end will be; for they are a perverse generation, children who are unfaithful.”
                Today there is so much unbelief in the church it is mindboggling. I always ask how can we who have the whole counsel of the word of God be so far away from the counsel. Well the truth of the matter is that just like Israel turned away from the truth, so have we. There is a stubborn refusal to obey the commands of God. But that is not what we want to be part of. We have rejected this terrible ceasationist theology that has taken over the church and have sought after the truth. We have 2 Corinthians 6:17 “Come out from them and separated.” It is interesting when we talk about the power of the Holy Spirit we see the power all through the scriptures. When you hear people talking about ceasationism there is always the sound of crickets in the air, yet so many people believe this lack of power is how it is supposed to be and are content to live without it. Daily, people are being deceived and dying without knowing the truth. Our journey has been one of separation from these false teachers. We have been warned all through scriptures to be careful and not be deceived but so many have been and do not even know it.
                There is a war taking place and to battle these dark forces we must have the power of the Holy Spirit once again. We have been praying and will continue to pray for the same power that took place at Pentecost to come again and that revival will spread through the land. The church has taken what Jesus did on the cross and has watered it down and sold it as if it were cheap grace. It has become a little prayer, a glossy sticker and maybe a coffee for going to church. All is good. Make me feel good and just maybe I will keep coming. I will flock to what makes me feel comfortable in my sin. Meanwhile God is not listening to our prayers. Isaiah 1:15When you spread out your hands in prayer, I hide my eyes from you; even when you offer many prayers, I am not listening.” There are hardly any healings, signs and wonders, demons cast out and the church is not asking where are all the wonders as Gideon asked. This is not the gospel of Jesus Christ. We have been deceived into complacency by the empty way of life handed down to us from our fathers. Jesus said in Matthew 15:9  “You nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you: 8 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules.” So how many people are worshipping in vain because they do not believe in the whole counsel of the word of God, which includes the power of the Holy Spirit. The gospel is not just being saved and then sitting around waiting for heaven, it is doing what Jesus taught us to do in the power of the Holy Spirit.
                Earlier we read Mark 16. This is a description of the gospel. Matthew 10:1Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.Luke 9:1 “When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.” Luke 10:8When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is offered to you. 9 Heal the sick who are there and tell them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you. The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” Acts 6:5They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; 8 Now Stephen, a man full of God’s grace and power, performed great wonders and signs among the people.” Stephen then preached the gospel at the cost of his life. This was a man who was in charge of the distribution of food. Now lets talk about cessationaism according to scripture. Ah yes, the sound of crickets.
                Now this question needs to be asked of the church to see if they really believe. Matthew 11:2When John, who was in prison, heard about the deeds of the Messiah, he sent his disciples 3 to ask him, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we expect someone else? 4 Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: 5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is proclaimed to the poor. 6 Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.” Yep that sounds like most churches today. Since it is not happening we better had be repenting and turning from our wicked ways.
                For the life of me I do not understand why people absolutely refuse to having this power once again. Well actually I think I do. If Christians admit that this power is available they will also have to admit they have not sought it nor even realized it was available, then their whole lives would come down to starting over which is what repentance means but yet they refuse.  Moses gave the people a choice. Deuteronomy 30:19This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.” Why would you choose defeat over victory? We know that this war is about the spiritual. You cannot fight this fight without the power so why even try. Many want this nice tidy spiritual life that is easy and comfortable but that is not what it means. Yes we have the joy of the Lord but we are at war. If we do not believe the power is available then how can the battle be the Lord’s? We might as well say with Miss Gretta I do not believe in the Holy Spirit You see she can’t believe because she does not believe in God so how can she believe in his Spirit. She must be a great saleswoman to get people to buy into a life without God. But look at the church they have bought into a life without the Spirit so how different is it?
                I like this little passage in John that says, John 20:30Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not recorded in this book. 31 But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” John 21:25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.” Acts 19:11 “God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.” This is the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is what he taught us. This is why he sent the Holy Spirit. This is why man spends so much time trying to come up with other gospels to cover over the power void. Power now is about an organization run by a CEO in the name of Jesus but there is no power. Yes people are flocking to them but it is the wrong gate. John 10:1Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.”
                Our biggest problem aside from perpetual terrible teaching down through the years is the unbelief in the word of God. The bible actually means what it says. After Jesus rose from the dead he Mark 16:14Later appeared to the Eleven as they were eating; he rebuked them for their lack of faith and their stubborn refusal to believe those who had seen him after he had risen.”  A man was desperate for his son to be healed and he asked Jesus Mark 9:22 “if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” 23 “‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” 24 Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” 25 When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit,” he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” 26 The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” 27 But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.”
                Let me remind you of this verse again. John 14:12Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” Today we need to take take seriously these verse once again. Luke 24:45 Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. 46 He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, 47 and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. 48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Acts 1:4On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” 6 Then they gathered around him and asked him, “Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them: “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power 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.”
    John 20:27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” 28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Today we must believe again that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is available to us today