God’s Spirit implants His standards

We must learn to faithfully listen to the Word of God – for as we do, God’s Spirit will enlighten us —

 Do not be conformed to this world,[a] but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God—what is good and acceptable and perfect.[b] – Romans 12:2

The Spirit uses the Word in this way to bring individuals and communities to Christian maturity.

The role of culture and community in conditioning our understanding of sin is seen in Romans 14.  In the Roman church some people were vegetarians because they had formerly worshiped idols by eating sacrificed meat.

Paul responded that it is not the act itself that is important, but the underlying character of one’s relationship with God.  A person must do what he or she believes is pleasing to God.  Different people will choose to take different and maybe even opposite actions to please God.  This is why Paul taught that it is wrong to be contemptuous of those who follow rules that seem irrelevant to us; we should not feel more spiritual than those who don’t follow our own ideals of Christian behaviour.  Put another way, each of us is answerable to God.

Instead of teaching biblical principles, the human tendency is to substitute rules about foods, ceremonies, rituals, times and places.  Paul responds —

For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  The one who thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and has human approval. – Romans 14:17-18

As more and more people become believers, a non-national missionary can help the group to discover God’s will for them and of course a national missionary has no difficulty at all.  They will both direct new believers to the Word of God where they will work out their salvation —

Therefore, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed me, not only in my presence, but much more now in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling – Philippians 2:12

 

 

God’s Love Washes and Renews

THE CHRISTIAN CONFESSION OF FAITH

 

Advertisements

Truth, allegiance and power encounters

Truth is about understanding and its tool of trade is teaching.  Allegiance is about relationships and its tool of trade is witness.  Power is about freedom and its tool of trade is spiritual warfare.

Truth encounters is where the mind is exercised and the will is challenged.  It provides the context and can interpret when the other encounters are taking place.  Jesus used His power demonstrations in the context of teaching HIs disciples.

Allegiance encounters involve the exercise of the will in regards to commitment and obedience and would be the most important of three encounters.  The fruit of the Spirit are cultivated here, especially love toward God and people.  This is about turning away from the love and commitment to the world that is under control of the evil one to God who loved the world and gave Himself for it. As we grow in our relationship with Him, we become more like Him, conforming to the image of Christ.

Power encounters focus on freedom from the enemy’s captivity.  Satan is the blinder, restricter, hinderer, crippler – the enemy who attempts to keep people from allegiance to God and truth.

Our missionary witness needs to use all three encounters together, not separately.  People need freedom from the enemy to open their minds to receive and understand truth and to release their wills so they can commit themselves to God. Please note – they can’t understand and apply Christian truth, nor can they exercise power without a continuing commitment to God.

Beyond our own Christian growth lies our witness.  At the end of His ministry, Jesus taught much about His relationship to His followers and theirs to each other as well as about the authority and power He would give them.  He carefully related power and authority to witness.

He told the disciples to wait for spiritual power before they embarked on witness, just as Jesus Himself had waited to be empowered at His own baptism.  We are not fully equipped to witness without the freedom-bringing, truth-revealing power of the Holy Spirit.

Because Satan is a master at deceit and counterfeiting, we must encounter or confront him, rather than simply ignore him.  And we know as we confront him that greater is He who is in us than He who is in the world and we thank God that  —

 He disarmed[a] the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it. – Colossians 2:15

But we are still at war and we are commanded to put on armour and fight  —

 Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.  For our[a] struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. – Ephesians 6:11-12

So, although we know how this war will end, many battles remain and we need to know our enemy and how to fight him.

saint-boniface-posters

Truth, Allegiance, and Power Dimensions in Christian Discipleship: From a Language of Priority to a Balanced Approach

Three Encounters

From Power Encounter to Love Encounter

Allegiance, Truth and Power: Three crucial dimensions for Christian living

Contextualization and Spiritual Power

POWER BEYOND OUR OWN

 

 

Power encounter

The term “power encounter” comes from missionary anthropologist Alan Tippett. In his 1971 book, People Movements in Southern Polynesia, Tippett observed that in the South Pacific the early acceptance of the gospel usually occurred when there was an “encounter” demonstrating that the power of God is greater than that of the local pagan deity. This was usually accompanied by a desecration of the symbol(s) of the traditional deity by its priest or priestess, who then declared that he or she rejected the deity’s power, pledged allegiance to the true God, and vowed to depend on God alone for protection and spiritual power.

At such a moment, the priest or priestess would eat the totem animal (e.g., a sacred turtle) and claim Jesus’ protection. Seeing that the priest or priestess suffered no ill effects, the people opened themselves to the gospel.1 These confrontations, along with those classic biblical power encounters (e.g., Moses vs. Pharaoh, Ex. 7-12, and Elijah vs. the prophets of Baal, 1 Ki. 18) formed Tippett’s view of power encounter.

According to this view, Jesus’ entire ministry was a massive power confrontation between God and the enemy. The ministry of the apostles and the church in succeeding generations is seen as the continuing exercise of the “authority and power over all demons and all diseases” given by Jesus to his followers (Lk. 9:1). Contemporary stories about such encounters come from China, Argentina, Europe, the Muslim world, and nearly everywhere else where the church is growing rapidly.

I believe Jesus expects power demonstrations to be as crucial to our ministries as they were to his (Lk. 9:1, 2). However, any approach that advocates power encounter without giving adequate attention to the other two encounters—commitment and truth—is not biblically balanced.

Typically, Jesus started by teaching, followed by a power demonstration, then a return to teaching, at least for the disciples (e.g., Lk. 4:31ff.; 5:1ff., 17ff.; 6:6ff., 17ff., etc.). Appeals for commitment to the Father or to himself appear both implicitly and explicitly throughout his teaching.

His appeal for commitment to at least the first five apostles (Peter, Andrew, James, John—Lk. 5:1-11—and Levi—Lk. 5:27-28) occurred after significant power demonstrations. Once his followers had successfully negotiated their commitment encounter, their subsequent growth was primarily a matter of learning and practicing more truth.

First century Jews, like most people today, were very concerned about spiritual power. Paul said they sought power signs (1 Cor. 1:22). Jesus’ usual practice of healing and deliverance from demons soon after entering a new area (e.g., Lk. 4:33-35, 39; 5:13-13; 6:6-10, 18-19, etc.) may be seen as his way of approaching them at the point of their concern. When he sent out his followers to the surrounding towns to prepare the way for him, he commanded them to use the same approach (Lk. 9:1-6; 10:1-9).

Jesus’ reluctance to do miraculous works merely to satisfy those who wanted him to prove himself (Mt. 12:38-42; 16:1-4) would, however, seem to indicate his power demonstrations were intended to point to something beyond the mere demonstration of God’s power. I believe that he had at least two more important goals. First, Jesus sought to demonstrate God’s nature by showing his love. As he said to Philip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (Jn. 14:9). He freely healed, delivered, and blessed those who came to him and did not retract what he had given, even if they did not return to thank him (Lk. 17:11-19). He used God’s power to demonstrate his love.

Second, Jesus sought to lead people into the most important encounter, the commitment encounter. This is clear from his challenge to the Pharisees when they demanded a miracle, that the people of Nineveh who repented would accuse the people of Jesus’ day who did not do likewise (Mt. 12:41). Experiencing God’s power may be both pleasant and impressive, but only a commitment to God through Christ really saves.

Charles Kraft

 

 

hour-of-power-divine-encounter

Power Encounter

Power encounters and missionaries

Power Encounters

Power Encounter

‘Power Encounters’ Bring Discipleship Results

The Power Encounter