Saturday, September 30, 2006

Don't Be Fooled: Understanding the Scriptures and the Power of God

You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God. (Matthew 22:29)
The Sadducees thought they had Jesus stumped. A liberal sect among the Jews, they did not believe in the resurrection of the dead, and they thought that had a way to refute it from the Scriptures (though they did not accept all the Scriptures, only the books of Moses).
The same day the Sadducees, who say there is no resurrection, came to Him and asked Him, saying: “Teacher, Moses said that if a man dies, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife and raise up offspring for his brother. Now there were with us seven brothers. The first died after he had married, and having no offspring, left his wife to his brother. Likewise the second also, and the third, even to the seventh. Last of all the woman died also. Therefore, in the resurrection, whose wife of the seven will she be? For they all had her.” (Matthew 22:23-28)
That is when Jesus answered them and said, “You are mistaken, not knowing the Scriptures nor the power of God.” Then He explained why the Sadducees misunderstood both the Scriptures and the power of God:
For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are like angels of God in heaven. But concerning the resurrection of the dead, have you not read what was spoken to you by God, saying, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob”? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” (Matthew 22:30-32)
That shut down the Sadducees’ argument. Though they might have accepted the God was able to raise the dead, they did not believe that raising the dead was actually part of His plan. They strayed from the truth concerning the power of God. They erred in their understanding of the Scriptures because they failed to see that God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And God said to Moses, in the only Scriptures the Sadducees did accept, “I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob,” though Abraham, Isaac and Jacob had long since passed off the scene (Exodus 3:6, 15). So the Sadducees did not even really know the only Scriptures they professed to believe. They had no faith, because faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17), and they had not really heard what the Word was saying.

It is vitally important for us to know both the Scriptures and power of God. It is not enough to know just one or the other. If we know the Scriptures, but not the power of God, then our knowledge of the Scriptures will be dry and unfruitful. If we know the power of God, but not the Scriptures, then we will be vulnerable to the deceiving miracles and false doctrines of the devil.

There are many Christians today who believe that the time of God’s miracles have ceased. They are called, and even call themselves, “Cessationists.” There are also others who, while they do not wish to present themselves as cessationist, for all practical purposes, they are cessationists nonetheless. They will allow that God may, perhaps, under very unusual circumstances, still do miracles today, but such things are few and far between, and usually not something they have ever seen, heard of, or experienced for themselves. They don’t want to be found denying the power of God, but by their theology and traditions, they keep it tightly bound and under wraps.

The truth is, if we don’t know the power of God, it is probably because we don’t really know the Scriptures. For the Scriptures continually testify about the power of God, from Genesis to Revelation, and from Beginning to End.

The Scriptures and the power of God are both manifestations of the Holy Spirit. The Scriptures are given by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:21) and cannot truly be understood apart from Him (1 Corinthians 10-16). The Holy Spirit is also the Spirit of Power. It was by the anointing of the Holy Spirit that Jesus performed all His miracles on earth (Acts 10:38), and He promised His disciples, “You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (Acts 1:8).

As you read the Scriptures, ask the Holy Spirit to reveal them to you in your inner man, so that they do not just become information, but revelation to you. Ask Him also to fill you to overflowing with His life-changing power. When the Word of God and the Holy Spirit are at work in you, you will be transformed by the power of God, and you will become a world-changer.