Sunday, February 10, 2019
While Schuller's ministry and the Crystal Cathedral eventually met their demise, the title of the television broadcast is worth considering. The "Hour of Power" referred to the length of the church service at the Cathedral, and it seems to me that an "hour or power" is a powerfully accurate way to describe what happens on Sunday mornings at Bible believing churches all around the world. I'd refer to Riverview's service as an "hour of power," but our services usually last about 75 minutes, and "An Hour and Fifteen Minutes of Power" just isn't as catchy.
Nevertheless, I would argue that perhaps the greatest act of power that a Christian can enact is simply to attend a worship service at a local church on a regular basis. There is unquantifiable power that is part of a church service, and Christians can tap into that power every time they gather for worship.
Just consider all that takes place within a worship service: dozens, scores, and even hundreds of voices unite in song, declaring truths about who God is and what he has done. These truths serve to bind up the broken-hearted, give confidence and courage to those who are weak, drive out fear, and inspire hope.
Moreover, when churches come together in prayer those same dozens and hundreds unite their hearts in petitioning the Lord of the universe, who answers them when they call. Indeed, cities, nations, and the hearts of rulers are changed and affected by the joined prayers of God's people in worship. Consider that: God's people have more power in prayer than do the mightiest of rulers.
When we read the word of God together, we remember his mighty works, the wonders he has performed, and the miracles he has done. And we remember that God has promised that same power is available to those who believer.
When the word of God is preached it does not return void. That is, it accomplishes all that God purposes to accomplish through it, either to soften hearts to his truth, or to harden them. Either way, the word of God is powerful, and when it is declared faithfully, authoritatively, and prophetically it likewise has the power to build up, tear down, transform stony hearts into hearts of flesh, and make the dead come alive.
When we gather around the communion table, we "declare the Lord's death until he comes." This, too, is an act of great power. Participation in communion is described by Paul as equivalent to a declaration of what Jesus has done. And not only that, but also a declaration of what he will do (when he comes). It is a symbolic and powerful act that declares the power of Christ in conquering death and sin and providing victory over the same through his death and resurrection. When we proclaim the Lord's death, we are literally tapping into resurrection power.
Furthermore, when we gather together as a community, we have the power to encourage one another, to provide divine support, confession, service, correction, and to intercede for one another through prayer. All of this comes from spiritual power provided by God. Were it not for him, we would have no such power to minister to one another.
But there's more. In fact, the church itself is a sign of the power that is ours. The church is a band of disparate sinners who have all rallied under the banner of Christ. This is no small feat, considering the multitude of differences that exist between us, and that would otherwise serve to divide us. But in Christ, we have the power to overcome those differences and unite under our common allegiance to our Savior. Through Christ we have the power to overlook our differences (or, probably more accurately, to see our differences for what they are in light of our unity in Christ). Our unity in Christ is an action of God-fueled power.
And we are also empowered to serve God and one another through the miraculous, supernatural gifts given to us by the Spirit of God. All believers, regardless of their "natural" abilities, have been given supernatural gifts by God for the benefit of serving the church and reaching out t the world. These gifts are not common, but are Spirit-empowered. When we use the gifts God has given to us through his Spirit, we are enacting a great amount of divine power.
Too often we think of attending church as something rather common, or perhaps more unfortunately, something that has become rote, or that we take for granted. May it never be! Instead, going to church to gather with the body of Christ is a supernatural act of power. May we see it as such, and may we tap into this unending source of power. But in order to do so, you have to actually go to church. Better yet, you should join a church - better even still, become a member at Riverview! The local church is the context that God has chosen to display his miracle working power. Come, and be a part of it.