Paul didn’t present the gospel only with wise and persuasive words but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power (1 Corinthians 4:2). For too long the church has watered down this verse to read, “a demonstration of power,” and by power, we mean with a loud and authoritative voice.
By and large, the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit (dunamis) has left the church. I grew up in a church where there were little to no physical effects or demonstrations of the Holy Spirit’s power. We loved God, preached and taught about Jesus but the Holy Spirit was like a 3rd wheel – no one knew what to do with Him, so he was pushed into a corner like crazy Uncle Bob at Thanksgiving. Smile and be polite but nobody engage him. I don’t recall many firsthand encounters with manifestations but even though I didn’t see it, I understood it largely to be demonic when and if it happened in a church meeting. The early church needed miracles but regular demonstrations of power through miracles ceased to be relevant once the church was established.
The trouble with that is it isn’t true, not even remotely. There is evidence of supernatural activity – of the Godly kind and otherwise and if we deny the Holy Spirit is at work today to perform miracles and demonstrations of power then we leave ourselves powerless against a much stronger foe. If all the paranormal/supernatural activity is attributed to the demonic then it’s like entering a war zone of cowboys and Indians. Fighting a battle where a gun vs. tomahawk is a very short battle with the victory going to the side with the stronger weapons. Let’s be real, here. The Indians didn’t have a chance, and neither do Believers if we don’t have access to an arsenal stronger than a loud voice.
Scripture tells us the Lord always leads us into a triumphant victory (2 Corinthians 2:14) and we are more than conquerors (Romans 8:37). How can this be true if our weapons are rusty tool sheds? Would the Lord do that to us? Would he leave us defenceless while he “went away to prepare a place for us?” Of course not, you say. Scriptures tells us he left us his Holy Spirit (John 14:26), but if the Holy Spirit is powerless, what good can He do?
The beautiful truth is God is good (Nahum 1:7) and he equipped us to build up the church in love (Ephesians 4:16) by giving us gifts through the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 12:4). Not only do these incredible, supernatural spiritual gifts build up the church as they are intended but also, they are strong enough to tear down the enemy (where one is built up, the effect is the tearing down of another).
We cannot attribute the demonic realm with having gifts of divination and witchcraft and believe we are left with defence, let alone an offensive strategy to seal the victory Jesus already made on the cross.
If you’ve never seen or experienced a miracle yourself, ask the Lord to give you a witness and a testimony (a current one – not one from 1968) and live on that, until the Lord does it again (and again and again). He is the same – yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8) and the miracles the early church experienced are nothing like we are about to see in our present day.