“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you; and you shall be my witnesses...” Acts 1:8
Can we take this statement seriously? Jesus promised His followers a gift of power. Did we receive it? What did the power do? What is it for? Where did it go?
I’ve been obsessed with deliverance ministry of late as a demonstration of “the power of God,” and many people have tried to cool me down, saying, “Deliverance ministry isn’t the main thing” and “there are other things we should focus on too.” I agree that deliverance isn’t everything, but it is vital! Jesus promised us power. Where is this power put to use, if not in deliverance ministry?
People will say, “Jesus gave us the power of the Gospel.” Correct. Casting out demons was the demonstration of power Jesus used to affirm His claim that the Kingdom of God had arrived (aka: “the Gospel”). Anybody can make outlandish claims, but who can argue with the fact that a crazy man who lived naked in the graveyard, cutting himself with stones, and possessing super-human, destructive strength was “clothed and in his right mind” after His encounter with Jesus (Luke 8:35)? Deliverance is at least a central part of the manifest power Jesus promised.
What about salvation? The Apostle Paul says, “I am not ashamed of the Gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes.” (Romans 1:16). Did Jesus promise us the power to get people “saved” through preaching the Gospel? Yes. But what does it mean to “get saved,” except to be delivered from the power of sin and death? “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.” (Galatians 5:1). If the Gospel we preach does not liberate captive people, it lacks the power of Jesus.
Why do Christians resist the ministry of deliverance? Are those who try to cool me down on deliverance busy with effective evangelism and want me to spend some time helping them? Is deliverance ministry distracting us from more important and more effective work? Probably not. We can make sensational experiences and dramatic deliverances too central and forget that “righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit” is the goal. But this danger is no reason to retreat from the most central features of Jesus’ ministry. After all, people with demons will always fall short of the freedom and joy promised through the Gospel.
If you are not experiencing power in your life or ministry, you should probably consider going through deliverance so that you, too, can set the captives free in the mighty name of Jesus.