My wife and I were sitting in the balcony one Sunday morning and the meeting was about to dismiss. The deacon of the week walked onto the platform and took his place behind the pulpit. He was about to give the benediction when an older man, looking to be in his seventies, began walking down the long center aisle toward the front of the church. Even with the large crowd, the church was quiet. All eyes were on the older gentleman.
Upon reaching the front, he spoke to the congregation. In a deep cracking voice he said, "I've never gone to church much, but last week I did go to the doctor. He said that I had cancer and that there was no hope for me medically. The doctor said that my only hope was God. I thought that if God could be found, it must be in a church, so here I am."
The church was silent. The deacon of the week was visibly shaken. Nothing like this had ever happened before. It wasn't in the bulletin. What could he do? The pastor sat still and solemn on his red velvet padded chair. The deacon quietly quoted his closing prayer without even mentioning the old man. The service was over and people began to leave.
We went to the edge of the balcony and looked down at the scene. The old man was still standing in front of the church, alone. Everyone was moving away from him toward the exits. My heart sank. It seemed that no one had the ability or desire to minister to him. By the time we could get down the stairs and through the crowd, he was gone. I asked myself, Where's the power in the church today? Could this be what the passage means in 2 Timothy 3:1-5 that says in the last days men will hold to a form of godliness but deny its power?
People in the world are hurting. There are many pressures in these last days. Financial stress, illness, and disease have pushed many to the edge. Sometimes they realize their only hope, their only way of escape is God. But it's so sad when the lost world reaches out toward the Christian community and only finds more of the same problems. Where is the power? Is there any hope?
Everything Jesus said was and is true. He never lied. He said, "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you" (Acts 1:8). Peter, a disciple of Jesus, seemed to be strong in faith and power, but after the soldiers arrested Jesus and took him away, Peter became fearful and denied that he had ever even known Jesus. (Matt. 26:47-75.) Yet within weeks, Peter was preaching boldly in public and many signs and wonders were taking place at his hands. What happened? What changed this man from fearful to bold? The answer is he was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 2.)
We need this same power working in the lives of all Christians today. The promise of the Holy Spirit was not just for first century Christians. Peter said on the day of Pentecost: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off" (Acts 2:38-39).
Where's the power in the church today? It's in those of us who have been born again and received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 1:8.) The question is, what are we going to do with it?