Where's the Power?
In Acts 1:8 Jesus tells the disciples (and us through them) that "when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, you WILL (emphasis mine) receive power and WILL tell people about Me everywhere, in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." NLT. The rest of the book of Acts and the epistles are records of that happening during the first century and following. However, as I observe what is happening, especially here in American churches today, I wonder, "where has all the power for witnessing gone?" A bit of deductive reasoning leads me to wonder if in fact the Holy Spirit is as active in local churches as we would like to believe. I understand the argument that believers are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit at the moment of conversion. However, the evidence of the Holy Spirit in the lives of individual believers, as given in Acts 1:8, is that powerful witnessing WILL take place through these believers that will reach their church field and far, far beyond. The statistics gathered in my own denomination (Southern Baptist) seem to indicate that we are failing in the fulfillment of that prophetic statement of Jesus.
We have more resources than we've ever had. We have more highly trained leaders than ever in history. We have the benefit of technological advances that are even beyond anything that could have been dreamed in the first century, and yet we are falling further and further behind in fulfilling the Great Commission. This leads me to wonder if, in fact, the Holy Spirit has "come upon" the bulk of professing Christ-followers today. The language of the verse seems to indicate that the power and the witnessing are things that WILL happen, not MAY happen. The fact that they are not happening makes me think that our disobedience to the commands of Christ have so grieved and quenched the Holy Spirit that He is no longer active in our lives. There seems to be a crying need for a return of the "Pentecostal Power" mentioned in the old hymn. That power will not be scattered willy-nilly about the church unless there is wide spread confession, repentance of sin and return to complete obedience to the commands of Christ.
2 Chronicles 7:14 must become more than a "catch-verse" for promoting a local revival meeting. It must become the life style of every professing Christ follower. We must recognize that verse 13 sets the stage. The activity of God through drought, pestilence (and perhaps catastrophic weather events) is a wake up call to apply verse 14. Only when we, who are called by His name, humble ourselves and pray and seek His face (not His hands) and turn from our wicked ways (any way that is not God's way is a wicked way) will He hear from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land.