PREACHING THE GOSPEL WITH SPIRITUAL POWER
Because our Gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction. I Thess. 1:5
What does it mean when the Word is spoken with power, in the Holy Spirit, with full conviction? What does it feel like to a group of people as they listen and how does it differ from the Gospel being preached without power, without the Spirit’s anointing? Tragically, many know the latter and have never experienced the first. We know what it is to sit in church and hear a powerless delivery, even if entertaining.
As a teenager, I remember seeing the flaws of the church for the first time. Spiritual intuition came with age and I discerned that some of the ones preaching failed to have their own personal lives changed by the very message they said they believed. Because they had not allowed it to personally convict and transform them, their words were impotent. Consequently, I questioned the power of the Gospel to change my own life. The one who delivers the Gospel message bears such great responsibility to speak from rich personal experience.
True apostolic preaching should bring about two opposing reactions. The person who hears it will either be attracted to, and move closer to Jesus or be repelled and walk away. No middle ground. When Jesus preached, people either drew near or joined the murderous crowd.
The disciples’ preaching brought the same kind of polarization. Paul, who wrote these words, was loved or hated. In his itinerant ministry, he had no time to preach on shallow topics and tie in a little scripture the end. The aim was to preach Christ crucified with a language born of the Spirit’s fire. He never knew if it would be his last sermon and people’s last chance to hear the Gospel.
The Word is dynamic and should be delivered with power. To the unbeliever, it either convicts to bring about repentance or cuts across the grain of pride to stir up anger and rebellion. The personal question I must ask today is this ~ When I speak of Jesus, does it come with spiritual power?
Touch my pen with fire. Here am I, send me. In Jesus’ name, Amen