Preaching With a Demonstration of the Spirit

Over the last few months, some words by the Apostle Paul have been shaping my thinking about preaching.

Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 2.4-5

My message and my preaching weren’t presented with convincing wise words but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power. I did this so that your faith might not depend on the wisdom of people but on the power of God. (CEB)

And, similarly, in 1 Thessalonians 1.5, he says …

… our good news didn’t come to you just in speech but also with power and the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. (CEB)

Communication skills are important. We should certainly seek to grow and develop our skills and gifts. We should learn how to craft compelling messages (the book I’ve blogged about more than any other is a book on communication called, Resonate; this post includes links to all of the posts I’ve written about the book).

But preaching—the act of presenting and communicating God’s Word—is different than other forms of communication. It’s more than a presentation. When preaching takes place with a demonstration of the Holy Spirit, the presentation has a greater impact than mere words alone can possibly have. God does something in the lives of the hearers that preachers, no matter how skilled, can do on their own!

Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be a formula for experiencing a demonstration of the Spirit in preaching (at least I haven’t found one). But John Ortberg indicates that it’s simply part of the preacher’s life (see his article, When Bad Sermons Happen to Good Preachers).

I don’t know the formula, but I do know that prayer is huge part of the mix (see Preacher & Prayer). And cultivating a deep, vital, growing relationship with God!

That’s not always easy to maintain in ministry. A. W. Tozer laments, “In an effort to get the work of the Lord done we often lose contact with the Lord of work.”

Interestingly, early on in the life of the Church, the apostles hit a point where they needed to refocus their priorities. In the end, they decided to recruit a team and release ministry to them so they could “devote (themselves) to prayer and the service of proclaiming the word” (Acts 6.4, CEB). Communicating God’s Word and prayer must go together!

To help maintain my focus, Paul’s words have become part of my prayers

O God, please let my message and my preaching of the good news of Jesus Christ, be presented not just in speech or mere words—even convincing wise words—but with a demonstration of the Spirit and of power and with deep conviction, so that people’s faith won’t depend on human wisdom but on the power of God! Amen.

2 thoughts on “Preaching With a Demonstration of the Spirit

  1. Tina says:

    We don’t see the power and demonstration because most people do not have the Holy Spirit. You know that you know that you know you have the Holy Spirit if you feel the Rivera of living water from the depths of your being flowing up, you literally feel it. Then you let the Lord use you with His spiritual gifts. That’s how you demonstrate the power, by using the gifts. We don’t see the power because people don’t have the gifts because people don’t have the Holy Spirit. If we don’t have the Holy Spirit we don’t have salvation. Although we do have til our last breath to truly accept the Lord, but sometimes death happens too quickly without warning. To receive the Holy Spirit we have to read /pray /fast every day. Read the bible, pray about what we read and pray for others and for our needs as well, and fast a few hours a day (and fast when reading the word, it’s food for our soul, we can’t feed our soul and flesh at same time). Read, pray, fast builds a relationship with the Lord. Seek (read) and you shall find; ask (pray) and you shall receive; knock (fast) and it shall be opened. When we truly come to the Lord with all our heart soul mind and strength, meaning we admit we can’t do it on our own, we need the Lord’s strength and understanding and forgiveness, and we truly let go of our burdens giving them to the Lord, then He will fill us with His Holy Spirit. His yoke is easy and His burden is light. If we are truly walking with Him we are yoked together like ox and he carries us and leads the way. And pray for the Lord’s strength to resist sin. The Holy Spirit and sin cannot abide in us at the same time. And always test the spirit. Literally ask “how did Yeshua come to the earth?” They’ll try to trick you, but their response must be “He came in the flesh”, not “oh you know how He came”. Evil cannot answer properly. I use His real Hebrew name Yehoshua (later shortened to Yeshua) because the Greeks took Yeshua and combined it with their fake god Zues and made Jesus. Besides, you can’t translate proper nouns anyway. My name will always be Tina no matter what country I’m in. I’d love to share more with you but I have to go now. Please email me if you have any questions or want to know more. May Yahweh bless you. (I use His real name so people know which God I worship, the only true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob…Yahweh Elohim. Besides, God is a title not a name)

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