Of the Spirit and Of Power

1 Corinthians 2:1 ESV

“And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.”

There are many preachers today who have studied all the right ways of saying things in order to attract a following. They are usually smooth-tongued manipulators who are charming and deceitful who sway the people to their way of thinking through deceitful speech.

Many of them are following what they were taught in their schools of higher learning, or in their marketing classes, or by molding themselves after other smooth-tongued charmers and manipulators.

Have you ever noticed that preachers of particular church denominations all seem to follow a similar style and pattern of preaching? In one denomination the pastor begins each sermon with a joke, has a 3-point sermon, with each point beginning with the same letter of the alphabet, and he closes his sermon with a “tear-jerker” story to manipulate the people’s emotions.

In another denomination, the pastor begins speaking somewhat softly, but as the sermon progresses, he gets louder and faster, and then he begins to add an “uh” at the end of his words, and then he begins to yell so loudly you can’t even think. And, the music follows the same pattern. Pump up the volume and it pumps up (manipulates) people’s emotions.

These styles of preaching are not of God, but of men. I am not saying that the preacher who uses either style, or another pattern of preaching, is not teaching the truth of the Scriptures, but that these styles (methods) of preaching are of man, not of God, and they are manipulative.

Then, there was the whole Rick Warren movement and the Purpose Driven Church and the church being turned into just a business to be marketed like any other business, and pastors going through training together, regardless of church denominations, and all of them learning the same manipulative techniques, not just for preaching, but for growing their “churches,” i.e. their businesses, using business marketing schemes and techniques.

As a result of that, the gospel of our salvation has been slowly degraded to where it is barely or not at all recognizable as the gospel of Jesus anymore. Belief in Jesus has been reduced to mere words, and repentance, obedience and submission to Christ as Lord have been deleted, for the most part.

But, there is a new wave of teaching that totally removes the cross of Christ and what he did for us in dying for our sins. And, it teaches that God is so enthralled with us humans that he just wants to love on us and hang out with us and if we would just accept his affection for us we would be blessed.

But, isn’t that supposed to be the other way around? Isn’t it that we are to be enthralled with God to the point of humility and repentance and submission to Christ as Lord, and to obedience of faith in Jesus Christ? Yes! But that is not what is largely being taught, at least not in America.

1 Corinthians 2:2-5 ESV

“For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling, and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

How many preachers today in America are preaching “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power”? I haven’t heard that kind of preaching for many years. My pastor who was my pastor when I was age 18 to 27 preached that way. I have heard one other just like him. But few even close to that.

I know they must exist somewhere. I just haven’t heard any that are alive today preaching that way. I’ve heard some emotional and passionate preaching, but we must not confuse emotion with the Holy Spirit. And I have heard some biblically sound preaching that came from the inspiration of dead theologians but not from the demonstration of the Spirit and of power.

But this subject isn’t just for preachers. As followers of Jesus we are all his servants and witnesses. We are the light of the world and the salt of the earth. And, we are to proclaim the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. So, we should all be sharing the gospel.

We are not to be speaking impressive words to draw people to us, but we are to speak the truth that leads people to Jesus Christ.

So, in all our speaking, witnessing, and writing we should be teaching that Christ was crucified that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. And, the faith in Jesus we are to teach involves us being crucified with him in death to sin and being resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness (Rom 6:1-23; 1 Pet 2:24; Eph 4:17-24).

1 Corinthians 2:6-10 ESV

“Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written,

“’What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him’ — these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.”

As already stated, there are plenty of preachers today who are imparting the wisdom of this age rather than the wisdom of God, for they are appealing to the flesh of man, not preaching in the power and wisdom of God’s Spirit.

The wisdom of this age says we can say some magic words, and we are now saved for eternity, heaven is our eternal home, and no matter how we live from this moment forward, nothing can take that away from us. No repentance, no submission and no obedience required, or it is optional.

But the wisdom of God says that, as humans, we are born into sin, separate from fellowship with God, and unable within ourselves to be acceptable to God. So, God the Father sent Jesus Christ to die on a cross for our sins, but not just to forgive us our sins, but to deliver us from our slavery to sin.

But too many people are rejecting that message and they are receiving a false grace gospel message instead, because it requires nothing from them other than some non-descript human faith which does not submit to Christ as Lord. And, they are receiving this false grace gospel because it requires nothing of them, and it gives them permission to remain in their sins.

But we who believe in Jesus with genuine faith have not received the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. But “freely” does not mean nothing is required of us. It just means Jesus paid the price for us so we can be free.

But, our freedom is not freedom to keep on in our sin, but it is freedom from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin, and it is empowerment of the Holy Spirit of God to live godly, upright and holy lives for the glory and praise of God (Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9).

The Lord’s Anointed

An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.

They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.

I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to wear,
As the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.

3 thoughts on “Of the Spirit and Of Power

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