1 Corinthians 2:4, “My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power.”
In today’s passage, Paul summarized his mode of operation when preaching the gospel- he came with Holy Ghost power! He fully relied upon the supernatural demonstration of God’s power and not his own wisdom or speaking ability. This kind of “power-based-ministry” is clearly seen all throughout his missionary journeys in the book of Acts.
Take for example the following three passages; (1) Acts 14:3 records that while Paul and Barnabas were preaching the gospel the Lord, “confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders,” (2) Acts 14:10 mentions Paul healing a lame man in Jesus’ name, “Stand up on your feet!’ At that, the man jumped up and began to walk,” and (3) Acts 19:11-12 states, “11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”
Paul wasn’t going around like most pastors, holding “self-help conferences,” he was bringing heaven to earth through the power of the gospel with signs following. If Paul, the greatest theologian of all time, knew more about relying upon the Spirit than being a good speaker, how much more should every disciple desire to demonstrate the power of God and stop using “human wisdom!”
Therefore, it’s no coincidence, that God used Paul in 1 Corinthians 12-14 to teach the church the doctrines on the operation of the spiritual gifts. First God used Paul to operate in the gifts and then He used him to teach others how to do it. Paul didn’t want to keep the gifts just for him or have people think he alone was “God’s man of power for the hour.” However, Paul was passionate about encouraging every person in the church to see themselves as a member in Christ’s Body.
He wanted everyone to, “eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit,” because he knew that if God could use him, God could use anyone (1 Cor. 14:1). Lester Sumrall wrote, “Spiritual gifts are not the icing on the cake… they are the weapons of our warfare. The gifts of the Spirit are not designed just to make you different from other people. They are given to equip you for God’s service.” All disciples today should be like Paul the apostle and not just preach the Word of God with mere words, but with the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit!
- Ask God to fill you with the Holy Spirit for the sake of the gospel.
- Be an open and willing vessel for God to use.
- Next time you’re preaching the gospel to someone ask yourself, “Am I just using words or am I depending upon the demonstration of the Spirit’s power?”