1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
The Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is more than words on a page. It is more than a historical fact. It does not just dwell in the past. It is not empty and without effect and feeling. What Christ did for us happened in the past but how he brings it to us is very real and present tense.
God has chosen what Christ did for us to be brought to us by preaching. Not preaching that is just the words of the gospel in an organized form. No matter how great man's ability to tell it or how great his speech may be, without the power of God to make it real to the sinner it will never change the heart.
1Corinthians 2:1 ¶ And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
Notice that Paul said that he did not come to them with excellency of speech as he declared unto them the testimony of God because that would have been the wisdom of man. Man's wisdom thinks that it is in the power of speech that can cause man to turn. If we can just say it clear enough then men will listen. But that method of delivery leaves God out and the need for the Spirit to open the heart. Our wisdom is from above, in a person, not in a “what” but a “who.” Christ, who is very alive and who has sent his Spirit to reprove men of sin is the one who opens the heart to the Gospel and makes what is in the past very real to the hearer in the present.
Galatains 3:1 ¶ O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
Without the power of God and Spirit of God preaching alongside the New Testament preacher he would be as a writer with no ink. He would have words but no way to put them on paper. Even if he had the attention of the hearer, who is the paper, without ink the paper would be blank.
2 Corinthians 3:3 Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone, but in fleshy tables of the heart.... 6 ¶ Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
Without the Spirit of God to make the word effectual to the hearer, the preacher would only be as a cook with a recipe book. He would have the words but not the ingredients that make the meal. Grace is more than a word we read; it is a very real thing and only realized by the Spirit of God.
It is not our words about God and the gospel that brings life. It is his words spoken to the heart that quickens and gives life.
John 6:63 It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.
The written word is true and right, perfect in every way but without the Spirit to speak it to the heart of man it is mere words on a page. God never intended for the scripture or the preacher to take the place of God himself. The scriptures and preaching are a means to an end but the end is Christ.
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. 40 And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.
Bro Terry Owen