#38. When God's Word is Preached, His Power is at Work
I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, 4and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but indemonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5 so that your faith would not rest on the wisdomof men, but on the power of God.
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.
There is all the difference in the world between preaching and lecturing. In both cases,someone stands in front of other people and addresses them. In both cases, he has a topic.In both cases, he is trying to communicate something and he structures his address to thatend. In both cases, he may be trying to persuade the listeners of certain opinions. But thatis where the similarities stop. A lecturer will usually lay out his information, considervarious points of view and weigh their merits and demerits. He will then turn the matterover to the judgment of his audience. He indicates he is doing so by using phrases like "Isubmit to you that....". He places them in the seat of judgment over the arguments thatare being presented.On the other hand, a preacher stands to declare the eternal truths of Almighty God. Hedoes so as an ambassador. He speaks in the Name of God, as though God were speakingthrough him (which He is) 2 Cor 5:20.The preacher does not "submit" the Word of God to
the judgment of men. He may appeal to men on God's behalf but there is always aninherent authority in the act of preaching that does not apologize to anyone for themessage. Rather, the preacher declares it to be God's Truth, and calls upon his hearers tosubmit to it.But there is another distinction between preaching and lecturing that we need to consider,and which Paul mentions in our text. When a faithful man, commissioned by God, preachesthe Word, Christ speaks through him as he preaches and spiritual power attends themessage. This power works in several different ways, depending on the particular hearer:If he or she is not a Christian, there are two possible outcomes from hearing God's Wordpreached:
They may, through the power of preaching, believe the Gospel and be raised fromthe dead (spiritually speaking), or take a further step towards their eventual salvation.
They may also be hardened in their sins and take a further step towards theirultimate destruction.If, on the other hand, the hearer is a believer, God's Word preached can convict of sin,comfort in affliction, train in righteousness - do all the things we saw earlier in this series.God makes it clear in the Bible that there is one thing that His Word cannot do once He hassent it out - and that is to return to Him without accomplishing the purpose for which Hesent it(Isa 55:11). It follows that Divine power must always be present to accompany the
preaching of the Word.Churches today are too ready to settle for lecturers in their pulpits rather than havingpreachers. In too many places we have speakers who pander to their listeners and saythings their itching ears want to hear. Small wonder there is so little life-changing power in