Proclamation & Demonstration…

Before I start I will warn you that this post will be bent towards the Gospel being “Demonstrated”. Obviously, both are necessary & Biblical. However, because we have seemingly focused more on one side (proclaiming) for so long we may need an extreme kick in the butt to move us back towards a healthy balance of both. So, I don’t want any comments about how there must be “both” – let that be a known theme throughout the post. =)

gospel-fight

Many of us who are professed Christians have been raised with a wonderful set of beliefs, doctrinal statements, moral code, and can, if put on the spot, share that set of beliefs with just about anyone. Those who accepted Christ later in life probably became indoctrinated very quickly. We have been taught about the importance of “sharing our faith” (The Gospel) with others. There are TONS of resources on effective ways to “communicate the Gospel”, or proclaim it to others. Many of them are wonderful-a lot of them are not. From handing out Gospel tracks to learning practical ways to share “our story” (Testimony) there seems to be a very strong push in America towards a Proclaimed Gospel….

Over the years we Christians have become very good conversationalists, debaters, authors, persuaders, & defenders of our set of beliefs. There have been thousands of books/blogs written not only on sharing the Gospel (with words), but also defending the Gospel. The Gospel message is powerful in and of itself. But, why has the Gospel (“good news”) been reduced to mere words shared from one person to another? Why have we settled for a proclaimed Gospel masterfully crafted with the right words in order that we may wrap our minds around it? We have become brilliant “wordsmiths” in our pursuit of trying to convince unbelievers they should agree with us, and accept Jesus like we have. Was the Gospel meant to only be “proclaimed”, or did God have something else in mind?

“For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. And so you became a model to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia. The Lord’s message rang out from you not only in Macedonia and Achaia—your faith in God has become known everywhere. Therefore we do not need to say anything about it, for they themselves report what kind of reception you gave us. They tell how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead—Jesus, who rescues us from the coming wrath.

1 Thessalonians 1:4-10

Wow. These few verses are littered with the Gospel’s transforming power in the lives of the Thessalonians. It also depicts how the Gospel was proclaimed “with words” AND demonstrated “in power”. I don’t know about you, but I am tired of only trying to convince unbelievers they should “think like I think”, or “believe what I believe”. Oh, and the whole “let’s SHOW them the Gospel with our actions”/”social Gospel” thing is not what I’m talking about either. (Not that those are bad things-just NOT what I’m getting at) In my struggle with this I went to check out what Jesus did…

Throughout the Gospels it would appear as if Jesus’ favorite thing to do was physically heal those in need. In fact, over half the stories of Jesus doing anything in His life involved miracles, and supernatural events taking place. In fact, many times Jesus uses very little words when interacting with those who don’t yet “know Him”. Think about a few off the top of your head… “Your sins are forgiven, rise, take up your mat and walk”, “your faith has healed you”, “Come out of this man you evil spirit!” He then tells that same man, “Go home to your family and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” Does anyone else find it interesting that Jesus did not feel the need to sit down with them for hours to “make sure they understood” what had just happened? It’s also funny that He didn’t enroll them in a “new members class” or discipleship study group. We could go on for hours. The point is that Jesus not only proclaimed His message and the “good news” through teaching, or sharing with words, but he also demonstrated it with POWER. That power was through His Holy Spirit. He gave that same Holy Spirit to US…

John 14:12 says, “I tell you the truth, anyone who has faith in me will do what I have been doing. He will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.”

newsupdate071508bClick the picture to read about this boy being healed…

Yes, your Bible says it too. Go check. It says that we will do even greater things than those things we see in scripture-because He is going to the Father. Later in Acts we read about the Holy Spirit being left on the earth for The Church as Jesus went to heaven.

We don’t like to think about these things because we can’t wrap our minds around them. We are logical people. Supernatural things & miracles are illogical. We ignore things that we can’t explain with our cunning words, and hide from things we don’t understand. So, we go through our entire lives dismissing them, and convince ourselves that “the supernatural” doesn’t exist. The God I serve is a supernatural God-yes, still.

Frankly, I have no desire to “go to bat” with my life for anything less than a supernaturally powerful, Creator God. Many of us believe in Jesus with our minds. I’m not so sure that as many of us believe in Jesus with our hearts. “Jesus doesn’t live in our minds, He lives in our hearts”, is something my friend Brian Orme said one time that really rocked my boat. We must ask ourselves, “Am I Christian based upon a list of beliefs that I’ve subscribed to, or based upon the POWER of the Holy Spirit moving in my life like we see in 1 Thess. above?”

A quick word of warning for those of you who begin to step out in faith and walk in the power of the Holy Spirit: God is interested in your obedience to Him. HE will produce the fruit. Do not allow worry, fear, or a heavy weight to press down on you as you begin to step out in faith. “For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30) I can promise you from personal experience that as you step out in obedience more the Lord, who sees your faith in little things will trust you with greater things. Walking in the faith and power of the Holy Spirit is not easy. It takes time and practice. It also takes discernment to listen to God’s voice and be LED by the Spirit.

This past week my family and I have spent time begging God for more. More of His Spirit, more power, & more faith. We ask Him to Baptize us with His Holy Spirit, and POUR His Spirit out on us to empower us for works of service. We have been intentionally looking for opportunities to step out in faith, and see the Gospel Demonstrated in Power. Will you join us…?

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “Proclamation & Demonstration…

  1. This is serious stuff you are talking about. We want to see our generation reached for Christ. We want to see young cats struck with the realization that God is real. We want more than talk. We want GOD. For real. And a God that is bigger than our idea of who God is. I am certain that God will answer our prayers for more… more of Him… more for His glory and fame! Keep seeking bro for you will find.

  2. Good stuff here to think about. Consider where Paul warns against those that “have a form of devotion to God but prove to its power”. To me that sums up so much of the religion I’ve been brought up in and aquatinted with. Now there is power in words — I worship a God that speaks the word, it goes forth from him, and it gets results. Our words though tend to be so much yapping – sitting around on forums and social networks and chat rooms and churches and conferences – yap, yap yapping. Back to what Paul says — I wondered what he meant by “power” — so I looked at his other letters and saw that when he was speaking about power it the power of the spirit — the power to perform signs and wonders — to power to totally change somebody into the image of Jesus — WOW! Maybe I’m selling Kirk Cameron a bit short but I wonder if his “round tuit” coasters can measure up to this sort of thing?

    (As it relates to this discussion check out Jackie Pullinger’s book “Chasing the Dragon”. It is about a Christian girl that gets on a boat, lands in Hong Kong, discovers the power of the Holy Spirit, and some good things happen.)

  3. this will probably come off as “Is andrew ramsey (a.k.a. the gimp with Ray Comfort’s million dollar bill gospel tracts) really saying this?” but I really do have to agree with you. As much as we put emphasis on proclamation of the Gospel (as we should), I sometimes wonder if the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation do we diminish its power because we do not proclaim and live it ourselves. Do we really even have a firm grasp of that the gospel is in the first place? We tend to hear the words and go “yeah, yeah, yeah, I saw it once on a flannel graph in sunday school.” but has the thought that we are sinful wretches saved by a super radical grace that empowers us really transformed the way we do community and the way we witness to people? May God strike me dead and send me to Hell if I ever champion a method of evangelism over the Messiah.

  4. Pingback: Proclamation & Demonstration… « A Holy Discontent's Weblog | macedoniatoday

  5. you are right on…. for years the ‘gospel’ has been taught explicitly…reading the Bible, memorizing verses, learning facts and information… where we have fallen short is in then taking the knowledge we have learned and stepping out in faith to experience it! The dynamos power of the resurrected Christ dwells in us as believers…do we experience it though? I say that most Christians experience it only as far as their inital experience with Christ…because to experience this great power we must surrender ourselves for healing, restoration, etc. and then step out into our community where people are lost, lonely, hurting, hungry…and extend our hands to them in Jesus’ name to form relationships so that they will see and experience the transforming power of Christ. i’ve seen it over and over again…God is ABLE and READY…people just need someone to guide them to Him …and show them how to trust Him…and He heals, provides, restores, delivers…for HIS glory and honor!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s