Jesus did not die in defeat on the cross. He cried out in victory, “It is finished!” And three days later He rose from the dead to prove it. The reign of sin and death was over! The day of salvation, grace and mercy had begun! Jesus commanded His disciples to preach the gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins to the whole world.
And yet He would not let them go out right away. They had to wait for power from heaven. Jesus warned them, “If you go out now you will go out naked and ill-equipped. Wait until you are clothed with power from on high.”
It’s exactly the same with you and me. God never intended us to go out naked into the battle. We need to be clothed with that same power from on high. And it’s available to all who will wait for it.
And yet the modern church seems to be missing the mark. We believe that we don’t really need to wait for this divine, supernatural enabling. Most believers today seem totally indifferent to the needs of the lost and show very little hunger for the power to reach them.
This is the hallmark of a backslidden and complacent church. We trust in the best that human effort can produce rather than what God alone can do. The evidence of this is everywhere.
The church is often ignored or scorned by the world. Our words are powerless and make little impact upon those who don’t believe. And why? Because we lack the convicting power of the Holy Spirit. The answer doesn’t lie in fine sounding philosophical arguments, entertaining church programmes or palatable rhetoric from the pulpits. Instead, we need the power of the Spirit to confront the sin of society and convict sinners. Only then will the desperate cry of the seeker be heard again, “What must I do to be saved?” The gospel is God’s truth from heaven and it must be preached in the power of God – or else it will never be received, as it really is – the Word of God.
Signs and wonders
There is no such thing as New Testament evangelism without signs and wonders. In the beginning of the gospel era God was pleased to perform mighty signs and wonders to attest His Word.
“And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” (Mark 16:20)
Wherever the gospel is preached in the power and demonstration of the Spirit, signs and wonders followed. Jesus preached the gospel and healed the sick. His message was audio visual. That is, it came in word and deed. The message of the kingdom and the miracles of the kingdom brought the manifestation of the kingdom. God has not changed. The gospel message is still the power of God for salvation.
Only as we wait on God for the power of the Spirit can we expect to rise up with the power to preach the gospel, heal the sick and demonstrate that Jesus is alive. Seek God for His power in your life.