Why was I ever raised in churches that thought the best method of evangelism was to memorize presentations? Consider the Apostle Paul: He was raised in religion. He went to the best schools available in his day. He was trained under the famed rabbi Gamaliel. By the age of twelve as a good rabbincal student he would have had the entire Pentateuch, the first five books of the Bible, memorized. It was not uncommon for advanced rabbinical students to go on and memorize the entire Old Testament. Paul was a star student.
When it came to Scripture, Paul was more well-versed than almost anyone else in history. On top of all that, thirteen of his letters would go on to be books in our New Testament. He not only knew Scripture, he wrote Scripture. If anyone could have gotten by with wise and persuasive arguments, memorized presentations or other evangelistic tricks taught today, it was him. But what did he say?
4 My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, 5 so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
If Paul didn’t rely on a slick presentation to win people Jesus, then why was I raised in churches that had the gall to think that I just needed to memorize a presentation to preach the gospel? Paul relied on one thing: a demonstration of the Spirit’s power. So how do we begin to demonstrate the Spirit’s power in our life, and how does that lead to effective sharing of the gospel?
1. Overflowing Joy – This may not seem like a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, but I guarantee you it is. Look at how negative this world is. Negativity is winning a presidential primary election right now. Look at how many people struggle with worry, with anxiety, with guilt. When you cultivate the attitude of joy in your life, in spite of all the evil out there, that’s a sign of a supernatural presence in your life. You can’t be truly joyful in today’s world without the help of the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Joy. And I’m not talking about being happy because you just got your paycheck or your tax refund. I’m talking about a joy that is so foundational to you that it transcends all circumstances and it overflows into the lives of others. If you exude overflowing joy, you’ll have many opportunities to explain why you’re happy all the time. That’s when you share your faith in Jesus, the source of your joy.
3. Cheerful Generosity – We are born selfish. It’s reinforced every day of our lives. So if you begin to live a life of generosity, not just giving money to the church, but becoming a generous person to those around you, and not just begrudging generosity, but cheerful generosity, do you realize how rare that is, how unnatural that is? If you can keep such a loose grip on your stuff that you give it away cheerfully when God asks you to, that is a sure sign and a sure demonstration of the Spirit’s power in your life.
4. Outspoken Purity – We live in an pleasure-driven world. Sex, drugs, alcohol, pornography, you name it. Everything is there, and as an American you’re entitled to enjoy yourself. So if you pursue a life of purity, when it comes to sex and pornography or drugs and alcohol, that’s not normal. In fact, to stay pure, I would argue that you have to have a power greater than yourself. So if you’re a young person and you not only pursue purity but if you’re not ashamed of it, you’re demonstrating the Spirit’s power in your life, and you’ll have more than enough opportunities to share the faith that drives you to such purity.
5. Spiritual Gifts – This makes a lot of sense because spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit. When you discover, lean into and leverage your spiritual gifts, then you’re demonstrating the Spirit’s power through the gifts He’s given you. That’s why it’s so critically important for every believer to know their spiritual gifts, to have opportunities to develop and utilize their spiritual gifts, and for believers to lean into their spiritual gifts as the primary way they impact their world for the Kingdom. You want to demonstrate the Spirit’s power in your life? Lean into and leverage your spiritual gifts.
QUESTION: What are other ways we can demonstrate the Spirit’s power in our life?