Preach with Power
By: Frances Swaggart
This letter recently received from one of our listeners demonstrates a vital point regarding preaching that the church must remember:
“Bro. Swaggart, I just found your broadcast on DirecTV and was blown away. I’ve been a tough guy all my life. I am seventy years old and have never shed a tear even as a child . . . but, thru Jesus Christ . . . Jimmy Swaggart, found the valve and turned it on. Praise the Lord! I just got Saved in front of my TV.”
Now what happened to this man was not brought about by something my husband said or did. It was the Holy Spirit that Moved upon this man’s heart and brought him to Christ. My husband was only an Instrument that God used. It was really the Conviction of the Holy Spirit Who brought this man into the Presence of God. The Holy Spirit touched that hard heart and brought this man to tears. It was the Holy Spirit Who brought this man to the realization that he needed a Saviour, brought him to Repentance, and brought him to accept Jesus Christ as the Lord of his life. This was all the Spirit’s doing, not man’s! Mere man, with all his flowery speeches, words, or deeds, can never do for man what the Holy Spirit can do in one second. This is why Ministers of the Gospel must always be Anointed by the Holy Spirit when they preach. It is the Anointing that breaks the yoke of sin!
On the Day of Pentecost, after being filled with the Holy Spirit, Peter began to preach Christ to the crowd that had gathered under the Anointing and Power of the Holy Spirit. Three thousand souls were added to the Church that day! In the natural, all Peter could have done was to give a good speech, but that speech alone would not have had the Power behind it to change people’s lives. It’s obvious that the convicting Power of the Holy Spirit weighed heavily upon the crowd as Peter preached. His sermon was only the spark that ignited the Holy Spirit’s Fire. With the Anointing of the Holy Spirit, Peter’s sermon was able to do what no intellectual, motivational, or even emotional speech, no matter how brilliant, could ever do! It went straight to the people’s spirits, bypassing their emotions, intellect, and hardheartedness. Three thousand people were Saved from eternal Hell and everlasting separation from the Lord because God the Holy Spirit was allowed to preach through Peter! Of course, the main focus of Peter’s preaching was Jesus, Whom they had crucified. Jesus was the One Who had died to save them, and as this Truth was preached in the Power and Might of the Anointing, people were Saved. You see, the Holy Spirit puts the Power into the preaching so that hearts and lives may be touched and transformed as the Word of God goes forth. It’s not the preacher; it’s the Holy Spirit! It’s really the preacher’s job to yield to the Holy Spirit so that God may speak to His People!
THE DAY OF PENTECOST
Let’s look at Peter before Pentecost. Peter had been with the Lord Jesus for over three years, from the very beginning of His Ministry. He was part of the “inner circle” of those closest to the Lord. Still, Peter denied Jesus Christ in his own time of crisis. Peter denied the Lord when the Master was crucified. He failed miserably because he lacked the type of power he really needed. When Peter was with the Lord, he had seen Miracles and had even been involved in them. When Jesus prayed for the sick, the Disciples saw great Healings take place and devils cast out! They witnessed many other mighty things done by the Lord. But, as soon as Jesus departed from them, they fell apart. They became wishy-washy, “up” one day and “down” the next. There were many things the Disciples didn’t understand during Jesus’ Ministry. They often blurted out statements or questions that revealed their complete ignorance of what He was trying to teach. We find the Lord having to rebuke them on more than one occasion. However, they underwent a life-changing experience on the Day of Pentecost! Peter and the others, who had been weak, unsure, and incapable, were suddenly transformed into whirlwinds of Faith. And this was no gradual transformation that took place. It was a sudden, explosive event!
A NEW BOLDNESS
Jesus had a reason for directing the Disciples to wait in Jerusalem before beginning to minister. He knew the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, would be sent to revolutionize their lives. Only after they had received the Holy Spirit were they to begin preaching the Gospel and healing the sick! “And, behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you: but tarry you in the city of Jerusalem, until you be endued with Power from on High” (Lk. 24:49). The difference in these men before Pentecost and after Pentecost was positively dramatic. John, James, Nathaniel, and all the Disciples were changed. They had new priorities and a new boldness. Before the Crucifixion, we see Peter being questioned by a young maiden in the temple court and denying he even knew Jesus! But, at Pentecost (Acts, Chpt. 2), Peter stands up in front of all the mockers and scoffers, lifting up his voice preaching, “You men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a Man approved of God among you by Miracles and Wonders and Signs, which God did by Him in the midst of you, as you yourselves also know. Him being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain” (Acts 2:22-23). All the fear had left! What remained was the kind of courage that only the Lord can give!
THE HOLY SPIRIT
In fact, this boldness and Power should and must be present in the life of every person who professes to know Jesus Christ as their Lord and Saviour. You see, everything was different after Pentecost. The Lord had promised they would be empowered to do what He had Called them to do. He had promised in John, Chapter 16, Verse 13, that the Holy Spirit would lead them into all Truth. The Holy Spirit gives insight and understanding and reveals Truth and He always lifts up Jesus Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It works the same way today. When a person receives the Holy Spirit, that person’s life is changed. God’s Presence and Plan is seen in greater clarity, and they become more zealous to save souls! They suddenly find they love Jesus more deeply than ever before. They are filled with joy and turn from sin while worldly pleasures lose their attraction.
EARMARKS OF THE EARLY CHURCH
It is God’s intention that churches be patterned after the Book of Acts. The Church that appeared in the Book of Acts was alive with Power and enthusiasm. The New Testament Church was totally committed to “freedom in the Spirit.” The Holy Spirit was directing their lives completely as He Moved in Authority and Anointing. As well, the Lord was organizing His Church that was to carry on His Ministry. Therefore, sin had to be dealt with internally and swiftly. Sin could not be allowed to enter and corrupt the embryonic Church. As we see in Acts, Chapter 5, Verses 1 through 11, as related in the account of Ananias and Sapphira, the Scripture says, “Great fear came upon all in the Church and upon as many as heard of this incident.” It is the Holy Spirit’s Job to convict of sin, Righteousness, and Judgment. Church, wake up! We must go back to the Book of Acts! We must go back to allowing the Holy Spirit to direct the sermons that are preached from behind our Pulpits. We must sing and play music that glorifies God instead of man’s flesh. We must go to Church to worship God, not to fulfill our fleshly lusts. We are in this world, but we as Christians are not of this world.
The entirety of the Bible should be used as the guide to our Spiritual lives and all our Church activities. We need to use the whole Bible, not just the parts that speak of God’s Love but the parts that speak of sin, fallen man’s need for a Saviour, the Blood Sacrifice of Jesus Christ, the meaning of the Cross, the meaning of the Rapture, the meaning of the Second Return of Jesus Christ, and, above all, the need for Repentance! Particularly right now, we need to repent for our failure to teach the whole of the Bible, our failure to believe in the full Power of our risen Saviour, and the full Victory that the Cross has afforded! We need to go back to Church Services that have an Anointing so strong that no soul will leave without sensing they have come in contact with a Living and Holy God!
I’d like to share another e-mail with you:
“I was listening to your program and one of your singers was singing, and as he was singing the Holy Spirit took over and I was singing and shouting along like never before. My sisters came over for a visit and I could not wait to go and play that song for them. Now the Holy Spirit was waiting in the shadows for them, and He took over one of my sisters completely, she started crying and called out to the Lord. My other sister just sat there silently crying. Brother Swaggart, that music was so Holy Spirit filled that it touched me all the way to Chicago as I listened to it.”
And this one:
“I live in North Carolina and as I was watching your 10 AM Service this morning the Holy Spirit filled my living room. And as I danced and prayed in the Spirit at one time my prayers in the Spirit became stronger and stronger and louder. In my heart I was being told that this prayer was going into the Service there at Family Worship Center. I felt as if I was in the midst of the congregation. Also, the Spirit ministered to me about Restoration with situations in my personal life. Then a Message in Tongues was given about ‘Restoration.’ I began to cry, dance, glorify God, and felt as if so much had already taken place. What joy filled my heart because, yes, so much had taken place within this time of worship. We worship with you and at times feel we may miss the assembling with others. But that’s okay, because God showed me all we need is His Presence and if in our home is the place His Presence is, then let it be. What an amazing Service and amazing message that Donnie preached today.”
And this one:
I shared these e-mails with you just to further emphasize that everything must be done through the Holy Spirit. Man and his ways are not adequate, and that’s why we were sent the Helper! Preachers must not depend on their own strength and ability. It takes the Anointing of the Holy Spirit to touch hearts and lives. The Holy Spirit is one Member of the Triune Godhead – the Third Member. He is the Member Who does the Work of God, and Jesus sent the Holy Spirit specifically for this Purpose after He had returned to the Father. The Holy Spirit was sent to reveal Jesus and the Ways of God as He Moves in the hearts and lives of Believers. It is the Holy Spirit Alone Who Moves in mighty and marvelous Ways to accomplish the Purpose of God on Earth. “. . . Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts” (Zech. 4:6).