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The Relevantly Potent Gospel Series

The Relevantly Potent Gospel Part 1: Mission

The Relevantly Potent Gospel Part 2: Message

The Relevantly Potent Gospel Part 3: Evidence

More Stories by Frank DeCenso

The Ministry Model of Jesus Part 1

The Ministry Model of Jesus Part 2

How to Heal the Sick


The Relevantly Potent Gospel: The Message

By Frank A. DeCenso Jr.
Guest Writer

1 Corinthians 4
20For the kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

Paul understood that the message of God’s kingdom wasn't proclaimed through ‘fancily constructed sermons’ and ‘common sense self-help tips.’ It is proclaimed with evidence of the Spirit's presence and kingdom "power," capable of intervening in lives to impart real change.

The word “power” in verse 20 is the Greek word dunamis. The commonly used Strong’s Concordance defines this word as “miraculous power.” Thayer, another common Greek source for many Christians, gives as one definition, “power for performing miracles.”

A glance in the Gospels reveals that evidentiary power accompanied the preaching of the “kingdom of God” (Matthew has “kingdom of heaven”):

Matthew 10
7And as you go, preach, saying, "The kingdom of heaven is at hand.' 8Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.

Luke 9
1Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. 2He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.
But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing.

Luke 10
9And heal the sick there, and say to them, "The kingdom of God has come near to you.'

Luke 11
20But if I cast out demons with the finger of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you.

Mark 16
20And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs


In Acts, the same evidentiary power was even asked for and given:

Acts 4
29Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."

Acts 5
12aAnd through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people.
14And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Acts 6
8And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.

Acts 8
6And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed. 8And there was great joy in that city.

Acts 9
32Now it came to pass, as Peter went through all parts of the country, that he also came down to the saints who dwelt in Lydda. 33There he found a certain man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years and was paralyzed. 34And Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus the Christ heals you. Arise and make your bed." Then he arose immediately. 35So all who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the Lord.

37But it happened in those days that [Tabitha] became sick and died. When they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.
40But Peter put them all out, and knelt down and prayed. And turning to the body he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. 41Then he gave her his hand and lifted her up; and when he had called the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed on the Lord.

Acts 15
12Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.

Acts 19
11Now God worked unusual miracles by the hands of Paul, 12so that even handkerchiefs or aprons were brought from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out of them.

Likewise, when we preach and proclaim God’s kingdom, there should be evidence that God is working with us in power to expand the kingdom. When that happens, a world of hurting unbelievers and "seekers" will come through our doors, looking for the Living God.

Paul made another interesting statement in 1 Corinthians 2:

1And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, 5that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

In essence, Paul said that he did not preach to them using humanly constructed wisdom. Rather, his “speech and [his] preaching…[was] in demonstration of the Spirit and of power” (vs. 4). Why? So that people would place their faith in God's power and not in man’s mortal wisdom (vs. 5). Paul did not rely on his oratory skills and homiletic abilities to change lives because he knew it was God’s presence and power alone that had the potency to perform the task.

Like Paul, we should preach the good news with God’s presence and power accompanying us, thereby validating our message (Acts 14:3; Hebrews 2:3-4).

Copyright © 2005 by Frank A. DeCenso Jr.

All verses NKJV

Frank has been teaching the Bible in churches and other venues for more than 20 years. He is currently the Ministry Resources Director at Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Virginia Beach, Va. He is an employee at Regent University in the Information Technology Department. He is also the founder of Presence-Powered Ministries. Frank is married and lives in Virginia Beach.

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