Today I want to share another of Rick Renner's teachings from Sparkling Gems From The Greek - Volume 2. These devotionals are SO thorough and well taught that those of us who are not Greek scholars can easily understand what the Word of God is telling us!
Where Is Your Faith?
That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. — 1 Corinthians 2:5
I was speechless the first time I attended a meeting where I saw the power of God in demonstration! The reason I was so shocked was that from childhood, my denomination had taught me the age of miracles had passed. We had been indoctrinated that miracles such as the ones we read about in the New Testament had ceased and passed away with the death of the apostles. “Miracles were part of the apostolic age,” we were told, “and they no longer occur in today’s world.”
So you can imagine how stunned I was when I saw miracles happening right before my eyes! At that service I was attending, I remember feeling like a whirlwind of power passed through that auditorium — and with my own eyes, I saw miracles happening all around me! A miracle of healing happened here, there, and everywhere. Soon people were lining up near the stage to testify about what had happened in their bodies. Wheelchairs were emptied; paralyzed people got up from their stretchers and walked; blind eyes were opened; deaf ears were unstopped; and the mute were starting to speak!
All my doubts about God’s miracle-working power still being in operation on the earth today were eradicated that day as I watched those wheelchairs being emptied and people who had been brought in on stretchers walking and even running from one end of the stage to the other. Soon the entire front of the auditorium and the aisles were jammed with people who had come forward to give their lives to Christ.
In a matter of hours, all my denominational teaching about the lack of miracles in this present age melted away. As much as I loved my denomination, I could see with my own eyes that I had been wrongly informed my entire life. After that experience with the power of God, I was changed, altered, and forever impacted because of what I witnessed. When I went back to my church and told them what I had experienced, they tried to talk me out of it. But all of their talking was a lost cause! It was too late, because I had personally seen and experienced the power of God!
There is nothing like an encounter with the power of God to alter one’s way of thinking and believing. Often we preach and appeal to people with all the right words, but we stop short of the one thing that will put an end to all doubts: one outstanding demonstration of God’s power. A real miracle or healing demonstrated right before the eyes of doubters can have a greater impact than years of coaxing and begging. The fact is, there is NOTHING more gripping than an actual, personal encounter with the power of God! When we allow God to “show off,” that supernatural manifestation drives the message deeper into people’s hearts and makes a far greater impact than we could ever achieve with mere words.
When the apostle Paul first started preaching to the Corinthians, who were deeply pagan and immersed in gross darkness, he knew words alone would never do the job. To reach them, he would need a demonstration of God’s power. In First Corinthians 2:4, he reminded them about the manner in which he first preached to them. He said, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.”
In the next verse, Paul continued to tell them the reason he wanted them to see a demonstration of God’s power. He wrote, “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:5).
Just as I was so deeply impacted by the miracles I saw in that meeting many years ago, the apostle Paul knew that miracles, healings, and other displays of power would have a great impact on his listeners. If all he offered them were “enticing words of man’s wisdom,” they could argue, disagree, or debate with him. But if an unquestionable miracle happened right before their eyes — a demonstration of supernatural power that literally knocked them off their feet — they would know that God Almighty was behind the message Paul was preaching!
I’ll never forget what one great man once told me about the power of God. He said, “You can’t win an argument with a man who has had a supernatural experience.” This is true! When people have an encounter with the power of God, it puts an end to all speculation and all arguments.
Paul knew that a display of God’s power would have a great influence on his audience, so in addition to carefully crafting a message that would touch their hearts, he took it one step further and made the choice to allow the power of God to do its unparalleled work. Paul knew the power of God would melt away every doubt and put an end to all debate, so he stepped aside and allowed God’s power to show off and thus confirm that the message he preached was indeed the truth!
Paul later told the Corinthians the reason he took this approach: “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” The word “stand” in this verse is the little Greek word en, which simply means in. As used here, this word describes the medium in which faith is rooted. It could be translated, “I took this approach so your faith would not be rooted in the wisdom of men….” Then he continued to write, “…but in the power of God.”
The word en is used again when Paul referred to the power of God, which lets us know that Paul wanted his listeners’ faith to be rooted deeply in the power of God. The word “power” in this verse is the Greek word dunamis. This well-known, often-used word denotes the mighty power of God. In this verse, it denotes not merely power, but tremendous power. This word dunamis denotes God’s supernatural power, which is explosive, mighty, and awe-inspiring to those who see it or experience it.
Paul’s words in First Corinthians 2:5 could thus be paraphrased:
“I took this approach so your faith would not be rooted in the wisdom of men, but so your faith would be steadfastly rooted in the power of God.”
Don’t make the mistake of taking only a mental approach when you preach the Gospel or share the Word with people who are less informed than you are. Of course, you must use your mind to its maximum capacity. God gave you your mind and expects you to use it as you share Christ and His Word with others. But you should always get quiet in your heart first and ask the Holy Spirit what He would like to do in those moments. What needs in the lives of your listeners would He like to step in and meet supernaturally to reveal His great love for them? He’ll lead you each step of the way if you’ll stay sensitive to Him.
And if you ever come to a standstill in a conversation — when it is your word against another person’s — that may be the golden moment when you need to step aside and allow God to step in and do what only He can do! Give His supernatural power an opportunity to intervene and confirm the truth you are attempting to drive into that person’s heart.
When you come to one of those moments when the greatest efforts of your mind seem futile, yield to the power of God that resides within you and allow the Holy Spirit to do what you could never do by yourself. When the Spirit of God is finished confirming the Word with supernatural demonstrations of power, all arguments will cease, the case will be closed, and the person you are trying to reach will be convinced!
Shalom in Him!