The Demonstrated Powerful Gospel of Jesus Christ
Summary: The Gospel is powerful! It is meant by the Lord to be both seen and heard. It is intended to be presented to this world both in the preached word and in visible manifestation and demonstration of the Holy Spirit's power.
Matthew 11:2-5 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him, “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?” Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor.
• Jesus declared that people could conclude that He was the promised “One to come” by what they heard and saw.
• Including miraculous healings of the blind, lame, and leprous, plus the dead being raised.
• The “Good News is preached” convincingly when people see healings and other visible manifestations of God’s power.
• Notice that Jesus linked the preaching of the Gospel with the visible demonstration of God’s power.
Matthew 13:16-17 But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. For I tell you the truth, many prophets and righteous men longed to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.
• Jesus states that the longing in the hearts of the “prophets and righteous men” of old was to see and hear what Jesus’ followers saw and heard.
• That same longing is in people’s hearts today — to hear the Gospel and to see its power (not just to hear about it). Far too many Christians have settled for a powerless gospel that is far short of the dynamic faith that Jesus has imparted to us.
1 John 1:1,3 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched — this we proclaim concerning the Word of life...  We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard...
• What we preach and teach most effectively, and with the greatest response, are the things of God that we have both “heard ... and seen with our eyes”. John said, “This we proclaim...”
• People tend to be energized most by things they have experienced firsthand. That helps us understand Jesus’ emphasis on people hearing and seeing the Gospel.
• Educators tells us that students retain information best if they hear aloud the words they are reading. Not just one but two of our five senses (sight and hearing) are affected. It seems to work that way also with the Gospel. The Lord’s message becomes more deeply rooted in those who both hear and see the Gospel in action in their lives.
• I have studied healing in the bible for 35 years. I believe in divine healing because I have “heard” it from God’s word. But I have also seen numerous verifiable divine healings one being my own healing. Having seen this truth in action further reinforces it in my spirit and tends to increase my faith for more.
John 3:31-33 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all. He testifies to what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The man who has accepted it has certified that God is truthful.
• Interestingly, Jesus said that His testimony concerning God the Father was of things that He Himself had both “seen and heard” in heaven.
• Jesus had visually seen the things of which He spoke.
• Too many churches today, including even some Pentecostal churches, are content just to preach the Gospel, but without the accompanying demonstration of the Spirit’s power (1 Corinthians 2:4-5). To use a modern saying, this is like tying one arm behind our backs!
• If Jesus’ ministry is to be a model for us, we must remember that He consistently taught and preached the word, but He also consistently healed the sick, cast out devils, and performed other miracles, signs, and wonders.
• People in first-century Israel both heard and saw Jesus’ ministry in action, demonstrating God’s ability to save, heal, deliver, and bless.
Acts 2:32-33 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact. Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear.
• On the first New Testament Day of Pentecost, the 120 disciples were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues (Acts 2:1-4). Peter preached a message to the amazed crowds, and 3,000 were added to the church! (Acts 2:41).
• In that powerful message Peter referred to this convincing Pentecostal outpouring as Jesus in heaven having “poured out what you now see and hear” (vs. 33) — tongues of fire, the disciples speaking in tongues, a sound of a rushing, mighty wind! The onlookers were affected by both sight and sound.
• Seeing and hearing — a consistent pattern of how Jesus and His disciples preached the Gospel.
Acts 8:5-8 Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Christ there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the miraculous signs he did, they all paid close attention to what he said. With shrieks, evil spirits came out of many, and many paralytics and cripples were healed. So there was great joy in that city.
• As in Jerusalem at Pentecost, so it was in Samaria when Philip preached there. He “preached Christ” there (Acts 8:5, KJV), as we always must. But Philip also ministered divine healing to the sick and cast out demons. The result was a citywide revival. The people of Samaria “paid close attention” to Philip’s preaching when they saw the miraculous demonstration of God’s power (vs. 6).
Acts 4:19-20 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
• Even at potential risk to their lives, Peter and John told the Jewish priests and elders that they could “not help speaking about what [they] had seen and heard.” They had been eyewitnesses (not just hearers) of Jesus’ life and ministry. Nothing short of death could stop them from declaring it to others.
Acts 7:30-31 After forty years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a burning bush in the desert near Mount Sinai. When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to look more closely, he heard the Lord’s voice.
• First Moses saw a manifestation of the Lord (in the burning bush). That prompted him to inquire more closely, and then “he heard the Lord’s voice”.
• Seeing the Gospel declared with power, with healing, with miracles, opens people’s hearts to “hear the Lord’s voice”.
Let’s close with a quote from the apostle Paul that summarizes today’s emphasis on a Gospel that is to be seen as well as heard —
1 Corinthians 2:4-5, KJV And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.
• If “with enticing words of man’s wisdom” I can talk you into getting saved, someone wiser or craftier with words than I am can probably talk you out of it!
• God knows this; the apostle Paul knew this.
• God’s intent is that the “gospel [come] to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction” (1 Thessalonians 1:5a).
• If the Gospel is declared “simply with words”, it is not being declared according to the pattern of the New Testament, where the Gospel came “also with power, with the Holy Spirit”.
• Many millions of this world’s people are hungry for God, hungry for a God of both love and power, who has effective and obtainable solutions for every human need. Like the “prophets and righteous men” of old (Matthew 13:17), people are longing both to hear and to see the marvelous reality of God in their lives.
• Lord, help us to minister a visible, demonstrated “full Gospel” as the apostle Paul did — “...through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ” (Romans 15:19).