The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he hath anointed me to preach…” (Luke 4:18).
Incorporated in the anointing to preach is the work of the Holy Spirit. Preaching is the God-chosen medium for the salvation of the lost. That’s the reason that the apostle Paul said that it “…please God through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” ( 1 Corinthians 1:21), “Woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel” ( 1 Corinthians 9:16).
He also said, “Christ sent me not to baptize”, as important as baptism is, “but to preach the gospel” ( 1 Corinthians 1:17). “For it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth” (Romans 1:16). Preaching is at the heart of the saving activity of the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ gave one supreme qualification for the preaching of the gospel.
In Luke 24:47, He said that repentance and the remission of sin be preached in His name unto all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47).
“But wait—wait until you are qualified.”
“Wait until you are equipped.”
“Wait until you are ready.”
“Tarry in Jerusalem until you be endued with power from on high.”
That word, “endue,” mean to be clad upon; to be clothed with; to be enveloped in the Holy fire from heaven.
This power means the ability to accomplish, the ability to achieve. This is the power that comes from on high. Not the kind of power that comes by man, through fame, but the power that comes from God. Preaching is the operational power through which the Holy Ghost works. The apostle Paul put it like this, “For our gospel came not in word only, but also in power and in the Holy Ghost and in much assurance” (1 Thessalonians 1:5).
The apostle said, “For my speech and my preaching was not with the enticing words of men’s wisdom, but in the demonstration of the power of the Spirit; that man’s faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4,5). Here was a great orator, a man who had so much learning that when he stood before King Agrippa, the king said, “Much learning has made you mad.”
He was a great orator in his own right, but he said, “My speech is not rhetoric. My speech is not oratory. My preaching is not just philosophy. It is not just enticing words. But it is the demonstration of the power of the Holy Ghost.”
Unless the Holy Ghost works effectively, we cannot preach mightily. The Holy Ghost is the agent, and we are the instruments. The Holy Ghost is the chief administrator, and we are the representatives. The Holy Ghost is the co-witness, and we are the witnesses. The agent is one that acts or performs, and the instrument is one through whom he acts or performs.
Let us look at the work of the Holy Spirit in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus told His disciples, “As the Father hath sent me, even so send I you” (John 20:21). “As the Father hath sent me”–that is the pattern of our preaching; “so send I you”–that is the command for our preaching. But He knew they would have difficulty following His preaching; He knew they would have difficulty making their preaching to be like His, for the Scripture says, “And when he had said this, be breathed on them, and said unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22).
If our preaching is to be like His, if our ministry is to be like His, we must be full of the Holy Ghost. “For God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and power, and he went about doing good, healing all of those that were oppressed of the devil” (Acts 10:38).
When Jesus came up out of Jordan from His baptism, the Holy Spirit descended in the bodily shape as a dove. The Bible says, “And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost, returned from Jordan and was led of the Spirit into the wilderness” (Luke 4:1). In the 14th verse of that same chapter He returns by the power of the Spirit into Galilee. When He came to Galilee on the Sabbath, He opened up the Book of Isaiah and began to read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent me to heal the broken hearted; to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of the sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Luke 4:18, 19).
With the anointing comes the promise. I’ll preach the gospel to the poor; I’ll preach deliverance to the captives; I’ll preach the acceptable year of the Lord, which mean that I’ll preach the freedom and liberty that comes through the anointing and gospel of Jesus Christ; and the results will be that the broken hearted will be healed. The captive will be set free, blinded eyes will be opened, men will be transformed from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of His dear Son, those that are bruised will be bound up, and there will be joy in that acceptable year of freedom.
When Dr. Luke wrote the Book of Acts, he began by introducing us to a young man by the name of Theophilus, “The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all the things that Jesus began both to do and to teach, until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen” (Acts 1:2). Luke said, “I wrote the Gospel that carries my name.” And that Gospel tells about all the things that Jesus began to do and to teach. And it talks about those things until the day he was taken up. For he did those through to power of the Holy Ghost.
He started His ministry with the Holy Spirit like a dove upon His shoulders. Just before the angels ushered Him out of sight, His last message on earth, His departing words were, “Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost has come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and unto the uttermost parts of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
If Jesus Christ had to have the anointing of the Holy Ghost, how much more do we weak mortals need to lean upon the Spirit of God for the ministry of the gospel? There are at least four things that the Spirit does through our preaching. There are many more, but time would not permit to speak of more. The first is, the Holy Spirit gives utterance for preaching. Second, the Holy Spirit gives discernment for preaching. Third, He convicts through preaching. Fourth, the Holy Spirit confirms the Word through preaching.
There is one thing common with all New Testament preachers—they were full of the Holy Ghost. Let’s look at these Scriptures, “And Barnabas was a good man and full of the Holy Ghost and faith and much people were added unto the Lord” (Acts 11:24); “Steven was full of faith and power and many wonders and miracles were done by him” (Acts 6:8); “And Peter being filled with the Holy Ghost…” Acts 4:8); and again “And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak the Word of God” (Acts 4:31). There was something about it; they got so full until their fullness was translated into preaching.
The infilling of the Spirit compelled an outflow of testimony. They became so full it was like a volcano shut up in their bones. That’s what Jeremiah said, “The Word of the Lord is in my heart like a burning fire shut up in my bones and I was weary with forebearing and I could not stay” (Jeremiah 20:9). It was not a matter of urging them to preach. Peter said, “We cannot but speak” (Acts 4:20). We are compelled by the Holy Ghost to speak. The fullness of the Holy Ghost gives our lips full speech. The fullness of the Holy Ghost causes an outflow and an overflow of speech.
David said, “My heart was hot in within me and while I was musing, the fire burned” (Psalm 39:4). Notice what happened. He said, “Then spake I with my tongue.” When your heart gets hot and when the fire burns from the Holy Ghost, your lips will speak.
The Scripture says, “When the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost is come, he will teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you” (John 14:26). Those things which lie dormant in your mind; those things which you have read and you have studied, when the Holy Spirit come upon you, they come forth. it is like being wafted from one mountain of myrrh to another, and they come to you as if they were on the wings of the morning. They rush in on you and you are filled with the riches of His Word, and you become the mouthpiece for God. You speak from God. Those whom God has filled speak the Words of God. They are speaking on behalf of Almighty God. That is not only an exciting experience, it is also a sacred experience to know that God is speaking through you–to know that He is using a vessel of clay to communicate His Word–to utter His Word. It is the Holy Ghost that gives the utterance. And it is even greater when He comes by revelation; when He reveals something to you.
He gives authority to the message. They said about Jesus Christ, “He taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes.” The scribes talked about washing pots and pans and platters. They talked about the size of the borders on the garments. They talked about how far you could walk on the Sabbath day. But Jesus didn’t frail dead dogs. He didn’t deal in archaic things that didn’t matter. He dealt with the vital issues of the times. And when they heard Him speak, He spake with authority. And the people were astonished at His doctrine. They were amazed, and they marveled at Him.
When people speak through the authority of the Spirit today, people again will marvel. They will again be amazed. They will again be astonished; and they will say as they said about Jesus, “We have seen strange things today” (Luke 5:26). “We never saw it on this fashion before” (Mark 2:12).
He spake with such authority until His friends said, “We will go and take home of Him, for He is beside Himself.” I would to God that Holy Ghost preachers today could get beside themselves out of the flesh and into the Spirit. The Spirit; Spirit motivated; Spirit propelled; Spirit moved (2 Corinthians 5:13).
The authority of the Spirit made those New Testament preachers irresistible. The Bible says they could not resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which He spake (Acts 6:10). He commanded their attention through the power of the Holy Spirit; and when they resisted Him, they were resisting the Holy Ghost, because He was preaching in the power of the Holy Ghost.
The Spirit gives courage and boldness. Fear is dispelled. If there ever was a time the truth needed to ring from pulpits of the world, it is today. But people are afraid of the truth. Yet there never was a time when the voice of the multitude and the majority, or the vote of the majority, had full approval of the truth.
Ray H. Hughes