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Sermon #5531

Not in Word; but Power

A Sermon on 1 Corinthians 4:20


1 Corinthians 4:20 ESV KJV
For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power. (ESV)

Sermon Description

What does the Apostle Paul mean when he says that the kingdom of God consists not of word, but of power? This is the question that Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeks to answer in this sermon from 1 Corinthians 4:20. He says that Paul was not like many of his contemporary wise men in that he did not have a great appearance, nor did he speak with power. For Paul was not concerned with these things because he trusted not in himself, but in the power of God. Dr. Lloyd-Jones continues to show that the kingdom of God is not about clever words or gifted speakers, but the kingdom of God is about the power of God, namely Christ Jesus and His gospel. How is the power of God seen? If the Christian looks to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, they will see men and women who were totally transformed by the power of God. This new power that they received was not their own doing, but it came from God empowering His people in order that they might serve Him. This God-given power is what enables Christians to fight sin, boldly proclaim the gospel, and live a life that seeks the kingdom of God.

Sermon Breakdown

  1. The sermon text is 1 Corinthians 4:20 - "For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power."
  2. The sermon was given on Pentecost Sunday, reminding the congregation of the coming of the Holy Spirit in Acts 2.
  3. The early church turned the world upside down through the power of the Holy Spirit, not through human means.
  4. The church today is ineffective and powerless compared to the early church. We have many words but lack power.
  5. The kingdom of God is about God's power and activity, not human words or philosophy.
  6. The church talks much about the Holy Spirit but lacks His power. We must examine ourselves to see if we have received the Spirit's power.
  7. The power of the Spirit is seen in convicting people of sin, enabling people to live new lives, understand the truth, and live out the truth.
  8. The Spirit's power changed lives in the early church and throughout church history in times of reformation and revival.
  9. The power of the Spirit cannot be obtained through human organizations, institutions or learning but through recognizing our weakness, believing God's Word, and praying for the Spirit.
  10. We must pray for revival - an outpouring of the Spirit that brings conviction of sin, assurance of faith, and many coming to Christ.
  11. We must pray for the Spirit to come upon us and the church, not wait for some future event. We must come to church expectantly and hopefully, praying for the Spirit.
  12. We must give ourselves no rest until we know the Spirit's power in us and upon the church.

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Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.