The Power and Challenge of the Kingdom of God (continued)
The Spontaneous Challenge of the Kingdom of God Through the Church (continued)
The Church is taking up something and giving it out, very largely as objective teaching; of course, knowing something of the blessedness of being saved, of the good and joy of what the Lord Jesus is in terms of salvation. That is all very good, it gets so far, but somehow or other there is a tremendous margin of ineffectiveness; and the reason may be - I put it in that way - that first of all the preaching is to men, the registration is upon men, and there is not that which comes from behind spontaneously. The kingdom of God is not something worked up, properly arranged in addresses and sermons, it is not a theme, a subject, but it is the mighty power of the Holy Spirit coming from behind. You are there as the Lord's witness, and there is something more than the power of the enemy present; the power of God is there too. The kingdom of God has come. The kingdom of God is an overwhelming thing. That is the meaning. It is in this realm that the weakness of so much preaching lies. Now, we will go on with our preaching of salvation, we will proceed with our approach to men and women about this matter of salvation; we must, more than ever. But remember, if we come without the kingdom of God - not as a subject but as a power coming through us, so to speak, as from behind, coming right through and registering itself, not upon men and women in the first place but upon those forces behind in which the world lies - we shall be largely ineffective. It is very true that no one can believe, no one is free to turn to the Lord - however much they may crave to do so - unless the Lord does something to release them. This strong man has to have his house broken into by a stronger than he; and who is stronger than he? This kingdom has to be raided by another kingdom greater than itself. And so, although the Lord had given the disciples the sphere of their activity and the commission to go out into it, He said, "But tarry ye in the city, until ye be clothed with power from on high" (Luke 24:49). "John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized in the Holy Spirit not many days hence" (Acts 1:5). 'Until then, do not attempt the commission or will will fail, and the other kingdom will prevail over you.'
(continued with # 33)