A peculiar, indescribable, invincible power

(Philpot, "The Word of Men and the Word of God")

"Our gospel did not come to you in word only,
 but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and
 with deep conviction." 1 Thes. 1:5

The gospel comes to some in word only. They
hear the word of the gospel, the sound of truth;
but it reaches the outward ear only—or if it touches
the inward feelings, it is merely as the word of men.

But where the Holy Spirit begins and carries on
His divine and saving work, He attends the word
with a peculiar, an indescribable, and yet an
invincible power.


It falls as from God upon the heart. He is heard to
speak in it—and in it His glorious Majesty appears
to open the eyes, unstop the ears, and convey a
message from His own mouth to the soul.

Some hear the gospel as the mere word of men,
perhaps for years before God speaks in it with a
divine power to their conscience. They thought
they understood the gospel—they thought they
felt it—they thought they loved it. But all this
time they did not see any vital distinction between
receiving it as the mere word of men, and as the
word of God.

The levity, the superficiality, the emptiness stamped
upon all who merely receive the gospel as the word
of men—is sufficient evidence that it never sank
deep into the heart, and never took any powerful
grasp upon their soul.


It therefore never brought with it any real separation
from the world—never gave strength to mortify the least
sin—never communicated power to escape the least snare
of Satan—was never attended with a spirit of grace and
prayer—never brought honesty, sincerity, and uprightness
into the heart before God—never bestowed any spirituality
of mind, or any loving affection toward the Lord of life and
glory. It was merely the reception of truth in the same way
as we receive scientific principles, or learn a language, a
business, or a trade. It was all . . .
  shallow,
  superficial,
  deceptive,
  hypocritical.

But in some unexpected moment, when little looking
for it, the word of God was brought into their conscience
with a power never experienced before. A light shone in
and through it which they never saw before . . .
  a majesty,
  a glory,
  an authority,
  an evidence
accompanied it which they never knew before. And
under this light, life, and power they fell down, with
the word of God sent home to their heart.

When then Christ speaks the gospel to the heart—
when He reveals Himself to the soul—when His word,
dropping as the rain and distilling as the dew, is
received in faith and love—He is embraced as the
chief among ten thousand and the altogether lovely
one—He takes His seat upon the affections and
becomes enthroned in the heart as its Lord and God.

Is there life in your bosom?

Has God's power attended the work?

Is the grace of God really in your heart?

Has God spoken to your soul?

Have you heard His voice, felt its power,
and fallen under its influence?

"And we also thank God continually because,
 when you received the word of God, which you
 heard from us, you accepted it not as the word
 of men
, but as it actually is, the word of God,
 which is effectually at work in you who believe."
    1 Thes. 2:13




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