Due to severe weather there have been a number of severe, extended, and wide-spread power cuts throughout Scotland. As I was reflecting upon this before I got up to preach the gospel on Sunday evening I was struck with the reality that this is often a picture of the Church – it is often a picture of the individual Christian.
Jesus said: “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”” (Acts 1:8)
Paul said of believers: “the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you” Rom (8:11)
When Paul preached the gospel, and it was received, Paul said to the church: “our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.” (1 Thess 1:5)
The theme is clear, biblical Christianity, at its most ripe, is marked by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. This is a power which impresses upon the hearers the reality of God, the reality of eternity and the reality of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. One historian describes the spiritual condition of Skye in the late 18th century in the following way –
Under the Moderate Ministers "the people went to church, took their seats and settled
down to sleep."
What was the cause of this spiritual sleepiness and complacency? It was caused by a clergy who had lost sight of the power of the gospel. I cannot help but ask the question, what about today? Is the church in Scotland any different? It is hard not to believe that the church in many ways is experiencing something of a spiritual power-cut.
However, the promise of God still stands, the power of the Spirit is still available; the gospel is still ‘the power of God for salvation’; and the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead’ still dwells in those who believe. The question is – will we avail ourselves to the power of the Spirit? Will we preach with boldness, compassion and conviction? Will we risk comfort and reputation in order that we may see people saved and empowered to live a new life?