Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord

C.H. Spurgeon – Sermon entitled A mighty Saviour

How is it that Christ is able to make men repent, to make men believe, to make them turn to God? One answers “Why, by the eloquence of preachers.” God forbid we should ever say that! It is “not by might nor by power.” Others reply, “It is by the force of moral suasion.” God forbid we should say “ay” to that; for moral suasion has been tried long enough on man, and yet it has failed of success. How does he do it?”

We answer, by something which some of you despite, but which nevertheless is a fact. He does it by the omnipotent influence of his divine Spirit. While men are hearing the word (in those God will save) the Holy Spirit works repentance; he changes the heart and renews the soul.

True, the preaching is the instrument, but the Holy Spirit is the great agent. It is certain that the truth is the means of saving, but it is the Holy Ghost applying the truth which saves souls. Ah! And with this power of the Holy Ghost we may go to the most debased and degraded of men, and we need not be afraid but that God can save them. If God should please, the Holy Spirit could at this moment make every one of you fall on your knees, confess your sins, and turn to God. He is an Almighty Spirit, able to do wonders.

In the life of Whitefield, we read that sometimes under one of his sermons two thousands persons would at once profess to be saved, and were really so, many of them. We ask, why it was? At other times he preached just as powerfully, and not one soul was saved. Why? Because in the one case the Holy Spirit went with the word, and in the other case it did not.

All the heavenly result of preaching is owing to the divine Spirit sent from above. I am nothing; my brethren in the ministry around are all nothing; it is God that doeth every thing. “Who is Paul, who is Apollos, and who is Cephas, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as God gave to every man.” It must be “not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.”

Go forth poor minister! Thou hast no power to preach with polished diction and elegant refinement; go and preach as thou canst. The Spirit can make thy feeble words more mighty than the most ravishing eloquence. Alas! Alas for oratory!

Alas for eloquence! It hath long enough been tried. We have had polished periods, and finely turned sentence; but in what place have the people been saved by them? We have grand and gaudy language; but where have hearts been renewed? But now, “By the foolishness of preaching,” by the simple utterance of a child of God’s word, he is pleased to save them that believe, and to save sinners from the error of their ways.

May God prove that word again this morning!


5 thoughts on “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord

  1. JesusCourse July 8, 2009 / 3:39 pm

    Ay! to that.
    I was at a Methodist preachers meeting the other day and someone (who had been a preacher for more than a few years) raised the subject of Christian perfection (let’s not debate the content here I’m just making a point about preaching) and were amazed to hear the idea that we might reach moments of perfection in our lives. What amazed me was that as Methodist Preachers we are supposed to read John Wesley’s sermons to qualify – one of which is all about Christian perfection – and they obviously had never heard of this idea before (even though it is Methodist doctrine). Bear with me I’m getting to the point now!
    I suspect they knew nothing of it because it’s pretty hard going reading John Wesley’s sermons. His sermons are good but sometimes a little difficult to follow and certainly long and certainly not thrilling. Yet God used these messages to convert thousands. The message is important but it is good that takes the message and changes people through them.


    • Simon Vibert July 8, 2009 / 4:07 pm

      Good point, although I suspect that the last sentence should read: The message is important but it is God who (sic) takes the message and changes people through them.


  2. Mark Bailey August 7, 2009 / 1:57 pm

    Very good and well put! Yes, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. Thank you for this word…God bless!


  3. Terence Low December 19, 2009 / 6:49 pm

    Wow – talk about renewing my focus! Thank you for a “spirit-led” article that has renewed me.


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