Contact Us

  • Phone: (509) 747-3007
  • Email:
  • Meeting Address:
    115 E. Pacific Ave., Spokane, WA 99202
  • Office/Mailing Address:
  • 608 W. 2nd Ave, #101. Spokane, WA 99201

Service Times

  • Sunday: 10am
  • Infant through 8th grade Sunday School classes available
  • FREE Parking!



Back To List

Oct 06, 2013

The Church's Power

Preacher: John Repsold

Series: The Church: Disciples In Action

Keywords: gospel, power, powerful, good news, church


What is it that is the church's power? This message looks at what the New Testament has to say about the relationship between a Spirit-filled, Gospel-dispensing church and a powerful church.


The Church’s Power

Series:  The Church—Disciples in Action

Oct. 6, 2013


STORY:  For the past 7 months, I’ve taken up a new hobby.  It involves taking care of approximately 150-200,000 young females. I keep them in little boxes in my back yard. 

            Now before you dial 911 and report me to the police, let me explain.  I started raising bees this past March.  It began with 3 packages each containing a queen and about 5,000 worker bees that got placed into 3 new hives.  By the time the summer was over, 2 of the hives had swarmed and I had 4 different hives, each with around 40-50,000 bees.  And for your information, all the worker bees are females with just a few lazy drone males scattered throughout the colonies causing trouble and eating up the honey reserves. (It’s actually quite the life for them…until you hit fall when the worker bees chew off their wings and kick them out of the hives to die.  Can’t have any dead weight during the cold winter months!)

            Having 4 different hives has been fascinating.  It’s interesting to see how different hives can be, even in the same yard.  A strong hive will have a strong queen who is laying from 1,500-2,000 eggs a day!  It takes about 3 weeks for those eggs to hatch into flying bees who then live as little as 6 weeks or as much as 6 months, depending upon the time of year they hatch. 

            Sad to say, one of my hives isn’t doing very well. It’s one that was left after the previous queen swarmed with about half the hive in June.  So this hive had to wait for a new queen to be born, mate with several of those lazy drones and then start laying eggs.  Problem is, she has turned out to be a weak queen.  She doesn’t lay very well and, as a result, the hive is just sort of listless.  They haven’t brought in much nectar or pollen and there aren’t many frames of brood to help them survive the winter. 

            A healthy hive is one that has lots of new life, new bees emerging every day from the “seed” that was sown weeks before.  A weak and dying hive is one with little to no new brood developing and hatching into young bees.

            There are so many spiritual parallels to the life of God’s people in this hive we call “the church.” When churches split, just like when hives “swarm,” it hurts both hives.  Conversely, when there are lots of new believers being birthed into a church, there is a whole new sense of excitement and energy.  Everyone seems to be busy caring for the “new brood,” helping them reach a level of productivity that results in a strong church.


The heart of God has always been to raise up, in every place and every generation of the world, a strong, growing, vibrant, reproducing and healthy church.  Jesus promised that He would build his church and that the church would, in fact, push back the “gates of hell” rather than be overcome by those powers of darkness.  So for 20 centuries, the Spirit of God has been using the people of God to grow healthy, vibrant, productive churches all over the world that express the power and passion of God in this world. 


Jesus told a parable that is recorded in 3 of the 4 gospels.  You’ll find it in Matthew 13, Mark 4 and Luke 8.  It’s variously known as The Parable of the Soils in which a farmer goes out to sow seed.  Some falls on the road by the field and is eaten by the birds.  Some falls on shallow soil and died early from lack of water and root depth.  Some grew up but got choked out by weeds in the field and some landed in good soil that enabled it to multiply the single seed from 30 to 100 times in a good harvest. 

            Jesus interpreted that parable for his disciples by telling them the seed was the Word of God.  The soils were different kinds of hearts, some hard or shallow or chocked out with worldly concerns but others that received the Word of God and ended up multiplying that seed dozens and dozens of times over. 

            Could there be a better description of the potential power and fruitfulness of the Word of God in the lives of people both in and outside God’s church?  When we, that “soil” into which God is constantly sowing his “seed” of the Word, have hearts that are not all chocked up with the cares of this world or hard-hearted or shallow, then amazing fruitfulness follows.  It is the Good News, the “gospel” as the New Testament writers called it, that has this amazing power to spring forth in constantly new and vibrant life.

            As we are nearing the end of our Sunday series on The Church, I would like us to focus this morning on what the Bible says it is that makes God’s church a vibrant, powerful, growing and fruitful force in this world. 

  • What is it that produces a powerful, transforming church in the middle of a perishing world? 
  • What makes the difference between a group of God’s people who live transformed lives and transform the life of their city and a church that is just a sleepy, quiet, unnoticed and relatively ineffective group of people? 


As we dive into this critically important issue, I don’t want to leave false impressions. 

  • I don’t think the Bible presents one “silver bullet” that is the solution to everything that may ale any church.  It is usually a combination of factors.  But some things are “common” even in that combination of factors. 
  • Nor do I want you to think that I have this all nailed down or figured out in my own life.  Far from it! I still feel like a babe who is learning to walk, lurching and stumbling along but nonetheless excited and eager to master this amazing means of forward progress. 




I want to try and boil down the dozens/hundreds of passages I’ve studied this week in a way that helps us see what it is that leads to a powerful, transformational church.  I will state my premise/thesis first and then hopefully help you see where the Bible teaches that. 


  1. 1.      There is an inseparable connection between the Gospel of Christ and the power of God displayed in this world.

That term “gospel” is used 76 times in the N.T. in almost every N.T. book from Matthew to Revelation.  In Greek the term is euangelion.  It literally translated means “good news.” It’s a Greek word that was originally used to describe the “good news” of military victory that a messenger would bring to his commander on the battlefield.  In the N.T. it is used of the Good News of salvation in Jesus Christ.


Jesus “proclaimed” it:

  • Mt. 9:35(ESV) And Jesus went throughout all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom and healing every disease and every affliction.

Notice that in the case of Christ sharing the gospel, it was accompanied by all kinds of healings (power of God)

Jesus commanded his followers to proclaim the Gospel worldwide…and indicated that doing so would be accompanied by miraculous events (at times, not always).  Mark 16:15ff-- 15 He said to them, “Go into all the world [also Mk. 13:10] and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”

NOTE:  Doesn’t say all believers will experience these things.  Nor are we to “test” the Lord by handling snakes and drinking poison.  But what God is promising is that the presenting of the Gospel will sometimes be accompanied by miraculous signs.  (See Acts 28—Paul and the viper when shipwrecked on Malta; Ac. 19:11-20—God worked unusual miracles of healing through Paul in Ephesus, miracles of overcoming evil spirits and sicknesses..that the 7 sons of Sceva got beat up by a demoniac when they tried to do it as a road show.  Also note the powerful impact of repentance in word and deed associated with the Gospel—equivalent of $1/2 million of sorcery books.)

ILL:  What happened here in “Burning Spokane” two weeks ago—young man delivered from an evil spirit when the Gospel was preached…along with multiple salvations. 



Paul identified the Gospel with God’s power

Romans 1:16-- For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

Notice that it is power, however, only for “everyone who believes.”  The Gospel/Good News of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ, when combined with the faith of the hearer, enables the power of God to spring forth in the lives of people. 

--I Cor. 1:17-18, 21-25—Listen to what Paul says about the relationship between the gospel and power to transform lives. 

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. [Wow, I LOVE that little insight.]

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God

21 For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. 22 Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, 24 but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.


SHARING—Some of you have seen the power of God in the Gospel of Christ, the Good News, transform your lives.  Want to tell us about it in 30 seconds???


If the Gospel of Christ IS the power of God, just WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?

Peter tells us it is something to be obeyed (I Pt. 4:17)-- 17 For it is time for judgment to begin with God’s household; and if it begins with us, what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?

Jesus said it involved repentance and belief (Mk. 1:14ff)

14 After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. 15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!

What were they to repent of?  [Sins, rebellion against God.]

What were they to believe?  [That the Messiah had come in the person of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God who would take away the sin of the world and offer life with God through himself.]

            It’s interesting in this passage that Mark goes on to tell us what Jesus did next:

1.)    He called Simon Peter and Andrew, James and John to “follow” him.

2.)    He delivered demoniacs in the synagogue in Capernaum, i.e. demonstrated His/gospel’s power over the demonic realm. 

Paul said the Gospel was something he was “entrusted with”

I Thess. 2:4“…we speak as those approved by God to be entrusted with the gospel. We are not trying to please people but God, who tests our hearts.”

It is something that flows from a heart of agape love for people

I Thess. 2:8-9—Because we loved you so much, we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well. Surely you remember, brothers and sisters, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you.”

You can also see from that verse it involved speaking/sharing/ preaching/proclaiming a specific message about Jesus Christ.


So let’s get this real clear.  If “the Gospel” is God’s power to deliver people (not us or even spiritual gifts or our holy lives), then WHAT is the Gospel???  What does it consist of? 

            Paul already told us (I Cor. 1) that you don’t have to be wise or eloquent to “preach” it.  So we ALL are apparently candidates for this one!

            While that term “gospel” can refer to the entire range of truths about new life in Jesus Christ from the initial belief in Jesus to the life-long growth and sanctifying truths about a living relationship with him, most often “the gospel” simply refers to what a person must understand and believe in order to enter into a personal relationship with God through Jesus Christ.  There are numerous passages we could tell people about. 

What are some of the favorite ones you like to use to share the Good News of Christ with people?  [Elicit responses.]

  • John 3:16
  • John 1:12
  • Romans 6:33
  • Eph. 2:8-9


Paul gave us a short synopsis of the gospel in a couple of different places.  Listen to what he says. 

  • Colossians 1:21-23--21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
  • I Cor. 15:3-4For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures….”


So, There is an inseparable connection between the Gospel of Christ and the power of God displayed in this world.  If we would see the power of God in our day, in our experience, in our city and school and place of work and network of relationships, we will need to be declarers of the Gospel… proclaimers of the Gospel… “preachers” of the Gospel, if you will.  There needs to be a “word” or “verbal truth” component IF people are to experience the power of God in their lives. 

            Now, that doesn’t mean that you must stand up in the cafeteria at college, preach a message and give an altar call.  In fact, in our culture, I wouldn’t recommend that.  (But neither will I throw stones at someone who does that if they believe God is asking them to do so.)  HOW the gospel is declared effectively varies from culture to culture.  Mass crusades used to be a somewhat effective way to reach people with the Gospel.  Not so much anymore in America.  Even Billy Graham is encouraging people to use their homes and small groups of friends gathered in a home as his last evangelistic push of his lifetime. 

            In the book of Acts when the early church was spreading throughout the world, Peter or Paul would often go to the synagogues to present the Gospel.  When they were thrown out of there, they took to the next best venue to find spiritually-attuned people. They went into the places of public discourse like in Athens or found places of prayer where people went to seek God.  They used homes of new believers and sat around sharing the gospel with fellow tent-makers in the tent-making shops of a city.  And when they were thrown into jail, their audience became guards and other prisoners, prison wardens and kings charged to hear their cases. 

            But one thing stayed constant: at some point along the way, they spoke about what Christ had done…for them and the whole world.  They shared about their own personal encounters with the power of the Gospel and they tried to persuade others to consider the claims of Christ upon their lives.  Success was measured, not by the number of people who responded in the moment, but by how the Gospel took root in a few people’s lives… in city after city… and opened them up to the current working of the power of God. 


I’ve always loved seeing the power of the Gospel work.  I’m guessing you do to.  That’s why I’ve started praying…again… for God to give me daily opportunities to share with someone something of the Good News of life in Christ.  Rarely is it a full-blown telling of the Gospel.  But speaking about what Jesus is teaching me…or something He has done recently in my life…or just offering to pray in Jesus name for someone’s need…they are all a giving of the Good News of life in Christ.  And that simple giving opens up opportunities for God to show his power. 

            And I’ve also started praying again something that even the Apostle Paul asked for prayer about when it came to sharing the Gospel.  Paul wrote to the Ephesian church this in Ephesians 6:19-20-- 19 Pray also for me, that whenever I speak, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains. Pray that I may declare it fearlessly, as I should.  

            If the Apostle Paul, who was in prison in chains because of his sharing of the Gospel, could ask people to pray that he would be even more fearless and put words to his faith in Christ, then I say, “COUNT ME IN!”


            This is why your staff is so high on the Discovery Group model.  There are just a couple of components of the format that keep us attuned every week to proclaiming the Gospel in some way. 

  • At the end of each group, we take a few moments to stop and think of someone we know with whom we can share what we learned in the group that week. 
  • And at the beginning of each group we share how that went last week and what we saw God do to open doors and help us share some part of His Good News.
  • And we are also looking for needs of others we can help meet which is the sharing of the Gospel in practical action or deed.

ILL:  Discovery Group test run last Tuesday at a coffee shop in Browns Addition with a handful of men.  A couple who were total strangers came up and started asking them what they were doing.  They plan to join this Discovery Group next week.

ILL:  Last week Al West asked if we had any people who were available to lead more Discovery groups in more residential buildings downtown here.

ILL:  This week I’m inviting some of our very good neighbors who nonetheless don’t know Christ yet to come to a dinner about Cup of Cool water and help support a ministry that points young people to Christ who are living on the street.  They are going to hear and see the power that loving street kids unconditionally in the name of Christ has on their own city. 


APP:  So WHERE has God put you that you can bring the power of God, the Gospel, into the lives of people?

  • How about PRAYING every day for an opportunity that day to share who Jesus is or what he is doing with someone.
  • How about praying for greater boldness (as Paul did) with the people you will meet that day?


Let me end with one more observation about the power of the Gospel.  There is an inseparable connection between being filled with the Holy Spirit and sharing the Gospel in powerful word and deed.

ILL:  This past week in the Senior Capstone class I teach at Moody Aviation, we were looking at the person and work of the Holy Spirit.  So I gave the students an assignment to do in class in about 20 minutes. Using their computers and Bible study software, I asked them to find out what it was that the Holy Spirit enabled the early church to do.  I told them to pay special attention to every time Luke recorded that people were “filled with the Holy Spirit” of God. 

            I’ll save you the Bible software searching.  And I’ll also cut the assignment down to 2 minutes from of 20.  J  Look what you will find just in the book of Acts.

  • Acts 2:4, 11—This was at Pentecost when the Holy Spirit filled the first church in Jerusalem.  “All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.”  So, what were they speaking?  Vs. 11 tells us that Jewish converts from all over the world who were there from different countries which spoke different languages all heard the disciples “declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!”  The Jerusalem church, when filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke in the streets of Jerusalem about the wonderful things God was doing.  Sounds pretty familiar, doesn’t it? J

In Acts 4--Peter and John had healed a lame man in the temple by the power of Christ and got arrested for it.  After spending a night in jail, they were hauled before the religious authorities and this is what Luke says happenedVs. 8ff--

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them: “Rulers and elders of the people! If we are being called to account today for an act of kindness shown to a man who was lame and are being asked how he was healed, 10 then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.

11 Jesus is

“‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’

12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

13 When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.

            What a beautiful combination of word and deed Gospel presentation.  By the way, I personally believe that God will use miracles in the lives of people God is calling to himself to help them have faith in Christ more than he will use miracles in the lives of believers to help increase their faith. 

            So Peter, full of the Spirit, did what?  He preached again the Gospel of salvation in Jesus Christ.


The end of Acts 4 tells us what happened to a whole bunch of people in the Jerusalem church after a prayer meeting in which they were again “filled with the Holy Spirit.”  Vs. 31-- After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.


Next we have Acts 6 and 7.  The beginning of Acts 6 talks about a problem of caring for the Grecian widows that had cropped up.  The church needed people to sort out the needs and help these widows out from the church resources.  So the Apostles gave this instruction in 6:2So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.”

            So what happened?  Well, Stephen was one of those chosen men.  And Acts 7 goes on to give us the story of his very bold and pointed preaching of the Gospel that actually ended up making him the first known martyr of the church. Acts 7 ends by telling us (again) that in his last moments, full of the Holy Spirit, he kept speaking about Jesus.  And Saul of Tarsus, who later became Paul the Apostle, was the one leading the charge and giving assent to his death by stoning. 

            Again, what did Spirit-filled believers do as a result of that filling?  The talked boldly about the Gospel.


I could go on and show you Acts 11:24 where Barnabas, a man said to be “full of the Holy Spirit”, has a profound impact upon people in Antioch.  The result is that “a great many people were added to the Lord,” (Acts 11:24).


You see the pattern?  When the people of God are filled with the Spirit of God, THE primary characteristic of that filling is bold speaking about Jesus Christ to people around them.

            Do you want to be part of a people of God, a church, that is “filled with the Holy Spirit?”  I do.  I want to be that kind of pastor, that kind of brother in Christ, that kind of friend to everyone I meet every day. 

            So how do you think God wants to get us to be a church “filled with the Holy Spirit”???  I think he’ll probably do it the same way he always has:

  • By asking his people to pray and wait on Him for a work of the Holy Spirit in them.
  • (Eph. 5) By waiting for his people to be those who walk in the light of new life in Jesus and live lives controlled by the Holy Spirit rather than fleshly desires and addictions. 


APP:  So, what should we do? 

  • Pray daily and throughout a day to be controlled/filled by/with the Holy Spirit and do whatever it takes to get free of other controlling tendencies in our lives.
  • Pray daily for boldness to share something of Christ with others, whether in word or deed…and let the power of God lose to do its work.