Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.

It Was a Powerful Church Service

Summary: Do services at your church regularly manifest the mighty power of the Holy Spirit? By following a few simple biblical principles, your congregation can frequently find itself saying, "That was a great service!"

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A pastor I know once said, “It was a powerful service; I preached!

•• He said it in humble jest, of course, but he spoke much truth as well.

•• God’s desire for every gathering of South Valley Church is that we can leave the building saying, “It was a powerful church service! We experienced anointed preaching, prayed powerful prayers, and saw divine healings and other manifestations of God's power."

•• But one reason it will be a great church service is that God’s people, like the preacher quoted above, wait on the Lord to be used by the Holy Spirit.

Zechariah 4:6  So he said to me, “This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.

•• Not by might or power, but by God's Spirit!
“Not by might or power” — The point? Man's skills, man’s abilities, man’s fluency with words, will not make this a powerful service. What will make this a great service is the presence and manifestation of Holy Ghost ministry and Holy Ghost power.

1 Corinthians 3:18-19a  Do not deceive yourselves. If any one of you thinks he is wise by the standards of this age, he should become a “fool” so that he may become wise. [19a] For the wisdom of this world is foolishness in God’s sight.

• Holy Spirit-anointed services will not be built on man’s wisdom or skills.
•• ‘Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the LORD Almighty.
• I cannot lead this church, I will fail terribly, unless my ministry is by the Spirit — not by my intellect or my degrees, but God's Holy Spirit.

• You will not be a blessed addition to the church service just by showing up. You will be a blessing by showing up having waited upon the LORD to be used by His Holy Spirit.

Acts 21:3-4, KJV  [4] And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

•• They “said to Paul through the Spirit...” that's what we need more of on Sunday mornings!
• “Thus says Pastor Jim” may be nice, it may be entertaining, but it won’t be powerful!

• In a men’s meeting in an eastern state once, I was moved to “say” to a man “by the Spirit” — “Go back to Alaska.” He did, and God has blessed his life.

• In 1971 I was mistakenly moving towards what I thought was a call as an evangelist, when a man of God said to me through the Spirit, “Teacher!” It changed my life for good.

• The Church needs more “saying through the Spirit” and less saying our own ideas.

1 Corinthians 12:7-11  Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. [8] To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, [9] to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, [10] to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. [11] All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

•• The manifestation of the Spirit is to profit us. The manifestation of the Spirit is "for the common good".
• If man can say or do it by himself, it is not a gift of the Spirit given to profit us.

Healings, prophecies, miracles... — these “are the work of one and the same Spirit, not of man's abilities.

• And it is these that make for a powerful service.

1 Corinthians 14:24-25  But if an unbeliever or someone who does not understand comes in while everybody is prophesying, he will be convinced by all that he is a sinner and will be judged by all, [25] and the secrets of his heart will be laid bare. So he will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, “God is really among you!”

•• If people come in and hear us talking, testifying, sharing, etc., they may or may not be blessed. They can find that in any non-Spirit-filled church.
• But if they come in and hear people giving anointed prophecies, words of knowledge, etc., that is what drives them to proclaim, “God is really among you!”

• Isn’t that the kind of impact we desire to have?

1 Corinthians 14:26  What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.

•• I can “share” with people anywhere — over coffee, breakfast, a hamburger, etc.

•• But people can come to the church service to experience God, not me!

•• And God has determined to meet with us in 3 ways:
(1) His anointed Word, preached and taught.

(2) in Holy Spirit-inspired worship

(3) and in the supernatural gifts of the Holy Spirit.

“All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.” These are what make a powerful service, where people cry out, “God is here!”

Revelation 1:10  On the Lord's day I was in the Spirit, and I heard behind me a loud voice like a trumpet.

•• Make that your aim — on the Lord’s Day to be “in the Spirit.” Come to church that way.
• Same thing for Wednesday evening services.

How will we experience powerful services time and again?

• When we remind ourselves, it is not by my might, not by my power or abilities, but by God’s Holy Spirit.

• When we remember that the highest levels of this world’s wisdom are still “foolishness” in God’s sight.

• When we continually desire to emulate those early disciples who “said [things] to Paul through the Spirit.”

• When we remember that it is the “manifestation of the Spirit” that profits us, not the human abilities of the leaders or the saints.

• When we remember that people will see that “God is really among you” when His Spirit is moving.

• When we are willing to let go of “nice” things and things we ourselves can do well, and instead rely on God to anoint the church service through His Word, in worship, and in genuine, supernatural gifts of His Spirit.

• When we, like John in Revelation 1, find ourselves often “in the Spirit” on the Lord’s day as we gather as a church.

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©2004, James H. Feeney.
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Pentecostal Sermons and Bible Studies
by Pastor Jim Feeney, Ph.D.