Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
July 12, 1962
NUMBER 10, PAGE 6,11b,14b

Spiritual Power Our Greatest Need

Geo. Welsh Tyler

The lack of spirituality in the church has become appalling. We have reached the point where trust is placed in material things — organization, education and money. Many local congregations have come to believe that if they have a smooth-running organization, a fine expensive church building, a highly educated preacher in the pulpit, a cultured congregation in the pews and have raised their budget for the year they have completely fulfilled their duty to God and Christ. They need to learn that "a man's life (or that of a congregation) consisteth not in the abundance of the things he (or it) possesseth" Lk. 12:15.

1. We Need The Power Of Deep Conviction.

The apostles preached the gospel without fear or favor. The preaching of Peter and John in Solomon's porch is an outstanding example of the fearlessness of the apostles. In spite of very powerful opposition and threatened bodily harm as recorded in Acts third, fourth and fifth chapters and in Acts 5:41 it was written they "rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the Name." They never preached with their fingers crossed or with their tongues in their cheeks. As I read the biographies of Alexander Campbell, Raccoon John Smith, Walter Scott, James O'Kelly, Benjamin Franklin and other pioneers of the Restoration Movement, I was deeply impressed with the fact that none of them preached with "mental reservations" of any kind.

In their minds there was no doubt as to the truthfulness of the gospel message which they felt impelled to deliver to those dead in their trespasses and sins The strong evidence of the resurrection of Christ led them to unreservedly accept the deity of Christ. They, like their Saviour, were kind and loving toward all men, not willing that any should perish; but, that all should come to know the Lord. In their preaching and thinking there was no compromise with false doctrines or vain philosophies of man. The apostles were guided by the Holy Spirit in what they said as promised by the Saviour (Jno. 14:26) and the Restoration pioneers gained their knowledge directly from the Word of God which the apostles wrote to direct all gospel teachers and preachers as well as to furnish instruction for all who become children of God. In both instances they preached only their deep convictions.

II. We Need the Spiritual Power That Alone Comes From Prayerful Study of God's Holy Word Consider these words, "Give diligence to present thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth" 2 Tim. 2:15. Again, "Every scripture inspired of God is also profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for instruction which is in righteousness: that the man of God may be complete, furnished completely unto every good work" 2 Tim. 3:16, 17. These scriptures contain the secret of powerful preaching, strong churches and furnish us with the only adequate weapon with which to meet the spiritual problems of this decadent generation. Every preacher and teacher should study the sermons of Christ and His apostles because they reasoned from the Scriptures. They should also study the sermons of the Restoration pioneers because, they too, were able to give to all men a reason for the hope that was within them.

III. We Need The Power That Comes From Prayer:

We need the power that comes from earnest prayer because it "availeth much in its workings." The apostles prayed and "the place was shaken wherein they were gathered together; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spake the word of God with boldness" Acts 4:31. Paul and Silas praying and singing praises unto God were liberated from the Philippian prison and then converted the jailer Acts 16:19-35. Paul asked the church at Thessalonica to pray for him, Silvanus and Timothy and "that the word of the Lord may run and be glorified even as also it is with you; and that we may be delivered from unreasonable and evil men" 2 Thess. 3:1, 2. To the Hebrews Paul wrote, "Pray for us." Heb. 13:18. The early church prayed and Peter was released from prison even though he was under strong guard Acts 12:3-12. Many times the apostles admonished Christians to "pray without ceasing"; "continue steadfastly in prayer"; "pray at all seasons" and such like expressions. Jesus said, "Men ought always to pray" Lk. 18:1. Jesus said to His disciples, "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he send forth laborers into his field" Matt. 9:38. The biographies of the pioneer leaders in the Restoration Movement indicate that they were men of prayer.

James wrote, "The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much" Jas. 5:10 AR.V. The literal translation of this passage is, "The inwrought prayer of the righteous man availeth much." It is the sincere prayer that springs from the heart of man that avails with God. Only this kind of prayer will get results. Do we want to see the world brought to Christ? Do we want God's richest blessing to rest upon His church, His truth and His people? Then we must very earnestly pray that His will be done and diligently and faithfully work to bring this about. Some one has said, "More things are wrought by prayer than the world dreams about." We believe that if the Restoration of "all things according to the pattern" is ever accomplished it will be ushered in and sustained by the power of prayer.

IV. We Need the Power That Comes From Godly Living.

The early church was exactly what the word "ecclesia" means — "a called out assembly." In His farewell prayer Jesus said of His disciples, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world" Jno. 17:16. The "called out" are separated from things of this world and are to not again entangle themselves with them. Paul wrote to the Corinthian brethren, "Come ye out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord" 2 Cor. 0:17. Why do this, Paul? "Ye are our epistle, written in our hearts, known and read of all men; being made manifest that ye are an epistle of Christ" 2 Cor. 3:2, 3. To the Ephesians he wrote, "Walk as children of light for the fruit of light is in all goodness" Eph. 5:9, 10. Jesus said of the trees, "By their fruits ye shall know them" Matt. 7:20. The Christian is expected by the people of the world to not let himself be lured into doing things that bring shame, disgrace and dishonor upon Christ and the church of which He is the head. When he yields to temptation his influence for good is ruined.

V. We Need The Power That Comes From Concern Over A Lost World

The church of the first century operated under the conviction that "all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." ROM. 3:23 A.R.V. Also that the wages of sin is death; but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord" Rom. 8:23. The attitude of the early church toward sinners is expressed in the words of the apostle Paul, "Woe is unto me if I preach not the gospel" I Cor. 9:18. In the face of very bitter persecution "they that were scattered abroad went about preaching the word" Acts 8:4. They sincerely believed in the Christ and that "in none other is there salvation: for neither is there any other name under heaven, that is given among men, wherein we must be saved." Acts 4:12. They sat and listened to sermons that lasted till midnight without a whimper Acts 20:7: but, many of our twentieth century Christians begin to scowl very badly if a sermon lasts longer than thirty minutes, and if it does they won't come back next Lord's day because the preacher preaches entirely too long.


We need many more consecrated, sincere, diligent, hum-gospel [sic], more highly educated preachers or more money. We need, many more consecrated, sincere, diligent, humble prayerful workers, in the fields white for the harvest and the proper handling of the funds now at hand. The church is the only organization through which the gospel can be taken to the lost world. We need the latent spiritual power of every true Christian, however humble, and every congregation regardless of its size. When people who have confessed Christ, as God's Son and act like they actually believe it; when all the professed lovers of God's word will study it faithfully and very prayerfully and fervently declare it; when all who have named the name of Christ will pray in His name and live for Him; and when all who claim His salvation will show real concern for the lost; then and not till then, will the world be taken for Christ.