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The Holy Spirit and Gospel Evangelism

Ray Pritchard pastored in Los Angeles, Dallas and Chicago. Married to Marlene for 38 years, he enjoys being a husband, a father and a grandfather, riding his bike, and playing with Dudley and Gary, beloved basset hounds.

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A friend from overseas sent the following email several days ago:
What is the relevancy of the Holy Spirit in the gospel message in our times? I am working on a paper but would appreciate to get different views from different scholars.

I am not a scholar, but I am happy to offer my brief thoughts on this vital question. Here is what I wrote back to my friend:
The Holy Spirit is the power behind all effective evangelism. He is the one who gives wisdom and blessing and unction to those who preach, he is the one who illuminates the mind of the hearers so they can understand the gospel, he is the one who creates conviction of sin, and he is the one who draws lost sinners to Christ. Without the Holy Spirit, we could preach forever and no one would be saved.

An old hymn puts it this way: "All is vain unless the Spirit of the Holy One comes down." That’s right. All is in vain without the Holy Spirit. And remember that he blows like the wind—John 3:8. We cannot control the Spirit nor do we know where or when or how he will blow next. Thus we are humbled and reduced to dependence upon the Lord. Although God has ordained that it is by preaching of the gospel that people are saved, it is not our preaching that saves anyone. We must have the Holy Spirit’s power or nothing of eternal good will ever be accomplished.

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