by David & Stephen Olford
Text: "For it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost" (Mark 13:11; read verses 9 through 13)
Thought: To insure that witnessing should be carried out by His disciples, the Lord Jesus promised the power of the Holy Spirit. He declared, "Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the Earth" (Acts 1:8).
No conscientious Christian can ever excuse himself from witnessing because of reticence, nervousness, shyness, or any other trumped-up reason. Indeed, even in the hour of emergency the Lord has promised to be our sufficiency through the Holy Spirit. It is in this context of emergency that the words of our text occur: "for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost." The Master was warning His followers that in the course of their witness and testimony there would come times when they would be caught and delivered up before rulers and kings to be judged. In emergencies of this kind, however, He reassured them that there was nothing to fear, for the Holy Spirit was adequate:
1. He would anticipate the Word: "Take no thought beforehand what ye shall speak" (v. 11). He is the omniscient One, and therefore knows the exact word for the right moment. If only we relied more and more on the Holy Spirit, how relevant and authoritative would be our witness.
2. He would formulate the word: "Neither do ye premeditate" (v.11). It is one thing to know what ought to be said, but quite another how to say it. It is often how a thing is said that wins the day. So once again the Holy Spirit is our answer in our moment of need.
3. He would articulate the Word: "For it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost" (v.11). We all know what it is to be tongue-tied! What to say is in our minds, even how to say it is clear, but the tongue just will not function! But Jesus promised that this is when the Holy Ghost would take over. Paul reminds us in 2 Cor. 3:17: "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." It is interesting to note, moreover, that wherever the Holy Spirit's fullness is referred to in the New Testament, it is always associated with speaking and singing and release (see Eph. 5:18 and 19).
Thrust: In Our daily witness our sufficiency in the hour of opportunity or emergency is the Holy Spirit.
David Olford teaches expository preaching at Union University's
Stephen Olford Center in Memphis, Tennessee