There is something else about preaching……
Great biblical preaching and preparation are indispensable to the church. But I have noticed sometimes that an untrained, unlettered lay person has stood up and stammered their way through a sermon. Breaking all the rules of commentaries and seminaries they have ended up, nonetheless highly impacting their listeners.
"And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual."
1 Corinthians 2:13
What on earth is going on? Of course I have seen the same result from highly qualified preachers, but not always and sometimes not often. I think we need to consider the involvement of the Holy Spirt in our preaching. Because when we do amazing stuff happens.
I remember the late David Watson once saying ninety percent of what is happening in the church can continue to happen without the Holy Spirit. That is frightening. The question then is raised – How then do we get our sermons saturated in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit?
Actually I don’t know! - but offer the following points for consideration.
- Put listening to the Spirit of God ahead of technical perfection. In Acts 4 verse 13 we read: 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. When we have been with Jesus our schooling takes a supportive but not primary role.
- Hearing from the Spirit will not disagree with scripture. If you get some great insight then this is the time to check it out. If it is not scriptural then you got it wrong. But when it checks out don’t tangle your insight all up. Keep the simple direction from God intact.
- Surrender to God. Reschedule your time with God prioritising it above all else. Come to the quiet for it is in there that good sermons are birthed. It is in surrendering to God that we preach out of that relationship by the Spirit of God: It is said of DL MOODY:-Henry Varley, a very intimate friend of Mr. Moody in the earlier days of his work, loved to tell how he once said to him: "It remains to be seen what God will do with a man who gives himself up wholly to Him." I am told that when Mr. Henry Varley said that, Mr. Moody said to himself: "Well, I will be that man."
- What you wear when you preach is really important – I of course am not talking about clothing but humility. Colossians3 verse 12Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.
- None of the above are excuses for poor preparation but they are not add-ons they are prerequisites.
Maybe I can close with a small commentary on the Welsh revival which will promote thoughts beyond the content of this small article:
Daivd Morgan preached at Devil’s Bridge on New Year’s Day, 1859 A veteran minister described the event,
"The evening service was terrible. So near was the revivalist to his God that none could gaze steadfastly at him. Many of the hearers swooned. On the way home I dared not break the silence for miles. Towards midnight I ventured to say, 'Didn't we have blessed meetings, Mr. Morgan?' 'Yes.' he replied; and after a pause, added, 'The Lord would give us great things if He could only trust us'. 'What do you mean?' I asked. 'If he could only trust us not to steal the glory for ourselves.' Then the midnight air rang with his cry, at the top of his voice, 'Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory'."
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