Preaching Articles

Whenever the subject of spiritual warfare is raised, there is a danger of falling into one of two extremes. On the one hand, it is easy to become paranoid, “seeing demons behind every tree” and giving Satan far more credit than he deserves. On the other hand, it is easy to become overly relaxed and essentially treat the spiritual realm as having no effect on our lives. 

Yet if there is a realm in which we should be aware of spiritual warfare, surely it is in the realm of preaching. Surely the enemy would love to disrupt or damage the proclamation of God’s Word, the presentation of the Gospel, the encouragement of believers and the praise of God.

First of all, spiritual warfare and the preacher. What tactics does the enemy use against us as preachers? Here are a few; perhaps you have others to add. 

One danger constantly facing us is that of pride, which leads to a lack of dependency on God. Then there is temptation to sin—how often do we face waves of temptation in areas of vulnerability while preparing to preach, or the day after we preach? Perhaps distraction is a tool of the enemy—things thrown in our path that keep us from the task at hand. Then there are lies, the discouragements meant to bring down our high goals with their high prayers.

I’d like to pursue this subject further, but let me ask you—what tactics does the enemy seem to employ in relation to your preaching ministry?

I’m sure I’m not alone in experiencing unusual technical difficulties before presenting, or out of the ordinary family tensions on a Sunday morning. Then there are the more overt attacks both before and after preaching. Not always, but sometimes. But if we are thinking about the work of the enemy, it is important to remember he can also target the listeners in a preaching event. Our ancient foe seeks to work woe on various fronts.

As 2 Corinthians 4:4 states, the enemy works to blind listeners to the gospel so they cannot see the truth. There is also the possibility of distraction before and during preaching, as well as discouragement whispered direct. I do not want to give any credit to an enemy who stands defeated, but it would be naive to ignore this dimension of preaching. We tremble not for him, but must be sure to stand firm in our role as God’s spokesmen.



Peter Mead is involved in the leadership team of a church plant in the UK. He serves as director of Cor Deo—an innovative mentored ministry training program—and has a wider ministry preaching and training preachers. He also blogs often at BiblicalPreaching.net and recently authored Pleased to Dwell: A Biblical Introduction to the Incarnation (Christian Focus, 2014). Follow him on Twitter

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Todd Hudnall

commented on Sep 4, 2013

Peter, thank you for the thoughtful comments. There is a joke that goes, "In the time of Jesus demons were primarily in pigs and people, now most demons are found in sound and video equipment." Funny but not the full story. We face a real adversary. From my experience and my observation I'd say pride and discouragement are constant temptations the enemy will try to trap the preacher in. Recently I was drawn to two classic cases of depression in the Scripture. One with Paul and the other with Elijah. In 2 Corinthians 1 we read of Paul despairing of life. It was in context of the great spiritual battle he faced in Asia (Ephesus). For Elijah depression hit him following his show down with the demon god's on Mount Carmel. Both men waged spiritual warfare and won the battle (1 Kings 18 and Acts 19). In both cases, they were immediately hit with severe depression. I believe part of it was a direct demonic counterattack. Based on the Scripture, observation and experience - I think the enemy will use different methods of attacking different spiritual leaders - but one of his most potent attacks is in the realm of bringing discouragement and depression.

Rev. Dr. Theophilus Lambo

commented on Sep 4, 2013

Thanks Peter for bringing up this challenging silent enemy unrecognized by most church leaders. I have been involved in the Ministry for over 65 years and have often wondered why many exalted servants of Christ Jesus fall. I never could understand this mystery until I became a servant of God and had to face the crowd-(mixture of crabs, lobsters, creeping things and fish, which were all caught in the net of John the Baptist) we have them all in the church. There are some churches, the Shepherd is the one that is being shepherd by the elders and the influential leaders of that particular where a Minister is posted to minister and he has to dance to their ways and not Christ's ways; so in essence with their lips they worship God, but their hearts are far from God. I have ministered in few small congregational churches and where we have the founders in the helm of affairs, the problem of warfare in the Sanctuary is more pronounced, as we find ourselves not wrestling against forces and spirits, but against the flesh. It is either speak the truth and face the consequences later on or mellow down the message given you by Christ and deny yourself of more spiritual grace. The founders and owners of small churches who also minister in these churches are faced with inevitable clash of personality presentation, ego, Kharmic desires and need to protect self interests or their investments in the Ministry since they tend to see that church as 'our own property' and NOT Christ's property, even though, they preach Paul planted and Apollo watered. For me, every time I am called to preach, it is like preparing to go to war, to face my trial. I never take any sermon for granted, no matter how familiar or friendly I am with my audience. My aim is always to deliver an inspirational message that will touch their hearts and bring them closer to God. I then surrender myself completely to Christ from the time I pick up my pen to write my sermon, to the time I deliver my message and say the grace. Strangely enough, I always experience a sense of relief as soon as finish as if a load has been lifted off my chest. Each sermon prepared and delivered is like going before the Throne of Grace for interview whether I will pass or be condemned. I have seen many preachers fall and humbled but I thank God, I learn everyday from the mistakes and misfortunes of my fellow chosen brothers and sisters in the Ministry. Many shall call Lord, Lord but not all will surely enter the kingdom of heaven.

Daniel Leavitt

commented on Sep 4, 2013

Kharmic desires?

Rev. Dr. Theophilus Lambo

commented on Sep 4, 2013

Thanks for your observation. The error was also noted but after the comment was submitted and could not be edited.

Rev. Dr. Theophilus Lambo

commented on Sep 4, 2013

Please note; there is a typographical error to be corrected. The word 'Kharmic desires' is meant to be 'carnal desires'. The error was not spotted until after the comment has been submitted. Sorry it was not possible to edit the comment.

Daniel Leavitt

commented on Sep 4, 2013

Thanks for the article. Sometimes we diminish the ugliness and corruption of Satan in our churches. As annoying as technical glitches are to the overall flow of the show, we sometimes ignore the fact that Satan really wants us dead.

Sheila Bowling

commented on Sep 4, 2013

Just last week I was mowing and run into a wire that we use as a dog runner. The wire caught the front end of the riding mower and flipped it. The blade shut off and I am only bruised up and sore. All this happened the same day that I had to preach that evening. Glory to God, the Word went forth. Enemy attack possibly to see how I would respond?

Anna Figueiro

commented on Sep 4, 2013

In the battle God sends His angels to minister to us though. I can handle the sound glitches and techno malfunctions, but when Satan uses people, good Christian folk to attack us, I sometimes am thrown off balance. We are an elderly, small/medium church and love to have young families with children, or so I thought. A crying child can really bring out the best and the worst in people and dealing with that battle is no fun. Any wise words?

Samson Omitade

commented on Sep 4, 2013

In this part of the world where syncretism is prevailing, it is a spiritual war when you preach against idol worship. Many will be happy with you in as much as don't preach against idolatry, the moment you do, you will incur the wrath of many even among church members. But the fact remains - the truth of the Gospel must be preached undiluted and let devil do his worst . S. O. Omitade

Derrick Tuper

commented on Sep 4, 2013

Good article. We need to be aware of the pulpit as an attack zone. As Todd spoke of the mishaps in video and sound it made me think of all the other issues and disruptions that can come about during the service; especially during the sermon. We've dealt with outbursts and even had to involve the police to have someone removed from a service. And then you have to try to regain your focus along with trying to regain everyone else's focus. But that can serve to work against the enemy. When it's obvious that Satan is trying to mess things up it can serve as a motivator to be more passionate, as if to say, 'you're not going to win this one, satan.' As in the case with the individual that had to be removed from service I was able to use it in the sermon regarding being willing to minister to all people, even the difficult ones.

Simon Mutura

commented on Sep 5, 2013

I most cases devil like to use women on Sunday or the previous day when you are prepared to preach thank you for your encouragement we should be aware of this tactics the he normally use

Anonymous

commented on Sep 5, 2013

Praise the Lord, Could you please elaborate on "the devil like to use women on Sunday...." I did not get a clear understanding of. Thank you.

Charles Ingwe

commented on Sep 5, 2013

Todd Hudnall, woo! Just on the spot in my case. I have experienced much attacks in the realm of discouragement and depression.

Anonymous

commented on Sep 5, 2013

Much, much spiritual warrior sure has happened in the pulpit from my own personal experiences. Being a woman for one has caused great warfare for me, as well as remarks of you're a women and God don't call women to preach, to feelings of in-adequateness, to evils looks and ugly remarks and many other degrading things which have been an ongoing battle even years later. But thanks be to God who always cause us (me) to triumph in Christ.... Hallelujah and thank you Jesus.

Julian Johnson

commented on Nov 26, 2013

I am all too familiar with this element in the pulpit. Just this past Sunday I had an attack where I got light headed in the middle of the message. This has happened before, but the saints began to pray and I made it through my sermon. I always make sure I eat, have plenty if liquids, even Gatorade while preaching. I've been to the doctor and have had a complete physical and blood work done and they can find nothing wrong. I'm certain that it's spiritual because when I finish the message, someone always gives their life to the Lord. I'd like to see more articles like this that will help us overcome warfare in the pulpit.

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