Preaching Is Tricky Business

Preaching is tricky business. If you try to do it yourself, you’re going to miss what God is trying to say. If you try to be too systematic, exerting all your Bible College knowledge, Greek and Hebrew, Hermeneutics, Homiletics, and so on, you’re going to miss it. If you try to be completely postmodern and relevant you will also miss it. The first causes you to get caught up in your own knowledge of the technicalities of Scripture. If you use this method, you will miss the plain message which God is trying to speak through his Word. The second causes you to water down the message of the Word of God for the sake of winning the approval of people. If you use this method you may preach a nice sounding message but no lives will be changed.

Now preaching by the Spirit of God, this is something completely different. The Spirit may move you to use the knowledge you gained in Bible College. And the Spirit will most certainly enable you to make a good application of the message of Scripture. But when preaching by the Spirit of God you are no longer concerned with yourself or with pleasing others, but only with being obedient to God. You no longer have a puffed-up head concerned with your own knowledge, and you no longer care if people like what you have to say. The prophets never relied on their own knowledge. “You must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never has its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit” (2 Peter 1:20-21). Neither did they care what the crowd thought about the word being proclaimed. As the Lord commanded Ezekiel, “Say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says.’ And whether they listen or fail to listen – for they are a rebellious house – they will know that a prophet has been among them (Ezekiel 2:4-5). The prophets spoke only out of obedience.

Are you still ministering under your own understanding, or striving to please people above God? Don’t do it. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight” (Proverbs 3:5-6).

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