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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Preaching Part 2

A Word about the Preacher

Before continuing, let me add the side-note that it is not merely the text of Scripture that matters in preaching, but the one delivering the message as well. In order to integrate the mind’s understanding of the Word and the heart’s response, the one delivering the message ought to have first encountered similar delight in preparation to deliver the message. In her book, Storytelling Laura Emerson says, “Be wholehearted and enthusiastic. Don’t tell things without making them real.” Emerson taught that “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.” Impression precedes expression…When you are intimate with the characters and the sequence of events and catch the spirit of the narrative, storytelling will become the spontaneous outpouring of this experience.” Obviously there is more to Biblical preaching than storytelling. But these thoughts could be true of preaching – the impact of preaching will be far greater if the one delivering the message has first become intimate with the text of the Living Word, and has found personal nourishment in its pages.

“The storyteller needs Love of God. For if one has love of God in one’s heart it will follow that he will also have love of his fellow man. For without love we become as “sounding brass or tinkling symbols.” (Insall)

“What my people need most is my personal holiness.” (Bonar, quoting M’Cheyene, 258)

No one can give expression to more than is in his own soul.” - S. S. Curry

Obviously it is a serious and important task to deliver God’s Word to the minds and hearts of a gathering of believers on a regular basis. The responsibility to receive the Word is neither solely on the hearer’s shoulders or those of the preacher. Spurgeon was once asked about the secret of his ministry. He paused for a moment and then said, simply, “My people pray for me.” Perhaps the lives of the hearers and the powerful impact of the preaching would be deepened if the matter of faithful prayer on behalf of the preacher was seriously considered.

With that in mind, the words of Peter the Apostle are appropriate:

“Whoever speaks, let it be as one who speaks oracles of God…by the strength that God supplies- in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To Him be glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:11

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