Many years ago at four o’clock in the morning over several days in my hotel room in New Zealand, God woke me up and continuously dealt with me about focusing on the call, focusing on preaching and teaching the word of God and not be sidetracked by people’s expectations into things they feel they need but to which I am not called; the anointing is in the place of gifting. Certainly there is a place for many kinds of activities in the ministry but a minister must focus on his call and teach his hearers to value and pay attention to the word that is preached. Our preaching cannot be entertainment that the people enjoy and promptly discount. And it behooves the preacher to preach with power, with purpose and with the express intent of being an ‘oracle’ of God whether his speech pleases his hearers or not. We represent the people to God but more than anything we represent God to the people, we must speak His mind, carry His word, reveal His word, impart that word of life that saves, heals, delivers and sets free, that word, according to Jeremiah, that is like fire and breaks the rocks in pieces.
It did so in the time of Moses, when God required that they would bind His word to their hearts, carry it about with them, write it on their doorposts; it did so in the time of Jesus who preached with an authority that astounded His generation; it turned the murderous Saul into a foremost preacher of the very gospel he had persecuted, it turned the cowardly Peter into a giant, it transformed even some of those who chanted ‘crucify him’ into disciples of the cross. It took this one God-hating Bible condemning, too smart for her own good heathen and turned her into a lover of Jesus. I have seen lives radically changed, sickness healed, hurts removed under the anointed preaching of God’s word, when the people choose to receive it.
Someone asked Billy Graham what advice he would give to preachers, he said ‘pray and study’; in his autobiography he said if he had to do anything over again he would pray more and study more; to what purpose, to preach. [tweetthis remove_url=”true” remove_hidden_urls=”true”]In some churches people hold conversations, they do not wish to be preached to. No preacher has authority to speak to them.[/tweetthis]. They consider their opinion equally valid. I imagine a medical class where freshmen consider themselves apt to argue with the professor about the human anatomy and the principles of diagnosis; in every other place men recognize truth outside of themselves save in matters relating to God.
And so we preach, and we preach, and we preach, we teach, explain Christ, truth, doctrine, that men may hear; we correct, reprove, egged on by the apostle Paul, that the truth may be plain to all, and that we may like Paul with a clear conscience say ‘I am innocent of the blood of all men’. God has chosen to save, through ‘the foolishness of preaching’. A minister must focus on preaching, he cannot do too much of it, and he can never do it too well. For no matter how well we do it, we still face the frustration of preaching. It is a minister with little revelation of God who can be utterly pleased with his own preaching. Do we not all sense our inadequacy in describing the indescribable, in speaking the unspeakable; in communicating the true measure of the One we sup with daily and who has utterly captivated our hearts?
And is it not true that when all is said and done, and we have preached, pontificated and panted, we still know deep within that we have not spoken a quarter of what we know, an eighth of what could have been said and even an infinitesimal portion of all there is to know? It is divine grace that He saves through preaching. It is a grace it would behoove us to pay attention to. We ought to listen to every sermon as though we had never heard the preacher before, to hear every verse as if we were only just making its acquaintance, to meditate on every message as though it were, and it is, Gods chosen method of shaping and transforming our lives, and that is the triumph of preaching.