Preaching with the Spirit’s power?

And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. (1 Corinthian 2:1-5, NIV)

I have not been pleased with my preaching recently, so my morning devotional reading today caught my attention. When I feel as if my ministry is muddled in the mire, my first instinct is often to turn to human wisdom and technique. I start pulling books off the shelf by experts and successful preachers to look for ideas and methods.

This is not wrong, but Paul reminds me that it is not exactly right either. Paul preached only Christ and preached with the Spirit’s power.

So, here is the question. What does the Spirit’s power look like when it attends your preaching?

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9 thoughts on “Preaching with the Spirit’s power?

  1. Have you ever read Benny Hinn? He goes off the reservation occasionally, I’m not even sure he’s on TV now, but his books describe how one preaches with the aid, probably better to say “under the command of”, the Holy Spirit. I have always found him to be eloquent on this topic.

    1. Have you ever read Benny Hinn’s prophesies that never came to be?
      Orlando Christian Center, Dec. 31st, 1989.

      1. Not aware of his prophesies. There are many aspects of his behavior to criticize but my point remains…he is an example of a spirit-inspired preacher and writes about this in some detail in his books. I have the impression that a certain amount of personal chaos and rashness is fairly common among this group of ministers, as if spirit filled living may also attract a negative force. Would be interested in your thoughts.

  2. I sometimes say that God “enables” my bad habits because He gives me a better word than I deserved to have based on how prepared I was. I do struggle a lot with the question of crafting a sermon vs listening to the Spirit. Not saying they’re mutually exclusive but it feels like there’s a mainlinish approach that is rhetorically more polished and lacks fire almost for that reason. When I listen to sermons, I’m drawn in a lot more by the preacher’s conviction than clever metaphors or cute stories.

  3. I will echo some of what Morgan said – there are times when what I write in preparation for the sermon is nowhere near what finally gets printed. And there are times when what I say has a degree of conviction to it that cannot be found in what was written. There are times when I will experience emotion that I wasn’t prepared for and I can only related that to the presence of the Spirit in my words and works.

    I don’t think that you can prepare for such moments but have to be ready. You have to write and prepare as much from your mind as your heart and when that is done, the Spirit will be there.

  4. I can’t answer your question but I can tell you if one reflects on the enormous responsibility given they should be preaching without apology.

    I have a question.
    How many times did Wesley record a specific movement of the Spirit of God in him?
    Those, I believe, are rare occurrences.

    Offices of the church are distinct and hold different responsibilities and powers.
    Results anticipated and goals to reach are very different and one should not expect a pastor to achieve the same results an apostle achieves, Their authority is not the same.
    Their duties are not the same.

    “And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrations, varieties of tongues.1 Corinthians 12:28

    Christ:
    “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.  And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-20…Matthew 18:18

    They would speak with the authority of God. They would act on the authority of God and what they spoke would stick.
    They would be responsible for setting forth the terms of entrance into the King of Kings kingdom
    They are apostles.

    Example:
    “A young man Eutychus, overcome by sleep falls from the third story and was pronounced dead. 
    10 But Paul went down, fell on him, and embracing him said, “Do not trouble yourselves, for his life is in him.” Acts 20
    Paul was an apostle

  5. A word of caution is in order here, John. Most of what we do in the pulpit on Sunday morning IS NOT preaching. It is teaching. Teaching is primarily the fruit of study. We can craft sermons and prepare for them. Teaching predominates in institutionalized Christianity.

    Preaching, on the other hand, occurs as a spontaneous outpouring of God’s word spoken by one who is exercising the spiritual gift of prophesy (speaking the Word of God). Preaching is primarily the fruit of prayer. Some of my best preaching occurred in settings outside of the pulpit on Sunday morning.

    God’s Word spoken today has the same effect that it has always had. It creates, and transforms. It heals, and saves. It is sharper than a two-edged sword.

    Instead of turning to the books on your shelf to empower your preaching, turn to God. Devote yourself to prayer.

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