Preaching with A Soul on Fire: A Necessity!
Devotional/Discussion Thought of the Day:
27 God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. 28 So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ. 29 To get this done I toil and struggle, using the mighty strength which Christ supplies and which is at work in me. Colossians 1:27-29 (TEV)
14 But even if you should suffer for doing what is right, how happy you are! Do not be afraid of anyone, and do not worry. 15 But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you, 1 Peter 3:14-15 (TEV)
815 You have seen very clearly your vocation to love God, but only with your head. You assure me that you have put your heart into the way you are following. But you say that you are distracted at times, and even attempt to look back. That is a sign that you have not completely put your heart into it. You need to be more sensitive! (1)
The second requisite for effective preaching is that the preacher not only himself believe the things he preaches to others, but that his heart be full of the truths which he proclaims, so that he enters his pulpit with the ardent desire to pour out his heart to his hearers. He must have an enthusiastic grasp, in the right sense of the word, of his subject. Then his hearers get the impression that the words dropping from his lips are flames from a soul on fire. That does not mean that the Word of God must receive its power and life from the living faith of the preacher; for the Lord says distinctly: “The words that I speak, they are spirit, and they are life.” John 6:63. Moreover, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews says: “The Word of God is quick and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.” Heb. 4:12. But when a preacher proclaims what he has ever so often experienced in his own heart, he easily finds the right words to speak convincingly to his hearers. Coming from the heart, his words, in turn, go to the hearts of his hearers, according to the good old saying: Pectus disertum facit, that is, it is the heart that makes eloquent. This does not mean the artificial eloquence acquired in a school of elocution, but the sane spiritual art of reaching the hearts of hearers. For when the hearers get the impression that the preacher is in full and dread earnest, they feel themselves drawn with an irresistible force to pay the closest attention to what the preacher is teaching in his sermon. That is the reason why many simple, less gifted, and less learned preachers accomplish more than the most highly gifted and profoundly learned men. (1)
In our midweek Bible Study, I have been teaching about preaching this summer. Not because my people are going to preach from the pulpit, but because:
1) It will help them interact with the sermon/homily more, and therefore benefit from it more
2) It may help me grow in the area of preaching>
As we are going through a very elemental book on the craft of preaching, I came across the quote above in blue. I very well may take the italicised part of that and hang it above my desk, It is to become a goal of mine, knowing the context from where the quote comes.
I want people to know what I know, the presence of God. Gosh I want them to know it.
Because it seems to me the only way to survive this life. To get through things like I’ve gone through in life. the pains, the surgeries, the anxieties, the pain. To deal with things like the sin which the author of Hebrews says so easily ensnares us. For it does, and the grief and shame of our own sin can crush us, and resentment towards those who sin against us can tear our souls apart.
To be able to deal with death, something I’ve had to deal with since a child, my own hovering over me, and later, ministering to those who are dieing, and those who were left behind. Knowing God’s promises are the only way to deal with that pressure. To deal with demons as well, both those who are figurative, the idols we create that drag our life’s focus from God, and the real one’s who work to destroy our life by attempting to destroy our relationship with God. We see both of those demons at work today, although we can never quite be sure which is which… both are real.
I love Escriva’s words, and I Pray mine would encourage people to believe with their heart (as Paul talks about in Romans 10), to know God, and relate to Him as their Lord, as their Savior. Not to just know about Him.
Can a sermon be passionate, charismatic, full of zeal and dripping with flames from a soul on fire?
It can, if the pastor, the priest, the preacher has been broken and by God’s loving kindness is healing.
For as we heal – we begin to see the height, the depth, the breadth and the width of the love of God, revealed to us all in Christ Jesus.
That’s preaching…. that’s proclaiming.
And our people, not from pulpits, but in their homes, and their workplaces, in restaurants, coffee shops, in line at Walmart, will begin to do the same.
For such is our glory, the hope that we have in Christ Jesus….
And may we share it with zealous love.
(1) Escriva, Josemaria (2011-01-31). Furrow (Kindle Locations 3361-3364). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.
(2) Walther, C. F. W., Dau, W. H. T., & Eckhardt, E. (2000). The proper distinction between law and gospel: 39 evening lectures (electronic ed., p. 112). Saint Louis: Concordia Publishing House.
Posted on August 15, 2014, in Devotions, The Furrow and tagged brokenness, CFW Walther, Evangelism, Heart, Homiletics, Homily, Martin Luther, preaching, sermons, Souls, St Josemara Escriva. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.