06 December 2010

The Question of Questions for Preachers

Our brother Zack Eswine:
I was reminded today of an old out of print volume by a forgotten preacher. The English is old but the question for us who preach is paramount.

"The habit of regarding sermons as mere works of art, is hardening both to preacher and hearer; making the former an iron automaton that speaks mechanically; the latter a leviathan to which 'sling-stones become stubble.' The question of questions is this: Dost thou O, Spirit of Life, deny, or dost thou vouchsafe thy gracious presence? For without Thee the greatest of our sermons will be but little better than the Fisherman's sword, or the Son of Thunder’s prayer for lightning; but with Thee, the smallest of our preachments will be an authentic successor of the apostle Peter's Pentecost sermon, and thus mightily serve to fulfill the Patmos visions of St. John the Divine. Enable us then, first of all, to answer this life-and-death question."

The life and death question in his mind was this: 'Is the Spirit of Jesus with us in our preaching or isn’t He?' If the answer is no, then our preaching is nothing more than human art, empty of any other purpose or power. If He is, then even the weakest of our preachings can become, in His hands, the power to change a soul and a generation.

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