Thursday, April 19, 2012

Quotable Quote of the Day

"For there is nothing so boring, stale, flat and unprofitable as holy things retailed in the absence of the Spirit. This is one of the devil's most cunning tricks, to cause the Word of God to be dispensed by lazy, sleepy, moribund creatures, who find preaching the most burdensome part of their work and cannot help showing it. I have heard people praying, preaching and teaching and have been so desolated and my heart has been so opposed to the whole depressing exercise, that I almost wished the things they said were not true so that I could refute them. The whole soul of man, even ungodly man, cries out against the Word of God as a dead thing."

--William Still in "The Work of the Pastor", page 26.

Something about this quote resonates in my soul. There is little that is more tragic than men preaching the great truths of God's Word in a way that sounds like someone reading the stock quotes from the Wall Street Journal. Since these truths are reality, we ought to preach with some fire, some passion, some unction. It's part of Satan's deception that men who preach false doctrine preach with more passion than those who have the truth. It's part of their appearance as "ministers of righteousness" who are nothing more than ministers of darkness (2 Cor. 11:14-15).

It is more than just preaching passionately, but from the springs of living water that one draws from one's own well. I have heard street preaching which is as original as an infomercial and perhaps just as spontaneous. It is very carefully choreographed and rehearsed because it is the same message that has been preached 100 times before. Many times, it is a collection of random one-liners and zingers collected from other street or pulpit preachers forced into a template. To hear this stuff, one would think that Jesus and the Apostles always preached stock sermons and never varied. But in the gospels and Acts we see the exact opposite: nothing but variation depending on the circumstances. The content was always solid exposition of truth, but what truth was used depended on the leading of the Spirit, who in His wisdom, applied the truth to the circumstances.

Spirit empowered preaching comes from the preacher's time in the Word and prayer. The other kind of preaching can be taught to a well trained parrot.

Food for thought. --JS

No comments: