What preaching is meant to do

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Our gospel came to you not only in word, but also in power and in the Holy Spirit and with full conviction.  1 Thessalonians 1:5

“Paul knew he was clothed with power and authority.  How does one know it?  It gives clarity of thought, clarity of speech, ease of utterance, a great sense of authority and confidence as you are preaching, an awareness of a power not your own thrilling through the whole of your being, and an indescribable sense of joy. . . .

What about the people?  They sense it at once; they can tell the difference immediately.  They are gripped, they become serious, they are convicted, they are moved, they are humbled.  Some are convicted of sin, others are lifted up to the heavens, anything may happen to any one of them.  They know at once that something quite unusual and exceptional is happening. . . .

What then are we to do about this?  There is only one obvious conclusion.  Seek Him!  Seek Him!  What can we do without Him?  Seek Him!  Seek Him always.  But go beyond seeking Him; expect Him.  Do you expect anything to happen when you get up to preach in a pulpit?  Or do you just say to yourself, ‘Well, I have prepared my address, I am going to give them this address; some of them will appreciate it and some will not’?  Are you expecting it to be the turning point in someone’s life?  Are you expecting anyone to have a climactic experience?  That is what preaching is meant to do.  That is what you find in the Bible and in the subsequent history of the church.  Seek this power, expect this power, yearn for this power; and when the power comes, yield to Him.  Do not resist.  Forget all about your sermon if necessary.  Let Him loose you, let Him manifest His power in you and through you.”

D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Preaching and Preachers (Grand Rapids, 1971), pages 324-325.

(HT: Ray Ortlund)

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