Hebrews 10:35 So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
I’ve been preaching for more than thirty years and throughout that time, some people have asked me how can I stand up before other people and preach the Word. They often tell me that they are terrified of speaking in public, so they wonder how I do it week after week.
The secret is twofold: firstly, preaching is not public speaking. Making a speech before your business associates or presenting a project to a group of peers is entirely different. That’s part of a marketing transaction or a management structure. You present what you know and hope that everyone buys into the product. The success of the presentation is based upon how effectively you manage to persuade potential customers or team members. It’s a sales pitch and although some Christian writers would have us believe that preaching is the same, it isn’t.
And that brings me to secret number two: effective preaching depends upon the presence of the Holy Spirit, not the oratory of the preacher, nor the content of the sermon. I’ve heard some life changing sermons given by the meekest of preachers. They have not been dynamic or extroverted, but their words have been endowed by the Holy Spirit. True preachers do not believe in themselves; instead they have confidence in God and present their sermon through the power of Christ living in them.
So this Sunday, when your pastor steps into the pulpit, or stands behind a lectern, or walks across the sanctuary floor to present his or her sermon, open your hearts and minds to this important question: what is the Holy Spirit communicating to me through this sermon? I guarantee that if you have confidence in seeking the Holy Spirit’s guidance at that time, you will be richly rewarded through what the preacher offers with the sermon.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank You for the power of preaching through the presence of the Holy Spirit. Open our hearts and minds this coming Sunday to what You want us to hear. Help our preachers to seek Your favorable and guiding presence as they set out to preach God’s Word to God’s people. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.
John Stuart is the pastor at Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee. If you would like to comment on today’s message, please send him an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.