September 6, 2007

Preaching as a Duet

A few weeks back (from 1 Thessalonians 1.5), I emphasized that preaching is a duet. In other words, true preaching is not simply God speaking to man; it is also God speaking through a man. And, by the same token, true preaching is not merely a man speaking about God; it is also a man speaking from God. So preaching is a duet. There are parts that only God can sing. But there are also parts that only the preacher can sing. And if either part is missing, it will be poor preaching. Over the next two weeks, I want you to think that through with me. Begin with a reading of 1 Thessalonians 1.5:

Our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power and in the Holy
Spirit and with full conviction; just as you know what kind of men we proved to
be among you for your sake.

So, how is preaching a duet? What parts must the preacher sing? And what parts can only God sing?

First…what part must the preacher sing?
Yes preaching is mainly about God speaking. But there are parts that the preacher must play. He must, first of all, preach the word. “Paul’s gospel did not come…in word only”; but it did come “in word”! Paul did have to speak (so preaching is still vitally important in this entertainment oriented age). And Paul did have to preach the “word”. This is how God chooses to speak through a man—when that man speaks from the revealed word—the Bible!

The preacher’s part is also to preach “with full conviction.” He must really mean what he says. He must cherish it. He must believe it and be willing to act on it. And He must preach it passionately! Does that mean that every preacher needs to be a screamer? I hope not! But it does mean that preaching is not merely the passing along of information. Preaching includes emotion…passion…concern for souls…love…“full conviction.”

Finally, the preacher must join the duet by preaching through his example. “You know what kind of men we proved to be” says Paul. A preacher who does not preach to himself and live what he preaches may not completely cancel the show…but his off-key living will make the duet sound quite distorted; and sometimes may be so distracting that people don’t hear the lead vocalist!

Next week, we’ll come back to consider God, the lead vocalist in the preaching duet. Until then, would you pray with me that the preaching you hear this Sunday morning will be from the word, with full conviction, and backed with a holy lifestyle?

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