Preaching - Lesson 25

Word & Spirit

In this lesson, you will learn about the essential relationship between the Word and the Spirit in preaching. The lesson delves into the biblical foundation and theological implications of this relationship, highlighting the indispensable role the Holy Spirit plays in the preparation of the preacher, the illumination of the text, and the empowerment of the delivery. As you explore how to balance the Word and Spirit in sermon preparation, you will understand the importance of prayer and dependence on the Spirit, diligent study of Scripture, and practical application of the text. The lesson concludes with practical suggestions for cultivating sensitivity to the Spirit and preaching with passion and authenticity.

Bryan Chapell
Lesson 25
Watching Now
Word & Spirit

I. The Relationship Between Word and Spirit in Preaching

A. Biblical Foundation

B. Theological Implications

II. The Role of the Holy Spirit in Preaching

A. Preparation of the Preacher

B. Illumination of the Text

C. Empowerment in Delivery

III. Balancing Word and Spirit in Sermon Preparation

A. Prayer and Dependence on the Spirit

B. Diligent Study of Scripture

C. Application of the Text

IV. Practical Suggestions for Preaching with Word and Spirit

A. Cultivating Sensitivity to the Spirit

B. Preaching with Passion and Authenticity

  • Gain insights into effective preaching principles, covering history, essential components, styles, and techniques, and learn how to prepare and deliver impactful sermons.
  • Gain valuable insights on sermon construction, learn techniques for effective preaching, and understand the importance of continuous improvement for delivering impactful messages.
  • Through this lesson, you gain valuable insights into the process of text selection and interpretation for preaching, as well as learning practical techniques for delivering engaging and relevant sermons.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into the process of creating a sermon, from text selection to delivery, emphasizing textual analysis and message relevance.
  • Through this lesson, you gain the skills to craft clear, engaging, and memorable sermons by mastering the principles of effective outlining and arrangement in preaching.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to craft effective propositions and main points, enhancing your preaching clarity and impact.
  • By exploring homiletical outlines, you'll learn to effectively develop and structure sermons, understand various outline types, and apply engaging presentation techniques for impactful preaching.
  • In this lesson, you gain insights into crafting engaging introductions for sermons, exploring their importance, characteristics, types, and the process of creating a compelling introduction that effectively connects to the message.
  • Through this lesson, you learn the importance of exposition in preaching, how to develop an expository sermon, and the role of the preacher for effective communication.
  • This lesson teaches you to create captivating sermon introductions using anecdotes, questions, and facts, guiding you through research, structuring, and presentation to maximize audience engagement and improve your overall sermon impact.
  • In order to understand the basic subdivisions of your sermon in expository development, it is important to it is helpful to see what the specific members of your sermon's body looks like in standard development.

  • By completing this lesson, you learn to effectively prepare and deliver sermons while focusing on personal growth, continuous improvement, and dependence on God.
  • Learn to effectively classify and develop sermons into topical, textual, and expository types, enhancing your preaching skills and audience connection.
  • In this lesson, you learn the significance of explanation in preaching and strategies to craft and deliver effective explanatory sermons while evaluating their effectiveness for continuous improvement.
  • By incorporating illustrations into your preaching, you engage listeners, clarify complex ideas, and enhance memory retention while learning effective guidelines to utilize various types of illustrations.
  • Explore this lesson to learn how to effectively use illustrations in sermons by isolating events or experiences, refining principles, and connecting with your audience through human interest accounts.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to effectively use illustrations in preaching to engage listeners, clarify concepts, and draw from various sources, while maintaining relevance, variety, and ethical considerations.
  • Gain insight into the importance of application in preaching, as well as principles and methods for effective application, to create impactful and relevant sermons that resonate with your audience.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to effectively apply biblical teachings to modern life, considering various approaches, overcoming challenges, and utilizing practical tips for context-sensitive and culturally aware application.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insights into crafting effective transitions in preaching and utilizing the dialogical method for increased audience engagement and message clarity.
  • Gain insight into various sermon presentation methods, their advantages and disadvantages, and learn to choose the right method and improve your preaching skills.
  • Through this lesson, you enhance your preaching skills by mastering vocal techniques and purposeful gestures, ensuring a connection with the audience while continually improving your delivery.
  • Learn the significance of dress and style in preaching and how to balance authenticity, appropriateness, and clarity to effectively communicate your message to your audience.
  • You learn to effectively repurpose old sermons, gaining insight into updating them for relevance, enhancing delivery, and managing time efficiently.
  • By studying this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial connection between the Word and Spirit in preaching and learn to balance them for effective and authentic sermons.
  • Through this lesson, you learn how to apply a Christ-centered, redemptive-historical approach to preaching, addressing common criticisms and enhancing your sermons.
  • Through this lesson, you learn to compose powerful redemptive messages that highlight Christ's work and connect biblical themes to modern audiences.
  • Through this lesson, you gain an understanding of redemptive principles in preaching, learning to identify them in Scripture and effectively apply them to your sermons while navigating potential challenges.
  • By exploring the importance of genre in biblical interpretation and applying redemptive interpretation to various biblical genres, you will gain knowledge and insight into the historical and literary context, redemptive themes and patterns, and contemporary application of different types of genres in the Bible.


Dr. Bryan Chapell explores the unifying principle of grace that binds all Scripture together. He outlines and demonstrates the principles and practice of sermon-crafting and delivery to illuminate the message of grace in each passage, and to submit it to God's Spirit for the transformation of lives through preaching.

Dr. Chapell is making these recorded lectures available for you to access at no charge on BiblicalTraining.org. However, there is no personal interaction with Dr. Chapell in this format. The assignments and activities described are for classes that he teaches in person. We left the descriptions in for your benefit, but we do not offer personal or group interaction to participate in these activities. You can, however, sign up for his new preaching classes at BryanChapell.com/courses.

Dr. Chapell is helped in this course by Zachary W. Eswine, Assistant Professor of Homiletics and Director of the Doctor of Ministry Program (BSW, Ball State University; MDiv, Covenant Theological Seminary; PhD, Regent University). Dr. Eswine served as senior pastor of Grace Church of the Western Reserve in Hudson, Ohio, for six years before joining Covenant Seminary's faculty in 2001. He has served as a campus minister with the Navigators, as a church youth director, and as a chaplain-evangelist in retirement facilities. Since arriving at the Seminary, Dr. Eswine has also served as interim pastor for Tates Creek Presbyterian Church in Lexington, Kentucky, as advisory pastor for the Chinese Gospel Church of St. Louis, and as interim pastor for Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in St. Louis. He has taught New Testament in Ukraine and served as a short-term missionary in the Caribbean. Dr. Eswine is a gifted preacher and has authored the book Kindled Fire: How the Methods of C. H. Spurgeon Can Help Your Preaching and numerous articles on homiletics. In addition, as an accomplished musician and songwriter, he has recorded three collections of original songs.

Philosophy and Goals of the Course

1. "Prep and Del" is an introduction to the basics of sermon construction and delivery. This is not primarily a course on the theology of preaching, but rather is a practical introduction to the tools, structures, and concepts that help preachers learn to put a sermon together. 

2. Because this course is introductory, certain standards of sermon construction are taught that I hope you will consider "foundational" rather than universal. There is not only one "right way" to preach. However, mastering the methods of this course will help you develop the tools needed for many kinds of future sermons. Students from many backgrounds and preaching traditions have found these tools helpful even as they prepare for other styles in the future. Other methods and styles will be taught and encouraged in future semesters.

3. In Dr. Chapell's seminary class, you would be asked to present some short oral assignments to the class in order to: a) begin integrating the information presented in lectures; b) begin honing your preaching skills; c) and, remove some of the intimidation of your first preaching experience next semester.

(At this time, we do not provide personal interaction to evaluate your progress. We included the suggested assignments and activities to give you direction as you apply the principles you are learning to your own sermon preparation and delivery.)

Recommended Books

Christ-Centered Preaching (text only) 2nd(Second) edition by B. Chapell

Christ-Centered Preaching (text only) 2nd(Second) edition by B. Chapell

Christ-Centered Preaching: Redeeming the Expository Sermon [Hardcover]Bryan Chapell (Author)

Christ-Centered Preaching (text only) 2nd(Second) edition by B. Chapell
Christ-Centered Sermons: Models of Redemptive Preaching

Christ-Centered Sermons: Models of Redemptive Preaching

Highly regarded preacher and teacher Bryan Chapell shows readers how he has prepared expository sermons according to the principles he developed in his bestselling...

Christ-Centered Sermons: Models of Redemptive Preaching

Dr. Bryan Chapell
Word & Spirit
Lesson Transcript

[00:00:00] This recording is provided courtesy of Covenant Theological Seminary. Launch ourselves into this task of preaching to one another. We want to talk about how do the word and the spirit function and how do we properly honor them as we preach. So honestly, we want to be workmen who are well approved, well-prepared for the task, but ultimately we want to be men on our knees who are thinking of our dependance upon what God provides for us. So I go for this lesson. If you look at your notes, is to consider approaches to preparing messages that keep preachers true to the priorities of the word and spirit. We didn't talk about it so much because it's often just intuited what one would be expecting of a preacher when you preach from the word. How do you how do you say I'm more concerned about that word than the words that I say? How do we communicate that when we preach? Here's some ideas just to keep in mind. I preach them an open Bible. Now, that may sound obvious, and there are certain caricatures in our society. I mean, if you ever watch Billy Graham preach you, what does he always has? He always has the law, the large Bible, until these recent years when his Parkinson's has been more difficult. But you remember now it was a large Bible. But it was a Bible that was black. And the pages kind of draped over his hand both ways. Right. And his classic phrase is the Bible says. And as as simple as that may be, it is powerful not just in culture, but to the human heart. This is not what I'm saying, the Bible says. Now, if what we're attempting to do when we're in academic settings is, you know, we've kind of got our sermon here on paper and we've got a small lecture like I've got today.

[00:01:51] The temptation is to come to the end of our passage. However, when the son of man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Now, what did I just communicate? Now we're done with God's Word. We're ready for the important stuff. My sermon and the ability to communicate. What I want you to hear is out of this open book. That it has more import in my mind than what I'm saying. So I'm going to base whatever I say on this Bible, and it doesn't close. The Expositor is ethic. Let me tell you what this text says. And that pretty much says, obviously, it's a visual thing. But you are saying with every aspect of the tools in front of you, this is a prime importance. So simply keeping a Bible open as you preach is one way in this culture anyway that we communicate the importance of the word. Now everybody is thinking, What about modern PowerPoint? You know, what about when typically, you know, even in churches that use a lot of PowerPoint for people to look at while the scripture is being read? Typically the preacher. So reading from a Bible. Some of the more noteworthy preachers who are appealing to a younger audience these days have been known to start taking their computer into the pulpit and preach from the laptop. You know, do that. Most stop doing it. Because they recognize even in a modern culture, our sense is the word is what's represented on the pages here. Now, you and I both know an electronic representation of the words is just as good as any other. But there is something powerful about saying, This doesn't close while I preach. While I preach, the stays open. A second thing to do to talk about the priority of the word and even the patterns we've talked about emphasize this is referred to the text often in the sermon.

[00:03:48] Now, if you're just following that pattern that we talk about, state, place, prove state an idea, place it, say locate where in the text it is state place, prove even the placement is going to take people back to the word over and over again. Look with me at verse three. Look at verse two again. In this culture, the ability to say, it's not me, This is what the word says by frequent citation of the text is typically very, very important. We take the persons to helpful parallel passages. That's another way that we emphasize the importance of the word. Now, this can be overdone, can't it? Early on in prep and we talked about preaching, that almost becomes let me show you that I've used my concordance in preparing this message because I go from this text to this text to this text. And the classic line of the preacher with a congregation that loves turning text is what all how I love to hear those leaves turn, you know, as people are turning back and forth. But it can ultimately be distracting. Right. Instead of making a point of what this text says, we are just telling people, I've got more and more text I can take you to and people lose the sense of where they are. Tell me other problems in this culture in this day. If you're referring to numerous, numerous text outside of your central text during the course of a sermon, what else may happen Will? They just don't know. So they give up and tune out. I don't know. Now, this the thing we have to say is you all be in many different church settings. Some of you will go to church settings which are highly traditional and well-schooled.

[00:05:23] Some of you won't. Some of you, through the course of your ministry careers will vary. You know, you may start out in very traditional churches, and then you may begin a ministry to people who are fairly unchurched. And so, you know, it's a it's a attacked and prudence issue, isn't it? I'll tell you something that makes people nervous, because I think most of us like saying not only that, say here, look where this word is used also, and we'll turn to another text or a parallel passage is it makes people nervous when you can't find it. Now, it's not just that you don't know where it is. But for most of us, when we start preaching, what I mean, I know what John 316 is, but with all hundred of you looking at me, I can't quite, you know, get there and then the pages stick together and all that. I find these days I often use those little sticky papers and I put them in my Bible to the passage I want to turn to. So I'm just confident I'm not my concentration is not trying to find the page. I found the page and I can be engaging people while they're finding the page. So I'm not I'm not worried about can I find the text? And there was a time that I used to use paper clips to do that, that I would use a paper clip typically on the bottom side of my Bible, you know, so that I could turn to it just when my hand would fall and do that. Obviously, people see a lot of paper clips or markers here. They get a little concern for you, you know. So, you know, I just I just turn and I'm there and I can keep talking, knowing typically I even mark often on my Bible in pencil where I'm going to be reading from.

[00:06:54] Now, have you done this? Some of you teach Sunday school or preach and somebody hands you a Bible different than the one you prepared your messages, you know, your eye knows even where to look on the page for for the information you're looking for. So some of the you know, the keen idea here is you're very familiar with the text, but when you turn to the other passage, you've got it marked. So your eye figures out where it is on the page, too. And it doesn't make people nervous that you can't find the text because you've kind of pre inserted those things. So taking people to helpful parallel passages says something about the priority and if you can find it, that also says something about your priority three We've talked about this before. How do I indicate my concern for the priority of the word? Give people time to find the passage before you read from it. If I'm saying, look, we're saying at this passage and then I start talking. What I really said was, I don't expect you to find it. It's not really important that you find it. So if we are going to be taking people to parallel passages, we follow some of the same principles. And the reason that we develop scripture introductions, right? What I mean, Scripture introductions are nice for context and creation of longing, but just has the pragmatic thing of give people time to get to the text. Because if we just start talking with Alan there, we basically said it's not important that you read along. So giving people time to read the text, find it before we read it is encouraging people to read the text. I have begun to do something in recent years.

[00:08:29] I wonder if your pastors do where you are, and that is encourage people to read the text with you. Have you done that? I find that very powerful these days that that if I'm not only saying that people look with me, but now read it with me, what does it say? And you actually have them read a clause with you that really makes your point. I mean, they can't help but miss it and feel the impact of it if the words that come out of their mouth as they are talking. So I confess I was not taught to do that. But I've watched other preachers do it and felt their people want to do it. Then I'm engaged. You're giving me time. You're letting me read the text. I feel the weight of it. So occasionally I think asking people to read the text with you, I'm not talking about just before the sermon, but even in the sermon, when you want them to really catch important details, to ask them to read part of the text with, you know, if you will look in your Bibles at Luke 18 because of the next thing we want to say, how do I show the import of the text? Well, I read it meaningfully. I read it meaningfully. For many of us if we are only preparing academically. So we're you know, we're in our studies, we're preparing our message, and we may even practice our message. But one of the things we often do not do is practice the reading of the text, which is the first major thing we're actually going to say to people after that little scripture introduction. So reading the text meaningfully involves reading it ahead of time so that, you know, at the end of the sentence, there is a question mark.

[00:10:04] You know, it doesn't surprise you at the end of that sentence or it's an exclamation point or something that you're prepared for it, that certain words are hard to say together. So preparing ahead of time helps. But here's some principles. How do we read the word meaningfully? I would say this is part of what is that voice you hear in your head when you think about what preaching is? What does it mean to read the text meaningfully? I think for this generation particularly, it is not reading sentimentally nor theatrically, nor with stained glass preacher tongues. Now what stained glass preacher times Luke 18 one Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray. If you heard it done that way and you're kind of going, Oh, get out of my face, you know, I mean, you just it just is such a put off these days. Although there was a time when being very oratorical in the presentation because it was part of honoring it, now it becomes a caricature and so it seems to dishonor it. So not reading sentimentally nor theatrically, you know, with stained glass preacher tones, but this read at a conversational pace, that voice and intonation reflect content and meaning. And the primary way of doing that, which I wish you could kind of almost put in both, is item D emphasize verbs and modifiers emphasize verbs and modifiers. Now, a verb is almost always going to carry the action or thrust of the sentence, right? So just saying I need to emphasize the verbs is going to help your intonation carry the content of the passage modifiers. If I just say he was a big man, it doesn't carry the impact of saying he was a big man.

[00:11:59] The adjectives are often carrying the nuance of a sentence, whereas the verbs are carrying the thrust of it. So as you read a passage, and I'm going to have you do it, first of all, I want us just to hear Justin, are you ready to put you on the spot? First of all, I'm going to ask you to read it badly. Okay. I'm just going to say read it flatly and fast. Luke 18. You got it there. Somebody had it. LUKE 18. So just, just, just read the first two verses. But, but I really just want you to kind of read fast and flat, you know, for the moment. Excellent. That that that is just exactly the way we don't want to do it. Now, if if you say what carries meaning in the first two verses, well, verse one. If you said what do you really want to emphasize out of that first verse, what would what would be words to pick up and kind of emphasize with your voice? Just identify him first. Always. Yes. I mean, certainly is going to carry the meaning of that whole verse is going to be in the modifier. What else? Say it again? Yeah. Tom says not yet. But surely those are going to be important, as in terms of what we would say. Okay. Well, again, nothing theatrical. I mean, really, the idea is not to say I'm really going to emphasize those words like I'm in a theater somewhere. It really is saying if I were conversing with someone. And that's the point I want to make. How would you do it? Conversational. Give it a go. A previous one. And again, I'm not talking about theatrical, but how do you make your words say the meaning of what's there? Right.

[00:13:42] I mean, I think that's helpful. I probably want to hit the show a little harder. He went to show them. If you're doing an Ivy can look at verse two. What things would you emphasize in verse two if you were saying this is going to kind of carry this? Yeah. I think it's the feared and cared about. He neither feared God nor cared about men. I mean, I think it's the fears and cared about that are going to carry it. Try it, Ken. Okay. I think that's strong. And again, you're now you're not only slowing down over the words, you're actually showing the difference in how you set between fear and care. The thing we're trying to do is restore natural speech, right? That's all we're really trying to do. We're trying not to be theatrical and we're trying not to be flat. We're saying, if I was talking to someone, if these verses were the apostle talking to you. How would he have said it? If Luke were talking to you, how would he have said it? And in saying it, we are trying to repeat that conversational tone. It can engage people or it can put them off. But if you recognize this, you're reading is your first interpretation. Your reading of the text is your first interpretation. So if people are saying, what does this text mean? The way that we say it is actually interpreting the text. So when I'm saying as candid in a certain town, there was a judge who neither feared God or cared about men, and there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with a plea, Grant me justice against my adversary. I'm going to do something to try to say. There are words that make the point and say them as best I can.

[00:15:42] There are people who are great preachers who are poor readers as far back as brought us. He says there are far more great preachers than there are great readers of text, and by that he means we typically so curious those who foreign to our theology. We dispense with the text so we can get to our sermon instead of thinking The text itself has the power to transform. And it is in fact, the first sermon, because how we're reading the text is explaining it to people as we go. And if we're thinking in those terms, it helps. So here's some hints. Item I didn't cover except in passing practice out loud for sentence breaks, punctuation, surprises, pronunciation problems. But hints for doing this, they use the Scripture introduction to prepare listeners for surprises and difficulties. Now, what kind of surprises might be in the text? There might be hard Times are hard names. When I went to a town in southern Illinois and preached for a while, people told me that their preacher had taught them who Artaxerxes was. And I thought then I have no idea who Artaxerxes is. Well, over time I learned that was our desert seas, but a generation had grown up calling him Artaxerxes. And I mean, it didn't help. And now part of the difficulty, of course, is that different generations and even different translations will articulate the words differently. If if you were to pronounce the book in the Bible Habakkuk the way the King James did, you would do it the way I just said it. Habakkuk. But most of you are taught in Hebrew. It's what, however, have a book. But the intonation and the voltage. Now, in our culture, this is a hard place to be right now because those people who are, let's say, 50 years and up, even if they are reading in Ivy their ears here, King James pronunciations.

[00:17:48] So it's just kind of what they're accustomed to. So, you know, Jericho is Jericho and Gideon is Gideon. And that's and most of their ears expect that. So if you end up saying Gideon, which would be more proper, it's going to strike them as very odd. On the other hand, you're talking to many people who don't know the pronunciation one way or another. So they're going to take it from you. Most people, if they're preparing, are looking at the king in this curious and one of the few places still that kind of marks the vowels and the accents, the King James still, if you want to know how people pronounce the term and you don't know which have say in this culture, many of you might look at our resources and not know. You might you might say, How do you say Gilad? You know, is this Gilead or is this Gilad? How do I know? Derrick King James Bible, because the way most people who are schooled in the scriptures expect to hear it is the way that King James pointed it. And that may just be a help to you, but that's part of preparing. The read is not being surprised by names. There may be different things you can say in your scripture intro about new ideas, what's being introduced here and why. New background, new context or twist. Obviously, if you're going to skip verses, you want to announce it in your Scripture introduction, because if you skip a verse while you're going through, what will everyone say? You didn't see it, your eyes slipped or you were afraid of it. So say if you're going to skip, you skip that. And if you're going to combine passages, people still are thrown.

[00:19:20] When the reading goes across a chapter, you may well know. You know, the chapter divisions are not scriptural or even the verse divisions were not originally inspired, but it throws people when you stop in the middle of a verse at the end of your as the end of your scripture reading, or conversely, you go across chapters, they think you don't know what you're doing. And it helps sometimes in the Scripture introduction, if you're training people that they know what you're doing and why. Here's an interesting hint for reading effectively read indelicate matters in more appropriate translations or with unconcerned matter of factness in delicate matters. I come to you with great bowels of mercies. To which everybody in this culture kind of snickers, you know, under their breath. What would an IV say, King James, of, say, bowels of Mercies. And I've. We say with great tenderness of heart. Something like that. So I'll change the idiom to be something that and you'll find you have to do that. What are other kinds of indelicate matters? And these may be ones that you all kind of say, oh so on, and spilled his seed upon a rock. Now, the teenagers may know and they may snicker, you know. On the other hand, the three year olds and the five year olds and the eight year olds don't know what you just said. So if you get all red faced and flustered and so forth, you know, then then everybody is concerned. But that's in the Bible. And there are aspects of everything you can think of incest and rape and people who have their bowels gushing out. That was one of my son's favorite verses when he was about 11, you know? You know, the knife goes in all the way and the fat overflows the hilt, you know.

[00:21:11] Obviously, there are things that you can talk about that if you get flustered, it will fluster others. But kind of a this is what the Bible says. Matter of fact, this can take you through almost anything. Practice reading meaningfully to children. That's that's I mean, one way to see is your scripture reading and gauging. Can you hold your kids attention as you read the scriptures? Another way of indicating priority of the word is to give respect before and or after you read the word. Can you tell me it's grilling more right now occurring than I can remember any time in my lifetime that preachers say certain words either before or after they they read the text and it's saying, I want you to know the respect I have for the word. What are the things you hear Pastor say? Can. Okay. Well, one is asking people to stand for the reading of the word to show its import. Certainly, that was a pattern we know happened in the synagogue. So that would be one thing. What are other things people say to indicate the importance? Thank you. I mean, just simply listen carefully. To what? So what the word of God says, okay, so I'm identifying it as the word of God as we are kind of in an era right now that liturgical practices are rising, particularly among younger preachers. In appreciation, you'll hear things like this is the word of God, and what do people often repeat at that point? Thanks be to God. Okay, so maybe after the word or an older generation would say things like thus far the Word of God. Meaning now me. Now, I never felt comfortable with that one, I will tell you. Because it said. The spirit may not be speaking through me now, whereas I'm thinking years if I had prepared accurately the truth.

[00:23:05] But I understood that there was the sense of that was the Word of God. Now there's human words about to come. I understand the ethic, but I felt less comfortable that one felt very comfortable saying this is the Word of God and having people say thanks be to God. So various ways that that may happen. You see another here just in my notes. Let's read together God's holy and an errant word. That's the way of announcing what it is we're about to read. Another way that we show the importance of the word to us is we pray in the before we read or after we read the word to set it off in importance in our minds. The reason we're doing all of this, and I just know that if you are like me, I'm so focused on what I'm about to say, that the reading of the word becomes perfunctory. So we emphasize this to say the reading is itself a type of exposition and interpretation. Sometimes, as we're studying, the word itself is to read it out loud before you start doing your sermon research to actually hear what it's saying to be a first century Christian and hear it being read to you as it comes out of your own mouth and hear what those words are carrying. And to recognize again that the reading is itself an exposition and interpretation. The old word of the preaching masters is preaching is always the second sermon. Preaching is the second sermon that the reading of the word was the first sermon. Another reason to emphasize the reading of the word. More and more people are dependent on the public reading. Now we can say that's just a fact of our culture, that people are, you know, as you read, they don't read along with you.

[00:24:46] But of course, in the early church, you know, one person read the epistle, everybody else listened. So it doesn't mean that we're, you know, so bad off. But we recognize more and more in a culture and you will minister more and more to unchurched people I think, generationally in your churches to recognize, well, I'm reading where are people looking? They're looking at me. So they may not be reading the text that that awful mystical labyrinth book so hard to get through. You know, they're often looking at me. So as more and more people are dependent on the public reading. One of the things that I would encourage you to think about doing is labeling the text with your eyes. Know, you ladle soup, go in and out. To do it this way. When Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them they should always pray and not give up. Even as I read the verdict. What was I doing? I was looking up as much as I could. I'm trying to engage those who are looking at me now. I've I've done this in, I think, hundreds and hundreds of settings. And I will tell you that probably in their traditional churches, two thirds of the people I'm reading are looking down. But even in the most traditional church, a third of the people are looking at me. And the way I keep engaging them, saying this is important is looking up at them as though I am speaking to them. What the text says as a way of engaging. I can rather they be looking at the text. But my primary concern is they not forget the text. They not listen at all. So I keep trying to engage them with my eyes.

[00:26:26] And another reason to emphasize the importance of the word is it reflects your own theology of the word you believe. The word is able to change people eternally and is the source of authoritative truth. So the reason we preach from an open Bible, trying not to stumble over words unnecessarily. Try to read meaningfully, try to say this is important. More important than the words I will say is because of what we know the Bible says. Blessed is he that reads. And those that hear the words of this book, it is the word of God that is quick and powerful, sharper than a two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and is a dishonor of the thoughts and intense of the heart. We could repeat the stories many times, right, of the person who simply read the Scriptures and the Spirit moved their hearts to conversion, or the one who simply had heard John 316 forever. But it was read in such a way with such heart by the pastor that it finally broke through. To believe the word itself is part of God's instrument of change. Helps us to read it with due import. Now. But not only when we talk about the importance of the word today, but the priorities of the spirit. I think these are not going to be new ideas to you, but I want them to come in a way that. I hope impresses you with the importance of being on your knees before you preach. And that can be hard to do. You've prepared so well. Prepared so long. You're rushed before you go. I sometimes say, Lord, forgive me. I did not get on my knees before the sermon. And I don't say that as any sort of, you know, it's magical if you get on your knees.

[00:28:21] But if the spirit is not operating in your preaching. You're doing absolutely nothing. Something to remember is this preaching is itself a redemptive event. When when Jesus prays, he says this Lord sanctify that is make holy these disciples. By truth, your word is truth. I wonder if you thought about that. We often think that people will hear a sermon. And then afterwards they will remember and they will act upon what we have said. And that will be the sanctifying process. It certainly is. But what I think we forget is the power of the spirit in the moment. Have you never while someone hasn't been preaching been convicted by the spirit. A. I've been doing what I know is not right. I've been arrogant before. God. I have not listened to his word. And again in academic settings where we're training with information so that we respond to it later for the test or employed in our ministries later on, we can forget that this very moment is a redemptive event that as I am speaking, the Holy Spirit is changing people right now, not just out of memory, but by what is being said right at this moment. So not simply thoughts from mind or memory, but these things that we are reading and saying in the sermon are words of life that come by the word of life. Look how Paul says it. And for us Tasmanians, we also thank God continually because when you received the Word of God, what you heard from us. You accepted it? Not as the word of men. We appreciate that. But as it is the word of God, which knows the present tense is at work in you who believe. The word is at work as it's being preached, as is being proclaimed.

[00:30:33] And that that to me is a a both powerful and intimidating thought that that as I am speaking to people, the spirit is now working in them, not not waiting for them to apply it, but right now is taking his scalpel and his forceps and working on the heart right now, even as I am preaching that that's what the spirit is doing right now. The reason for this in ways that astound us is the Bible is presenting, even as I am speaking Christ as the Speaker. And God as the audience. Now often in the worship wars, you know, we get to the point of saying, remember, God is the audience of the worship. All true. What we forget when we're preaching sometimes is not only is God the audience. Christ is the speaker. If I'm being true to his word, if what I am saying right now is true to his word, then Christ is speaking through me to His people. I remember the words of Calvin. God has so chosen to anoint the lips and the tongues of his service that when they speak, the voice of Jesus comes out. And that's an amazing dynamic that God as both audience and speaker in the process of preaching. I've been in situations and you will be in them at times where I know I'm facing very angry people, people who are very concerned about me or something the church has done. And, and to actually say to myself, Lord, let me preach to you, be my audience. Now, don't be ashamed of what I say. Let me speak for you. Now it's both wise men. Let me speak as though Christ was speaking to his father. Persecution, difficulty, anger, embarrassment. They all be here. But be my audience above these people.

[00:32:30] And let me speak as your son, but may not know your reproach from the way I speak this day. Let me speak to you as your own son would said in various ways. You know the familiar words of Second Peter four a prophecy never had so origin in the will of men. But men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. Now that's first is saying what we're working with Spirit inspired text. That's where we're starting. And what Augustine would say. Remember that famous phrase where the Bible speaks, God speaks and says, That's where the Bible speaks. God is speaking, but what is the Holy Spirit doing? So from John 16, we know this Jesus speaking, but when He, the spirit of truth comes, he will guide you in all truth. So he's not only given the truth, he's going to guide in truth, but what is he going to say? The middle of that verse. He will speak only what he hears. The spirit is only going to speak what he hears. There's 14. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. Now here's the perception then the spirit is speaking to his people, but the spirit only says what comes from Christ. So if the Spirit is taking my words and working as people, the spirit is only taken what has been given to Him by Christ. So in the in the Trinity economy, of course. And we don't want to be too boxy about this and put them in two stringent categories. The father is the one who wills the son is the one who performs, and the spirit is the instrument. So the spirit is still the instrument of the process, but he is only speaking what God has given him through Christ to do the say so.

[00:34:14] The words that are coming by virtue of the Spirit are Christ own words. The Spirit's testimony is of Christ, and the Spirit's testimony is from Christ. So that we could say this in the presence of God in Christ Jesus, who adjudge the living in the dead and in view of his appearing in his kingdom, I give you this charge. Preach the word. Now, this is one of those wonderful places in Scripture where Paul is punning, right? In the presence of Christ. Who is? The word of God. Preach the word of God. So that when we are preaching, what are we actually preaching? We are preaching Christ to his people. Humbles you, doesn't it? In this moment, Just just as a sacrament mediates the presence, power and promises of God to his people. So preaching is functioning so that I am now mediating Christ to his people by the truth of His word. His spirit is working. But Christ is now present in the work of His Spirit because the spirit does nothing apart from Christ. It is the testimony of Christ that has been communicated. I don't want to overstate it, but it's Luther's theology, the Christ I am now Christ to these people. By the proclamation of his word. I am Christ to these people, all my weaknesses, all my sin. But to the extent that my words are true, His word, I am Christ to these people. How does that happen? You know, the world was made flesh. The politics that to new heights when he talks about preaching, makes Christ ministry present. Notice kind of midway through verse 17, first Corinthians one four, the message of the cross. Yes, it's foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved, it is what it is.

[00:36:17] The power of God. Put the two phrases together. The message of the cross is the power of God. For sensing the wisdom of God. The world through its wisdom, did not know Him. God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to say those who believe. So that the message of the cross is the power of God to save. As I preach. God's power now comes in. Not my preaching, but his power now works to save. At his appointed season, we are told he brought his word to light through the preaching entrusted to me by the command of God, our Savior, Paul. Paul says We've moved from darkness to light, but the word of light came by the preaching and people were moved from darkness to light. The power of God by preaching. I wonder if you thought about the next words. What that means is we become co-creators of a new creation. God spoke and the world came into being. But we are new creatures in Christ Jesus. Some of you know that goes as easily. We are new creations. So as God spoke his word and brought the world into being. So the preaching of His word is creating a new creation. We become co-creators of the spiritual renewal of all things by the preaching of the word. It's. It astounds us to think when God says that all things are being worked together for good to those that love him are called according to his purpose that he is taking by the prayers and the working of his saints. All of creation and retooling it, rebuilding it sovereignly by the actions of his saints so that all things now work together for good. Creation is being changed by our prayers, and new creation is being made by our preaching.

[00:38:30] We are co-creators of a new creation by the Power of the Spirit. How do we do that? If you go on to the next page. Jan 1718 just working through that passage. Because we, as Proclaimers, become one with the Father in the Spirit. Jesus says to us, to the Father in his prayer, This is the high priestly prayer as you sent me into the world. I have sent my disciples into the world. Go halfway through the next verse so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one. I And them. And you. And me. By proclaiming the truth, we actually unite with the father and the son. We become one with God in the proclamation of truth co-creators, one with him and the purpose of that new creation. Peter sang it powerfully for you had been born again, not a perishable seed, but imperishable through the living and enduring Word of God. In verse 25, the word of God stands forever. And this is the word that was preached to you. You've been born again by the word. That word will stand forever. It's what's been preached to you and what you now have to preach. All this is saying is that preaching is a supernatural event. Now. Okay. Of course. But all we've said about structure and organization delivery and reading the Bible well are techniques that mean nothing. If we don't remember, there's actually something supernatural has to occur, or this is just all done in the flesh. It has no more significance than any carnal thing that we do. Preaching is a supernatural event. Some have compared it to fire and wax that the speaker, the preacher, is bringing the fire to melt the listener so that God can mold as he is intense.

[00:40:43] We tend to be more concerned to perform our part creditably than we are about God's mighty involvement in our efforts. We tend to be more hungry for success than we are for overpowering, says Dual. God make it clear to the rebel that the task of rebuilding the temple would be accomplished not by might nor by power, but by my spirit. So, as Phyllis Brooks said, never allow yourself to feel the equal of your work. Oh, I can do this now. I've had up and down. Never allow yourself to feel that equal to your work if you ever find that spirit growing on you. Be afraid. Oh, I can do this. There are times, I will tell you, usually it's when I'm very tired at the end of a conference or the end of a long trip, and I'm asked to preach and I get up, not nervous. And something hits me that says you're not nervous. There's a problem here. You're about to bring the Word of God to his people. Christ is about to speak for you. And this this hasn't got your adrenaline going at all. And I know at some point in my tiredness, I began to think, Oh, I can just do this. I'm tired. I call on the pass message, I call and I'll just do this. It's a danger if you ever begin to believe you are up to the task. Historically, preachers have talked about the need of unction, which is an old fashioned word, the need for unction, which is the working of the spirit. By the way, the word unction does not include does not appear in most modern translations. The only place it's in your notes there that you see it is first. John 220 this in the King James.

[00:42:34] But you have an action from the holy one and you know all things. Curiously, it's not applied to preaching particularly, but to the to the understanding of the disciples. But it's saying you have something from on high, something you could not provide. And through the history of preaching that word unction gets applied to preaching. You need something that you can't provide. You need something from on high this a supernatural event. There needs to be supernatural intervention here. It's expressed in different verses by concept. Anyway. First Thessalonians one five Our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit, with deep conviction. And Little Jesus, of course, is recorded as saying The Spirit of the Lord is on me because He is appointed me to preach good news to the poor. And that is what that spirit now does in the preaching, preaches good news, proclaims freedom. See that he sent me to proclaim freedom, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor. Interesting task that the Spirit would then be involved in. If we think of auction and I confess this is traditional ways used in preaching circles, auction traditionally is this It means the anointing of the Holy Spirit upon a sermon so that something holy and powerful is added to the message that no preacher can naturally generate, no matter how great his skills. Do you get to the point? Do you ever do this? At times? Do you ever figure, what will I feel like if at some point in life I have the world's acclaim for being a great preacher? And yet I don't know if I've done anything spiritually. Because they say, Oh, you're so easy to listen to.

[00:44:27] I'm just very moved when you speak. You're so articulate. And you know that that can carry you for a few years. What people say about you. But I find the pastors who pastor for 20, 25, 30, 40 years are the ones to whom people say, The Lord used you. And the spirit convicted me. I was changed supernaturally by how the Lord used you. I think that's all that really carries your long term. In order for action to occur. Then we say, well, how do you how do you do this? What's necessary for action? When we preach the Puritan divines, talk about three things necessary for ocean illumination, conviction and assimilation. Illumination is not all that surprising. Illumination is simply revealing the meaning and purpose of the word. What do you need to have? Unction. You need to be able to understand the word and say what it says. Illumination is simply saying what the word says accurately. John 1426 When the Council of the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, comes, He will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said. So that teaches understanding, having insight into what the Scriptures say and reminding is that notion of the Spirit acts so as to remind us what is appropriate for the present task. Now, let me say this in a couple of ways. Illumination involves understanding the word which anybody can do in the flesh to to an extent. I mean, if you say, you know, tell me what Luo means, means to listen, I can understand that logically. But if you said, what does it mean to be loosed from my son? I mean, to really understand that. That's part of the Spirit's teaching. I heard of an African-American pastor that I very much respect a couple of years ago simply used the phrase in his prayer.

[00:46:38] Lord, lift your hand from the page. Because if you do not lift your hand. I cannot see what is there. Now I understand that it a deeper level than I can explain to you. That he doesn't mean I can't see the words on the page, and I cannot rationally, cognitively make sense of what they say, but I don't really understand its impact for my life. It's important for the people to whom I'm speaking. I'll never gain that if you don't allow me to see what it really means for this moment in my people's lives. Lord, by your spirit, teach me what this means for us now, today. My heart first. And then these people. And reminding. What does that mean? Again, I can't explain totally my understanding here, but I believe that when the Holy Spirit is working in my preparation for preaching and when I preach in ways that I cannot fathom, he is bringing to mind things that I would not have thought of had he not been active. That I might not have thought about that person in that particular situation. I might not thought of how this verse particularly reflected on the struggle that's going on. I should say those thoughts would not have come together. I'm being reminded how this truth from that text that maybe was an experience in my childhood. I have with that text that has been brought to mind that is appropriate for this moment in my ministry. And to believe the spirit controls that. So that part of unction is teaching what the word says and being reminded appropriately of what it says at the right times. Some idea of the spirit aspect of understanding is very powerfully presented in First Corinthians 214. The man without the spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God.

[00:48:33] Their foolishness to Him. He cannot understand them. Interesting. He cannot understand them because they are spiritually discerned. Now, again, rationally, yes, but spiritually, at a heart level that cannot be understood apart from the spirit. See some questions here and just going to read to a little bit. Does the Bible support an emphasis on the Spirit's power in our preaching? You know, it does. In first Corinthians two, Paul states, My message, my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with demonstration of the Spirit's power so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power. And then he says, God is ready and the riches of God's wisdom to us. By his spirit, for the spirit, such as all things, even the deep things of God. Again, this is something human that we do. We have not received the spirit of the world, he says. But the spirit who is from God that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, which is what we've understood, and that's what we speak. Not in words taught us by human wisdom, but in words taught by the spirit expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. One of the things that the spirit does is simply illuminate us to the truth and significance of his word, both by teaching us its meaning and reminding us of appropriately what needs to be brought to bear. Another thing the Spirit does, of course, as part of our action is brings conviction. Pastor Paul Jesus says in the high priestly prayer, I tell you the truth, it's for your good that I'm going away. Unless I go away, that counselor will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him, because when he comes, this is what he's going to do.

[00:50:17] He will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin, righteousness and judgment. Here's what we can do. We can make people feel guilty. But we cannot make people feel dependent upon the cross of Christ, apart from the work of the Spirit. So the spirit is to convict people of sin. Seven What is wrong of righteousness? So then what is right and of judgment? Of what is ahead, both in terms of Christ victory and Satan's demise. It's a different concept. Illumination is what action requires for the preacher. Conviction is the required work of the spirit for the hearer. I not only need the spirit to understand, I require the spirit for true conviction to take place. My granted I need conviction too. But without the spirit, true conviction cannot take place. The last part of the old definitions of unction are they involve elimination, convection and assimilation. Assimilation Is Jesus saying this? I tell you the truth. No one can see the Kingdom of God unless he is born again. I tell you the truth, we speak of what we know. We testify of what we have seen. But still, you do not receive why I have spoken to you of earthly things. And you do not believe how you speak of how you believe. I speak of heavenly things. No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven. The son of man. You can't know heavenly things. If heavenly things have, Heaven has not revealed it to you. You cannot know heavenly things if Heaven has not revealed it to you. So assimilation is taking in the things that heaven has revealed. Now about to say the things that's going to sound the least mystical of all that I've said so far.

[00:52:20] Because, you know, our question now, when we begin to see the spirit is responsible for action and conviction, which is teaching me and convicting others, is my question becomes, okay, that power is so important, so critical, so vital, How do I conjure that up? How do I make this function happen? Say five times. Look east. No. How do we make this function happen? I don't think there's anything we can do. More important first, then study the word. That's part of assimilation. We're to be second. Timothy. We know a workman who does not need to be ashamed and correctly handles the word of truth. When Paul is instructing, he says, What I tell you to do is to work hard at it, to study, to understand, to assimilate what God has said. Second, Timothy three. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and become convinced, because you know that from, you know those from whom you learned what the scriptures say, how from your infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures. All these things, Paul is saying, is a prelude to the man of God, verse 17, being thoroughly equipped for every good work. Now, this is not magic. Having said all about the importance of the word, I want to take away some of the magic of it, because I do feel at times the way I was taught. The notion of action is that it is just something magical that, you know, you just hope occurs somehow. But when you see Paul the Apostle instructing others in the pastoral letters, talking about the importance of the spirit, the task that he is giving to the ministers of the gospel is to know the word. So it should faithfully say what it says.

[00:54:15] And then you're not depending on magic. You are depending upon faithful representation of what the word says. Believing that God can then use more than you can imagine. All Scripture is God breathes. What does that mean? It means preach the word. That's the spirit at work. The unction is already upon the Scriptures. The Bible is already drenched in sacred oil. When I preach, I love those inexplicable moments. I love it. I mean, maybe you have to. When I find myself soaring, when I almost feel like I'm being carried along by the Holy Spirit and you just feel like you want this to go on forever, you can't stop when the world is like honey and fire. But I've learned from Paul's last admonitions to Timothy as well. Be prepared in season and out is that I have to learn to trust the unction that is always upon Scripture, even when my words seem clumsy or common that it doesn't feel that way. It doesn't feel like it's working. Sometimes unction is simply received by faith without feeling the wind or the heat. We go home on a Sunday afternoon that saying so badly, right? I feel deflated. If you're like me, my adrenaline always falls off after I preach. I always go into depression after I preach because I've been so wired for it. If I'm depending on what I feel to be an expression of unction, then I have to recognize that is just being hormonally controlled by my adrenalin, not by what the spirit is doing. When with a pure heart, a Christian preacher declares the Scriptures or proclaims Christ, or calls for repentance and holiness. His words are still anointed not because of what he feels, because of the truth of what he says.

[00:56:03] My Lord, John said it this way The right way to look upon the action of the Spirit is to think of it as that which comes upon the preparation. The preparation that Martin Lloyd-Jones has in mind includes all the I've been saying. This includes the preparation of the message, exegesis, exposition, homilies and the preparation of the preacher through prayer, personal holiness, devotional exercise. A general reading. Lloyd-Jones said it this way To my mind, this is the safest and most holistic treatment of the way through spiritual actions to be found in any 20th century treatment of the subject. It is not praying five times and turning east is saying, Prepare well, be a man of God and preach faithfully and you may never see anything change in your lifetime. And still the spirit is a work because his word does not return to him. Void. The last part of a function that is beyond the those things that I were mentioning to you are simply aspects of personal piety. We do want the power of the spirit when we preach. We do want the power of God to come upon us. But we know this. The summer says, If I cherish sin in my heart, the Lord will not hear me being a man of God as part of the Spirit's working through us. Now, perfection is not going to come your way, you know? So repentance is part of being an effective preacher. But there have been moments in my life and again, I don't want to over mystical it, but where I've actually felt that my son has caused power to drain out of me, to actually almost physically feel my ineffectiveness before God because I know I have uncontested in my heart. And to simply say, Lord, I have to repent before you or there is no power in me, I'm asking you to bless.

[00:57:55] I'm asking you to bring your word to these people. But there is sin in my heart that is not confessed. And and I believe the Lord saying to me, then I will take the power from you. To the Jews who believed in him. Jesus said, If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. You want to be a disciple and effective one. You have to hold to his teaching fundament. One is always very powerful to me. I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. That always shocks me a little bit to think if I'm not active in sharing my faith, I really don't understand the scriptures. First of all, I don't understand the importance there to be a fountain out of me. But don't you find when you really are dealing with nonbelievers that something in you ignites about the necessity of your own understanding of the world? You begin to see it, feel it, hear it differently as you share your faith. Hodge said. It's simply this way. You must know light to see light. And as you must walk in God's light to see his word correctly. Alexander McLaren said power for service is second, as the power to be able to serve God is always secondary to what power for holiness and character is first. The first, second and third requisite for our work is personal godliness. I think I'm going to stop reading there and simply go to the last page and remind you. If our piety is so important to our preaching effectiveness. Then our prayers better be very effective too, because my piety is insufficient for God to use me effectively.

[00:59:43] So I have to say, Lord, work beyond me. I pray for it because I can't do this. And Lord, forgive me where my piety has not been, what it should that she might serve me. Think how Paul said it In Act six brothers choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the spirit and wisdom. We will turn this waiting on tables responsibility over them and give our attention to prayer in the Ministry of the Word. It probably is some right criticism of a seminary environment that we give so much attention to learning to preach and not much attention to diligent prayer. Whereas when the Apostles said why they needed to be relieved from the diagonal duties of waiting on tables, they said There are these dual things that must occur now for us to effectively administer the Word of God. Prayer. And the preaching of the word. So if I could leave you with a thought. It is. Proclaim the word. Make sure people know. That's more important than the words. You say that even the way you are presenting the word you are giving it. Honor and respect. And then not really believe you are equal to the task of preaching. And that's strange. I said at some point the man of God and God can all make you a great preacher now. At the end of the curriculum saying, Don't believe you can do this. Apart from the work of the spirit. Because with the spirit. You can be great preachers. Apart from him, you can do nothing. Nothing eternal. And believe, therefore, that the preaching task begins with prayer and ends with prayer before you prepare, before you crack the commentaries. Pray, Lord, lift your hand from the page.

[01:01:37] I can't see what's here. Melt their hearts. Or they cannot hear what I say. And then preach. And then pray, Lord, overcome my weakness and let's settle in their hearts. Only what you have said. Let's pray. Father, I. For these men who are gathered here in this place to prepare for preaching your word, do vow before you. I even vow before them how much respect I have for these men who are at this stage of their lives saying that they want to be faithful to you and they want to proclaim your word and be true physicians of souls for your people. Would you give them such regard for your word that they would be faithful to it and such regard for your spirit, that they would go before you and ask for you to overwhelm them, to flood them with a power that's beyond them for the doing of your work. Blessed, for Christ's sake, we pray in Jesus name. Amen.