PREACHERS, PREACHING AND PRESUMPTUOUS SIN
"And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech
or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not
to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was
with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and
my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstra-
tion of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom
of men, but in the power of God”.
—1 Cor. 2:1-5
The power of the Holy Spirit is indispensable to a preacher. You and I need to be so deeply convicted about the indispensability of the power of the Holy Spirit to preaching that we will always approach the pulpit with the attitude and spirit Moses had when he said to God, “If thy presence go not with me, carry us not up hence” (Ex. 33:15). To do anything less is to be guilty of committing the most serious sort of sin; the kind David had reference to when he prayed in Psalm 19:13, “Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.” It is hard to conceive of a sin that is more willfully ignorant and impertinent than that which is committed by preachers who preach without dependence on the Spirit of God.
It would be well for those who preach the Word of God to remember what a solemn responsibility we have. God, has made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the Spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life” (2 Cor. 3:6). In other words, our preaching may be according to truth, but if it is not done in the power of the Holy Spirit, it can have a negative effect rather than a blessed, positive effect upon those who hear it.
John Broadus (1827-1895), in his classic book On the Preparation and Delivery of Sermons wrote: “The ultimate requisite for the effective preacher is complete dependence upon the Holy Spirit.” How true. Entering into any aspect of the preaching process preaching without a conscientious dependence on the power of the Holy Spirit is an act of fleshly futility. To presume otherwise is to put ourselves in the category of those preachers of whom God said, “they shall not profit this people at all” (Jer. 23:32).