And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, 25 not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.
– Hebrews 10:26 (ESV)
It is demanded, then, that heralds deliver their message as it is given to them. The essential point about the report which they give is that it does not originate with them. Behind it stands a higher power. The herald does not express his own views. He is the spokesman for his master.
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
– 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (ESV)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
– 2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
Don’t you know, young man, that from every town and every village and every hamlet in England, wherever it may be, there is a road to London? So from every text of Scripture there is a road to Christ. And my dear brother, your business is, when you get to a text, to say, now, what is the road to Christ . . . for the sermon cannot do any good unless there is a savor of Christ in it.
– Charles Spurgeon
In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit
– Ephesians 1:13 (ESV)
For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. – 1 Corinthians 2:2 (ESV)
The Lord will use what little we have. But His blessing ultimately is the key to our preaching rather than our abilities. Church history furnishes us with grand illustrations of this fact. I think, for example, of the court preachers of Louis XIV’s day. In mid-seventeenth century France, that court was as decadent and depraved as any kingly court ever was. Yet all the while, it professed earnestly its Christianity. For its appointed preachers it had Jean Massillon and Jacque Bossuet. Theirs were some of the greatest preaching ever produced in the history of the church.
It was not only some of the most eloquent and powerful oratory ever heard. It was pious and blunt, intensely earnest, unafraid, and for seventeenth-century Catholicism, it was highly evangelical. This is the same Jean Massillon, you may remember, who when appointed to preach Louis XIV’s funeral sermon ascended into the high pulpit of Notre Dame, surveyed the great congregation, including the crowned heads of Europe, and forever honored the office of preacher by saying to them, “In the hour of death, only God is great.”
And what was the consequence of that bold, courageous, evangelical preaching? Nothing. The Spirit did not blow on that occasion. But a few years later, in Cambuslang near Glasgow, Scotland, there was a minister named William M’Culloch. He was so bad a preacher that he was nicknamed “the ale preacher” because when he got up to speak, all the men left for the pubs. His own son says of his father, “He was not eloquent. He was very different from the popular orators of his time.” After being licensed, it took him nine years to get his first pastorate. But it was upon these ineloquent, poorly constructed, poorly delivered sermons that the Spirit of God fell in 1742 and produced such a spiritual awakening in Scotland such as has not been known since. He was no Massillon, but it was not M’Culloch’s gifts that were the key, but the Spirit