Tough act to follow. As we know about Jesus however, He would be incredibly understanding and probably just say…Be yourself and speak what My Father tells you.
1 Peter 4:11 If anyone speaks (as when preaching), they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God… so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
Somehow we have gotten away from this formula…a natural expression of what the Father wants to reveal from heaven, spoken ‘the way’ the Father desires it to be spoken.
To be honest, I was kinda dragging my feet to get this article out, thinking Lord…do people really want to be shown these scriptures…the last thing a preacher wants to hear is ‘How to Preach’.
As usual, He had to show me ‘why’ this is so important. I really believe this is written mainly for those young in the Lord, who are confused about what they are seeing from the pulpit.
The Lord made each one of us unique-with differences in personalities, and obviously, differences in the way we express ourselves-which is wonderful. In fact, this is the core of this article, expressing yourself as ‘who you are’, connected with the Father. Preaching what the Father is revealing and ‘how’ He wants it revealed-naturally-through your own personality.
As we read the Word over the years, we begin to recognize the personalities of the Biblical writers not just by the Title Heading above the chapter, but by their individual personality traits written in their letters to the believers. Likewise, our personalities when preaching will be different and unique. The problem however arises when we become focused on a ‘rigid style’ of preaching…and not on how the Holy Spirit wants to lead us. This self directed style of preaching can stop the flow of the Holy Spirit and cut out much of His direction. Eternal opportunities are accessed by the Holy Spirits leading-and we need to be in tune with His directives-ESPECIALLY when we have the opportunity when proclaiming the Gospel. For this reason, I believe the Lord wanted these Scriptures shared with today’s church.
The Spirit Speaks Boldly-With Loud Convictions
John 7:37-46 On the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.”
39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified… 40 Therefore many from the crowd, when they heard this saying, said, “Truly this is the Prophet.” …
43 (but) there was a division among the people because of Him.
44 Now some of them wanted to take Him, but no one laid hands on Him.
45 Then the officers came to the chief priests and Pharisees, who said to them, “Why have you not brought Him?”
46 The officers answered, “No man has ever spoken the way this man speaks!
The Spirit Speaks Boldly-With Quiet Convictions
John 8:1-11 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?
6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground.9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? hath no man condemned thee?11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.
You can see from these examples…Jesus operated in the ‘full spectrum’ of preaching styles. I personally believe these completely opposite styles of preaching are the two best sermons ever…and they are given side by side in Chapter 7 and 8. Coincidence, you decide…but I think not.
In John seven, Jesus was lit. In case you have not noticed, the only time Jesus really erupted in a righteous anger- is when the Holy Spirit spoke against religious leadership and not to those who were bound in sinful desires of this world Mk. 2:17.
Matthew 18:6 “But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea.
Perverting the Gospel of grace, the true path of salvation to those in need creates in the heavenly Father a righteous anger that is unparalleled in the Word. Jesus was in unity with the Father, and if He was angry so was Jesus.
John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. Jn. 15:19
This anger against the false religious leadership was coming down directly from heaven.
Personal note: It has been said that I really dislike loud ‘in your face’ preaching. As explained below, it not the decimal range that is the concern, but ‘if’ Spirit is leading the service. Listening to this sermon in ‘real time’ would be one of the greatest experiences in my life. You can sense a total outpouring of the Holy Spirits from heaven, lit with the boldness and glory of God. It would be an honor to have the Holy Spirit guide us to ‘speak the way this mans speaks.’.
In John 8, the ‘style’ changes because the Holy Spirits direction has changed. Again, Jesus was connected-in tune with the Spirit-and the Spirit was demonstrating just as much power and holiness, but it was expressed completely differently-in quiet revelation. Anyone who was aware of what was about to happen would be in awe of how Jesus handled this preaching moment-nothing short of a heavenly encounter. One was about to witness a brutal death. The religious leaders wanted Jesus to either cast the first stone or at least condone the verdict of ‘death by stoning’. They thought they were about to win a lock tight argument with Jesus in order to promote His downfall. Either Jesus would allow the stoning (follow the letter of the law Lev. 20:10)…or deny the word of God, proving He was not Emmanuel (God with us Is. 7:14). They were going to show the world how brutal Jesus could be, or show them He was a false prophet.
What they did not foresee however was a ‘not of this world’ option. The one who was from heaven, the One who ‘is the Word’ had the Divine Authority to change the procedures in the Word Jn. 1:1, 14, Acts. 10:9-15.
Before Jesus was born, strict laws were set into place to guard the Messianic seed coming from the Israel. This divine lineage needed to be vigorously protected. The Father was not going to allow satan to influence the line of David-from whom Jesus would be born.
Psalm 89:3-4 I have made a covenant with my chosen, I have sworn unto David my servant, 4 Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up thy throne to all generations. Selah. 2 Sam. 7:16, Is. 9:7
There was not going to be another rebellious Nimrod or a Gen. 6 contamination come out of Israel. Gen. 10:8-9, 11:1-11. See Chuck Missler
Thus, when Jesus was born, the Messianic seed from Israel (from which He came) did not need to be protected as before. Capital punishment for serious sins that could corrupt the holiness of Israel could now be adjusted. The Fathers purpose for His Son after His arrival could now be totally focused on the worlds redemption Jn. 3:16, Matt. 5:17, Lk. 4:43. See Ex. 32:1-16, Mk. 16:15, Gal. 3:26-28.
If Jesus disregarded the Holy Spirits direction and revelation in John 8, His ministry would have gone into serious error…a women could have died, and the devil and the religious leaders would have had a victory. In this sermon…Jesus ‘HAD’ to get quiet with the Lord…hear from Him-wait for revelation (He stopped more than once…and wrote in the ground). Both sermons were powerful, but regrettably, many preachers today reject the different ‘ways’ a sermon should be given and grieve the Spirit by not being ‘in tune’ with the Fathers direction Ep. 4:30.
Sermons need to change because the direction of the Holy Spirit changes. The direction of the Holy Spirit changes because ‘the situation’ or condition of the people are different, person to person and group to group. In John 7, Jesus was drastically lit with conviction and correction-loud and powerful. In John 8-(scholars suggest in the same month)…the sermon had incredible revelation that saved a woman’s life and pointed to the world to the true path of salvation. It was also amazingly powerful, but was expressed is a completely different manner…quietly. If we were the one (s) that was about to be stoned, we would be eternally grateful Jesus understood the importance of being connected to the Holy Spirits leading. If needed, Jesus waited for direction in moments of silence…and was able to ‘switch’ preaching styles accordingly.
Flowing in the Holy Spirit
John 7:37-38 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.”
Once again we revisit John 7.
One of the signs of a church that truly is following the Lord, is how the Holy Spirit is actually ‘flowing’ in the congregations. See Fellowship or Friendship, Living Water. This allows for the Holy Spirit to change directions in a service, helps the congregation ‘enter in’ to the Lords presence, and just ‘moves’ at times as He pleases. This does not mean there should be disorder in the service-but ‘Freedom’ in the service as the Lord directs 1 Cor. 14:22.
To have the Holy Spirit work in this manner however takes a sensitivity to the Spirit-a pursuit of God through out our lives that will manifest His Spirit in our weekly services. We shall see below, we can create a ‘falseness’ about the Spirits flowing if we are not humbly seeking the Lord. Living a life devoted to self will not produce the Spirits manifestation in our week to week services.
I remember years ago someone at the mission saying Bill, I really like it when ‘you don’t preach-when you get out of the way’. Actually, I was humbled and encouraged by his comment. On many occasions the Lord had me ‘switch gears’, and in this case He said, Bill…stop for a moment-someone is crying out to give a testimony. You could actually feel the Spirit come off me-and waited for a brother or sister to speak. It was sooo cool, the Spirit helped a new believer give an incredible testimony. It’s so sad that many services can be sooo focused on self that others can’t be part of the move of God. Jesus ‘got out of the way’, and wrote on the ground-got quiet, waited…and by the Spirits leading-even asked others… ok-you leaders take over-cast the first stone-if thou are without sin. Because was Jesus sensitive to the Spirit, He avoided being rigid and the crowd witnessed His divine love and not a gruesome execution. The church was also given the true path of salvation as mentioned above. See Same Sex Marriage, P1, P2.
Being ‘rigid’ in any method of expression is not the way the Spirit leads. We are all guilty of needing to be quicker to hear from the Lord, but the real danger comes from ‘refusing’ to see the adjustments and hear from God. The religious leaders and non repentant Jewish nation were called ‘stiff necked’ Ex. 32:9, Acts 7:51. –the literal meaning is their backs were away from God, not turning their necks to follow and hear from Him…in other words rigid. A rigid service, preaching style, praise and worship service is something we want to avoid. Not chaos and emotion, but the Lords control as the Holy Spirit flows.
The Father is seeking His ‘True Worshippers’ Jn. 4:23-24. those that can be sensitive to Hear from Him, preach as He wants us to preach and apply all His gifts as He so desires. The more Spirit led we are, the more His kingdom church will be manifest on earth
John 5:19 Then answered Jesus and said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.
Different Ways the Church Can Become Rigid
Withholding The Baptism of the Holy Spirit
I confess, I was part of the problem. Spoke against this manifestation for a dozen years. I am eternally grateful I did not have a platform to do more damage.
This is not a study of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit (see reverences below) but just a word to express how important it is to have the Holy Spirit direct us-in all aspects of service.
The above scriptures give us a few of many reasons why it is important to follow the Lords commands in order to have the Holy Spirit become powerful in our pulpits and in our services. See links on Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Link 1, Link 2.
I have met sooo many Christians who are avoiding the Pentecostal (full gospel-Charismatic) churches because their experiences have been negative and the Lords Holy Spirit was not truly manifested. Paul found the exact same situation in the Pentecostal church also. Satan has worked overtime to distort this holy-powerful provision from God. The greatest chapter of love in the Word of God, 1 Cor. 13 is sandwiched between correcting Pentecostal brethren. 1 Cor. 12-14.
We as a church however have to be obedient to the Lord and correct the errors. We don’t discard Jesus because the church has failed, nor do we discard the Baptism of the Holy Spirit because satan has tried to distort the heavenly manifestation within this church. The Word of God and the Baptism of the Holy Spirit are the greatest provisions for the Christian after they are saved. When we have faith in Christ, we are instantly ‘sealed’ with a ‘deposit’ of the Holy Spirit , (Eph. 1:13-14, 2 Cor. 1:22, Eph. 4:30), but there is a flowing of Spirit-along with extra gifts of the Spirit when we receive this provision of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Lk. 24:49, Matt. 3:11, Acts 2:33, 11:16, See Kenneth Hagin .
This is why many services seem sooo dry when we reject this provision from the Lord. When a person becomes a Christian, His spiritual man becomes alive and we as sons of God are united with Lord-and can hear from Him (if we seek to listen). Jn. 3:6, Rm. 8:9, 1 Cor. 2:10-16.
The Baptism of the Holy Spirit ‘enhances’ all aspects of our spiritual walk. We hear direction from the Holy Spirit better, our Bible study becomes more accurate and alive, our insecurities and weakness are aided by a greater strengthening by His Spirit…and our ‘flowing’ in the gifts become more alive and anointed in our services. See link
Saying ‘no’ to the Lord in this areas dulls our spirit and we usually attempt to compensate by being more intellectual. The result, a ‘dryer’ less anointed sermon. Naturally then, we have a more difficult time ‘breaking through’ to have the Holy Spirit touch those in need. This is what I did not understand at Bible college. Knowing more Bible verses does not replace a sincere Spirit led walk with the Lord. See Heb. 4:12 , Our Road with God P1, P2.
Scripture after scripture in the Word teaches us ‘The Holy Spirit’ is the one who draws the lost to the Lord Jn. 14:26, Jn. 16:13. Preaching, doing things without this provision from the Lord can greatly hinder the Holy Spirits work..which can have devastating eternal consequences Lk. 3:16, Lk. 24:49, Acts 2:33. Excluding this important command will not only cause our preaching to suffer-but the ‘flowing of the Holy Spirit’ in the entire service will also be greatly hampered Acts 11:16, Matt. 3:11. Thus the congregation will always be missing out on the true and eternal potential the Lord has for them. Pastors, don’t error by withholding any portion of the Divine Helper. Many who are sick, suffer from addictions and emotional scars need this Holy Spirit break through Power in their lives. It will also add a holy dimension (anointing) to your preaching and the service-…Praise God!
The Pentecostal Church
When I asked the Lord, why I cannot seem to grow ‘in Him’…it’s been years and I cannot seem to overcome many problems- the Lord simply said- Bill, you need the Baptism of the Holy Spirit, get what they have but don’t do what they do. Again, many errors we see in the Pentecostal church are the exact same ones Paul dealt with in 1 Cor. 12-14.
We need the Baptism of the Holy Spirit-without-mans fleshly influence, his emotional replacement. The above pic gives the scriptures that shows the nature of the born again believer. When we are not truly connecting with the Lord, there is a strong tendency to replace the True Spiritual Move of God (the guidance from the Holy Spirit to our spirit) with our emotion from the soul. This is especially true in a Pentecostal church. It is a cheap replacement my friends. In fact, it can become a ‘fake’ replacement-a sinful replacement.
This human replication is what kept me, other non Pentecostal Christians…and tragically, the lost ‘OUT’ of churches that are proclaiming they have the Baptism of the Holy Spirit-but are trying to maintain-‘the switch’. We could smell the falsehood. Too strong…please read 1 Cor. 13 and read Pauls divinely inspired correction.
Attempting to replace emotion-our selves at the exclusion of the Lords Holy Spirit produces pride, loudness, focus on self, jealousy and the like Gal. 5:19-21. Mans attempt to replace the moving and call of the Holy Spirit with our human emotion is no different than mans attempt to replace God with himself. This is why our spirit so adamantly rejects any church where human emotion, pride, emphasis on self is attempting to counterfeit the Holy presence of His Spirit. The former is simply of the flesh or the devil… and in many cases both. Paul puts the correction in absolute black and white terms Gal. 5:22-26, 1 Cor. 13:8-13.
It needs to be mentioned… the Lord created emotion, this can be an important and desired response to the Lord within our soul-above pic. It’s when we change the nature of an emotion-from a response to the Holy God, to a replacement of the Holy God…is where the counterfeit becomes evident. We can use the example of getting emotional if we touch a live electric wire…or trying to prove you are ‘lit’ without the live wire. If we ‘strive’ for this display of emotions, it has the potential to turn our services into a Spiritless show with the focus on man.
The true Baptism of the Holy Spirit produces-as Paul explains 1 Cor. 13 -a brokenness and humility before God.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
We need to remember, the Apostle Paul was literally addressing Pentecostal behavior…they lacked the above qualities. Does this ‘lack of ‘ look familiar? The move of the Spirit focuses on those in need…the hurting and not ourselves.
With Holy Spirit power the congregation seeks the Lord during the week, and the Lord responds with His intense presence-producing powerful displays in the service with His flowing presence, love and a gifts of the Spirit 1 Cor. 14:25, Acts 2:1-21.
Unfortunately, many times the preaching has taken on some of the symptoms of the Pentecostal church that has not truly sought the Lord-thus not able to flow in the Holy Spirit as needed.
I have heard more than one Pentecostal preachers say…I had a terrible week in the Lord-but all I needed to do is ‘turn it on’ and the congregation ‘bought it’. Again, attempting to duplicate the Holy Spirit by an emotional response.
Those who can genuinely discern between the Holy Spirit and a preachers prideful replacement will naturally put their spiritual wall up…rejecting this false manifestation. As Paul wrote of the Corinthians, many times the lost can see their immaturity. They realize in most cases their relationships outside the church are more sincere than what they experience in numerous Pentecostal churches. We have to apply ‘The Divine Fix’, mentioned below.
Felt this was the place to insert another problem we face-usually in the Pentecostal church. The original word for Amen in the Hebrew and Greek can be translated, ‘truly, faithfully, a trustworthy-statement. It not only means we recognize this to be an eternal truth from the Lord, but that we are also committing to this truth.
This is the usual Spirit led Amen agreement. The Word is spoken by the preacher, and an important truth is strongly revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. Our spirit ‘leaps’ within us…our spirit agreeing with the Holy Spirit-and the natural response from within our spirit is Amen-Hallelujah etc.
At this point, the preacher should move ‘out of the way’ and our spirit is saying…to the Lord-Father I agree with this truth, more importantly however, I will follow this truth and live out this truth in my walk with You. Live or die Father, I will commit my life to this truth. Amen!
There is nothing wrong with encouraging the congregation of ‘being led’ to respond as the Holy Spirit directs. A potential serious problem arises though when we ‘constantly force’ the believers to respond not to the Holy Spirits leading, but ours. It reminds me of those in the entertainment industry who flash signs when the audience is to ‘applause’ or laugh, or if we were walk in our home and have our children to line up and say on cue…Say you love me. The Lord does not operate in this manner. An occasional encouragement to be free in the Lord –absolutely, a forced response however does the exact opposite of what the Holy Spirit is trying to achieve.
I can’t count the times I was about to commit to the word given- responding to the Holy Spirit with ‘amen’ but was cancelled out by a ‘forced’ command given by a preacher on cue. It negated the holy response (agreement) between the believer and the Holy Spirit that was about to happen. The focus shifted from following the Holy Spirit conviction within me…to simply repeating a cue card from the pastor. -following men and not God. Sadly, in many instances the earthly driven amen requirements have been reduced to nothing more than a pat on the back for the preacher. Amen is not a substitute for ‘tell me you guys really like my sermon’. Amen is our vow to commit our lives to His eternal truth found in the Word. Hallelujah !
The Holy Spirit Fix
1) The Baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Lord is uniting His church for the final defeat of Satan Heb. 10:13. We are going to absolutely have to be walking in the power of the most High God…all of it! Lk. 24:49. When I found out that I was wrong in this area…I ‘had’ to ask the Lord-Please, help me never to error in such a serious way again. Pastors, if you are withholding this Divine Provision from the Lords children, you are withholding provisions from heaven that will greatly aid them in physical and emotional healing. It will also bring in more of the Holy Spirits presence and supernatural gifts from heaven-breaking the darkness and bringing in more light to the lost-salvation light! Please see 1st 4 Articles on Kingdom of God.
3) Throw away all preconceived ideas about ‘how’ the sermon should be preached. Pray, prepare and proceed. A plan is having a single direction that cannot be changed. A strategy is starting with a plan and being able to adjusting it to any situation as the Holy Spirit leads. Have a strategy that is directed by the move of the Holy Spirit
4) Stop preaching to ‘impress them’ and preach to have the Holy Spirit ‘give life to them’ Jn. 21:17, Jn. 10:10. Do I need to speak louder because that is what they like in this church?? Should I adjust my style to have it go over well in the video world?? Should I use sophisticated teachings and words to show how advanced my teachings are-so I can increase my viewer numbers. Stop!! Get close to the Holy Spirit, have His beauty flowing out of you. You will be excited ‘naturally’ and it will show, you will have times of being quiet…and the sweet beautiful Spirit will flow out of your into the congregation…as with Jesus. Jesus would not care about Face Book and video land, He would care about those who need to be touched and healed by the Fathers Spirit Lk. 5:31.
At times, the videos should be turned off, the alter calls and personal testimonies should be just that, personal.
If you are truly called to preach and if the sermons has become rigid simply realize that it’s ok…to adjust and be led…to be yourself and not be given to ‘have to’ preach a certain way. At times, just shut down and wait (and pray) for the Spirit…Jesus had to wait in Jn. 8-above-or else satan would have won a battle. If you are Pentecostal, as I am…it’s ok not to be set in a rigid system – as shown in the scripture above, at times Jesus was quiet. Replace an emotional response with the Holy Spirit-in whatever way He directs you. The congregation will since a true sincerity in your sermon and will be ‘drawn into it’-spiritually connect, because of the Holy Spirits true leading, His true light. If you have one of the 5 offices as mentioned in the Word Ep. 4:11-12 and are sincerely walking with the Lord…the Holy Spirit will adjust your Gospel message as He did with Jesus. What can me more exciting that that! You will also be teaching your deciples how to be led by the Spirit when preaching…and the Lord will reward you for that. Kinda a win win situation…don’t ya think 😉
Just wanted to put this out because there seems to be so much confusion in the church in this area. Love ya…and can’t wait to see the great move of God come about in this final great call…to see His Holy Spirit glowing out of you…there is nothing on this earth that is more beautiful. May the Lord bless you as you pursue His truth.