Empowered Preaching

By Grant Crawford. Notes from NCF Church’s weekly staff meeting compiled by Sabine Mahabeer.

In the 70s, a movement called the “Charismatic Renewal” spread throughout South Africa. Many Christians left their churches, in which there had been no room for the moving of the Holy Spirit and formed the so-called “Cottage Meetings”.

What followed was an exciting and albeit wild time with an out-pouring of the gift of the Holy Spirit and people praying in tongues. It didn’t take long, though, for the 70s to move into the 80s, and “Charismania” to develop. Initially breathed by the Holy Spirit, things started getting out of hand and moving in the Spirit became an excess in some churches. A new need arose: a need for the apostolic.

Apostolic leaders came forth and teams formed. They brought riverbanks to the “overflowing rivers of the Spirit” and thus restored sanity back to the church. Churches began to be planted all over the world, because prophets, teachers and apostles were introduced into the unbridled power of the Holy Spirit and channelled into the right direction. The gospel now was being preached and churches were being planted globally.

This movement has maintained its’ course over the last 20 -30 years, with another charismatic renewal moving across various church denominations in the 90s. However, this focus on the apostolic, the planting of churches and the out-pouring of the Holy Spirit has left a void in the preaching of the Word.

At this moment in time, we are experiencing a resurgence of the preaching of the Word of God. Reformed preachers, such as Driscoll, Warren, Piper, Keller and Murell are evoking a holy fear and trembling for the Word of God. Critics say these reformed preachers aren’t very charismatic, and yet we can see that there is a need for them, because too much focus was put on activity within the church and not enough on the preaching of the Word.

Two common mistakes we make regarding these Bible teachers are:

  • We write them off as being dry, not filled with the Holy Spirit and too reformed. This isn’t true. God has raised them up as a prophetic voice in our generation.
  • We become like them. If we become like them, our children and those we hand our ministries over to, will have to re-fight what people fought for in the 70s.

 We need both. We need the Word and the Spirit, side by side. We need the preaching of the Word and signs and wonders following.

 What does it mean to preach under the power of the Holy Spirit?

“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 2v15(ESV).

The Word of God builds us, penetrates our hearts, sifts our motives, initiates and strengthens our faith,  helps us resist the devil,  is like a hammer to smash idols and oil to our soul, and it nourishes our souls.

The New Testament describes preaching in a myriad of different ways, but there are four classic Greek words it uses to describe preaching:

  1. Kerusso: This word, which is used more than 60 times in the New Testament, means “to proclaim, to herald, to declare as a herald does”. In those days, kings and their messages were “heralded”, and a herald proclaimed the message of the king and not his own.
    This is what a preacher does, he heralds (proclaims, declares) the message of God and not his own opinions and ideas. The preacher doesn’t speak on his own authority, he was sent by God to declare His message.
    In Matthew 3, we read of John the Baptist preaching the Word, and in Matthew 12v41, Jesus speaks of Jonah proclaiming a message from God to Nineveh. None of them spoke on their own authority and they all had a message from God.
  2. Euangelizo: From this word we derive the English word “to evangelise”. When we evangelise, we are proclaiming the Good News, such as the angel did when he delivered God’s message to Mary in Luke 2:10, or as Jesus does in Luke 4:18-19.
    Both kerusso and euangelizo are used with reference to Jesus proclaiming the Good News and preaching the Word of God. The Gospel is not only a message for the unsaved but also for us Christians, as Paul reminds us in Romans 1v15 “So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome”.
    A preacher preaches good news and brings hope and a certainty of the Word of God.
  3. Martureo: This word means “to bear witness to the fact, giving testimony”, in other words to be authentic. This requires that as preachers, we are living out what we are preaching. God is committed to our lives being a testimony as well as our words.
  4. Didasko:  The translation for this is “to disciple, train or teach”.  The preaching of the Word changes us and leads us to maturity.

The goal of preaching is to represent God, to herald His message, to make it authentic and to evoke growth and maturity within us.

When we preach, it is about representing the Good News, seeing people become like Jesus, to be encouraging and to be authentically living out what we preach.

God is committed to this because preaching is HIS not ours.

Feature image acknowledgment: http://jonathanthrelfall.com