Thursday, August 29, 2013

The literally indispensable ministry of the Holy Spirit in Gospel preaching

One of the realities that weighs more heavily on me in pastoral ministry now, more than ever in the past, is the need of the Holy Spirit's lifegiving ministry in, through, and beyond the act of preaching the Gospel.

As usual, Spurgeon says it with evocative power and excellence:
Oh, brothers and sisters, if anybody in this place knows the power which is in Christ to make his ministry of any use, I am sure that I do! I scarcely ever come into this pulpit without bemoaning myself that ever I should be called to a task for which I seem more unfit than any other man that ever was born. Woe is me that I should have to preach a gospel which so overmasters me, and which I feel that I am so unfit to preach! Yet I could not give it up, for it were a far greater woe to me not to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. 
Unless the Holy Ghost blesses the Word, we who preach the gospel are of all men most miserable, for we have attempted a task that is impossible, we have entered upon a sphere where nothing but the supernatural will ever avail. If the Holy Spirit does not renew the hearts of our hearers, we cannot do it. If the Holy Ghost does not regenerate them, we cannot. If he does not send the truth home into their souls, we might as well speak into the ear of a corpse. All that we have to do is quite beyond our unaided power; we must have our Master with us, or we can do nothing. 
We deeply feel our need of this great truth; we not merely say it, but we are driven every day, by our own deep sense of need, to rejoice that our Lord has declared, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth,” for we need all power. Every kind of power that there is in heaven and in earth we shall need before we can fully discharge this ministry. Before the nations shall all be brought to hear the gospel of Christ, before testimony to him shall be borne in every land, we shall need the whole omnipotence of God; we shall want every force in heaven and earth ere this is done. Thank God that this power is all laid by ready for our use, the strength that is equal to such a stupendous task as this is already provided. 
[Spurgeon, C. H. (1896). The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, Vol. XLII (pp. 235–236), "Our Omnipotent Leader." London: Passmore & Alabaster. Paragraphs added to enhance readability]
Even so, come, Holy Spirit, to bring the word of the Gospel home with power and conviction (1 Thess. 1:5-6).


Burrito34 said...

Not just for preachers, partner, but for anyone who will witness for Jesus. We all need that constant infilling by the Holy Spirit.

DJP said...

Yes, amen.

Chris H said...

Who's this Spurgeon fellow? Is he a new Mars Hill pastor or something? Does he have a twitter account? - once you get past his old timey language, he's not bad.

Maybe he'll be on Elephant Room, or TBN?

Michael Coughlin said...

Amen. This is my only hope.