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Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Prophet Among Them

The first few chapters of Ezekiel sets forth the call of the great prophet and establishes the tenor of his ministry.  A recurring theme in these first few chapters is that Ezekiel was to give the nation of Israel a word from God and that he was to do so "whether they will hear or whether they will forbear".  In fact it seems to be implied that most of them would not be likely to listen.

Ezekiel 2:1-5 is a remarkable example of this divine challenge to Ezekiel.  It is here where God reminds Ezekiel that whether they hear or forbear, "yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them".

Where is the spirit of the prophet in these last days?  Those men who whether they or heard or not, the people will know that there hath been a prophet among them.

Yesterday I came across this blog post by Carl Trueman.  It was recommended by Pastor Jeff Carr.  In this thought-provoking article Trueman writes the following:

. . . . the preacher has to understand what he is doing. Understanding what a task is is basic to performing the task well. If you think that preaching is about communicating information or providing entertainment or fostering a conversation, that will shape how you preach. The greatest danger for seminary students is that they assume the lectures they hear in class are the model for the sermons they are to deliver from the pulpit.  They are not. Preaching is a theological act. The preacher finds his counterpart not in the lecture theatre or the classroom or, most ghastly of all, on the stand-up comedy circuit. He finds him in the Old Testament prophets, bringing a confrontational word from the Lord which explains reality and demands a response. 

If we are not careful we can become so  concerned about homiletics that we forget about the importance of spiritual anointing.  We can be so concerned about seeming sophisticated that we sabotage the Spirit.  We are so worried that some will doubt our scholarship that we cannot break free from dealing in obscurities.  We fear the onset of boredom thus we lower ourselves to joke-telling.

I am not arguing for ignorance or incompetence in the pulpit.  But I am arguing for Holy Ghost anointed preaching!  Men who study the word until they have received a word from God and then stand behind a pulpit and preach like they have a fire in their bones that cannot be quenched. (Jeremiah 20:9)

We are proclaiming a word that is "quick and powerful".  The preaching of it should match the reality of it.  Preaching should be "quick and powerful".  When we preach the word we are wielding the sword of the Spirit.  We should preach with an earnestness that is befitting the contest.  Preaching is a challenge to the spirit of darkness it should be enjoined with the anointing of the Holy Ghost and a skillful deployment of the Spirit's own sword.

The New Testament admonition is to preach the word and whether the people hear or forbear they "yet shall know that there hath been a prophet among them".
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