Holy Spirit and our preaching

The text below is the actual text from Spurgeon. I take the liberty here to outline his points for you. I challenge you to read Lectures to my Students by Spurgeon. It will encourage you and teach you at the same time.

  1. We need the Holy Spirit of God to work while we are preaching.
  2. If you have been preaching long you know the difference when He is working or not during your preaching.
  3. When God comes on us like this in our preaching it is the most wonderful experience ever.
  4. If you have preached long you know that sometimes you feel His presence and it is wonderful. Sometimes it is hard preaching.
  5. Our prayer is to often feel God’s power working in and through us as we preach.

Brethren, we require the Holy Spirit also to incite us in our utterance.

I doubt not you are all conscious of different states of mind in preaching. Some of those states arise from your body being in different conditions. A bad cold will not only spoil the clearness of the voice, but freeze the flow of the thoughts. For my own part, if I cannot speak clearly I am unable to think clearly, and the matter becomes hoarse as well as the voice. The stomach, also, and all the other organs of the body, affect the mind; but it is not to these things that I allude.

Are you not conscious of changes altogether independent of the body? When you are in robust health do you not find yourselves one day as heavy as Pharaoh’s chariot with the wheels taken off, and at another time as much at liberty as “a hind let loose”? To-day your branch glitters with the dew, yesterday it was parched with drought. Who knoweth not that the Spirit of God is in all this? The divine Spirit will sometimes work upon us so as to bear us completely out of ourselves. From the beginning of the sermon to the end we might at such times say, “Whether in the body or out of the body I cannot tell: God knoweth.”

Everything has been forgotten but the one all-engrossing subject in hand. If I were forbidden to enter heaven, but were permitted to select my state for all eternity, I should choose to be as I sometimes feel in preaching the gospel. Heaven is foreshadowed in such a state: the mind shut out from all disturbing influences, adoring the majestic and consciously present God, every faculty aroused and joyously excited to its utmost capability, all the thoughts and powers of the soul joyously occupied in contemplating the glory of the Lord, and extolling to listening crowds the Beloved of our soul; and all the while the purest conceivable benevolence towards one’s fellow creatures urging the heart to plead with them on God’s behalf—what state of mind can rival this?

Alas, we have reached this ideal, but we cannot always maintain it, for we know also what it is to preach in chains, or beat the air. We may not attribute holy and happy changes in our ministry to anything less than the action of the Holy Spirit upon our souls. I am sure the Spirit does so work. Often and often, when I have had doubts suggested by the infidel, I have been able to fling them to the winds with utter scorn, because I am distinctly conscious of a power working upon me when I am speaking in the name of the Lord, infinitely transcending any personal power of fluency, and far surpassing any energy derived from excitement such as I have felt when delivering a secular lecture or making a speech—so utterly distinct from such power that I am quite certain it is not of the same order or class as the enthusiasm of the politician or the glow of the orator.

May we full often feel the divine energy, and speak with power.

C. H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students: Addresses Delivered to the Students of the Pastors’ College, Metropolitan Tabernacle. Second Series., vol. 2 (New York: Robert Carter and Brothers, 1889), 25–29.

Photo by Nicole Honeywill on Unsplash

About the author

Austin Gardner is pastor of Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta, GA. Previously he was church planting missionary in Peru for 20 years.

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