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9Marksfan
Sep 9th 2008, 09:44 AM
I want folks to let me have their thoughts on this - and before anyone says "preaching that is in the power of the Holy Spirit", that is a given - but how can we KNOW that preaching is spiritual? How can we IDENTIFY it? And, no matter the reaction or "feeling" people get from preaching, what would be the signs that preaching is NOT spiritual - but carnal or legalistic or academic?

Any books on the subject would be helpful too.

NavyFirefighter
Sep 9th 2008, 10:59 AM
Does it line up with the word of God?
It sounds like you may be talking about a prophetic word of prophetic preaching. If anything about it does not line up 100% with the word of God (the Bible) then it is NOT a word from God. If it does not in any way contradict the bible anywhere and this person has a close personal relationship with God and after receiving it, you pray about it, God will tell you that, yes it was from Him or no it was a bunch of bunk.

HisLeast
Sep 9th 2008, 01:27 PM
I want folks to let me have their thoughts on this - and before anyone says "preaching that is in the power of the Holy Spirit", that is a given - but how can we KNOW that preaching is spiritual? How can we IDENTIFY it? And, no matter the reaction or "feeling" people get from preaching, what would be the signs that preaching is NOT spiritual - but carnal or legalistic or academic?

Any books on the subject would be helpful too.

That's pretty much the conundrum isn't it? In any disagreement one side will decide they've "got the spirit" and the other one is just "being carnal" but in all my time of searching I've never seen that defined. Sure there are obvious examples at the extreme... Rev. Phelps obviously slants his teachings to satisfy a carnal hate nature. But when you eliminate those examples, how do we deal with every other question in our faith, especially when Christians are divided on every single topic?

So short answer is: I have no idea, and I don't think I ever will.

But as a counter question, are "academic" and "spiritual" mutually exclusive in preaching?

threebigrocks
Sep 9th 2008, 02:44 PM
You can tell by the fruit of those whose ears take in the preaching, that is the ultimate measuring rod. Anyone can sit down and hold up what is being preached to scripture, but when the truth is taken in as milk or meat and it's digested - we can know it's true by the fruit it bears. That would include new believers coming into the church and growth of those who are already in Christ.

HisLeast
Sep 9th 2008, 02:46 PM
You can tell by the fruit of those whose ears take in the preaching, that is the ultimate measuring rod. Anyone can sit down and hold up what is being preached to scripture, but when the truth is taken in as milk or meat and it's digested - we can know it's true by the fruit it bears. That would include new believers coming into the church and growth of those who are already in Christ.

But in every church you have those who listen and learn, those who could care less and stagnate, and a whole range in between. With everything pretty much averaging out, how does one tell?

threebigrocks
Sep 9th 2008, 03:01 PM
But in every church you have those who listen and learn, those who could care less and stagnate, and a whole range in between. With everything pretty much averaging out, how does one tell?

Time. :)

Those who care less and stagnate will remain as such. But, the ones who learn and listen - they will change. They don't average each other out, faith is personal and I grow different that you do and two others will grow differently according to how God wants them to grow.

It takes the Spirit in the heart of those listeners and learners to take the message and feed off of it. To hunger and want more. If the preaching is truth, one can't not grow when they have a heart for the Lord.

RoadWarrior
Sep 9th 2008, 03:30 PM
I want folks to let me have their thoughts on this - and before anyone says "preaching that is in the power of the Holy Spirit", that is a given - but how can we KNOW that preaching is spiritual? How can we IDENTIFY it? And, no matter the reaction or "feeling" people get from preaching, what would be the signs that preaching is NOT spiritual - but carnal or legalistic or academic?

Any books on the subject would be helpful too.

Are you asking for yourself as you embark on your own ministry? I'll address my thoughts in that direction.

First, the one doing the preaching needs to be in frequent and constant prayer and also in the Word. I like how George Mueller read his Bible on his knees, praying as he read, or reading as he prayed. A person who lives this kind of life being dedicated and sold out to God, will have power in his preaching. When he takes the pulpit, his words and message will be Biblically and spiritually rooted, and will glorify God.

Men who do not do this, will have lots of worldly talk mingled in their sermons. They will sound similar to motivational speakers that businesses employ.

In other words, what comes from the pulpit is the direct result of what the preacher has been feeding into his mind and spirit.

manichunter
Sep 9th 2008, 03:48 PM
One way is that the sermon will include three things called the three witnesses (God's character as revealed in Scripture, human physiology, and natural types found in this creations that point to spiritual ones)

ServantofTruth
Sep 9th 2008, 04:04 PM
The only 100% way of knowing, and i'm sorry if this is unhelpful, is when a verse or idea in scripture - is expanded on and taught also in scripture.

When i hear a talk that turns scripture into a man made story or explaination - i'm left thinking - Wasn't God's way good enough for that minister?

If you are starting a ministry as our friend RoadWarrior says - is there anywhere i can read about it? I would love your encouragement and to support you and pray. God bless SofTy. :pray:

Instrument
Sep 9th 2008, 05:16 PM
I want folks to let me have their thoughts on this - and before anyone says "preaching that is in the power of the Holy Spirit", that is a given - but how can we KNOW that preaching is spiritual? How can we IDENTIFY it? And, no matter the reaction or "feeling" people get from preaching, what would be the signs that preaching is NOT spiritual - but carnal or legalistic or academic?

Any books on the subject would be helpful too.

I think a prayer is spiritual, where somehow the sense of what really says the biblical text is found and exposed.

Blessings.

Sold Out
Sep 9th 2008, 05:18 PM
I want folks to let me have their thoughts on this - and before anyone says "preaching that is in the power of the Holy Spirit", that is a given - but how can we KNOW that preaching is spiritual? How can we IDENTIFY it? And, no matter the reaction or "feeling" people get from preaching, what would be the signs that preaching is NOT spiritual - but carnal or legalistic or academic?

Any books on the subject would be helpful too.

I would first consider the source...is the pastor leading and living according to the scriptures? Does his life reflect that the Holy Spirit is alive and working through him?

Secondly, the preacher must ALWAYS point to God and never to himself. What he teaches/preaches should not be based on his personal agenda. He should not be afraid to proclaim God's truths for fear of losing membership or popularity.

And of course the obvious....what he teaches should line up with the Word of God 100%.

Tanya~
Sep 9th 2008, 05:26 PM
I want folks to let me have their thoughts on this - and before anyone says "preaching that is in the power of the Holy Spirit", that is a given - but how can we KNOW that preaching is spiritual? How can we IDENTIFY it?

This is a great question. In my experience, preaching that is in the Spirit is when the person speaking is using the Scripture and communicating the message in such a way that many people go away with something that directly speaks to them personally. I don't really know how to describe it, but when the speaker speaks directly to your heart using God's word, he is speaking in the Spirit. I have experienced this many times in several churches. It's when you say, "He doesn't even know me but seemed to know just what I needed to hear today." It may be a correction or an exhortation, some comforting word, or some guidance, but either way it is exactly what you needed at that time. God spoke to you through that preacher/pastor/speaker.


And, no matter the reaction or "feeling" people get from preaching, what would be the signs that preaching is NOT spiritual - but carnal or legalistic or academic?

It doesn't speak to the person spiritually even if the person is open and ready to receive from God. I think these kinds of messages tend to be intentionally targeted for a particular type of person in the audience, and it isn't something that can be taken by all and applied in different ways by many different people in different situations.

Mark F
Sep 10th 2008, 02:01 AM
I would say that if what the preaching is
about is in some direct way magnifying
the person or work of Jesus Christ.

Unspiritual would elevate man.

Put in very simplistic terms :)

crossnote
Sep 10th 2008, 05:47 AM
"What Defines Spiritual Preaching.?"

First natural preaching is preaching the law, psychology. social reform, community betterment etc. etc.
On the other hand, Spiritual Preaching centers itself around the Gospel which is something totally alien to the natural mind. It centers on a crucified Savior/God justifying unworthy, wicked sinners. It concentrates on the Incarnation/Obedience/Death/Burial and Resurrection of our Lord. Things found foolish to the natural mind. It concentrates on the promises of God which to the secular mind seems totally ridiculous and unlikely to happen (Christ's bodily return for example).
It does not concentrate on what the world sees as 'spirituality' such as visions of angels, methods of meditation, 'how to incense your prayer closet', drawing close to the Eternal Being etc. etc.
With God the most spiritual things come in the most ordinary packages...e.g. our God as a babe lying helpless in a manger, or an impoverished widow giving of her only mite, or a boy handing over his five loaves and two fish to Jesus and seeing it stuff over 5000 with 12 baskets of fragments leftover.
So what is Spiritual Preaching? I think at it's core it can be summed up in these verses...

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1Co 1:22-25)

9Marksfan
Sep 10th 2008, 08:25 AM
That's pretty much the conundrum isn't it? In any disagreement one side will decide they've "got the spirit" and the other one is just "being carnal" but in all my time of searching I've never seen that defined. Sure there are obvious examples at the extreme... Rev. Phelps obviously slants his teachings to satisfy a carnal hate nature. But when you eliminate those examples, how do we deal with every other question in our faith, especially when Christians are divided on every single topic?

So short answer is: I have no idea, and I don't think I ever will.

Thanks for your candour - it's this very difficulty that drove me to start the thread - I think that so often it's down to people's "gut feelings" about a sermon - and whether it's the sort of thing they "like" - so people are often very subjective in their analysis - I also think that if they don't LIKE the preacher, they're not going to expect God to speak to them throuhg him - and are going to be looking for faults in their doctrine, delivery, application, etc.


But as a counter question, are "academic" and "spiritual" mutually exclusive in preaching?

I would say absolutely not - anyone who has ever heard the late Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones will have heard a fantastic combination of academic rigour and undeniable spiritual power - perhaps it was because he believed that the gospel was "logic on fire".....

ServantofTruth
Sep 10th 2008, 08:43 PM
I'm not sure if this is totally on topic - but you can hear a very good speaker on the Word and everyone comes out buzzing and commenting on how good it was. The next day you ask someone what it was about and they say i can't remember, but i do remember - it was very good. Is it just me, or is there a contradiction there? SofTy.

9Marksfan
Sep 10th 2008, 09:35 PM
One way is that the sermon will include three things called the three witnesses (God's character as revealed in Scripture, human physiology, and natural types found in this creations that point to spiritual ones)

Where do you get this from? And how does human physiology get included in a sermon? Are we talking body language here?!?

9Marksfan
Sep 10th 2008, 09:39 PM
The only 100% way of knowing, and i'm sorry if this is unhelpful, is when a verse or idea in scripture - is expanded on and taught also in scripture.

When i hear a talk that turns scripture into a man made story or explaination - i'm left thinking - Wasn't God's way good enough for that minister?

If you are starting a ministry as our friend RoadWarrior says - is there anywhere i can read about it? I would love your encouragement and to support you and pray. God bless SofTy. :pray:

Thanks for your encouragement, SoftY - I've been preaching for a while and can send you PowerPoints of some of my messages if you like, to get a feel for them - but my preaching has come under criticism recently for being "unspiritual" - yet I aim to make it God-honouring, Christ-centred, Biblical and challenging - every time - I'm confused! :confused

Tanya~
Sep 10th 2008, 09:39 PM
I'm not sure if this is totally on topic - but you can hear a very good speaker on the Word and everyone comes out buzzing and commenting on how good it was. The next day you ask someone what it was about and they say i can't remember, but i do remember - it was very good. Is it just me, or is there a contradiction there? SofTy.

Jesus told Peter to "feed My sheep." Spiritual teaching is spiritual food. You may not remember a given sermon or teaching a year from now or even two weeks from now, but that doesn't mean it didn't nourish you or contribute to your growth. I think the purpose of a spiritual message isn't necessarily to be memorable, but to nourish the person spiritually, to get inside them, influence their thinking and help them to grow in the Lord, just as food helps a little child to grow. :)

9Marksfan
Sep 10th 2008, 09:44 PM
Are you asking for yourself as you embark on your own ministry? I'll address my thoughts in that direction.

I guess I'm asking personally to some extent, but I felt that the subject was important enough to merit a wider discussion.


First, the one doing the preaching needs to be in frequent and constant prayer and also in the Word. I like how George Mueller read his Bible on his knees, praying as he read, or reading as he prayed. A person who lives this kind of life being dedicated and sold out to God, will have power in his preaching. When he takes the pulpit, his words and message will be Biblically and spiritually rooted, and will glorify God.

Amen! Excellent advice - and George Mueller was the founder of the Open Brethren, which is what our church is!


Men who do not do this, will have lots of worldly talk mingled in their sermons. They will sound similar to motivational speakers that businesses employ.

I think I may not be praying enough as I prepare and may be relying on my knowledge of Scripture - yet - I sense God's help both in the preparation and the delivery - I think I'm needing more passion, though, but don't want it to be "fake" - know what I mean?


In other words, what comes from the pulpit is the direct result of what the preacher has been feeding into his mind and spirit.

How very true - what a challenge - as M'Cheyne said "What a man is on his knees before God, that he is - and no more"....

9Marksfan
Sep 10th 2008, 09:51 PM
This is a great question. In my experience, preaching that is in the Spirit is when the person speaking is using the Scripture and communicating the message in such a way that many people go away with something that directly speaks to them personally. I don't really know how to describe it, but when the speaker speaks directly to your heart using God's word, he is speaking in the Spirit. I have experienced this many times in several churches. It's when you say, "He doesn't even know me but seemed to know just what I needed to hear today." It may be a correction or an exhortation, some comforting word, or some guidance, but either way it is exactly what you needed at that time. God spoke to you through that preacher/pastor/speaker.

I know what you mean - but I'm wondering if what you're actually referring to is the modern manifestation of prophecy - and must all preachers be prophets? Maybe they should - but I don't think that there has to be the kind of experience you mention (and it has happened when I've preached) EVERY time for the preaching to have been spiritual.


It doesn't speak to the person spiritually even if the person is open and ready to receive from God. I think these kinds of messages tend to be intentionally targeted for a particular type of person in the audience, and it isn't something that can be taken by all and applied in different ways by many different people in different situations.

OK - so how does the preacher prepare in those circumstances? Isn't there a danger that the person in the congregation is looking too much for something very "personal" spiritually? Surely if the preacher is seeking to honour God, exalt Christ and be Biblical from start to finish, then a person seeking to receive from God is going to be blessed? Or am I missing something?!?

9Marksfan
Sep 10th 2008, 09:53 PM
I would say that if what the preaching is
about is in some direct way magnifying
the person or work of Jesus Christ.

Unspiritual would elevate man.

Put in very simplistic terms :)

Great answer - but would it be possible for such preaching to STILL be "unspiritual" in some way?

9Marksfan
Sep 10th 2008, 09:54 PM
"What Defines Spiritual Preaching.?"

First natural preaching is preaching the law, psychology. social reform, community betterment etc. etc.
On the other hand, Spiritual Preaching centers itself around the Gospel which is something totally alien to the natural mind. It centers on a crucified Savior/God justifying unworthy, wicked sinners. It concentrates on the Incarnation/Obedience/Death/Burial and Resurrection of our Lord. Things found foolish to the natural mind. It concentrates on the promises of God which to the secular mind seems totally ridiculous and unlikely to happen (Christ's bodily return for example).
It does not concentrate on what the world sees as 'spirituality' such as visions of angels, methods of meditation, 'how to incense your prayer closet', drawing close to the Eternal Being etc. etc.
With God the most spiritual things come in the most ordinary packages...e.g. our God as a babe lying helpless in a manger, or an impoverished widow giving of her only mite, or a boy handing over his five loaves and two fish to Jesus and seeing it stuff over 5000 with 12 baskets of fragments leftover.
So what is Spiritual Preaching? I think at it's core it can be summed up in these verses...

For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
(1Co 1:22-25)

Excellent post - thanks!

Tanya~
Sep 10th 2008, 11:37 PM
I know what you mean - but I'm wondering if what you're actually referring to is the modern manifestation of prophecy - and must all preachers be prophets? Maybe they should - but I don't think that there has to be the kind of experience you mention (and it has happened when I've preached) EVERY time for the preaching to have been spiritual.

Yes, I believe the preacher absolutely should have the prophetic gift (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20cor%2014:3;&version=50;). If he isn't gifted with prophecy he would probably be more effective in some other capacity, such as teaching or in whatever gift he is gifted.


OK - so how does the preacher prepare in those circumstances?

He prepares by seeking the gift of prophecy (praying for it), by nurturing that gift through prayer and meditation on the word, by immersing himself in the word of God and not least through a great deal of prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.


Isn't there a danger that the person in the congregation is looking too much for something very "personal" spiritually?

I have difficulty expressing it. For myself being "that person," I am looking to hear from God, to be fed spiritual food from the Spirit by way of the preacher who is the messenger chosen by God to deliver that message. I don't look for a private message from God but I do look for spiritual edification from the pulpit that speaks to me personally.


Surely if the preacher is seeking to honour God, exalt Christ and be Biblical from start to finish, then a person seeking to receive from God is going to be blessed? Or am I missing something?!?

Those desires are honorable, but if God has not called someone to preach, then even though he has honorable desires, he will not be a very effective preacher. He might do better as a teacher. I don't think someone should preach without the prophetic gift.

jamesand57
Sep 11th 2008, 01:37 AM
Yes, I believe the preacher absolutely should have the prophetic gift (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1%20cor%2014:3;&version=50;). If he isn't gifted with prophecy he would probably be more effective in some other capacity, such as teaching or in whatever gift he is gifted.



He prepares by seeking the gift of prophecy (praying for it), by nurturing that gift through prayer and meditation on the word, by immersing himself in the word of God and not least through a great deal of prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.



I have difficulty expressing it. For myself being "that person," I am looking to hear from God, to be fed spiritual food from the Spirit by way of the preacher who is the messenger chosen by God to deliver that message. I don't look for a private message from God but I do look for spiritual edification from the pulpit that speaks to me personally.



Those desires are honorable, but if God has not called someone to preach, then even though he has honorable desires, he will not be a very effective preacher. He might do better as a teacher. I don't think someone should preach without the prophetic gift.


A Prophetic gift while it may appear from the Pulpit is not what the Bible says for a Preacher, a Preacher is a Exhorter with the gift of exhortation.

Most Preachers operate at some level as a Prophet if they are biblical exhorters as they deliver the Word of God to the People, but the main use of Prophecy is predictive in the New Testament as the New Testament uses the word. Most Preachers I have met do not give a Thus says the Lord within the sermon.

Tanya~
Sep 11th 2008, 01:50 AM
A Prophetic gift while it may appear from the Pulpit is not what the Bible says for a Preacher, a Preacher is a Exhorter with the gift of exhortation.

Most Preachers operate at some level as a Prophet if they are biblical exhorters as they deliver the Word of God to the People, but the main use of Prophecy is predictive in the New Testament as the New Testament uses the word. Most Preachers I have met do not give a Thus says the Lord within the sermon.

This is why I offered a link to 1 Cor 14:3, which defines the prophetic gift as I was using it. Prophecy includes but is not limited to exhortation, nor does it have to be predictive, not in this context. The gift of prophecy speaks forth God word for the edification, exhortation, and comfort of men.

If you look at the three main groupings of gifts in the New Testament you will see prophecy listed in each one. No other gift is listed in all three groups like this and it is the most important gift. A pastor who doesn't have this gift should have someone else on staff who does, who has freedom to speak to the people on a regular basis so they don't starve.

irv
Sep 13th 2008, 10:20 PM
First, there is a difference between preaching and teaching. But the test to see if either is in the Spirit of God one must look to the scriptures. First we are told to test all spirits whether they are from God or not. The Scripture is the blueprint for the test.
Look at some preacher in the Bible.
OT:
Noah, His preaching was the truth of Godís word
Subject: Judgment is coming
His audience: the lost world.
NT:
Stephen, His preaching was the truth of Godís word
Subject: The scriptures (OT) and the Jews error in not knowing it.
His audience: Those religious leaders who thought they knew the scriptures.
It tells us in Acts 6:51, he was preaching in the Holy Spirit, because it was the Holy Spirit they were resisting.
When a preacher is preaching in the Spirit, the Spirit will speak to those being preached to.

I could use many other examples, but I think you can see what I am saying from these two preachers in scripture.

I started by saying there is a difference between preaching and teaching. Here is the difference. Preaching is proclaiming a message from God. You become Godís mouthpiece. A teacher is just that: a teacher of God Word. I have seen teachers who, while teaching all of a sudden become a preacher. But there is a difference.

SIG
Sep 13th 2008, 11:04 PM
I guess my (simple) test would be: Is it the preacher preaching, or God?

The preacher is, in effect, bringing a message to the congregation from God. (This is why my second qualification would be that the preacher preach only from the Word).

Even if the preaching is in the Spirit, some in the congregation might not necessarily like/receive it, because it needs a while to sink into their spirits (yes--a small "s"). Or--some might not be saved, and so do not willingly receive.

But just as those who worship do so in Spirit and truth, so must those who preach.

Excellent topic, by the way--and one I have been researching in the past few weeks, as we have a new co-pastor. My Google search was "what makes a good sermon?"

Just a Door Keeper
Sep 13th 2008, 11:24 PM
"...if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." Isaiah 8:20

legoman
Sep 15th 2008, 01:33 AM
Jesus parables are the perfect example of spiritual teaching. On the surface, they are simple ideas and stories. If you view them as literal or physical, you only get limited meaning from them. But if you really dig into them, there is layer upon layer of depth and meaning.

If you can explain Jesus' parables, you are well on the way...

Cheers,
Legoman

AliveinChristDave
Sep 16th 2008, 04:51 AM
There is some good points made in this thread.
Someone mentioned Prophesy.
Paul said he'd rather prophesy than speak in other languages because as he says in 1 Corinthians 14:3 But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men [to] edification, and exhortation, and comfort.
Edification builds, Exhortation encourages and of course comfort brings assurance.
Bible centered preaching will do all this.
Just as Aaron was covered in oil before ministering to the congregation, we need the oil of the Holy Spirit covering all of our being. Psalms 92:10 (http://www.apostolic-churches.net/bible/search/list/?search_book=Psalms&search_chapter_verse=92&varchapter_verse=92:10) But my horn shalt thou exalt like [the horn of] an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil.

This comes about by Bible study, prayer and fasting and unless it is there, our preaching is just words.
Some make the mistake of preaching what someone else has said. Instructions of others are fine but when we preach we have to preach what God shows us from His Word, not what we read in a book.
Our message should become part of us and be something that compels us as a fire burning in our inner being. If that is true, then we don't have a message, we ARE a message.

Psalms 39:3 My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned: [then] spake I with my tongue,

pastor_john
Sep 16th 2008, 10:42 AM
I want folks to let me have their thoughts on this - and before anyone says "preaching that is in the power of the Holy Spirit", that is a given - but how can we KNOW that preaching is spiritual? How can we IDENTIFY it? And, no matter the reaction or "feeling" people get from preaching, what would be the signs that preaching is NOT spiritual - but carnal or legalistic or academic?

Any books on the subject would be helpful too.

Good question! I am reminded of 1Co2:12-16: to express the spiritual things in spiritual words, this is the work of the Spirit from GOD, and the speakers will have the mind of Christ; to use the words taught by human wisdom, this is the work of the spirit from this world, that is, the god of this world which blinds the eye of people so that they do not understand the gospel of Christ (2Co4:3-4), that is, the Bible, for all the prophets were speaking in the revelation of the Spirit of Chrsit (1Pe1:10-12), and the word of the LORD is the gospel (1Pe1:25).

To express the spiritual things in spiritual words: the law is spiritual (Rom7:14a), and the Bible is the things of Jesus (Ac28:23),that is, to use the words of the Bible to explain the things of the Bible, for the scroll of the LORD has nothing missing (isa34:16-17). And it was promised that the LORD will speak through an alien tongue and a foreign lip, a little here, and a little there and explain the message of the Bible (Isa28:9-11).

This is what I have for your question for the time being. Hope it makes sense. Blessings!