by E. M. Bounds
God’s true preachers have been distinguished by one great feature: they were men of prayer. Much time spent with God is the secret of all successful praying.
A fiery pulpit–not a learned pulpit, not a popular pulpit, not an eloquent pulpit, but a pulpit on fire with the Holy Ghost! A pulpit may be fired with unhallowed flames; the fire of popularity, the fire of ambition, the fire of party, of sect, or of creed may inflame the pulpit, and much heat of one kind or another may be kindled. The true pulpit is God’s fire in the world. Its flame is heaven-kindled; its power the Holy Ghost on the preacher.
The Holy Ghost never flows through the channel of a laugh. Conviction, prayer, and frivolity do not mix.
Christ’s sermons hit–always hit somebody. Sometimes they hit with convicting and convincing force that broke up the heart into sorrow and repentance. Sometimes they enraged and only induced bitterness, opposition, and hate. Always intended to save, they frequently repulsed rather than attracted.
The sweetest-spirited sermon may provoke the bitterest opposition. The Word of God is not a negative quality, nor an edgeless force, but is sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing assunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts, the intents of the heart. True preaching lays the heart and conscience bare and reveals sins as they will be exposed–naked–in the day of judgment.
All forms of sin and wickedness grow up and luxuriate under the eye and voice of preaching that never disturbs consciences nor awakes opposition. The preaching that has no repellent power will not have attractive force. The preaching that is not direct in its aim is a blank cartridge fired into the air.
The preacher must shut his ears to popularity for there is no more dangerous thing than popularity, no more unstable thing to a true man. The love of popularity causes on to surrender convictions and debauch character. Seeking popularity is deceptive. It is seeking self int he form of seeking good.
The preacher who expects to do good by flattery puts on the devil’s signature and seal. Paul declared that he flattered no man and that if he sought to please men he would not be the servant of Christ.
2ProphetU is an online magazine/website, started by Warren Wiersbe and Michael Catt, to build up the church, seek revival, and encourage pastors.