Powerful and Piercing Preaching
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account (Hebrews 4:12-13 NKJV).
How effective would your preaching be if your hearers were only as receptive to you as you are to God? What if your hearers listened to you like you listen to God? Could it be that people are as attentive to us as we are to God? Until our hearts are pierced by the Word of God in preparation to preach, it will not pierce the hearts of those who sit under our preaching.
Concerning the preaching of Peter, the Scripture records, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart…” (Acts 2:37). Peter’s preaching was piercing because his heart had been personally pierced by the words of Christ: “And Peter remembered the word of Jesus who had said to him, ‘Before the rooster crows, you will deny Me three times. So he went out and wept bitterly’” (Matthew 26:75 NKJV). Is it possible that the Word of God pierces through us to the depth it has pierced within us?
The praying pastor is appointed and anointed by God. Many long for the appointing, but few hunger and thirst for the anointing. The words of the preacher are powerless unless they are anchored to the Word of God. When we preach, God’s Word is to be like a seed in the hand of a sower (Matt. 13:1ff), a scalpel in the hand of a surgeon (Heb. 4:12), and a sword in the hand of a soldier (Eph. 6:17). Remember, only the Word of God “pierces even to the division of soul and spirit” (Heb. 4:12). The Greek word for pierce literally means “to go through or to reach through.” Only when the Word of God is preached in the power of the Spirit of God can the hearer be impacted in the depths of his/her heart.
The Great Physician is the only one who is omnisciently skillful to perform surgery upon the soul. Only the Word of God can penetrate and pierce the heart. We should tremble as we envision the following image of our Savior: “These things says He who has the sharp two-edged sword… Repent, or else I will come to you quickly and will fight against them with the sword of My mouth” (Rev. 2:12, 16 NKJV).
The Word of God does not tickle itching ears. It aggravates the arrogant, rebukes the rebellious, confronts the complacent, humbles the haughty, assails the academic, combats the carnal, bombards the belligerent, hammers the hardened, conquers the conceited, intimidates the intellectual, enlightens the enslaved, prunes the proud and refines the righteous! It dissects and disarms deception. It dismantles and demolishes the demonic. It surfaces and slays the satanic. It dispels the debris of doubt, and its truth is triumphant! Its precepts are preeminent, and its teaching is timeless! It equips the insufficient and empowers the impotent.
Concerning the Scripture, we are commanded, “And take the helmet of salvation and the sword that the Spirit wields, which is the Word of God” (Ephesians 6:17 AMP). The sword of the Spirit is a weapon wielded best by the Spirit Himself. Only the preacher who is filled, controlled, led and empowered by the Spirit of God can experience the penetrating power of the Word of God in his own life, and in the life of his hearers. The praying preacher knows that in order to wield the Sword of the Spirit in the pulpit, he must be filled with the Spirit in the prayer closet (Ephesians 5:18; 6:17-18).
The preacher is simply the conduit through which messages travel from the heart of God to the hearts of His people. Only a preacher whose heart has been pierced by the precious Word of the One who was pierced for us can have a piercing effect upon his hearers. Our hearts should be pierced with the reality that “He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities” (Isaiah 53:5 NKJV). When God’s Word pierces the heart of hearers, it results in either conviction and contrition, or contrary callousness. Therefore, we should preach with a single-eye to the face of the Almighty rather than the faces of the audience to which He has called us to proclaim His Word. We should never confuse their faces with His face! We should be more concerned with the shining of His face upon us than the shunning of their face from us.
Content taken from In Season and Out of Season by Keeney Dickenson. Copyright © 2012 Prayeridigm Publishing. used by Permission