Tuesday, February 5, 2008

More on Spirit-led Preaching



While I think he has the order wrong, still Greg Heisler has a powerful comment on the role of the Holy Spirit in changed lives, using the example of the disciples on the road to Emmaus:


Go back with me...to Luke 24 and the disciples on the Emmaus road.  Jesus, in a post-resurrection appearance, revealed himself to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. The preaching of Jesus resulted in the disciples' introspection: "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?" (Luke 24:32)  Every preacher longs for his listeners hearts to be set on fire by what he is saying, yet the preacher cannot forget the preceding verse:  "Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him."  The opening of the eyes came before the burning of the heart.  What kind of preaching opens the eyes of listeners?  The kind that always recognizes Jesus!  The Spirit opens eyes, but the man of God must take the Word of God and present a clear picture of Jesus.  Not only must you paint them a clear picture of Jesus, but you, as God's preacher, must incarnate the truth you are preaching about the Savior as well.   (Spirit-Led Preaching, p. 34)

It is tough to be a bit critical about this quote, since there is so much I like about it   Let me point out the one problem I have and then reflect on the point of the quote.  Their hearts burned BEFORE their eyes were opened and they "saw" Jesus.  They are simply reflecting on it here after Jesus becomes recognizable to them.  And so you can't probably read as much into the order as Heisler does.

That being said, I REALLY like the quote.  There IS a direct relationship between the Holy Spirit causing our hearts to burn--touching the heart as well as the head--and people's vision of Jesus.  And if the goal of preaching is changed lives, then that burning heart is a vital step. And the burning heart comes only with a vision of Jesus and who he is.  "Sir, we would see Jesus..." said the Greeks who approached Philip.  That cry is the same for those who hear us preach.  When they see Jesus, the Holy Spirit works in their hearts to bring about that longing. 

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