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Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Responsibility of the Preacher

Isaiah 61:1-3 (ESV) 1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; 3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion— to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified.

My focus on Sunday mornings is to preach. That is a surprise to many who attend church. Someone will come to me and say, "The door is stuck on the north side," or "The ladies bathroom in the children's wing is out of toilet paper." They have actually told me these things within minutes of entering the pulpit. These are the clueless individuals who neither realize what I am doing or that they should take action beyond telling the preacher. He can't do anything about those things right before he preaches but they can.

The importance of preaching has waned in recent years. The books written for preachers do not exhort preacher to hold their office in awe but to take action which will get more people in the door. I would say there are more books written on developing a church's electronic footprint than on preaching in the last several years even though preaching is at the core of all churches.

Maybe the emphasis has changed because preachers have changed. Many of them don't seem to understand their anointing. I wonder if some are truly anointed myself. I think they are just good speakers who didn't know what else to do with their gift. They may be able to hold your attention but they don't fulfill the call of the anointed. They fail in binding up the brokenhearted, proclaiming liberty to the captives and opening prison doors. They do not see each preaching experience as one in the year of the Lord's favor. They do not understand the justice of God nor victory for those who been faithful. They do not see their task of participating with the Lord in making oaks of righteousness in their congregations.

I suppose all preachers need to be reminded of these things. I know the Lord has reminded me of this before I preach today. I certainly needed to remember what I am doing. It really wouldn't hurt for me to read this passage as a prelude to all of my sermons.

So, today I will preach as if this is the last sermon I will ever preach. I will preach as if it is the first. It carries the weight of both. A sermon always should.

Those who pray for their preachers should remember this too.

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