I was at a church the other day and a Pastor shared a recurring dream that he has been having.
My Recollection of the Dream: He was preaching a message and 2 or 3 ladies came up to the pulpit and gave him notes about things that were not related to his preaching. As he was preaching he noticed that his time was running short and needed to close the message, but did not know what to say. He ended it in some way which did not seem that logical to him and several young people came forward to be saved.
My Interpretation: the most important thing in preaching is not what is said but the working of God’s Holy Spirit upon the crowd. Not that the message is not important, but words without the Spirit of God behind it accomplish little, as evidenced by the ladies not listening to the message. Even though the pastor somehow finished the message in a way that did not make sense to him, several were saved by the moving of God’s Spirit.
Case in point: I am sure that you have all heard of Jonathan Edwards’s famous sermon, “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” He prayed much for that sermon, and he delivered the sermon by reading it in an even toned voice. Here was the result;
The people in Enfield "yelled and shrieked, they rolled in the aisles, they crowded up into the pulpit and begged him to stop," forcing Edwards at one point to "speak to the people and desire silence, that he might be heard". There was "great moaning & crying out through ye whole House. . .ye shrieks & crys were piercing & Amazing. . ." And yet the congregation knew its desire for a dead conscience.
Why did the Jonathan Edwards message have so great an effect? Because God’s Spirit moved upon the people. Now if you read that same sermon today, would it have the same effect? No. Why? Because it was the moving of the Spirit of God along with the words which brought the desired results and thus is the most important part to seeing results in preaching and teaching God’s Word.
Maybe God gave this pastor his dream to be an admonition to all pastors and teachers, including myself, to seek the moving of God’s Holy Spirit first and foremost, as this will bring the results we desire. And likewise, for all those listening to the messages, to beseech God for His Spirit to do a great work in their hearts. Let our prayer be; “Dear Father, let your words come through your preachers and teachers and may the Holy Spirit move mightily upon the hearers including myself.”