Preaching is preaching only when the messenger is anointed with the Holy Spirit.
The apostle Paul tells how he arrived in the city of Corinth not dependent upon self-assurance, self-assertiveness, or a powerful personality, “but in demonstration of the Spirit and power” (1 Corinthians 2:4). In fact, Paul stresses the contrasting difference, “For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling. And my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and power, that your faith should not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (vv. 2-5).
Only the anointing of the Holy Spirit can make great preaching. Paul was concerned that nothing distract from the message of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. We live in a day that puts much of the emphasis on the attractiveness of the clever mind and entertainment.
Lloyd-Jones was a prophet when he wrote in Preaching and Preachers, that we take “so much time in producing atmosphere that there is no time for preaching in the atmosphere!” The church has turned to entertainment “as she has turned her back upon preaching.” The first century preachers “refused to pander to the tastes of their listeners.” They did just the opposite by admonishing, warning, rebuking, and reproving their listeners.
Over and over again in the book of Acts we are told of the preachers “being filled with the Holy Spirit.” They proclaimed their message as the Holy Spirit enabled them. Their message and deliverance were under the control of the Spirit. The Holy Spirit had baptized them when they first believed, and they had been filled on many occasions since then. One baptism, many fillings is still a Biblical truth for every preacher.
Biblical preaching is still the greatest instrument the church possesses. Every preacher should ask himself, “Do I have the anointing?” And “if not, why not?” Unless we have the sweet anointing of God’s Spirit we cannot bring the message of the Gospel with authority and power. “Am I anointed by the Holy Spirit?”
When we come with the holy anointing we will be as John the Baptist saying, “I must decrease; He just increase.” “I am a voice,” and nothing else.
How do we know when we have the anointing? The apostle Paul said, “Our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance” (1 Thessalonians 1:5). Who gives the assurance and the power? Only the Holy Spirit can do that.
But it is not just the preacher who needs to be under the control of the Holy Spirit. His desire is to fill ordinary people with extraordinary power. Every anointed preacher longs to have anointed listeners!
We need the continuous infilling of the Holy Spirit in our lives. Men will listen to what we speak, souls will be saved, and saints edified when we are “filled by the Holy Spirit.”
“It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe” (1 Corinthians 1:21), and it still does.
The anointed preaching God uses is preaching that is centered in the Bible. It let’s the Bible tell its own eternal message. On the road to Emmaus the resurrected Jesus explained to two disciples that He was found in “all the Scriptures.” Thus Biblical preaching is Christ-centered. Since the sermon is biblical, and the Bible is Christ-centered, then a biblical sermon is filled with Jesus Christ. Because Christianity is Christ, all anointed preaching is centered on the person and atoning work of Jesus Christ (John 15:26; 16:14). The Spirit of God is at work whenever and wherever men are being pointed to Jesus Christ. Anointed preaching declares that God sent Jesus to die for our sins and calls men and women to turn and put their faith in Him for salvation (1 Cor. 15:3-6). We need bold, biblical, Christ-centered preaching in our day. That is anointed preaching.