The Message Must Be Alive
Then the LORD put forth his hand, and touched my mouth. And the LORD said unto me, Behold, I have put my words in thy mouth. See, I have this day set thee over the nations and over the kingdoms, to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down, to build, and to plant. —Jeremiah 1:9-10
A church can wither as surely under the ministry of soulless Bible exposition as it can where no Bible is given at all. To be effective, the preacher’s message must be alive—it must alarm, arouse, challenge; it must be God’s present voice to a particular people. Then, and not until then, is it the prophetic word and the man himself, a prophet.
To perfectly fulfill his calling, the prophet must be under the constant sway of the Holy Spirit. Further, he must be alert to moral and spiritual conditions. All spiritual teaching should relate to life. It should intrude into the daily and private living of the hearers. Without being personal, the true prophet will nevertheless pierce the conscience of each listener as if the message had been directed to him or her alone.
Lord, I pray that my preaching and teaching might never become routine. Keep me fresh; keep me under the “constant sway of the Holy Spirit;” keep me alert and alive always. Amen.
As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. John 15:4
Ruth Bell Graham once compared the Holy Spirit’s work in our lives to sap in a grapevine. In John 15, Jesus said, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing” (verse 5). Sap is the circulatory system of the plant. Its unseen flow draws no attention to itself but keeps the relationship healthy between branch and vine. That’s what produces the fruit.
Abiding in Christ means living in unhindered fellowship with our Lord, walking with Him, talking with Him, confessing our sins, and being filled with His Spirit. The Holy Spirit then has free recourse to take the life of Jesus and replicate it in us. He takes the work of Christ and accomplishes it through us. He enables us to bear fruit, more fruit, and much fruit (see John 15:1, 2, 5). He produces the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
When we bear fruit, it’s evidence the Lord is in us and the Holy Spirit is doing His work through us.
Oh, let us enter in and abide, and enjoy to the full all the rich supply His wondrous love has prepared for us! Andrew Murray, in Abide in Christ: 31 Days to Intimacy with Jesus
Recommended Reading: John 15:1-9