Expositor’s Conference 2013
The Power of the Holy Spirit in Preaching
Session 1: The Power of Jesus’ Preaching – His Anointing by the Holy Spirit (Steve Lawson)
This is Part 1. Part 2 will be in Session 8.
We must adopt the view that there are (or should be) two people standing in the pulpit when preaching – the preacher and the Holy Spirit. There is no power in the preaching of the word apart from the power of the Holy Spirit. The evidence of the power of preaching with the power of the Holy Spirit is seen by the outworking of the power of the Holy Spirit in the lives of the preacher and the hearer. For instance, consider the events of the various revivals – it is fueled by the fire of the preaching of the word of God but it works greatly in the lives of the hearers.
The power of the Holy Spirit in the preacher requires a complete transformation of the mind and heart of the preacher.
Text: Luke 4:14–21 (NASB95)
14 And Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit, and news about Him spread through all the surrounding district.
15 And He began teaching in their synagogues and was praised by all.
16 And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read.
17 And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, Because He anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to proclaim release to the captives, And recovery of sight to the blind, To set free those who are oppressed,
19 To proclaim the favorable year of the Lord.”
20 And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him.
21 And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.”
Preaching without the power of the Holy Spirit is not preaching at all. The sovereign power of God in the proclamation of His word is lacking in preaching today. Great preaching comes only with great power (see 1 Cor. 2:1-5). Jesus promised His disciples that they would receive the power of the Holy Spirit for the preaching of the gospel. Jesus Himself preached in the power of the Holy Spirit.
- The power of the Spirit (v.14)
a. Jesus returned to Galilee in the power of the Spirit.
i. There is at least a year between v.13 and v.14. The events of John 1-4 occur during this time.
ii. The fame of Jesus had spread throughout Galilee.
b. Luke 3:21-22 records the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon Jesus, marking the beginning of His public preaching ministry.
i. Heaven was opened – this is an indication that God is going to reveal something to men.
ii. The Holy Spirit descended upon Jesus to anoint Him with power.
iii. The Father speaks to confirm His pleasure of His Son. This is a direct revelation of the identity and mission of Jesus Christ.
iv. Should we expect any less if we are called to preach?
c. We see this idea of the power of the Holy Spirit empowering Jesus Christ continued in Luke 4:1.
i. The Spirit leads (or compels) Jesus into the wilderness.
ii. The power of the Holy Spirit would be crucial in Jesus facing the temptation of Satan (vv.2-12).
d. As Jesus returns to Galilee in v.14, we see that His preaching, His ministry, His miracles healing, casting out demons are all empowered by the Spirit. This empowering of the Spirit would even be there when He went to the cross to make the sacrifice.
i. And should we expect any less for our ministry?
ii. There is not a person who does not need the power of the Holy Spirit when preaching the word.
2. The priority of the Word (v.15)
a. Wherever there is the power of the Holy Spirit there will be a priority given to the Word of God.
i. The book of Acts shows how the person filled with the Holy Spirit cannot help but preach the very Word of God.
ii. The most common title given to Jesus Christ in the book of Luke is “teacher.”
b. Jesus came into Galilee and taught in their synagogues. Of course He did. The power of the Holy Spirit always results in the priority of preaching the Word of God.
i. Jesus was constantly and continually preaching and teaching the Word of God.
c. Application – if we are to be constantly preaching and teaching, then we must be constantly learning from the Word of God. We must always be reading, listening to the truth. You cannot teach that which you do not know. The day we stop learning is the day we stop preaching. The well must be dug deeper every day.
3. The pattern on the Sabbath (v.16-17)
a. Our attention turns to Nazareth, where Jesus was raised. Scornfully, we are told that nothing good comes out of Nazareth. Jesus is the exception. Verses 23-29 shows the true character of Nazareth.
b. Jesus went to the synagogue on the Sabbath. Notice that this was His custom.
c. Then we see that Jesus has built some reputation as a teacher, because He stands up to read.
d. Jesus is given the scroll of the prophet Isaiah to read.
i. The reading of the Word of God was central to worship in the Jewish synagogue.
e. Jesus unrolls the scroll to the exact right scripture to read for this particular moment in time.
i. Jesus is the master of the Word of God not only because He is the author of the Word of God, but He is also empowered by the Holy Spirit in the use of the Word of God.
ii. The book of Luke alone proves that Jesus believed the entirety of the Old Testament scriptures and used them as a master.
iii. Application: We must likewise become a master of the Word of God, and this is possible only by the power of the Holy Spirit.
iv. Application: If we want more power in our preaching, then we must have more scripture in our message. We must be leashed to the text. The points of the sermon must come from the text. Our illustrations must come from parallel scriptures. Our applications must come from the text.
v. Application: God will not give the power of the Holy Spirit to the man who is attempting to build his own kingdom. Sacrifice of self is of paramount importance. Look at how Jesus sacrificed Himself.
vi. Application: the Holy Spirit will only empower a holy vessel.