The Bible is not an intellectual book. It is a spiritual book imparting spiritual life to the inner man, to man’s reborn spirit. The Bible is comprised of words, spiritual forces uttered by the mouth of the Holy Spirit. Many of the books of the New Testament are sermons, they are messages given directly by the Holy Spirit to anointed men, by whom they were preached in their original form to churches at the time of the New Testament. These words are not like those of any other man; they are infused with the life of God and the fire of the Holy Spirit. They are not directed at the mind; they are direct at the spirit of man. These divine words cannot be understood by the intellect alone; they can only be understood by the human spirit that is enlightened by the Holy Spirit. ~ “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden [wisdom] which God ordained before the ages for our glory, But God has revealed [them] to us through His Spirit. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned” (1Corithians 2.7,10,13-14).
Cognitive Religious Rhetoric
Most Christian media today is intellectual in nature, not spiritual. It is rational, not divine, and it is absolutely devoid of the divine life [zoe, Gr.] and living Spirit of God. 99% of what is preached in the pulpit today and sold on the street as peaching is nothing more than rational, reasonable, cognitive religious rhetoric. There is no spiritual life in it all. A spiritual man or woman could not survive on this mental fluff for more than a couple months, and then would die of spiritual hunger. This is why so many Christians are spiritually dead. ~ “But He [Jesus] answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God’” (Mateo 4.4). Jesus constantly preached messages that no one could understand, except those ‘to whom it had been given’ by the Holy Spirit, and He frequently spoke about this aspect of His ministry openly.
The Transforming Word
The carpenter’s son made no apology for it; on the contrary, it was the hallmark of His teaching ministry, and all the rest of the biblical authors and authentic ministers did the same. ~ “And He said to them, “To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, so that ‘Seeing they may see and not perceive, and hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And [their] sins be forgiven them’” (Marcos 4.11,12). This remains God’s standard today for all those who consider themselves preachers or teachers of the word of God. Genuine biblical preaching is an impartation of the Holy Spirit, not of nothing more than dead knowledge. The Apostle Paul said ~ “[God] also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter [intellect] but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life” (2Corinthians 3.6). The anointed word of God does not merely impart lifeless knowledge; it confers the fire of the Holy Spirit that transforms those it is sent to; releasing healing, revelation, and spiritual transformation. ~ “While Peter was still speaking [preaching] these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished.For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God” (Acts 10.44-46).
Only the Word of God
These people were so infused with the power of the Holy Spirit through the preaching of Peter that they were baptized in the Spirit and received the gift of tongues simply by hearing. No interpretation of the Spirit is needed for what is pawned off as preaching today. The expositor proudly interprets everything for you. Anyone can understand what is said because it is all of the flesh, not of the Spirit. It does not minister life; it only ministers spiritual death1 to the hearers. The biblical mandate is to ‘preach the word,’ which means to preach the word2 of God, the Bible, not merely to reference one or two scriptures in the introduction and then spew out mere human reasoning for an hour. I don’t think I’ve ever preached a message that had less than 20 verses of scripture in it. Only the word of God ministers life; man’s word alone always ministers spiritual death. ~ “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and [they] are life” (John 6.63).
The Bible explains what true preaching is in the book of Nehemiah. ~ “And the Levites [priests], helped the people to understand the Law; and the people [stood] in their place. So they read distinctly from the book, in the Law of God; and they gave the sense, and helped [them] to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8.7,8). The Christian life is a spiritual endeavor; born of, sustained by, and increased through spiritual words; not mental rhetoric. It’s time to get back into the transforming, life-giving, the one and only Word of God, back into the ‘the words of this life.’
“Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
1. 2Corinthians 3.6
2. John 1.14
© L. Jonathan Blais 2021 All rights reserved. Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission.
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