The goal of every preacher should be to not preach a sermon. A sermon is something that comes from the mind, and maybe the heart, of the preacher. The goal of the preacher is to give a prophetic word from the mind and heart of God. He is to preach a word to a particular people in a particular place at a particular time that is directly from God and found in His Holy Word.
In the Synagogue of Nazareth Jesus stood up to read the lesson. It was from the Book of Isaiah, the appointed lesson for the day in the tradition of the Synagogue. It was a familiar reading into which Jesus breathed new life.
From Isaiah 61 Jesus read:
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God…
Jesus got into trouble when He declared that “today this scripture is being fulfilled within your hearing.” Prophetic preaching is always risky. First of all, we must be assured that we are preaching a word from God. We cannot declare it to be so when it is not. Jesus knew what He was saying was true, thus He declared it, leaving the consequences to God the Father. We must also know that our preaching is directly from God and preach it boldly, trusting in God alone.
Are we able to trust God alone? If not, we should not be in the pulpit. Many other preachers can take up our place. There is no shortage of “relevant” preachers. God is counting on us the preach his Word, in season or out of season.
I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:1-5)
We do not need to have the gift of prophecy to preach prophetically. Let God be the prophet. Let his Word be the prophecy. We just need to attune our ears and heart to what God is saying.
Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. (Revelation 2:29)
We need to spend time with him. Yes, in prayer. But also throughout the day. Let us simply be aware of his presence. I used to stupidly brush him aside. He could easily brush me aside. We are living by his presence. Without his breath we no longer have life.
Let us take in more of his breath. Let us preach with enthusiasm. From Merriam-Webster, we learn that the word Enthusiasm entered the English language around the beginning of the 17th century. It was borrowed from the Greek enthusiasms, meaning “inspiration or possession by a god.” Our sermons need to be God-breathed. That can happen if we allow God to breathe on us daily. We need his God-breathed message as much as our congregation.