Nov 8, 2010
Preaching and the Two-Edged Sword
"It took me a little while as a preacher to appreciate the significance of the fact that God’s Word is a two-edged sword. It wounds the listener, in order to heal him; but it also wounds the preacher. I believe this is the ultimate explanation for many of the mysterious experiences we have in preaching. At times we are elated, yet the people seem not to share that elation. At other times, even while we speak we are inwardly weeping over our failures, and confessing ‘I am a man of unclean lips.’ Yet so often we discover that on such occasions God spoke with great grace and power. No one else knew what we were going through (except perhaps a fellow preacher who recognized some of the telltale signs!). Or, more accurately, no one beside the Lord. He knew, because he was speaking to us through his Word, as well as through us to others. In this intimate way, the Lord teaches us that while ours is the responsibility rightly to handle the Word of God in preparation and exposition, yet it remains the Spirit’s sword, and not ours."
Sinclair B. Ferguson, “Communion with God through Preaching,” in Inside the Sermon, ed. Richard Allen Bodey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 83.