The Only True Preaching

From a recent post by Ray Ortlund on his excellent blog:

The prophets will become wind;
the word is not in them. Jeremiah 5:13

“[The sermons] are the words of one who has felt himself forced to speak by a greater than human power. . . . the tremendous impetus behind the preacher.” [A report of the preaching of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, recorded in Iain H. Murray, David Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The First Forty Years, 1899-1939 (Edinburgh, 1982), page 144.]

True preaching is more than preaching truth. It is also deeply personal. It rises from within a man. He is fully aware and engaged and intelligent. But he is forced to speak, compelled not by the expectations of others around but by the power of God within.

A man can preach the word, but still the word is not in him. It has not yet become interior to him, experientialized to him, a part of him. Such preaching is mere wind. True preaching is brewed within, as the gospel enters into a man, floods his awareness, rearranges his own interiority, and surges out of him as something divine and yet still his own.

To preach in the power of the Holy Spirit is not to take a good thing and make it even better. Preaching the truth in one’s own strength is destructive (1 Corinthians 1:17). “The word is not in him.” [Jeremiah 5:13] Preaching the gospel in the power of God is the only true preaching. All lesser preaching is sinful and to be repented of.

May the Lord help all of us pastors! May we resolve, God helping us, never again to preach a single sermon without power from on high — and deep within!


  1. Hey Brother Bob
    I recently read your article on Sermon Central...Why You Should Write Your Sermons at Least Two Weeks Ahead. I enjoyed the article, but as I was 'pondering' over this, I was wondering if you're talking about one sermon? What I mean is.....I preach in a small Southern Baptist Church that still meets on Sunday night. Therefore, I am usually preparing two sermons each week plus a Bible Study for Wednesday Night. I have prepared Series in advance, and other sermons in advance, but I am finding it difficult to get ahead for all sermons and Bible Studies. Any Suggestions? Just a side note....I do try to have everything done by Thursday or Friday. Usually the 'skeleton' is finished prior to that...but then there is the powerpoint, etc. Remember...small Southern Baptist Church....i am the only full time staff.
    Thanks for your comments and suggestions in advance

  2. Pastor Tom, thanks so much for commenting. I'm not sure I have much wisdom to offer. There was a time some years ago when I had two sermons a week to prepare (plus a weeknight Bible study), and during those years I DID plan my preaching a year at a time...but was never able to do much in advance. At times I was more than a week ahead, but not consistently. It was only much later--and only when I had one sermon a week--that I started the practice of planning two, three, or four weeks in advance. I think, if I had it to do over again, I would try to arrange for a guest speaker or two (or some other interim arrangement) in order to GET a couple weeks ahead, and then protect that schedule carefully, as I think the benefits in a small church and multi-service format like yours would be as much or more pronounced. Sorry I can't be more helpful.