The following is an excerpt from Dr. David Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ classic work on preaching, Preaching and Preachers.
You can download the mp3 lecture series the book was based on for free or listen to the mp3 below of the chapter “The Spirit and Power.”
The first indication is in the preacher’s own consciousness. ‘Our gospel came not unto you in word only,’ says Paul, ‘but also in power and the Holy Ghost, and much assurance.’ Who knew the assurance? Paul himself. He knew something was happening, he was aware of it. You cannot be filled with the Spirit without knowing it. He had ‘much assurance’. He knew he was clothed with power and authority. How does one know it? It gives clarity of thought, clarity of speech, ease of utterance, a great sense of authority and confidence as you are preaching, an awareness of a power not your own thrilling through the whole of your being, and an indescribable sense of joy. You are a man ‘possessed’, you are taken hold of, and taken up. I like to put it like this— and I know of nothing on earth that is comparable to this feeling— that when this happens you have a feeling that you are not actually doing the preaching, you are looking on. You are looking on at yourself in amazement as this is happening. It is not your effort; you are just the instrument, the channel, the vehicle: and the Spirit is using you, and you are looking on in great enjoyment and astonishment. There is nothing that is in any way comparable to this. That is what the preacher himself is aware of. What about the people? They sense it at once; they can tell the difference immediately. They are gripped, they become serious, they are convicted, they are moved, they are humbled. Some are convicted of sin, others are lifted up to the heavens, anything may happen to any one of them. They know at once that something quite unusual and exceptional is happening. As a result they begin to delight in the things of God and they want more and more teaching. They are like the people in the Book of the Acts of the Apostles, they want ‘to continue steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine, and fellowship, and breaking of bread and in prayers’.
What then are we to do about this? There is only one obvious conclusion. Seek Him! Seek Him! What can we do without Him? Seek Him! Seek Him always. But go beyond seeking Him; expect Him. Do you expect anything to happen when you get up to preach in a pulpit? Or do you just say to yourself, ‘Well, I have prepared my address, I am going to give them this address; some of them will appreciate it and some will not?’ Are you expecting it to be the turning point in someone’s life? Are you expecting anyone to have a climactic experience? That is what preaching is meant to do. That is what you find in the Bible and in the subsequent history of the Church. Seek this power, expect this power, yearn for this power; and when the power comes, yield to Him. Do not resist. Forget all about your sermon if necessary. Let Him loose you, let Him manifest His power in you and through you. I am certain, as I have said several times before, that nothing but a return of this power of the Spirit on our preaching is going to avail us anything. This makes true preaching, and it is the greatest need of all today— never more so. Nothing can substitute for this. But, given this, you will have a people who will be anxious and ready to be taught and instructed, and led ever further and more deeply into ‘the Truth as it is in Christ Jesus’. This ‘unction’, this ‘anointing’, is the supreme thing. Seek it until you have it; be content with nothing less. Go on until you can say, ‘And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.’ He is still able to do ‘exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think’.
Bonus Resource: Free MP3 Download of Martyn Lloyd-Jones’ Preaching and Preachers Lectures
Subscribe to our email list for more great resources that promote sound doctrine.