This afternoon I had the privilege of spending some time with Dr. Robert Smith, Jr., professor for preaching at Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. During Dr. Smith’s talk he shared how preaching is meant to effect, not only the hearer, but also the one proclaiming God’s Word.  Sometimes in our preparation to preach we have only our audience in mind. But as we prepare to preach, we should recognize that there is also a message that we should hear ourselves. For we are as much in need of grace and transformation as those we will preach to (perhaps even more so). In fact, sometimes God’s Word will impact the preacher to a greater degree than those who are hearing this word for the first time because the preacher is living the message of the text from Monday to Saturday while the hearer is often hearing it for the first time on Sunday morning.

We should be willing and eager to share the effect that God’s Word has had on us. If God’s Word has cut us, and we bleed, we should not shrink back from that Word that might also draw blood from our hearers. Sometimes preachers and teachers shy away from boldly proclaiming God’s Word because we fear the effect or offense that may be provoked in the hearts of those who hear God’s Word proclaimed. But we should not be held captive by such fears. We should not shy away from proclaiming God’s Word, nor should we be afraid to display the appropriate transparency that allows those who hear the Gospel to see that we too are being affected by the power of God’s Words through His Spirit. Smith said, “If God’s Word has made me bleed from Monday to Saturday, then my people should expect to bleed on Sunday.” And as hearer’s, we shouldn’t be afraid to bleed because Christ has bled for us. This is the point of the cross. We must all eagerly come to the foot of Jesus’ bloody cross and bathe in the fountain filled with blood drawn from Immanuel’s veins.

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