[forthright] Preaching and the artistry of words

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From: Forthright Magazine <forthrightmag@...>
Date: Tue, 6 Sep 2011 04:34:22 -0700 (PDT)
Forthright Magazine
http://forthright.net/
Straight to the Cross

Richard Mansel goes to the Bible to answer ... "The
Most Important Question." Great for classes, groups,
evangelistic studies and individuals.
http://richardmansel.com/most-important-question/


COLUMN: LIVING THE FAITH

Preaching and the artistry of words
 by Richard Mansel, managing editor

The preacher uses words to deliver the message of the
gospel. They are the brush he wields to paint the
vibrant colors of heaven, the vivid reds of the cross
and the victories of salvation.

I wonder, though, how many preachers make the
connection between their commission and the mastery of
language. A novelist lives and dies by the power of
words in order to produce more compelling prose.

While preachers and writers differ in their medium,
they should share the same vision of changing the world
around them.

A minister of the gospel stands before his listeners to
"Preach the Word!" (2 Timothy 4:2, NKJV). How does he
get the Word into the hearts of his listeners so it can
bring about a change (Hebrews 4:12)?

He must diminish himself and magnify the message by
utilizing all of the skills at his disposal.

The preacher engages the listener with an incisive
message that resonates with the people in the pews. The
illustrations and visual images in his repertoire are
the brush strokes on the canvas.

Sadly, if the preacher is not growing and digging deep
within himself and his knowledge of the human psyche,
he can usually forget about transforming the
congregation with the Word. God deserves better.

Preachers must do the following if they will reach the
lost, provoking hunger for Christ.

First, find the best paints. Become a voracious reader
of quality material and study the masters in order to
grow. The words constituting the palatte of the artist
must be vibrant and fresh.

Second, learn the audience. A preacher that will move
souls must be a wise student of humanity. We study
their thoughts, words, ideas and dreams to produce
works of art that reflect their own world.

Listeners come to sermons with defenses to deflect the
message that charges them with sin. Preachers who are
scholars of humanity will know how to speak the truth
in love (Ephesians 4:15), while eluding their defenses
and pricking their hearts with the message (Acts 2:37-
38).

Third, broaden the canvas. Preachers will rejuvenate
their sermons by continually learning and growing in
his knowledge of words and the ways of men. Coupling
this with an increased insight into God’s Word will
lead to significant growth.

If we continually paint on a new canvas, the message is
always fresh and viable. If we continually trot out
old, used canvasses, the audience gets bored with the
recycled message.

If we refuse to grow, we are marking time and simply
filling in the blanks. In truth, we are insulting our
readers and listeners by force-feeding them leftovers
on a weekly basis.

Preachers, will we grow in God's Word and in our use of
language? Will we respect our audience enough to do the
work necessary to help them grow closer to God?

Will this be about God and the lost or simply about
preachers and their comfort zones?

Our answers to these questions may be painful but they
will always be pertinent.

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