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We need preaching in our lives.

The purpose of preaching is to stir the heart and enlighten the mind. It was said of John the Baptist that "He was a burning and shining lamp, and you were willing to rejoice for a while in his light (Jn 5:35)." John illumined the mind and passed on his passion. And the people loved it.

We are living in dark, heavy days. All around, even the most uninitiated can see our world is falling apart. It's sad. It's maddening. It's despairing. Jesus said because of lawlessness, men's heart will grow cold (Mt. 24:12). Paul said the times will get so bad that even Christians will fall away (I Tim. 4:1). Men will become so disenchanted, distracted, and disconnected that they are drawn away by the world into passivity, materialism, and self-absorbed living (Lk 14:15-24). They have lost the fire of Pentecost.

This is why we need preaching. We need the fire of the Holy Spirit to keep ourselves hot and zealous for the Lord, for holiness, to be on mission, and to keep our joy tank filled up.

Paul understood this and gave us four categories of preaching: 1) revelation; 2) knowledge; 3) prophecy; and 4) teaching (I Cor. 14:3). Each of these overlap with one another, while still having a distinct core. Revelation is to bring a Holy Spirit inspired insight or application to a congregation, or even a region that stirs the people to action or repentance. Knowledge is adding to the believer's understanding of the bible so his mastery of the bible continues to grow. Prophecy are literally words from the Holy Spirit, a "thus saith God" that must be weighed with all seriousness because it carries the highest level of authorization (as in when someone invokes the Lord's name over a specific set of words). Teaching relates to knowledge but has more the sense of application for daily living, sanctification, and consecration.

All four of these kinds of preaching fall under the activity of exhortation. Peter says "whoever speaks, let him speak, as it were, the utterances (oracles) of God" (1 Peter 4:11; cf Rom. 12:8a). That is the preacher's responsibility. Bring heat and light in its various forms from heaven.

Our hearts need stirring every week because left to ourselves, we lose steam, we lose interest, we lose motivation, we lose affection for God and the things of God, and worse of all, we fall into an end-state of passivity. We become spiritually inert. We are dead.

Don't let your heart go cold. Find a good preacher. Pray for your pastor. Let your heart be aflame for Jesus.

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