I Flopped Preaching on the Holy Spirit

imageI recently attempted preaching on the Holy Spirit and did a terrible job of it. I fumbled my way through what seemed like an eternity. I however managed to dribble to a conclusion of sorts in utter helplessness. I felt so weak and powerless. I frankly don’t remember all that I said really – which is dreadful in itself. I was all over the map. But I do remember that towards the end of the sermon, I read the words of a well-known hymn written by Robert Jackson (1888), on the Holy Spirit – and that is the prayer of my heart even as I write this. Here it is:  

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love,
And do what Thou wouldst do.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Until my heart is pure,
Until with Thee I will one will,
To do and to endure.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
Till I am wholly Thine,
Until this earthly part of me
Glows with Thy fire divine.

Breathe on me, Breath of God,
So shall I never die,
But live with Thee the perfect life
Of Thine eternity.

In my remarks at the beginning of the sermon, I bemoaned the fact that in my 6 years of preaching, I have not preached a whole sermon on the Holy Spirit (as far as I can remember). By the end of the sermons, I understood why many preachers (myself included), don’t preach whole sermons on the Holy Spirit. It’s just not easy. It’s easier to preach on the sovereignty of God and the penal substitutionary atonement – Christ atoning for our sins, but to preach on the Holy Spirit is a whole different matter. Don’t get me wrong, I have mentioned the Holy Spirit in almost every sermon. Each Sunday in my prayers before and after the sermon, I ask the Lord to pour out His Spirit upon the Word so that it may bear fruit in the lives of those who hear (including myself as the preacher). But I don’t remember preaching a whole sermon on the Holy Spirit – which is very sad and shameful.  I hope to change that with His help.

This experience reminded me of something that I first heard from Alistair Begg as he talked about preaching in general. He was quoting Bruce Thielemann:

To preach, to really preach, is to die naked a little at a time, and to know each time you do it that you must do it again. Only one certainty sustains the preacher:  That God never denies a man peace except to give him glory.

I experienced that and this was not the first time and I am sure it won’t be the last time. But it’s okay – that’s my calling! I pray that somehow, God will be glorified even through my failure. As for you, brothers and sisters in Christ, please pray for me and pray for your pastors on a regular basis. You (and they) will be glad and thankful you did and God will be glorified.

Breathe on me breath of God!