Martyn Lloyd-Jones wrote that “Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire.” In fact, allow me to quote further (from 97-98 of Preaching and Preachers):
What is the chief end of preaching? I like to think it is this. It is to give men and women a sense of God and his presence. . . . I can forgive the preacher almost anything if he gives me a sense of God, if he gives me something for my soul . . . if he gives me some dim glimpse of the majesty and the glory of God, the love of Christ my Saviour, and the magnificence of the gospel.
That’s a great thought to ponder as we prepare for the next message. In reality, it may take longer than from now til Sunday. Let’s face it, the title for this post is patently ridiculous. The kind of divinity and spirituality implied by Lloyd-Jones’ reference to a man on fire is not the kind that comes by “spontaneous” combustion. It comes through the long slow warming of the soul in the warmth of God’s embrace, through slow-cooked spirituality as the preacher is consistently exposed to the burning truths of God’s Word, through the patient grace of One who does not put out a dying ember, but gently fans it into flame over time. Don’t expect miraculous fire if you are not spending extended time in the presence of God. Only if we are much at home with God are we likely to give listeners a real sense of God. Spontaneous? No. Fire? Let’s hope so.