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After the Sermon

May 17, 2010

Zack Eswine, lead pastor of Riverside Church in Saint Louis, MO, writes with insight about post-preaching battles.

In Matthew 13, Jesus teaches us that when the word is preached the devil (vs.19), the world (vs.21) and the flesh (vs.22) attack. It is for this reason that God often says to his preachers things like, “do not be dismayed,” (Jeremiah 1) or “do not be afraid of their words or of their looks,” (Ezekiel 2) or “do not be surprised.” The after-sermon is often a spiritual battlefield.  “How often on Lord’s-day evenings,” Spurgeon observes, “do we feel  as if life were completely washed out of us! After pouring out our souls over our congregations, we feel like empty earthen pitchers which a child might break.” (Lectures, Zondervan, 156). . . . For this reason, it is perhaps our most vulnerable moment in the preaching event. The after-sermon needs the grace and power of God.  Our identities as preachers, our hearer’s safe reception of what God sent to them, these require His kind care. Perhaps prayer is needed more when the sermon ends.

It is as if when we opened God’s Word and began to speak from it, we fired the first shot or tripped the alarm to alert our enemy that we are on the move. Fiery darts, hollowed-out emotions, misplaced identities, idols that do not want eviction, such things rise to fight the one who dares stand and speak for God. Sometimes a Sunday afternoon is no stroll in the park emotionally or physically.

The rest of his article can be read here.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Larry G permalink
    May 17, 2010 9:43 pm

    “Let not your heart be troubled’ dear pastor – if you have done your work of sowing the Word – opening It so that our feeble minds can grasp some Truths as applied by the Holy Spirit, you have done well. If the ‘prepared ground’ in you field fails to encourage you, that is our neglect and the Lord will exercise us for it. The other three soils that your words fall on will react as the Scripture says they will – you have no power over those. If some of the sheep in your pasture are cranky and nit-picky (or worse) – so be it – it is part of the job description! If family things or worldly things try to destroy your joy and peace, know that He said ” If the world hates you it is because it hated Me first” (my paraphrase). When the Word goes out to you flock, the Enemy is probably sitting in one of the high seats disguised as an ‘Angel of Light’.

    As for my part I want to remedy my failure to encourage and support you as I should be doing and thank you for your hard work of preparation for sermons and other duties. And for your desire to serve the Lord. Honor Him in your work and words and He will honor you.

    Grace and Peace my brother,

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