The preacher should not enter his pulpit claiming to have received a revelation; his claim should be that he is a man who reads the Word and prays and believes that the Holy Spirit illumines and enlightens his understanding, with the result that he has a message for the people.
In the church today the tendency is to look at the world all the time and to see the tragedy of the world. That is perfectly right, of course; the church is to be evangelistic. But the question is, how is the church to be evangelistic? And I contend that what the New Testament itself tells us, and what the history of the church tells us, is that the church is most successful evangelistically when she herself is as she ought to be. Why are the masses of the people outside the church? I do not hesitate to say that the reason is that they fail to see in us anything that attracts them, anything that creates within them a desire to receive what we have, or anything that rebukes them and condemns them for their way of living. Not that we should necessarily put that into words, but it should be seen.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, The Possibilities of the Christian Life
Here, then, is the test, here is the challenge. Does the gospel enable us to face the battle of life as it is today in such a way that we are more than conquerors — not merely conquerors but more than conquerors? Does this teaching . . . enable us not merely to put up with tribulations but to rejoice in them?
Do you know what makes men and women Christians? It is the mighty action of the almighty God, the Creator. He takes them as they are and smashes them and makes the anew. He, God, is bringing into being something that was not there; a new disposition is put into them, a new principle of life is infused into them. God enters into their lives. The life of God comes into the soul; it is a creative act, so the New Testament says that the Christian is ‘a new creature.’
What is preaching? Logic on fire! Preaching is theology coming through a man who is on fire. A true understanding and experience of the Truth must lead to this. I say again that a man who can speak about these things dispassionately has no right whatsoever to be in a pulpit; and should never be allowed to enter one.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones