Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Preaching to the Heart

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (Romans 12:2 ESV)

In Scripture, the heart is made up of the mind, the emotions, and the will.  The mind must be enlightened, the affections must be moved, the will moved but how does this happen in our lives?  We see the answer in this passage.  The mind is renewed, the affections are enlivened, and the will chooses the will of God.  So to move the will a preacher must bring light to the mind and hear to the heart as Jonathan Edwards says.  I see the work of our affections in the wrod testing.  The word has a twofold meaning that the NIV better translates as 'test and approve.'  It means to determine somethings' validity or truthfulness and approving of it, pointing to the affections being inclined to that truth.  It is then that the will is freed up and moves toward the truth.  Here is what John Stott says about how this relates applies to preaching.  Cicero said in The Orator that 'an eloquent man must so speak as to teach, to please, and to persuade. Augustine quoted Cicero's dictum and applied it to the responsibility of Christian preachers to teach the mind, delight or inspire the affections, and move the will. He writes, “For to teaching is a necessity, to please is a sweetness, to persuade is a victory.” John Stott, Between Two Worlds, p. 246

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