The Strange Effects of Preaching

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“Oh, what strange effects has preaching! Many a time the preacher is thought by the hearer to be personal, to be acquainted with all that is in the hearer’s life, and to be actually describing the life of the hearer, and the hearer winces under such personal description. Time and again men have sought me out as I have left my pulpit, and have said to me alone: ‘Who told you about my condition, that you laid it bare here to-day?’ And I have said: ‘Why, I never heard of your condition. No living soul has ever breathed a word to me about your condition.’ They said: ‘What then does it all mean?’ And I have answered: ‘It means that God knows about it, and God has guided His preacher, who said: “Lord, the preacher does not know what to preach, but thou knowest. Give him the message which thou wilt take and apply to the human conscience,” and God took the message and with it found the human conscience.’ What strange effects preaching has! One wrote me this from Birmingham, Alabama, the other night: ‘I heard you when you laid bare my case in that sermon. Somebody had told you all. I went back to the hotel, in your city, but could not sleep, and I took the train and I have reached Birmingham, and here in the hotel in Birmingham, at midnight, I have found Christ, and I am writing to tell you that your sermon was not in vain. I wonder who told you about me.’ Nobody told me about him. I had never before heard of him. I did not know he was in the audience. But the omniscient God knew he was in the audience, and sent the message and fitted it home to his heart by the Divine Spirit, who shows the soul the way from darkness to light.”

George W. Truett