by Estevan Montoya
I know what you are probably thinking, “I thought God does the life changing”, and for that, you are absolutely correct. The truly only life changing person we know is God. While God does the life changing, I am thankful there is a human element in the working of God. This portion of God working through mankind is only seen when a person is surrendered to God alone. So I gave the “secret”. Yes if you wonder what kind of person God uses to be a life changing preacher. No if you want some specific actions God wants to take to become that life changing preacher you want to be.
After being saved for over 10 years (I know it’s not as long as others), I have been able to meet many different preachers of the Gospel. I truly believe that any man that commits his life to preach the Gospel is God’s man. Though I have met many, there are those few that just made a tremendous impact upon my life. This Godly influence upon my life has shaped me into the preacher I now am. I thank God for these life changing preachers and their surrender to God.
How Can I Become A Life Changing Preacher?
Unwavering Commitment To Glorify God
This thought is first and foremost because all that we do should be for the Glory of God. As I think of this one point, I am reminded of John the Baptist, and His goal for ministry. He was a man that had the approval of God. He preached hard. People thought he was the Messiah. In spite of the large following he had, he knew who to glorify. When asked if he was the Messiah, his response was:
Mark 1:7 And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.
In fact, John’s entire demeanor was to lift of Christ. Thought to be the Light, his responsibility was to bear witness of the True Light. Later, he stated:
John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.
Lifting up Christ like John the Baptist, is a preachers ultimate goal. I think of my pastor, Brian McMath of Valley Bible Baptist Church. Of all the pastor’s I have met, he is the most humble preacher I know. As I have traveled in the state of New Mexico, I have found that every other pastor has a high respect for him. Without fail, every preacher that knows my pastor states that Pastor McMath is the most humble preacher they know.
It is no wonder why God has used him many lives, including my own life. When speaking with him on several occasions in regard to the Power of God in his life, he never takes any credit. Most of the time he expresses an unworthiness and humility that God is using him. He never takes credit, because he ALWAYS points to Christ.
When we lift Christ, we are lifting Him to those other than our self. That means we are last. The lifting of Christ to sinners will draw them to the Cross and the finished work of Christ. This will result in the salvation of sinners as they fall under the conviction the Cross of Christ. A great example that found in the life of Peter in the book of Acts. A man who was paralyzed from birth asked for money. Without hesitation, Peter heals the man in the name of Jesus of Nazareth. When questioned later, he continually gives the glory to Christ. In fact, he gave so much glory to Christ that he was forbidden to preach in His name. In spite of the persecution a man was saved, as well as a host of onlookers. Why? Because Peter lifted Christ.
For those that are saved, it will portray the need to surrender to Christ our lives, He like a lamb, gave Himself for us. This will result in life changing salvation testimonies and the surrender of our lives for Christ sake.
John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.
Being used of God is determined by how much we let people see God in us, and not our own pride. Many preachers and Christians have fallen victim to talents and pride. This leads to a lifting of self, rather then Christ. We must be careful, lest the Hand of God be removed from our lives.
When we testify of what God has done in our life, it gives hope to those who are in similar conditions and situations. How can a beggar find hope if he does not see another who, in like condition, was fed the Bread of Life. It is this testimony that can draw sinners. But if the testimony makes big of self, and little of the Saving Christ we know, it will result in false conversions and man made religious groups. Yet, if the testimony of a life changed by Christ lifts Jesus, then sinner will be fruit that remains, because they came to trust the Christ in you, rather the you alone.
How sinful and selfish we are to take credit and lift ourselves when Chris did the work in us. If we are to be a life changing preacher, we must always lift Christ and bring glory to Him and Him alone as He works in our lives, and the lives of our hearers. Should we ever take credit or lift our selves, we must repent quickly and publicly confess, listing Jesus on our life.
Preached What God Told Them To Preach
Now that we understand a true man of God that is to be a life changing preacher must Glorify God in their life, we must take a look at another portion of the character in the life changing preacher. He must always preach what God tells him to preach. Again, it’s the Hand of God in life that makes us worthy of being used by God. Therefore, the message of God must be spoken if we are to impact the hearts and lives of our hearers.
I can say a lot, but it really doesn’t mean anything. I could argue and prove points, but my word is only so strong. If anything, my persuasion may win an argument but God wants to win the heart. Therefore, we are to preach for the heart of man, from the heart of God, which is found in the Word of God.
This is something that I am still learning. When I was young in the ministry (and I still am), I thought it was my responsibility to confront people and win arguments I would use the Bible to win. When it was all said and done, people were torn down by the Bible and I walked away with pride. That is now how God desires to win people. Yes, we preach, and we preach strongly. The problem I found is that we preach ABOUT the Bible to prove our points, rather then just PREACHING the Bible to prove God’s point. There is a big difference in that statement. Again, many preach about the Bible to prove our opinions, rather than just preach the Bible to prove God’s opinion.
My favorite example in Scripture of God using His Word to accomplish His will is in the book of Jonah. We know the story. God called Jonah and he ran from God. In the bottom of the sea in a whales belly, Jonah cries out to God. God heard, forgave, and sent Jonah back on his mission. When Jonah got right, God told again to preach to Nineveh. And the story goes like this from the Bible:
And the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee. So Jonah arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the LORD. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God…
~ Jonah 3:1-5
Deep conviction and repentance took place in the hearts of the citizens of Nineveh Was it a fancy message? Not really. Did it have a lot of illustrations? Nope. What made it so great? It was the Word of God. It was the preaching that God bid, and it was that preaching that reached down into the hearts of the hearers to work in their lives. God does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked. Therefore God extended His mercy and grace to an unworthy people group, all through the preaching of His Word.
When I think of how preachers have impacted my life, I find that they were all men that took time to hear from God, so the audience could hear from God too. Though the message may have seemed hard, or even out of place, because it came from God, it was what needed to hear. It touched our hearts. It changed our lives. It was from God, and it what God wanted us to hear.
This is why it is so vital for a preacher to know God. This is why we must walk with God. As Moses came down from the mountain with a message from God, we too need to meet with God so we can give something to people to whom we are called. Also note, sometimes the message may not be what we want to preach. Yet, if we are to be men of God, we must preach the preaching that God bids.
All the Godly prophets first heard from God before they stepped up to proclaim, “Thus saith the Lord!” In fact, God warned false prophets in the book of Jeremiah if they did not heed to the voice of God:
Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land. Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD.
~ Jeremiah 23:15-16
I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied.
~ Jeremiah 23:21
I have heard what the prophets said, that prophesy lies in my name, saying, I have dreamed, I have dreamed. How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart;
~ Jeremiah 23:25-26
These prophets were preaching, but it was not the Word of God. They preached what they wanted to preach, using God as their excuse to preach such messages. As they preached in the name of God, but in the sinfulness of self, they created a group of religious pagans. All while using God as their “source” of inspiration. Yet, the hearts of the hearers were not changed. Why? Because the preaching of the false prophets was not of God.
If we are the change the heart of our hearers, it must be that we preach what God wants us to preach. We must preach His Word:
Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?
~ Jeremiah 23:29
God’s Word accomplishes God’s Will. We need to be mindful of the Word of God in our messages. We must examine if we are preaching our own message, or if we are preaching God’s message. We must study to see whether we are preaching about the Bible, or if we are preaching the Bible. Ultimately, our preaching is measured with the Bible. If anything we say contradicts the Bible, then the Bible is right, and we are wrong. We cannot argue with God. We must remain faithful to preach the preaching that God bids.
Bent On Doctrinal Purity
The message we preach is not our message, it’s God’s. We must not only preach what God tells us to preach, but we must preach it with the highest of doctrinal integrity. Not only must we preach it, but be must believe it. To believe it, we must know it.
Can I ask you a simple question…why do you believe what you believe?
It is sad to see any young preachers graduate from a Bible college, only to have been hand fed by a professor, and not from God. When times get tough and confrontational issues arise, how will you combat people? Will you give notes from a lecture from a professor, or will you take people to the Bible to convince them of God?
We have lost our doctrinal integrity as Baptists, only to follow methods from the preachers of yesteryear. Am I against learning from seasoned men? Absolutely not! What I am against is taking their doctrine, all while we neglect the Bible. There is danger in that. We create a cutlish type of leadership when we esteem the opinion of man without comparing it to Scripture. When this happens, a man can say anything, and it will be taken as final authority. Our final authority is the Word of God, not the Word of man. Yet, people make it such that man is the final authority because preachers have lost their doctrinal integrity.
The men God used in the Great Awakenings of American history were men that esteemed doctrine over charisma and excitement. For instance, the first Great Awakening began under the preaching of Jonathon Edwards. His sermon was not loud or animated. Rather, he fasted for 3 days and read the entire sermon, all while people that were not even in the church house fell under conviction. Why? One, because of prayer. Two, because of the doctrine of the Holiness of God.
Under such preaching do we find life changing conversions. Can I say something that may get some people mad? If your doctrine is based on only the “fundamentals”, then your doctrine is shallow. There are more that 5 fundamentals of the faith upon which we stand. Are we not commanded to preach the “whole oracles of God”?
What ever happened to men that stood firm on the Bible. They adored doctrine. They loved doctrine. They knew doctrine. How well do we know the Bible? Do we just study to give a sermon? Or, do we study to know God? We cannot introduce someone to God, if we hardly know who He is. All this comes from a mind set on the doctrines of God.
The greatest example of a man bend on doctrinal integrity was the Apostle Paul. Yes, the other apostles had doctrinal integrity, no doubt, but Paul seemed to have admonished doctrinal purity even more. While it cause division among so-called believers, he rather stand alone with God. People turned on Paul and compromised the doctrine of God, yet Paul stood firm. Here are some Scriptural examples Paul had for the love of pure doctrine:
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.
~ Romans 16:17
For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.
~ 2 Corinthians 2:17
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
~ Galatians 1:6-9
As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
~ 1 Timothy 1:3-4
Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes.
~ 2 Timothy 1:13-15
Not purloining, but shewing all good fidelity; that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.
~ Titus 2:10-15
Theses are just a few of the writings of Paul and his concern to keep the Gospel pure. There are many MORE verses to prove his love from doctrinal purity, not to mention writing in other epistles found in the New Testament. I firmly believe that every other apostle had a desire for doctrinal purity as Paul. If not, then would not have died for their faith in Christ, because only a love for the Word of God and it teachings would drive an individual to their death as the stood for God.
Prayed & Claimed God’s Promises
The reason I am even in the ministry today is because people were praying for, even when I didn’t know. I had a mother that prayed. I had a pastor that prayed. I had a Christian school principle that prayed. My life was shaped based upon the prayer and faith someone had for my benefit.
Where are the preachers that step out by faith? Where are the Peter’s that walk on water? Do we not believe that God is still God? Why do we now take great steps of faith, like Elijah, just to prove that our God is alive? The reason people may not see God in our life may be that we are not truly following Him.
I have come to the conclusion that those who become a life changing preacher will go through phases in life where they follow God into places no one else understands. Yet, when we follow God in such ways, we see Him do great things in our life.
The Bible is full of examples of people that did great things for God based upon their faith in God. They followed God at His Word, no matter the opposition or criticism. In fact, there is a list of such people in Hebrews chapter 11. Some accomplished much for God. Others were not so fortunate. In spite of the outcome, they trusted and followed God, even if their life was taken.
Would to God we had a group of people that just believed God. Two great examples of such life changing preachers are Moses and Elijah:
Moses: Moses was a man to just move forward. He moved forward when he led the Jews out of Egypt He moved forward when they crossed the Red Sea. He moved forward in the wilderness. The only reason God’s people did not inhabit the Promised Land during the days of Moses was because the Israelite spy’s didn’t have enough faith. It was not Moses’ fault, it was the spy’s fault. Yet, Moses was just a man that moved forward with God, leading people, making a difference.
The LORD shall fight for you, and ye shall hold your peace. And the LORD said unto Moses, Wherefore criest thou unto me? speak unto the children of Israel, that they go forward: But lift thou up thy rod, and stretch out thine hand over the sea, and divide it: and the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.
~ Exodus 14:14-16
Elijah: In the life of Elijah, we find him doing exactly as God leads him. God told him to preach at Ahab, so he did. God told him to dwell by a brook, and he did. God told him to get food from a widow, so he did. God told him to confront Ahab again, so he did. The list goes on. We have a man that basically risks everything so people will know that God is alive. We need more men that would depend on God like that. Men that would risk it all to prove to the world that Jesus saves!
And it came to pass at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that thou art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word. Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that thou art the LORD God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again.
~ 1 Kings 18:36-37
They Were Real People
Every life changing preacher that has had a great impact on my life has been one that was just real. There was no fluff. There was not facade They were who they were, take it or leave. They didn’t try to be anyone special. They were just real.
When they preached, they cried. When they preached, they shared personal stories. When they preached, they opened their hearts. There was not front or wall. They were approachable They liked to be among people. They laughed, they cried, they were serious when needed, but overall, they were there for you.
It’s sad when a preacher things he is a big shot. I have been to meetings where preachers are “untouchable”. It seems like they have guards and they only want to talk as long as they see fit. I understand people have schedules, but isn’t the ministry about people? Then why limit people. If God has used you in the life of someone, you should go the extra mile to make a greater connection, which will result in an impact that goes far beyond the invitation service.
For this example, I find the greatest person who made a difference, was a life changing preacher, and was just real was Jesus Christ our Savior. He always made time for people. He ruined the schedules of others just to build the life of His followers.
As Holy as He is, He lived among us (John 1:14). As much as He had to accomplish, He took time to touch lives. His entire mission was to save sinners. He did so by connecting with people. He slept where we sleep. He ate what we eat. He laughed. He cried. He became the Son of man, so that we could become the children from God.
Of all the people I know, there is none that made a greater impact than Jesus Christ. He is the LIFE CHANGER that we must learn from.
In the previous examples, I gave Scripture references, but to give reference from Christ, it would take placing all 4 Gospels on this page. So to give an example of how we should follow Christ to be a life changing preacher, I give you the admonishing of Paul:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
~ Philippians 2:5-8
I hope this article will help you to see that you can be a life changing preacher. Though there are many other points that could be made, these seem to be the most pressing and needed in churches today. If this article was a blessing to you, then please share it with the social media links below. Thanks and may Christ bless you!’
by Estevan Montoya
Original article can be found at http://www.pleaforpower.com/2012/11/become-a-life-changing-preacher/