5 Preaching Tips From Isaiah 40

Steve Murrell
Steve Murrell (Facebook )

My home church, Victory Manila, has over 125 weekly worship services in 15 Metro Manila locations. Unlike many multi-site churches, we never play video sermons. All of our services have live preachers, who preach the same text.

This does not mean all the sermons are exactly the same. Some of our preachers are evangelists who end every sermon with an altar call, some are teachers who throw out random Greek and Hebrew words, and some are free-flowing prophets who throw out the clock. Some of our preachers are serious. Some use humor. Some preach 50 minutes. Others preach 20 minutes. Some are demonstrative, others move less than the wax Morgan Freeman at Madame Tussauds.

No matter the preaching style or the preacher's gifting, all Victory preachers preach the same text, title and big idea every week. And no matter the preacher, we all attempt to apply Isaiah 40:1-2 as we preach: "Comfort, O comfort, My people, says your God. Speak kindly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare has ended, that her iniquity has been pardoned, that she has received of the hand of the Lord double for all her sins."

Here are five preaching tips from Isaiah 40 that are as relevant today as when they were written 2,700 years ago.

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1. Comfort my people. Finley Peter Dunne (1867-1936) said that newspapers were supposed to "comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." I think preachers should do the same. In most congregations, there are far more afflicted people than comfortable people; therefore, our preaching should bring comfort, not add more affliction.

2. Speak tenderly. Harsh words crush dreams and kill relationships. Tender words inspire dreams and restore relationships. Unfortunately, there are not many places in society where tender words are being offered. Hopefully we can find them in our pulpits.

3. Warfare has ended. Shoichi Yokoi was a Japanese sergeant in WWII. On January 24, 1972, he was discovered in the jungles of Guam. He had been living in a cave, hiding from the Americans for 28 years, because no one told him the war had ended. Many believers are living in spiritual caves, afraid to engage the world. Preachers are supposed to tell them that Jesus already won the war.

4. Iniquity is pardoned. Paul never got tired of preaching the gospel over and over and over and over. We should never tire of preaching and teaching what Jesus did for us—that because of his death and resurrection, our sins are forgiven. Preach it. Teach it. Sing it. Pray it. Then do it again next week.

5. Received from the Lord's hand. Finally, our preaching should teach people how to receive from the Lord—not how to beg and manipulate, but how to receive what He freely offers.

If you are preaching this weekend or if you are leading a small discipleship group, I hope these ancient preaching principles will help you honor God and make disciples.

Steve and Deborah Murrell went to the Philippines in 1984 for a one-month summer mission trip that never ended. They are the founding pastors of Victory Manila, one church that meets in 14 locations in metro Manila and has planted churches in 60 Philippine cities and 20 other nations. Currently, Victory has more than 6,000 discipleship groups that meet in coffee shops, offices, dormitories and homes in metro Manila. Steve is co-founder and president of Every Nation Churches and Ministries, a family of churches focused on church planting, campus ministry and world missions.

For the original article, visit stevemurrell.com.

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Dr. Steve Greene is now sharing stories, teachings, and conversations with guests who lead with love on Love Leads, a new podcast. Listen now.


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