Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Thinking about “unction”

To those who prayed: Thank you!
This past weekend, I had two wonderful opportunities to teach God’s word. On Saturday, I taught 30-40 men at a men’s retreat about sin, temptation and how to overcome it. Then, on Sunday, I had the opportunity to preach from Galatians 4:21-31. The Lord helped me, and I felt great liberty on both occasions. He also gave me vocal stamina: I spoke for about 80 minutes or so on Saturday, and preached for 75 minutes on Sunday (And the Lord graciously held the listeners’ attention both times!).

This time last week I had just finished preparing my presentation for the men’s retreat, but I still had to prepare, from scratch, my sermon. Last Wednesday evening, I asked for prayer because my mind was very distracted and the sermon was just not coming together. I wasn’t getting anywhere fast. On top of this, I was looking at a week that included my 14-year-old’s graduation from middle school on Thursday evening, hosting our small group on Friday evening, attending and teaching at the men’s retreat most of the day on Saturday, attending a piano recital at which both my sons performed on Saturday afternoon, and having a house guest from Thursday through today (my mother-in-law).

I want to say, the Lord was, indeed, merciful, and He helped me. I worked on that sermon Thursday night and, then, all day Friday. The Holy Spirit helped me focus my thoughts, and I was able to finish my sermon before Friday evening’s small group gathering.

While thinking over and praying through Saturday’s teaching and Sunday’s preaching, I got to thinking about the concept of “unction”. I remember, at the Gospel Coalition Conference, over a week ago in Deerfield (yes, I was there, and it was a great blessing to my soul), in introducing John Piper, D.A. Carson compared him to Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in that both men preached with “unction”. I believe I know what is meant when preachers talk about “unction” but, biblically, what is “unction”? A brief study of the etymology of the word in my Webster’s New World College Dictionary showed me that unction basically means the same thing as anointing.

But, biblically, what are we talking about when we say that a preacher is “anointed” or when we pray for God’s “anointing”?
(To be continued...)

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