Preaching with Integrity by Dr. Jerry Cramer
Most Christians do not listen to sermons; they listen to their pastor. Do not think for a second that God's message is not affected by the messengers. The preacher is always the strongest source of persuasion. That is why God has chosen face-to-face preaching as His ordained method of communicating with men.
Not even Bible study is an adequate substitute for biblical preaching (Romans 1:11). God's man is not some kind of living funnel through which divine truth flows, but a living embodiment of divine truth. Face-to-face preaching is nothing less than a God-empowered, life-changing event! Contemporary preachers are to believers of today what the old-fashioned prophets were to believers of yesterday.
The preacher who knows the Word is prepared to preach, but only the holy preacher is qualified to preach. Many are prepared; few are qualified. A clean and consecrated messenger must back up every message. Nothing will tell on a ministry like his personal character. Pulpit power is the natural result of the preacher's obedience. Disobedience always brings a loss of spiritual power, especially in the pulpit. Such a loss may be imperceptible, but that does not minimize its effect.
The pastor who will not allow the Holy Spirit to make application in his life should not expect the Holy Spirit to use him to make application in the lives of others. Thunder may come from the Word, but lightning comes from the man! The preacher in the pulpit must have a deep, vital and personal experience of God.
This does not mean that the minister should limit his message to the levels of spirituality which he has already attained. Preaching biblical ideals is the duty of every preacher. Not always living up to those ideals is expected, but hypocrisy is intolerable. Hypocrisy is intentional deception - living a lie. God's man should never push others toward a level of spirituality which he never intends to achieve.