Ezekiel 3:6; 2 Corinthians 1:17
Understanding What We Believe
Before he entered the ministry, and while a practicing attorney, Charles Finney attended services where the minister consistently taught opposing doctrines. In the same sermon he would urge people to repent, then say that repentance came only from the Holy Spirit. Or he would say that sinners could not be saved until they believed, then add that they could not believe until the Holy Spirit changed them.
In private conversations Finney found the pastor mystified by his own sermons. Little wonder he confused others; he confessed he had never resolved the differences in his own mind. He preached only what he had heard others say, not what he had concluded personally.
Personal acquaintance with Christ necessarily precedes a dynamic witness to others. All those charged with teaching the gospel, in whatever capacity, need to clarify for themselves areas of doctrine still incomplete from neglect or indecision. Sharply-focused messengers communicate sharply-defined messages.
Hurley, Virgil: Speaker's Sourcebook of New Illustrations. electronic ed. Dallas : Word Publishers, 2000, c1995, S. 14