My intent with these series of posts is to re-affirm in the hearts of our people at Laurel Baptist Church just why we choose expository preaching. Also, I want to invite many of my pastor friends to consider joining me, along with Scott Tewell and Kurt Skelly, in Charlotte, NC for the annual Preach The Word Workshop September 29-30, 2016. Visit www.preachtheword.info to register.
I want to continue answering the question “Why Expository Preaching?” from our first post by giving you 5 biblical reasons, straight from Paul’s writings, on why I believe this method of preaching is most beneficial.
1. EXPOSITORY PREACHING PROTECTS ME FROM FOCUSING ON PERIPHERAL MATTERS.
2 Timothy 2:14 says, “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”
Paul is saying, “Don’t spend your time quarreling over peripheral, non-essential issues.” This is problematic for two reasons: First, it does absolutely no good (to no profit); it’s a waste of time. Secondly, it’s catastrophic to those you lead (subverting of the hearers). The bottom line is that it is unhelpful and unhealthy to constantly focus on peripheral matters as we stand in the pulpit.
I don’t want to be guilty of making certain issues a bigger deal than what God does, and to protect me from doing that I choose to let the text speak for itself. In other words, I cannot use the Bible to support my sermon; I must simply let the Bible be the sermon.
I have heard it so many times from many different sources, but its simplicity is what makes it so important: “Speak where the Bible speaks, and be silent where the Bible is silent. Shout where the Bible shouts, and whisper where the Bible whispers.”
It’s extremely dangerous when we preachers force a verse of Scripture to fit a preconceived agenda, but when we stay in the text it protects us from unbiblical preaching. I like what Alistair Begg said about this…
Like golf, the preacher must keep it in the fairway and avoid the rough.
2. EXPOSITORY PREACHING HELPS ME STUDY AND PREACH FOR THE APPROVAL OF GOD.
2 Timothy 2:15 says, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”
We can certainly head down a wrong road when our preaching reflects more the approval of man than it does the approval of God. Many preachers in their preparation will find themselves asking…
- Is this message culturally exciting and appealing?
- Will this message get a lot ‘amens’?
- I wonder if this message will make my preacher friends happy?
These are questions that reflect the wrong motive. My preaching is not about cultural acceptance or pastoral acceptance. Each week when I study, prepare, and deliver the sermon from our pulpit it’s about the approval of one: JESUS CHRIST. It is HIS Word and not mine. I am responsible to Him for what I tell others He said.
It is for this reason that we are instructed to rightly divide the word of truth. There is a right way and a wrong way to handle God’s Word. So, I must come to each passage of Scripture and ask these most important rules of Bible study (we call them the Laws of Hermenutics):
- What’s the context (who, what, when, where, why)?
- Who was it written to?
- What is consistently taught in Scripture?
- What does this mean for me today?
You see, it takes work to study the Bible and to preach the Bible. So, I must open the Scriptures, dig deep, and learn the message that God intended for us to hear.
3. EXPOSITORY PREACHING TEACHES THE CHURCH HOW TO STUDY THE BIBLE THEMSELVES.
Returning back to 2 Timothy 2:15 we understand that all of us are called to be students of the Bible. If you’re new to our church you will hear me emphasize often that it is not so much about your daily reading of the Bible as it is your daily study of the Bible. I’m not sure I know any pastor that would recommend you to just open your Bible anywhere, with no structure, day after day for your own personal study. No, most pastors will tell you to have a plan…pick out a book…read it straight through…chapter by chapter.
My commitment as a pastor is this: if I wouldn’t recommend our people to read the Bible that way, why would I preach that way?
One of the greatest blessings of preaching the Bible sequentially is that it automatically leads the church family to study the Bible in the same manner that is most beneficial to their understanding of the Scriptures. I can’t tell you how many times members of our church have come to me and said, “Pastor, I’m reading ahead…following with you through the Bible…can’t wait until we get to this particular chapter…I have lots of questions…etc.” This is beautiful to me! We’re studying together – in unity – throughout the week what God is teaching us as a church.
This is one of the most compelling reason why I am committed to expository preaching, because it teaches our church family how to study the Bible.
I have two more reasons to give you in part 3…
You might enjoy listening to this audio message – “The Teaching of The Church.”