During part two of this series of posts, Why Expository Preaching, I gave you 3 reasons why I most often choose this style of preaching for my ministry and our church family.
- Expository preaching protects me from focusing on peripheral matters (2 Timothy 2:14).
- Expository preaching helps me study and preach for the approval of God (2 Timothy 2:15).
- Expository preaching teaches the church how to study the Bible themselves (2 Timothy 2:15).
Let me give you my final two reasons why I believe this method is most beneficial from this passage in 2 Timothy 2.
4. EXPOSITORY PREACHING EMPHASIZES THE AUTHORITY OF GOD’S WORD.
There were two individuals in the church at Ephesus by the name of Hymenaeus and Philetus. Instead of honoring the revelation of God in its intended, authorial meaning they turned it into profane and vain babblings (2:16-18). In this passage we are told their message was a like a canker (a poison) that was confusing and deteriorating the faith of the people, simply because they were overspritualizing the Scriptures. Think about this statement:
“The preacher should tremble at the very thought of abusing, neglecting, or altering what God Himself wrote.” – Daniel Akin
We must remember, in preaching, that the authority of the sermon is not the preacher of the Word, but the Author of the Word.
“When a preacher fails to preach the Scripures, he abandons his authority.” Haddon Robinson
It is not my job to get people to come and hear what I have to say, I must get them to come and hear what God has to say. It is my goal each and every week to keep my finger on the text and read, explain, and apply God’s Word in its proper context. If I am successful in this goal then I have faithfully emphasized God’s authority and not my own.
It’s also important to note that the authority of a sermon is not in the delivery, but in the Word that is being delivered. I’m afraid, at times, that we are so infatuated with “preaching machines” that we erroneously celebrate preaching that is in demonstration of the flesh – claiming it to be authoritative. Authority is not how loud I yell, how hard I stomp, or how strong I hit the pulpit. Authority is simply proclaiming what the Author has said.
I have forfeited my right to proclaim “Thus saith the Lord” when I ignore the proper context and application of God’s divine Word. J.H. Jowett is noted for saying,
“What we are after is not that folks shall say at the end of it all, ‘What an excellent sermon!’ That is measured failure. You are there to have them say when it is over, ‘What a great God!’ It is something for men not to have been in your presence, but in His.”
5. EXPOSITORY PREACHING IS ANCHORED IN THE CONTEXT OF THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD.
No matter what Hymenaeus and Philetus were teaching, Paul takes the church in verse 19 back to the whole counsel of God. He affirmed to them that the Lord knows those who are His, and those who are His need to separate from sinful activity. He corrected their teaching by anchoring their belief in the whole counsel of God.
The context is the most important aspect of understanding the Scriptures. It is said that “A text without a context is a pretext.” We understand the context of a passage by comparing it with other Scriptures. Also, we don’t allow obscure passages to dictate doctrinal positions. We anchor our entire belief system in the whole counsel of God.
Paul said in Acts 20:27, “For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
We must be careful not to dictate what portions of God’s Word are necessary for learning and what portions are not. All scripture was not only given by inspiration, but it is profitable. We benefit from learning the whole counsel of God. Expository preaching helps us achieve this.
I owe much to my father, Harold Blankenship, and to my Homiletics professor in college, Jeff Jones, for teaching me the importance of biblical preaching and giving me a love for it. Even close mentors today like Scott Tewell and others are so helpful in my continued development and love for the preaching of God’s WORD!
Since we began in 2008, I have preached through 20 books of the Bible. My goal is to preach through every one of them, and when I finish we’ll begin again. Daniel Akin said,
“Bad preaching saps life from the church. It kills its spirit, dries its fruit, and eventually empties its buildings.”
I don’t want to be a bad preacher. I am committed as your pastor to study to show myself approved unto God. That whether I am preaching sequentially through a book or sectionally in a series, I want to be faithful to the Author. In fact, every time I come to the pulpit I come with these two questions:
- What does God want us to know?
- What does God want us to do?
Anything beyond those two realms is insufficient.
I hope you will register for PREACH THE WORD, September 29-30 here in Charlotte at Laurel Baptist Church. There will be workshops with Scott Tewell, Kurt Skelly, and myself. Come and sharpen your tools to honor God with the preaching of His Word.