Recently I was made aware of this clip of a sermon on Youtube.com. As I watched it, I was extremely saddened to know that men are actually standing up before their churches doing things like this as opposed to preaching the Word of God. In fact, it may scare us to know how many sermons like this are being proclaimed each week in pulpits around the world.
Many people do not fully understand why expository preaching is necessary in the life of a church body. Many critics claim that when a preacher determines to take a church through an entire book of the Bible they have at some point turned a deaf ear to the Spirit’s leading as they prepare each week. Other critics claim that expository preaching causes people to lose interest due to the length of the studies. While it may be the case that some expository preachers have been guilty in their personal ministries of not listening to the Spirit of God and others may have bored people through expository preaching – the entire subject of expository preaching should not be thrown out without fully considering the issues at hand. Below I have listed why I believe that expository preaching should be the regular diet of a healthy church body.
1. Expository Preaching Establishes Biblical Doctrine
It is a well known thing (especially within the Southern Baptist Convention) that our churches are suffering from a disease named “biblical ignorance.” Why is this the case? Yes, it can be argued that the people are not taking the Bible seriously in their personal devotion time, but if we were honest – the main problem centers in the pulpit. The pulpit ministry provides a trickle down effect to the home and to the individual study practices of Christians. If the Word of God is handled inappropriately in the pulpit – it will be handled inappropriately in the individual devotion time of Christians who witness those errors.
Sadly is the case that our SBC churches are full of spiritual babes! The average Southern Baptist of 50 years of age is most likely not able to distinguish between justification, sanctification, and glorification in any intellectual manner based upon God’s Word. Most of these same people would have a difficult time explaining what propitiation is from God’s Word. As we consider this problem – it is most likely that the problem is rooted in the fact that most preachers in the history of the SBC have been men who preach “pop corn” messages each week from random Scriptures about random topics often in an allegorical manner. The result of this model of preaching will lead a church body to spiritual immaturity and dryness that will take years to change! This type of preaching will leave wounds that literally take a lifetime to bring about healing and restoration.
2. Expository Preaching Forces Preachers To Deal With Difficult Texts
What expository preaching does is force the preacher to actually study and prepare messages that actually deal with the text of Scripture. In each book of the Bible – there is at least one greatly difficult text that must be expounded. It becomes increasingly easy to preach for years while avoiding difficult topics in the Word of God by simply preaching “sugar sticks” or “hobby horses” each week. However, when a man of God sets out on a journey and commits to faithfully expounding the Word of God – verse by verse – he must spend time in his study praying, searching, digging, and defining terms prior to stepping into the pulpit. Otherwise – the message will not be clear – the point will not be delivered – and the people will leave dissatisfied. Expository preaching is difficult. Expository preaching takes commitment. Expository preaching fulfills the requirement of the man of God to preach the whole counsel of God’s Word!
3. Expository Preaching Glorifies God
When a man preaches expository messages – the true sense of the Word is elevated to the eyes, ears, and heart of the people. As we search through the Word of God, it does not take long to see that the Word of God has a central them of God’s glory. No matter where we turn or what text is read, the main theme can be connected to the fact that God desires to gain the glory through what is taking place. It does not matter if one is reading in the Psalms or on a text regarding biblical stewardship – each passage is about bringing God glory in some manner. What expository preaching does is provide this element of understanding to the people as they see the full picture develop before their eyes.
4. Expository Preaching Causes Humility
When the faithful preacher elevates the true meaning of the text up to the people each week – it causes the people to bow down and reverence God for who He is and what He has done for us. If a person leaves church after hearing a sermon with a feeling of self pride and self worth – it may be that they did not understand the text – or it was not preached faithfully. When the Word of God is preached faithfully in the area of sin – we will see how wicked we are. When the Word of God is preached faithfully in the area of Grace – we will see how unworthy we are.
5. Expository Preaching Elevates People To Worship
Many people believe that the area of worship is up to the music minister while the preaching is left up to the pastor. That is a serious error that must be corrected. The worship leader at any church is the pastor. The man of God who opens the Word of God is the one responsible for leading people to worship. Getting people stirred up emotionally will not be sufficient in the difficult times of trial or even persecution. It is the Word of God that strengthens the heart and satisfies the soul and lifts the people to the state of joy and genuine worship of God. However, this can only happen when the Word of God is being accurately proclaimed and accurately expounded.
Do we need to be unified? Do we need to evangelize? Do we know and understand Grace and the finished work of Christ on the cross? Do we need to be sanctified by the Spirit of God? Do we need to worship our Great and glorious God? If we are going to accomplish these things in the life of a church – the best way to do it is through faithful expository preaching of God’s Word – for the glory of God!It is the holy, inspired, infallible and inerrant Word of the living God!
Let us preach it faithfully! For the sake of God – for the sake of His Church – for the sake of our own souls!
Pastor Josh Buice