5 Reasons Why I Love Expositional PreachingFebruary 25, 2015
When the apostle Paul instructed Timothy to preach the Word, he had labor in mind. I do not think for one minute that Timothy confused Paul’s words with some of the entertaining, showmanship qualities of modern preaching. No, when Timothy heard the apostolic admonition to preach the Word of God, he understood exactly what Paul meant. He was to “study” or exert due diligence to the task at hand. His homilies were prepared with the heavenlies in mind.
Timothy’s approval didn’t hinge upon his likeability, charm, personality, or charisma. That is not to say God doesn’t use those particular qualities in the preaching hour, He can and does. But the true preacher of God’s Word realizes that he, himself, is not the substance of his proclamation. If he is the substance, well, he is many things, but an expositor of God’s Word, is not one of them.
As a laborer, Timothy was to rightly divide the Scripture with the intent to say what God said. And that, in itself, is really the heartbeat of preaching: To declare what God has already decreed.
Exposition simply means to show, exhibit, to reveal. A buried treasure doesn’t need to be embellished; it just needs to be uncovered. The same is true with Scripture. This is why I love expositional preaching; this is why we need expositional preaching. God has given us an immeasurable, inexhaustible, and invaluable gift called the Word of God. To preach anything outside of this gift is not only short-changing the parishioner, it is grossly misappropriating the call of God.
Although I preach topically and textually from time to time, I most-often preach expositionally. Here are a few reasons why:
1. It eliminates the need for gimmicks, theatrics, and gadgetry.
We are naturally visional people. We seem to retain information better when that information is transmitted through the eye gate. However, faith comes by hearing, not seeing. If we are not careful, we can stimulate the senses of man without ever reaching the heart of man. Expositional preaching takes the pressure off. It confirms that you are NOT a performer in need of weekly validation. You are simply a proclaimer in need of biblical communication.
2. It systematically and consistently places the sermon in biblical context.
We have all heard that “a text taken out of context is a pretext.” We’ve all been exposed to sermons that incorrectly directed the audience to a “truth” or “principle” that wasn’t really in the passage. Expositional preaching forces the preacher to “read out of the Scripture” without ever having to “read into the Scripture” something that is not there.
3. It affords the church the opportunity to hear whole counsel of God’s Word.
There are several reasons why I like to preach expositionally through a Bible book. One, it keeps the passage in context from week to week; and two, it forces you to contend with the whole counsel of Scripture. Many times we intentionally dodge certain “controversial” passages as not to upset certain people or groups; but expositional preaching eliminates selective preaching. It causes us to deal with issues as we approach them in the text.
4. It maximizes my study time.
In all honestly, one of the biggest weekly issues that pastors face is where he will land in his Bible on Sunday morning. Years ago, I wasted countless hours in my study just flipping through the Scripture in hopes to “magically” find something from the Lord. The Holy Spirit has helped me to embrace Paul’s charge: Preach the Word! God has given it; it is my responsibility as a preacher to find out what it says. When I receive confirmation about a particular series or Bible book, I saturate my heart, mind, and soul into that text. I do not waste hours just trying to find something to preach, I find the mind of God in every jot and tittle.
5. It accentuates God’s voice over my voice.
There are many voices being heard today in Christianity. In the chorus of all the chaos, the culture needs to hear from Christ. They hear from Him when we diligently, attentively, and carefully preach His Word. Expositional preaching foregoes the storytelling, the soapbox jabbering, the nonsensical rhetoric; instead, it lifts up the voice of God to men who need to hear with spiritual ears.
“The true preacher does not seek for truth in the pulpit; he is there because he has found it.” – John Peters, autobiographer of D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones