What is Expository Preaching?
*For the next few weeks, we’ll be taking a look at the meaning of “Expository Preaching”, its Biblical precedence, and the importance of Expository Preaching in the life of our church.
Before the first words came out of his mouth, John the Baptist was destined to preach (Mk 1:1-4). His sole purpose in life was to pave the way for the coming of the Messiah. As a blood relative of Jesus, John could have easily developed anger towards his cousin (or jealousy for that matter). But he strived to prepare the hearts of the people of Israel to hear and see their Messiah. Dressed in camel’s skin and probably in need of a bath, John proclaimed God’s message to anyone who was in hearing distance. Though John’s ministry was short lived, he was constantly preaching, and what he was preaching is still the same message today: Jesus Christ. Preachers of the Word of God can learn from John the Baptist and see the need to bring people to Christ. The “Prince of Preachers” Charles Spurgeon understood this:
“The motto of all true servants of God must be, ‘We preach Christ; and him crucified.’ A sermon without Christ in it is like a loaf of bread without any flour in it. No Christ in your sermon, sir? Then go home, and never preach again until you have something worth preaching.”
Charles Spurgeon understood the importance of preaching and the importance of Christ in the sermon. Many pastors today have forgotten what preaching is all about. The desire for their sermons is that they be presented creatively and for entertainment. Like Spurgeon states, these men should just go home. Their desire to help the people of God has turned into a hindrance in their congregation’s spiritual walk with the Lord. This is because they have forgotten, or possibly never understood, what preaching is all about.
One of my biggest concerns is the growing problem of Bible illiteracy in our country. We have professing Christians that haven’t opened up the Bible in years, and we have politicians misquoting Scripture to fit their political agenda and Christians applauding how their politicians love the Bible.
This is why we preach the Bible here at Grace Life Church. We preach God’s Word to God’s people because the Holy Spirit uses God’s Word to help us know God and the power of the gospel. We do not need to be entertained, but rather fed from the Word of God. My heart for you is to see Christ formed in you. To see you grow in holiness. To see you grow in Christlikeness. And to see this happen, I know you need to know how to study God’s Word on your own.
Preaching as defined by Merriam-Webster Dictionary is “to urge acceptance or abandonment of an idea or course of action”. Haddon Robinson states that preaching was God speaking “through the personality and message of a preacher to confront men and women and bring them to Himself”. Preaching is not simply standing in front of a congregation and delivering a creative sermon, it is proclaiming the message from the True God to people who need Him and need to walk closer with Him. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 2:1-5,
 And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom.  For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,  and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,  so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. (ESV)
It is the preaching of God’s Word that leads us to know Jesus Christ and him crucified. This is my heart for you. And this is why we are committed to expository preaching. Let’s define what expository preaching is:
Expository Preaching is taking a specific text of Scripture and proclaiming the truth of the text through intentional study of the geographical, historical, and redemptive context, exposing the one intended meaning of the text and then applying it to modern day listeners within the church for the glory of God.
Expository preaching brings our attention to the Word of God. It begins with the text, stays in the text, and drives us to the text. And when we look at the text, we see that the whole of Scripture is not about us but rather the glory and splendor of a redeeming God.
Allistar Begg states, “Since expository preaching begins with the text of Scripture, it starts with God and is in itself an act of worship, for it is a declaration of the mighty acts of God. It establishes the focus of the people upon God and His glory before any consideration of man and his need.”
Mark Dever goes on to say, “The first mark of a healthy church is expositional preaching. It is not only the first mark; it is far and away the most important of them all, because if you get this one right, all of the others should follow… If you get the priority of the Word established, then you have in place the single most important aspect of the church’s life, and growing health is virtually assured, because God has decided to act by His Spirit through His Word… The congregation’s commitment to the centrality of the Word coming from the front, from the preacher, the one specially gifted by God and called to that ministry, is the most important thing you can look for in a church.”
The preaching of God’s Word is a vital ministry within the church. No church can function Biblically without it. The preaching of God’s Word must bring attention to Jesus Christ and the listener’s need for Him. The goal and desire of every preacher must be to preach Jesus and Him crucified.
And as we’ll see next week, the Old Testament and New Testament have much to say about the proclamation of God’s Word to God’s people.
By His Grace,