In the first post we considered what expository preaching is and some biblical reasons for such an approach to preaching. Now let’s consider the theological and practical reasons.
From a theological standpoint, the doctrines of divine inspiration and inerrancy drive toward the necessity of expository preaching. The Bible clearly states the Holy Spirit inspired men as the Scriptures were written (2 Peter 1:19-21). Given that the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth (John 16:13), the Scriptures must be truth – that is, inerrant. When the preacher explains and applies the intent of the Scripture he is assured his preaching will be consistent with God’s purposes.
Affirming divine inspiration and inerrancy “is of little value if it is not accompanied by an enthusiastic commitment to the Bible’s complete and absolute authority.” The issue of authority rests squarely on God himself. God is the author of the Scriptures and he alone is the source of all authority. When the preacher explains and applies the intent of the Scriptures he preaches not with his own authority, but with God’s authority.
One final theological foundation supporting expository preaching is the doctrine of sufficiency. The Scriptures alone are sufficient for equipping all Christians to live faithfully in every aspect of life (2 Timothy 3:16-17). When the preacher explains and applies the intent of the Scriptures he is confident that he is sufficiently feeding his flock enabling them to live as God intends.
Practically speaking, there are numerous benefits from expository preaching. While it is impossible to exhaust all the practical reasons for exposition, it is helpful to divide them into two camps: benefits for the pastor and benefits for the congregation.
From the pastor’s perspective, expository preaching:
- Ensures the pastor is following the leading of the Spirit;
- Prevents the pastor from over utilizing or relying upon his own creativity;
- Encourages the pastor to preach on tough issues often neglected;
- Establishes a way for the preacher to expound the whole counsel of God;
- Gives the pastor confidence to speak with authority for his words rest on God’s Word; and
- Ensures the pastor is also under the ministry of the Word as he studies the text.
From the congregation’s perspective, expository preaching:
- Provides the opportunity for the congregation to come prepared by familiarizing themselves with the text during the week(s) prior to the sermon;
- Models sound Bible study methods and principles;
- Exemplifies consistency and perseverance in systematically working through God’s word;
- Broadens the congregation’s knowledge of God’s Word by exposing them to the whole counsel of Scripture; and
- Increases the congregation’s trust in the Bible by revealing the timeless truth contained therein.
The biblical and theological foundations, alongside the host of practical benefits, underpin the wisdom of expository preaching. Neglecting the centrality of the Word in preaching is a neglect of God Himself. Preachers speak only because God has spoken. Regularly using the Scriptures as a topical index or springboard minimizes the authority of Scripture and leads the congregation to do the same. On the other hand, elevating the Scriptures week after week, sermon after sermon, leads the congregation to rely on the authority of the Scriptures in their own lives day after day. Faithfully heralding God’s Word week after week feeds the flock the only true life sustaining food available. God’s written Word points God’s people, by the power of the Spirit, to delight in the living Word, Jesus Christ.
 Ibid., 162.
 This is not to say there is no place for topical sermons; certainly they can add value and faithfully teach God’s people when used strategically. Perhaps an analogy will help. Think of topical sermons like dessert – they are good every now and then but if they become your main diet you will end up malnourished.
“The primary task of the church and the Christian minister is the preaching of the Word of God.”
David Martyn Lloyd-Jones
“[God] is there and He is not silent.”
“[We need…] Men, mighty in the Scriptures, their lives dominated by a sense of the greatness, the majesty and the holiness of God, and their hearts aglow with the great truths of the doctrines of grace. Men who will have learned what it is to die to self, to human aims, and personal ambitions; men who are willing to be fools for Christ’s sake, who will bear reproach and falsehood, who will labor and suffer, and whose desire will be, not to gain earth’s accolades, but to win the Master’s approbation when they appear before His awesome judgment seat. Men who will preach with broken hearts and tear-filled eyes and upon whose ministries God will grant an extraordinary effusion of the Holy Spirit and who will witness signs and wonders following in the transformation of multitudes of human lives.”
(1714-1770; England and Massachusetts)
From the beginning of creation, we see that life springs forth when God speaks. God is a preaching God and he has called his people to, with holy boldness, herald the Scriptures as they, by the power of the Spirit, point all peoples to the redemption found in Jesus Christ alone. So the centerpiece of our gathering is the preaching of God’s Word for it sustains faith in believers and creates faith in unbelievers.
What is Expository Preaching?
Simply put, preaching is expository when the main point of the biblical passage is the main point of the sermon. Expository preaching is the type of preaching that faithfully explains the authorial intent and relevantly applies the truth of a text, while relying on the empowerment of the Holy Spirit in both preparation and proclamation. It is not a matter of preaching style, but of preparation method – the preacher does not approach the Scripture with a preconceived agenda, but allows the text to drive what he is going to say. Typically, this approach is best done when books of the Bible are preached through systematically, verse by verse, chapter by chapter.
The Bible contains an array of Scriptures that present the supreme worth of God’s word. Within the first few verses of the Bible the reader comes to understand God is a God who speaks. In the Old Testament alone “The phrase ‘the word of the Lord’ or its equivalent occurs more than 3,800 times.” In the New Testament Jesus came preaching the gospel (Mark 1:14) and after his departure the apostles devoted themselves to the “ministry of the word” (Acts 6:4). Paul, likewise, gave himself to the proclamation of the Word (Acts 20:27; 2 Corinthians 2:2) and exhorted his disciple Timothy to “Preach the Word” (2 Timothy 4:2). Throughout Scripture God’s people rely on the power and authority of the preached Word.
The Bible is not only replete with people preaching the Word, but it also makes several direct statements about the various functions of the Word. The Word sustains and sanctifies us (Matthew 4:4; John 17:7). God’s Word builds up and preserves (Acts 20:32). God’s Word is the power for salvation (Romans 1:16). The Word creates faith (Romans 10:17). All of God’s Word is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training (2 Timothy 3:16). The Word performs God’s work in believers (1 Thessalonians 2:13). God’s Word convicts and judges (James 1:18; Hebrews 4:12). The Word gives new birth and saves (James 1:18, 21; 1 Peter 1:23, 25). The Bible assures us that God’s Word does not return void, it always accomplishes its purpose (Isaiah 55:11). Simply put, God’s word has always been the chosen instrument to awaken faith, sustain faith, and build up God’s people together.
 Mark Dever, Nine Marks of a Healthy Church (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2000), 31.
 Paul Alexander, and Mark Dever, The Deliberate Church (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2005), 34-35.
“In the name of Christ, distortion must be opposed EVERYWHERE- in the kitchen and the bedroom, in the city councils and corporate boardrooms, [in the halls of medicine], on the stage and on the air, in the classroom and in the workshop. Everywhere humanity’s sinfulness disrupts and deforms. Everywhere Christ’s victory is pregnant with the defeat of sin and the recovery of creation.”
(1942-present; Netherlands and Canada)
From John Calvin’s Institutes on the necessity of Jesus being truly God and truly man:
First of all, it was most necessary for us that he who is to be our Mediator should be true God and true man. For since our iniquities had placed a barrier between God and us, and had estranged us from the kingdom of heaven and had turned God away from us, there was no one who could be the means of reconciling us unless he was able to reach as far as God…
Affairs would’ve been desperate indeed, had not gods majesty come down to us, since it was not in our power to a sent it. Consequently it was necessary for God’s son to be our Immanuel, that is, ‘God with us’, and in such a way that as he joined his deity with us, so too he s should join our humanity with his deity. Otherwise they would never have been any connection close or secure enough to give us hope that God could live in us and help us. Such is the distance between our littleness and the greatness of the divine majesty!
There is another reason why it was necessary for him he was to be our Redeemer to be true God and true man. It was his task to swallow up death. Who could do that but life itself? It was his task to conquer sin. Who could do that but righteousness? It was his task to overcome the powers of the air, that is, the demons. Who could do that but a power greater than the world or air? In home, then, do life, righteousness in the power of heaven reside, but in God alone? Therefore the Lord, and his greatness, became our Redeemer when he chose to ransom us.
The other condition of our redemption was that man, who is lost and ruined by his disobedience, should, by obedience, atone for his offense by satisfying God’s judgment and suffering the penalty incurred by his sin. The Lord Jesus thus came forward and, clothed with Adams nature, took his name in order to render obedience to the Father on his behalf, offering to God’s judgment our humanity as an atonement, and bearing the penalty of sin in the same flash in which sin had been committed.
Finally, given that God alone cannot know death and that man by himself cannot overcome it, he united deity with humanity so as to subject the weakness of one to the pain of death, and by the might of the other to come combat death until victory was won. Those, therefore, who rob Christ of his deity or humanity, not only blaspheme against his greatness and obscure his goodness, but also do much harm to men, because they undermine their faith which cannot stand secure unless it rest on this foundation.
(From our brother Pierre-Luc)
Dear brothers and sisters at Restoration Church,
Some of you may wonder what God is doing through our involvement at Friendship Terrace. What kind of impact are we having on the senior residents? In what ways are the arms of Christ reaching out and serving those who are at the end of their life on earth?
To begin, let’s take a look at the fields in which we are sowing and reaping. While it is clear that some of these senior residents are strong believers, others are less mature or perhaps more cultural in their Christianity. There are even followers of other religions who join us out of curiosity. This means that we have opportunities to evangelize unbelievers and edify believers. Also, you should know that we are not the only ones serving at Friendship Terrace. There are other churches leading services on different Sundays, doing Bible studies, and bringing senior residents to their morning worship services. Some of these churches are more like-minded than others. So, here’s the question: How do we help the people of Friendship Terrace pay attention to the Word of God as the supreme authority for all of life and godliness? Well, although we can neither change their hearts nor control their responses to the preached Word, we can certainly adorn the Gospel of Jesus with love and grace. Can you imagine the impact that we could have if Restoration Church showed the most love to the residents of Friendship Terrace?
This brings me to my second point: what has been taking place. From week to week, I have seen Community Groups investing their time and energy in the lives of senior citizens. Bringing food and spending time talking to them goes a long way. A passion for the glory of God sprinkled with a seasoned word of encouragement can be powerful. A prayerful encounter under direction of the Holy Spirit can bring life out of death. I praise God that these things have been taking place. I have received positive feedback from several of the senior residents. One lady commented with astonishment that our church has “life”, in contrast to other churches. Another resident mentioned how nice it is that so many people show up every time from our church to fellowship with them. One of the strong believers in the senior home commented that it was good to hear the Word of God preached with conviction.
What should we take from this? We should thank God that He has opened a door for us to display the love of Christ and preach His Word. We should praise God that He is at work in us and through us. We should continue to serve with joy, knowing that a deep spiritual work is being accomplished in the hearts of men and women whose eternal destiny may soon be sealed. We should continue to be intentional in our service, knowing that we speak and act in the name of Jesus Christ, and as representatives of the body of Christ at Restoration Church.
I want to personally thank all of you for your hard work, and encourage you to keep doing this. May the Lord be pleased to make us fruitful for His glory.
For Jesus Christ’s renown,
God the Father, God the Son, and God the Spirit, we come to you this morning with holy awe and reverence. Your perfections are matchless infinitely above us. You alone are self-existent and self-sufficient needing nothing or no one. You are the sovereign owner and Lord of all. You are unspotted in your purity, blameless in your righteousness, always true, inexhaustibly good. You are infinitely greater than our best thoughts. Your grace to us is beyond comprehension. We praise you this morning; we praise you alone.
Father, we come to you this morning completely dependent upon Jesus Christ. Our hope to approach you is found in him. He is our great High Priest interceding for us. We praise you for Jesus’ perfect life, sin-atoning death, and death-defeating resurrection. We praise you that Jesus is a good king with a gracious reign always doing what is good and right for his people.
We praise you for the work you are doing here at Restoration Church, and ask, for the glory of your name, for your namesake, that you increasingly do more. Cause us to be a church united in the gospel of our Lord. Cause us to be a church that is hospitable and warmly welcoming to all. By your grace and for your glory, cause us to serve eagerly, give generously, and speak the gospel boldly.
We pray for these new members that we would walk alongside them, and them us as we build each other up in Christ Jesus. We pray for our community groups and community group leaders. Use these groups to help us seek maturity, mutually care for each other, and as a place for mission, a place for spreading your supremacy in our lives and the lives of others.
We also pray for our brothers and sisters at other churches in our city. We pray for All Nations DC, Redeemer City Church, Redemption Hill, Capitol Hill Baptist, McLean Bible Church, GraceDC, The District Church, and The Well. Use these churches to boldly proclaim Christ crucified and resurrected. Use these churches to see men and women, boys and girls, come to faith in Jesus. We praise you for the work you are doing here in our city and ask, in the name of Jesus, you would grant these churches and us a sweet partnership in the gospel that we might see the fame of Jesus spread all the more.
We also pray for those marginalized in and by society. For orphans and widows and homeless right here in our city; would you be a Father to the fatherless? I praise you that you have filled our church with members who have a passion to care for those often neglected by the world. Help us do this all the more as we grow; help us not only seek to care for and serve one another, but also those around us. We pray for organizations like Friendship Place and Central Union Mission and Martha’s table, and DC127 that seek to help in these areas. Give their leaders wisdom as they seek how to best use the resources entrusted to them.
Father, we want to pray for those who are victims of abuse. For men and women in abusive relationships, for those in the modern day slave trade of sex trafficking. Give them grace to let someone know; rescue them, we pray; give them grace to run to the cross of Christ, to look at Jesus who not only paid the price for our sin, but took all the shame and guilt upon himself. Give them grace to know that as your image bearers they have value, worth and dignity no matter what happens to them.
Lord God, as we pray for others, we also see within the depths of our hearts. We confess that we often doubt your rule over us. We confess that we rebel against you publicly and privately. We have sinned against you in thought, word and deed, by what we have done and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you as our supreme King; we have not loved you with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We have been bitter withholding forgiveness. We have been shallow thinking alcohol or substance abuse or sexually immorality will satisfy us. We have been greedy not giving generously. Accept our repentance O God. Fill us with your Spirit that we might delight in your will and walk in your ways to the glory of your Holy name.
Through Christ our Lord we pray. Amen.
“As to ‘caring for’ the Sermon on the Mount, if ‘caring for’ here means ‘liking or enjoying’, I suppose no one ‘cares for’ it. Who can like being knocked flat on his face by a sledgehammer?”
“The will of God the Father as taught by Jesus is a will not only to be heard and admired; it is a will to be done…I do not see how a single line of the Sermon [on the Mount] can be read without feeling summoned to one’s knees before God. And yet the summons to our knees is never an end in itself; the calisthenic of this sermon is to move repeatedly from kneeling to walking. The direction of the Sermon on the Mount is to the deed – but it is equally from the gift. It is toward the [good of our] neighbor [for the glory of our] Father…The height of the deeds to which Jesus calls in this sermon can only be approached by people walking on their knees.”
F. Dale Bruner