mark 1 – expositional preaching

There was a good book that was on sale a couple of weeks back for a buck ninety-nine on Kindle. It’s called ‘The Most Misused Verses in the Bible’. It included chapters on the following verses:

[13] I can do all things through him who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13 ESV)

[7:1] “Judge not, that you be not judged. (Matthew 7:1 ESV)

[11] For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope(Jeremiah 29:11 ESV)

[20] For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.”
(Matthew 18:20 ESV)

Those are a few verses that you may have taken out of context…I know I have. I remember being tossed on a sea biscuit that was pulled behind my father-in-law’s boat and I repeated Philippians 4:13 over and over again. Afterwards, I told him the verse I had been quoting and he said he thought I was taking it out of context. I didn’t really like his answer but he was absolutely right! Expositional preaching helps us fight against extracting verses from the context to claim them to mean something that they don’t.

I’m launching into a series of posts on what some marks are common for churches moving towards health and expositional preaching is the foundational one. All the other marks that we look at like a biblical view of conversion, a biblical view of church leadership, and a biblical view of discipleship and church discipline all flow out of expositional preaching. It’s the biggie and if you and I can get this one under our belts, all the other ones will fall into place, if not today, eventually they will, over time.

The key thing about expositional preaching is that the preacher makes the key point of the text to be the key point of the sermon. The preacher starts in :1 chapter 1 of a book and continues on ’til the final verse. It’s not rocket science. When those who are called to preach and teach realize that there are going to be judged more strictly by God (James 3:1), they’ll want to get their teaching and preaching as close to the bullseye as possible and expositional preaching helps us do that. We want to say what the Spirit of God was saying when men wrote what the Spirit prompted them to write when the Bible was first recorded. We’re less concerned about being creative or having all of our points start with the same letter but we want to say what God is saying in the text. We want our teaching to expose the people of God to the Word of God.

Ezra had a high view of Scripture.

 [8] They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading. (Nehemiah 8:8 ESV)

So did Josiah.

[30] And the king went up to the house of the LORD, with all the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the Levites, all the people both great and small. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the LORD.
(2 Chronicles 34:30 ESV)

And Moses did too.

[19] Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and God be with you! You shall represent the people before God and bring their cases to God, [20] and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. (Exodus 18:19-20 ESV)

I’ve heard parts of sermon series on-line revolving around the hip, the shiny, the temporary, the dorky, and the faddish. Sermon series around board games, 50 shades of something-or-other, and the latest ‘Christian’ movie. There is no doubt in my mind that most pastors have good intentions when they assemble a sermon series like these. They want to gain an ear so they find something popular culturally and run with it.

But Jesus said that man lives on every word that comes from the mouth of God (Matthew 4:4) so preachers want to do all they can to cover as much of the Word as they can deeply, over time. When Jesus prayed He wanted us to be sanctified with the truth from the Word (John 17:17) and it would be wrong to shield our people from words that are foundational for their growth even if they might sting for a while.

What if pastors put their heads down and ignored the trends and continued to preach the Word of God, verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book, year after year? What would happen if we gave up on the novel and stuck to the Word of God? What if God’s people never settled for something other than the Word of God faithfully taught?

I believe that as pastors faithfully exposit the Scriptures that the people will grow…faith comes from hearing (Romans 10:17). You may not pack the place, you may have people leave, and you may have people who sit on the pew frustrated…but as they taste the pure Word of God being preached faithfully week after week, they’ll gain an appetite for it over time. As they keep hearing the Word, they’ll glory in the gospel, they’ll conform to the image of Christ, and they’ll be more apt to share their faith as they’re awed by the Saviour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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