…and they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching. (Acts 2:42)
So, important was the apostles’ teaching that the early church devoted themselves to it. And what we see in the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament is that the teaching and preaching of Scripture is at the center of the church’s life and worship.
Expositional Preaching is the “exposing” of God’s Word. In short, it’s a sermon in which the preacher’s main point is the main point of the passage. What this means is that the pastor is bound to teach and expose what the Bible says – not to bring an idea and use the text as a springboard; not to disconnect various passages from their original context and have them support what he wants to say. Instead, expositional preaching is the way that the Spirit sets the agenda for the church.
This is a long-term vision. You will not remember every sermon, but that’s okay. Most people can’t remember what they had for lunch yesterday, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t feed and nourish their body! As the Word is faithfully expounded, God shapes us as His people. And as the Word is preached each week, the pastor’s aim should not be to hit “home runs” every Sunday (though that’s nice). The pastor’s aim should be to have a steady batting average, and to trust that, over the long haul, God will use His Word to grow His people.
Here are just two reasons why expositional preaching is important:
- It protects the church from being pastor-centered.
The desire of every pastor should be that, after the service, there is less said about how well he may have done preaching, and more said about how God spoke. The pastor’s job is to preach the Word and get out of the way so God’s Word can be heard clearly. And when the church is Word-centered (and not pastor-centered), that means that others can be raised up who will be able to speak God’s Word to the people. It also means that if God ever moves the lead pastor on, that the church can continue on without interruption – because there is an affinity for the Word and not a particular style of communication.
- It ensures that the whole of Scripture is taught.
A good philosophy of preaching is that which entails a steady diet of Scripture as books of the Bible are preached through, and different genres of the Bible are rotated through. ALL of Scripture is breathed out by God. That means we need to hear ALL of Scripture. We need to hear the Old Testament. We need to hear the New Testament. We need to hear the minor prophets, the Psalms, the Letters, and everything else. This is because of the reality that as we are immersed in the diversity Scripture year after year, God shapes us. He sustains us. And we are exposed to all of God’s truth – even the difficult truths. Expositional preaching ensures that no stone is left unturned, and ensures that the pastor speak about difficult and important things.
In short, God’s people must devote themselves to hearing and applying His Word together. As the Word is proclaimed, God’s power is unleashed in the life of the church.