Why Do We Do That? – Expository Preaching
Taken with permission from Christ Church Presbyterian, Evans, GA.
“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed?
And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher?” Romans 10:14
That preaching has always been a fundamental part of true Christian worship is not debatable. However, it may be helpful to explain the type of sermon you will hear most Sundays at Christ Community Church. The preaching in our corporate worship is expositional in nature. Expository preaching expounds upon the meaning and application of a particular passage of Scripture rather than starting with a topic and finding verses to support it. Sometimes this means preaching through an entire book of the Bible a few verses each week, but it could also be worked out in a sermon series on the Beatitudes that lasts just a few weeks and doesn’t include the rest of Matthew’s gospel. At times a series may be topical, but nevertheless, the preaching will be expository pulling from one or more key passages.
There are at least three things that you should expect the expositional preaching at CCC to include. First is thorough preparation. In addition to the time the Pastor has invested in his rigorous theological education, he spends a great deal of time each week studying God’s Word and praying in preparation for the morning sermons. John Calvin once said in a sermon about preaching,
“If I should climb up into the pulpit without having deigned to look at a book and frivolously imagine, ‘Ah well! when I get there God will give me enough to talk about,’ and I do not condescend to read, or to think about what I ought to declare, and I come here without carefully pondering how I must apply the Holy Scripture to the edification of the people – well, then I should be a cock-sure charlatan and God would put me to confusion in my audaciousness.”
Be assured that what you hear from the pulpit at CCC is a product of serious preparation and much prayer. Second, you can expect that the preaching will include direct application to your Christian life. Expository preaching is not an abstract exercise because “Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).
You should expect to leave worship knowing how the passage preached affects you as a Christian. Beyond preparation and application, you can expect the preaching at CCC to be Spirit dependent. The Prayer for Illumination that at times proceeds the Sermon each Sunday is a petition for the Holy Spirit to empower the preaching, open the hearts of the listeners, and apply God’s Word to our lives. The Apostle Paul wrote, “my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Corinthians 2:4-5).
God commands preaching and promises to bless faithful exposition of the Word, and it is reckless to depend on any other method to grow the church and nurture the body of Christ. While the Pastor is always seeking to improve the preparation, delivery and application of the sermon, the essential methodology is not up for grabs because God works through preaching, and other methods are neither commanded nor sanctioned by Him in His word.
For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men (1 Corinthians 1:22-25).
Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness, in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began, but has in due time manifested His word through preaching, which was committed to me according to the commandment of God our Savior (Titus 1:1-3).
And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:5).