Matthew R. Perry

You’re An Expository Preacher? Ohh, Part 2: You Deal With Topics You’d Otherwise Avoid

In For Preachers/Pastors, Preaching on January 14, 2007 at 12:02 am

Every preacher has a favorite subject on which he loves to preach. I remember hearing an example of this when someone preached on the Fall of Man. He told his congregation, “I’d like to talk about the rebellion against God, the reaction of God — and a few words about baptism.” Some preachers love to preach on evangelism, the end times, Calvinism, and many other popular topics almost to the exclusion of every other topic.

Pastors are under great temptation to keep their situation smooth. To use the vernacular, pastors simply do not want to “rock the boat” unnecessarily. The thoughts of introducing a subject of controversy on Sunday morning where most members and visitors attend would be out of the question.

Yet, expository preaching guards us from being a Johnny One-Note.  Allow me to give a personal example.

The day was August 20, 2006 — a special day in our household, for I had the blessing of baptizing Hannah as she publicly responded to Jesus Christ as her Lord.  I was in the midst of preaching through Romans 8.  That morning, not only did we have a number of family and friends visiting, but we also had a large number of general visitors as well.

In the midst of this series, I found that August 20 would have me preach on Romans 8:26-30.

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.

As you may have noticed, a number of lightning rods are in this verse: foreknew, predestined, among others. I noticed though that by preaching expositionally, the people expected me to preach from that text. If I did not, they would have immediately seen this and realized that I did not want to tackle this subject. It ultimately would have undermined my credibility in preaching, saying in effect that I would not preach the whole counsel of God.

So, in essence, this model of preaching not only forces the listeners to address certain issues, but it also forces the minister to address some issues as well. When preaching through 1 Corinthians, preachers have to deal with church discipline when you approach chapter five. When preaching through Romans, you have to deal with the implications of election and predestination in Romans 9. When preaching through Joshua, you have to deal with the rationale behind God sending Israel to wipe out an entire tribe or nation. (The reason being is that God exacted justice immediately during that era.) Otherwise, you would avoid these sticky issues. By tackling them with prayer and the power of the Holy Spirit, you give your people food by which they may be nourished and show them that the Bible speaks to every issue and is entirely relevant.

So preach expositionally! Preach the Word!

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  1. […] Part I: Take the Text on Its Own Terms II: You Deal With Topics You’d Otherwise Avoid […]

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