5 Ways Pastors Spiritually Benefit From Preaching Expository Sermons
- Friday, October 18, 2013
Many pastors have written and spoken concerning the ways expository preaching benefits your congregation, but few talk about how it benefits the soul of you, the preacher.
I say this as one who sometimes loses sight of the blessings of expository preaching because of the exhaustion of week-in, week-out teaching ministry. Pastors can succumb to the mindset of Grandma on Thanksgiving Day, who eats a cold plate because she was so busy cooking for everyone else. It fills the stomach, but lacks the celebration and joy.
The celebration and joy of preaching God’s word will return to you when you remember the blessings that God has in store for preachers who give themselves wholly to the task of expository preaching. What are those blessings? Here is a list of five.
1. You will maintain your integrity as a preacher
We refuse to practice cunning or to tamper with God’s word, but by the open statement of the truth we would commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God (2 Corinthians 4:2)
Based on Paul’s logic in this verse, someone who does tamper with God’s word is not able to commend himself to anyone’s conscience in the sight of God. Someone who uses the Bible to say something that it doesn’t mean – whether from good motives or ill, accidentally or on purpose – makes a breach in his integrity.
If the structure of your sermon is aligned with the structure of the passage, and if you derive your sub-points from the author’s sub-points, then it is difficult to tamper with the message of the passage. You dramatically increase your odds of getting at the author’s intended meaning if you follow his logic.
2. You will grow in passion for Jesus
And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself…“Did our hearts not burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” (Luke 24:27, 32)
When you commit to expository preaching, eventually you will hit an obscure or difficult passage. Some pastors get frustrated by trying to derive a sermon from such texts.
But seasoned expository preachers know better. They have wrestled with such passages and have come away seeing the gospel and the work of Christ in a new light. These new insights will fan the flame of your passion for Jesus.
The clincher here – and with the next two benefits below – is the all part, as in Moses and all the Prophets. Only when you commit to preach the entire Bible, tough passages and all, will you get this joy of a fresh look at Jesus’s person and work.
3. You will be innocent of the condemnation incurred by those who reject your preaching
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27-28)
You will be held to account for your ministry, and you will even be judged with more strictness than others (James 3:1). One way to ensure that you will be found faithful on that day is by preaching through all of Scripture. That doesn’t mean you have to pull a MacArthur and go through the whole New Testament verse by verse. You can go Dever style and preach book by book, too.
The point is that you are not leaving out anything in your preaching, whether in terms of content or theology. You will be innocent of anyone’s blood if you preach all the Scriptures, no matter how offensive, irrelevant, or uninteresting it might seem.
Are you shrinking from declaring the whole counsel of God? You know you are supposed to as a preacher, but for some reason – perhaps you cater to your listeners’ felt needs, you don’t feel qualified to teach difficult passages, or you are trying to be tolerant – you are consciously minimizing your use of the Bible. Realize that your hands are red. You are not innocent. Wash the blood off at the foot of the cross, and go preach straight through Galatians.
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