Exposi … what?
(Pastor Gavin, on why we mainly preach through books of the Bible…)
Mark Dever (9 Marks, Capitol Hill Baptist Church) has written: “If a healthy church is a congregation that increasingly displays the character of God as his character has been revealed in his Word, the most obvious place to begin building a healthy church is to call Christians to listen to God’s Word. God’s Word is the source of all of life and health. It’s what feeds, develops, and preserves a church’s understanding of the gospel itself.”
The kind of preaching you’ll find at First Baptist Church is what is often referred to as “expository” or “expositional” preaching. These are fancy words that simply mean ‘exposing’ the meaning of the biblical text considered.
Our steady diet each Sunday is the Bible itself, and whole books of the Bible, for as long as it takes to work our way through them. For example, we journeyed through Galatians in 2007, Ephesians in 2008, and the Gospel of John from 2009 to 2011. In 2012 we worked through Ruth, Esther, a baker’s dozen of Psalms and Job, and got started with Hebrews, which we wrapped up at the end of 2013. In 2014, we begin Paul’s first letter to Timothy.
This means that I will most often be in the midst of preaching through entire books or letters of the Bible, with the aim of drawing out the meaning of the text, displaying the glory of God’s grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ, and trying to present it in an engaging and passionate way, so that God’s Word is understood, and loved, and applied, and so that God ultimately gets the glory. Our goal each Sunday, then, is to understand what God has communicated, to understand the gospel, to know God more fully, to see Jesus Christ, and to have our minds filled with the light of God’s Word and to have our hearts set aflame by what we come to know and see of God.
It’s hard to overestimate how important a factor expositional preaching is in my own thinking concerning ministry and the life of the local church. Our people must hear from God and His Word on Sunday mornings. We must have the Word of God preached, for in it are the words of life! In it are the words that point to life in Jesus Christ, our only hope of escaping the wrath to come. We must have God-centered, cross-centered expository preaching.
1 Corinthians 1:21, “…it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe.”
Nehemiah 8:8, “They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.”
Acts 20:26-27, “Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.”
All of this is to say: I aim not to waste the pulpit ministry of First Baptist Church.
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