A Challenge to My Expositional Preaching Friends

I am convinced that expositional preaching should be the steady diet in the local church. I think it helps people read their Bibles well (if preached well!), unfolds the storyline of the exegeted book better, rounds out the jagged edges of a preacher’s hobby horses, and it forces the church to have to deal with every word of Scripture (particularly the thorny ones).

With that said, I have a challenge. I have been preparing for a message on the grace, mercy, and patience of God this past week and have found myself caught up in moments of worship. Of course, this message will be a topical one. That is my challenge: Do some topical sermons. This is not to say that worship shouldn’t well up in our hearts as we prep an expositional sermon–that most definitely be the case whenever we open the Book.

Rather, the reason I think this specific way of preaching (again, not on a regular basis) has affected me in a profound way is due to my having to thumb through ALL portions and genres of Scripture. I have been reading in the Pentateuch, the Wisdom literature, the Gospels, the Epistles. . .scouring the pages to see how God has dealt in this particular way with his creatures.

Further, I have found myself OVERWHELMED with what to say. This has been good for me since I have found that, at times, in expositional preaching I can come to a place where I feel as though I have mastered or exhausted a passage. I have never felt that way when I am doing a topical sermon. It would be a good reminder for us to proactively fight this tendency by laying the Bible in our laps and saying, “Have a go.” You will be gloriously overwhelmed. There are infinite ways to mine the treasures of Scripture in a topical sermon.

In light of that, I have also been humbled as such a study has reminded me that there is no one way to execute such a task as topical preaching. God has been kind to remind me that just as many preachers there are in the world, so there are sermons on any given topic.

So, my friends, give yourself a few weeks out of the year to be overwhelmed by God’s riches. To be humbled by your lack of knowledge. To worship at the goodness of God in giving you a book with infinite value.

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