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I believe in expository preaching. I believe it is the preacher’s job to open the Bible and explain the message of the text! The Word of God should be central in our worship! Nothing more true is said in worship than when Scripture is read to the congregation. Yet when the preacher has faithfully exposited the text–meaning he gets the authorial intent right and conveys it to the audience, then Yes! God’s Word is being conveyed to the people. The greatest Wesley hymn is still a human product. The Word of God is the message from the Lord meant to equip and prepare the believer for righteous deeds–conforming him or her into His image! (2 Tim 3:15-16).

It is not without reason Paul would command Timothy, in the presence of the Triune God, to preach the Word (2 Tim 4:2). This command is right on the heals of the most famous verse regarding the purpose of Scripture (2 Tim 3:16). Pastors are to preach! Content? The Word!

Yet, among expositors and those who teach expository preaching, a warning is levied against the expositor. “Don’t forget the Gospel!” I have heard people accuse John MacArthur of not preaching the Gospel when preaching through Luke and Mark. This potentially communicates a few problems. First, the Gospel and Scripture are pitted against each other. Second, the Gospel is only found in parts of Scripture or is a narrow four points. Finally, the text being preached is not sufficient enough to bring a person to salvation. Instead preachers need to add the four points of the gospel or an altar call to bring a person to faith.

In one book the author seems to juxtapose Scripture against the Gospel—as if one could faithfully exposit the Scriptures but neglect preaching the Gospel. [1] The author goes on to say Jesus is not in every text. But under author’s paradigm, this creates a problem because the preacher must preach the Gospel! He says, “So how should we preach Jesus from texts where He is not the direct referent? Simply, Jesus should be in every sermon though He is not in every text. There is a massive difference in transitioning from a text to gospel truth and finding the gospel in a text where it is not explicitly referenced.” The author’s solution is finding a route to Jesus from the text; don’t place Jesus in the text.

The problem here is the perceived problem. Peter says,

Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God (1 Pet. 1:23).

Paul says to Timothy,

You (Timothy), continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Peter and Timothy understand the Word of God brings people to salvation. Scripture does not support the author’s problem. Instead Scripture teaches God uses His Word to bring people to Him. If we understand expository preaching as the means of communicating the message of Scripture to the audience, then it seems God will use the content to bring people to Christ!

Our goal remains the same! Preach the Word faithfully with conviction and trust the Lord for the results!

[1] Rick Holland, Evangelism, edited by John MacArthur (and Jesse Johnson), chapter 8.