God has designed the church to be the greatest and most powerful organization in the world today. Tragically, however, this work of God lies enmeshed and entangled by humanism and sluggishly wanders in a world largely void of its divine call. One obvious reason for this sad situation is the people of God are not well fed (i.e., biblically taught). Thus, the local church falters, and the body designed of God to be a potent force in the world presents a sad commentary on its high calling. God’s people must hear from God through Bible exposition. Let us give God back His voice in the pulpit and wherever His Word is taught.
Preaching in the 21st century exhibits a strange contradiction. On one hand, there is acknowledgement of the need for great preaching, usually defined as expository preaching; on the other hand, good expository preaching seldom has been more lacking. Evangelical seminaries exhort their young men, “Be faithful in preaching…spend many hours in your study poring over the Bible…be sure you give the people God’s Word and not merely your own opinions.”
In practice, these admonitions usually are not heeded, and often ministers who abandon seminary training—whether because of a lack of expository instruction, a low view of the Bible’s authority, social pressures or a collapse of commitment—fail in this primary area of responsibility.
The people who sit in the pews Sunday by Sunday know what they want: a pastor who will make it his primary aim to teach the Bible faithfully week after week and embody what he teaches in his personal life. However, pastors such as this are hard to find and apparently are becoming harder to find as time passes. Consequently, the sheep are not fed, and the kingdom of God limps forward if it advances at all.
Biblical exposition is taught when a spiritually prepared pastor or teacher declares the interpretation and application of a biblical truth, acquired through a literal study of a passage in its context, which the Holy Spirit utilizes to confront the hearers and bring those who respond into conformity with God’s Word. According to the Westminster Directory, “The preacher should become the mouthpiece for his text, opening it up and applying it as the Word of God to his hearers, speaking in order that the text may be heard, and making each point from his text in such a manner that his hearers may discern the voice of God.”
That is your primary role as the pastor tasked with administering God’s Word to those in your care: to be the mouthpiece for the text so others “may discern the voice of God.” This requires three things: preparation, prayer and passion.
We often major on the preparation, minor on the prayer and miss the passion altogether. Yet how can you expect your congregants to be passionate about God’s Word if there is no passion in your own voice? How can there be passion in your voice if you yourself are not passionate about God’s Word?
Fellow pastor, I want to encourage you today to make it your prayer that God will ignite in you a great passion for His Word and principles: His precepts, truths and power. When you are passionate about what you preach, rooted in an authentic connection with God and His Word, people’s lives will be transformed through the work of the Spirit at a greater level than you may have witnessed before.