Blog
18

May 2009

Why do you preach like that?

I’ll let John Piper take a swing at answering this one:

“If you’re used to a twenty-minute, immediately practical, relaxed talk, you won’t find that from what I’ve just described.

I preach twice that long;
I do not aim to be immediately practical but eternally helpful; and
I am not relaxed.

I am standing vigilantly on the precipice of eternity speaking to people who this week could go over the edge whether they are ready to or not. I will be called to account for what I said there.

That’s what I mean by preaching.

Just this past week, the Desiring God blog posted this sermon introduction from John Piper on the nature of his preaching and I think that it answers the question of why we preach the way we do as well as it can be answered. I’m not shy about saying that of any man alive today, Piper has had the greatest influence on my spiritual life. My time at Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis was priceless…and I praise God for it.

What I mean by preaching is “expository exultation”.

Preaching Is Expository

Expository means that preaching aims to exposit, or explain and apply, the meaning of the Bible. The reason for this is that the Bible is God’s word, inspired, infallible, profitable—all 66 books of it.

The preacher’s job is to minimize his own opinions and deliver the truth of God. Every sermon should explain the Bible and then apply it to people’s lives.

The preacher should do that in a way that enables you to see that the points he is making actually come from the Bible. If you can’t see that they come from the Bible, your faith will end up resting on a man and not on God’s word.

The aim of this exposition is to help you eat and digest biblical truth that will

  • make your spiritual bones more like steel,
  • double the capacity of your spiritual lungs,
  • make the eyes of your heart dazzled with the brightness of the glory of God,
  • and awaken the capacity of your soul for kinds of spiritual enjoyment you didn’t even know existed.

Preaching Is Exultation

Preaching is also exultation. This means that the preacher does not just explain what’s in the Bible, and the people do not simply try understand what he explains. Rather, the preacher and the people exult over what is in the Bible as it is being explained and applied.

Preaching does not come after worship in the order of the service. Preaching is worship. The preacher worships—exults—over the word, trying his best to draw you into a worshipful response by the power of the Holy Spirit.

My job is not simply to see truth and show it to you. (The devil could do that for his own devious reasons.) My job is to see the glory of the truth and to savor it and exult over it as I explain it to you and apply it for you. That’s one of the differences between a sermon and a lecture.

Preaching Isn’t Church, but It Serves the Church

Preaching is not the totality of the church. And if all you have is preaching, you don’t have the church. A church is a body of people who minister to each other.

One of the purposes of preaching is to equip us for that and inspire us to love each other better.

But God has created the church so that she flourishes through preaching. That’s why Paul gave young pastor Timothy one of the most serious, exalted charges in all the Bible in 2 Timothy 4:1-2:

I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word.

What to Expect from My Preaching and Why

If you’re used to a twenty-minute, immediately practical, relaxed talk, you won’t find that from what I’ve just described.

  • I preach twice that long;
  • I do not aim to be immediately practical but eternally helpful;
  • and I am not relaxed.

I standing vigilantly on the precipice of eternity speaking to people who this week could go over the edge whether they are ready to or not. I will be called to account for what I said there.

That’s what I mean by preaching.

(that’s what we mean as well…)

imagrs

1 Comments

Evette

June 5 2009 Reply

Hi
I read this article and wanted to jump up and down and cheer. I love expository preaching or maybe it is teaching for me. I want to understand what the word of God is saying, it’s meaning, it’s application, etc. What is God saying to me, to the world? Yet, in the preaching it is important that it is also done in a way, that the hearer can walk away with an understanding of the message. The average adult forgets the majority of what he hears, if it is not reinforced in some way. The word should change and impact my heart, but I also want to have the meat in my hand to chew on and meditate on the rest of the week and to be able to study and grow from it.

Leave a Comment