Saturday, February 19, 2005

The rich benefits of expository preaching

Michael Milton has a dynamite article on expository preaching in this month's issue of Preaching magazine (subcription required to read online articles). "Following Ben: Expository Preaching in the Pastoral Setting" describes eight benefits of expository preaching to church and minister. All eight are convincing, but number four is heart-moving:
Expository Preaching is the Power of the Pastorate Becuase it is Vocationally Satisfying

Let us not be gullible. Expository preaching fulfills God's purpose for our lives as preachers. He has called you to preach the Word, and you will never be happy until you go to that Word, live in that Word, exegete the meaning of that Word, dive like a Pacific native to the bottom of the ocean for the rich pearls of that Word, and then come back up from your time in the deep-blue of God's presence, string those pearls together in a sermon, and put them on the neck of your people.

Only a preaching method, a preaching approach, that is radically Word-centered, Christ-centered, Gospel-saturated, and uncompromisingly faithful to the text will give you joy. For you were made to preach.
Those words make me weep, even as I re-read them in putting together this post. I've had several different vocations in my life: teacher, writer, historical investigator. I've enjoyed all those jobs, some intensely. But I've never been able to relate to the heart-felt declarations of purpose from the devotees in any of those fields. I've heard some particularly moving descriptions from teachers on why we teach and writers on why we write. But as much as I feel passionately about the value of those pursuits, I've never been able to rise to the devotion of a true believer.

Then I found preaching. I don't think preaching is by any means the only calling from God. But it is mine. "For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!"

Full disclosure: I've recently been given a one-year complimentary subscription from the folks at Preaching. That doesn't mean I'll always say good things about the magazine, but it's certainly easier to be charitable to those who have been charitable to me. Michael Milton's article, however, would have been worth the cost of a subscription, as far as I'm concerned.


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