Christian ministry has one clear duty and that is to bring to people the truth of God revealed in the Scripture by explaining its meaning. The meaning of the Scripture is the revelation from God. I have no other responsibility in my duty to represent the Lord, to represent the Lord Jesus Christ than to explain to you the meaning of His revelation. God has revealed Himself in one book. We are ministers of this one book. In a sense, we are brokers of this one book. We disseminate its truths to people, both to the people who do not know the Lord, and to the people who do.
I charge [thee] therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away [their] ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry. 2 Timothy 4:1-5
The Consequences of Non-expositional Preaching, Part 1 of 2
By John MacArthur
The simple instruction of 2 Timothy 4:2, “Preach the Word,” sums up that duty. There is nowhere in Scripture where we are commanded to do anything else. We are to preach the Word, meaning the revelation of God contained in Scripture. We explain the meaning of the Bible, that is what Christian ministers and pastors are called to do. To say that they get sidetracked is a vast understatement. They get caught up in all kinds of things other than this…but a pure devotion to the calling that God has given to us is to explain to people the meaning of Scripture.
Now this becomes for any servant of the Lord, a compelling calling. There is no calling equal to this. It is not, shouldn’t be, confusing, it is crystal-clear, take this divine revelation which God has given to us and tell the people what it means. I’ve often said in talking to pastors around the world that it breaks down into some very simple things. First of all, what does it say? And secondly, what does it mean by what it says? And thirdly, what are the implications of that on my life?
We were talking about this a few weeks ago that I am an implicational preacher rather than an applicational preacher. I am more concerned that you understand the theological implication than that I try to make some personal application to everybody’s life. The more focused I get on some personal application, the more people I eliminate. But what I do want you to understand that this is what it says and this is what it means and these are the implications that that truth comes to bring on your life.
Now I have tried to reduce these 61 to about a dozen, or fifteen, compelling reasons for Bible exposition. I want to turn it upside down, if I can, and operate on a negative basis. I want to show you the tragic consequences of non-expositional preaching, the tragic consequences of non-expositional preaching.
Now I want you to understand, I realize that you come to this church and you know what expositional preaching is like because it goes on here all the time. You know that everyone who stands in this pulpit is basically explaining to you the significance of Scripture revelation. But I want you to be able to understand why this is so compelling. And I think the force of understanding that will come across more strongly if I approach it from the negative side. So let me begin with the first and perhaps the overarching point.
The first negative tragic consequence of failing to preach expositionally is that it usurps the authority of God over the mind and soul of the hearer. And as a pastor, as your shepherd, as the one accountable to God for your care and your spiritual progress and your spiritual development, there is one very basic foundational reality that I want to establish in your life, and that is that God has total authority over your soul and over your mind, that God is sovereign, not me. That God’s truth is sovereign, not my ideas. That God’s Word reigns over your life, not my insights. It is critical to establish the authority of God over the mind and soul of the hearer. It is the question of authority.
Meet John MacArthur
John MacArthur is the pastor-teacher of Grace Community Church in Sun Valley, California, as well as an author, speaker, president of The Master’s College and Seminary, and featured teacher with the Grace to You ministry.
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