So, is preaching an outdated mode of spiritual growth? I guess that question really depends on the kind of preaching you have in mind. If it’s the kind of preaching where the pastor sees his role as scouring the Bible to find juicy little tidbits to weave together in an effort to meet people’s “felt” needs, then yes, that preaching is outdated…and good riddance!
But if you have in mind the kind of preaching where the pastor takes a passage and carefully unpacks it to reveal to his congregation what the original author’s intent was behind that passage and what bearing that has on our lives today, then no, that type of preaching is not outdated at all. This is called expositional preaching and it never goes out of style.
So let’s take a look at a few reasons why expositional preaching is not outdated.
1. Expositional preaching is timeless because God’s Word is timeless.
2 Timothy 3:16 reads, “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness.” If we construct our churches around anything other than God’s Word, we will stay relevant only as long as whatever is trending is relevant. What may seem edgy and cool today can tomorrow be lame and cheesy. But God’s Word will forever meet man’s most fundamental need.
2. Expositional preaching is timeless because proclamation is a New Testament principle.
The Greek word underlying “preach” is karusso and it carries the idea of boldly proclaiming or heralding something important. So when Paul exhorts the young and somewhat timid Timothy to preach the Word, he wants Timothy to boldly assert the truth of God’s Word, not just facilitate a small group discussion (as important and helpful as those are).
3. Expositional preaching is timeless because man is prideful and God is sovereign.
Preaching which aims at exposing the intended meaning behind a passage and then unfolds the bearing this truth has over the lives of the hearers is the perfect antidote to our naturally prideful dispositions. This Word, when asserted as the Word of God, confronts us in our rebellion against God, convicts us of our sin, and comforts us with the grace given through Jesus. The nature of expositional preaching displays the nature of God…that this is His Word to us and we dare not take it lightly or trifle with it.
4. Expositional preaching is timeless because the Gospel is worth being clear about.
When God’s Word is correctly handled and communicated the Gospel will shine forth in all of its radiant brilliance. The corporate gathering is the primary place where week after week we have our hearts reoriented to the finished work of Jesus Christ. I fear that sometimes in the midst of conversation or small group discussion, the true, biblical Gospel can sometimes, and inadvertently, fall between the cracks. Clear preaching ensures that we stay focused on that which Paul told the Corinthians he thought was of first importance… that Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried, and on the third day rose again.
“What the world needs now is preaching, sweet gospel preaching. Don’t give up on God’s appointed means of saving and sanctifying His people.” -Kevin DeYoung