I am a big advocate of expository preaching. This style of preaching involves going through the Biblical text verse by verse (or something close to that). I most often preach straight through a book of the Bible. Right now I’m preaching through Deuteronomy and I must admit it is occasionally taxing my ingenuity because it is not always easy to make sermon material out of some of the laws. I started this method some years ago because I believe many people miss too much of God’s Word when we stick solely to the assigned texts for the church year.
I read an article recently which reminded me of the danger of expository preaching–I could miss the proclamation of the Gospel. For example, if I proclaim God’s Word from Deuteronomy this Sunday but fail to connect what is taught there to Jesus Christ who was crucified and risen for me, then I have debased the pulpit,, for Jesus and Jesus alone is our Savior. The Old Testament speaks in progressive revelation of the One who would rid us of the stain of our sin, and it is our duty to bring that out in its fullness. What the Law meant to people in 1800 BC is irrelevant in the light of Christ and I must make sure the people in the pews before me understand what the text means now that the fullness of the revelation of God has been made known to us.
Preaching is a great privilege but it also carries with it great responsibility. As James points out, those who teach in the Church will be judged by a higher standard. We who have been given this privilege must remember we have been called to speak of Jesus Christ and Him crucified. Our opinions on most things don’t matter. Historical information may be interesting, but it is of little purpose if it does not contribute to the proclamation of Christ for us.
Like many other things, preaching styles are subject to fads. Recently there was this experiment with telling stories rather than preaching sermons. From reports on sermons I’ve received, it seems to be pretty much a failure because it strays from the Word too easily. But even the best preaching style can fail miserably if the preacher forgets why we’re really here and Who we really serve.