One of the distinctive you will find at Redeemer Baptist Church is that we have a commitment that expository preaching should be the steady diet of the church. What do I mean by steady diet? Here, I’m leaving room for occasionally varying from this expository pattern. We began Redeemer in November of 2016, and in over 5 years, I believe I have preached approximately 4 topical sermons. Is there a place for topical preaching? Yes, but rarely. A faithful ministry will preach through biblical books week in and week out.
Now, what do I mean by expository preaching? There are a few components. First, I’m not only committed to expository preaching, but also to sequential exposition. That is, the Bible gets to set the preaching agenda, not the preacher. We begin in a biblical book in the first chapter and the first verse, and we keep going through until we are finished. Now, I also have a caveat here. Preaching through Titus may only take a few weeks, but it will probably take over a year to go through a book like Genesis. If we are commanded to preach the whole counsel of God, is it wise to stay in the same book for over a year? For that reason, when preaching through some longer books, I have taken them in sections. I started preaching through Genesis and took a break after chapter 11 to go through a New Testament books. Then came back and preached 12-25 which covers the life of Abraham, and then went to another New Testament book. We will later return where we left off in Genesis and, I anticipate preaching up to the point where Joseph’s story begins before taking another detour into the New Testament.
Now, expository preaching is more than just a commitment to preach through biblical books. There are other commitments as well. A basic definition is this: “The point of the sermon is the point of the text.” One of the downfalls of topical preaching is that instead of preaching the Bible, the preacher can end up “using” the Bible just to say what he wanted to say. In expository preaching the point is to understand and explain what the Bible is saying, and to apply it to today’s context. At the root of this commitment is the conviction that God’s word is what has the power to change lives because it is living and powerful—it is not a power found in the preacher or any human wisdom.
Also, expository preaching is NOT just a style of preaching—it’s a conviction about what preaching is. The commitment is that the preacher wants to communicate what the scripture says clearly so that what is being explained is really a message from God—not just some guys life tips.
With all that said, I believe that we, at Redeemer Baptist Church, are distinct in this commitment. Think about churches you have visited or attended before. How did they preach? Did the preacher come up with a topic and then find a passage to back up what he already wanted to say? Have you heard sermons that were just a collection of stories being told and you wondered what in the world does this have to do with the Bible? Have you experienced preaching that was just an emotional shout-fest? Have you experienced the sermon where the preacher reads a text as a jumping off point and once he gets started he never looks back? That’s not what you will find at Redeemer Baptist Church. Here, we expect to hear from God. We know that doesn’t come from a sob story that works up the emotions and disengages the brain. If we are going to hear from God, it will only come as the preacher opens up a text of Scripture and explains it plainly so that everyone can understand what the Bible—the Word of God—is saying.