On expository preaching

Great thoughts here from the great Vineyard pastor Luke Geraty:

“<opinion>After preaching hundreds upon hundreds of sermons and after a lot of formal theological education and personal reading, I have come to some pretty strong conclusions about the “sermon” space in our Christian worship gatherings.

First, the public reading of Scripture can’t be encouraged enough. I hadn’t spent much time thinking about this until I read Jeffrey Arthurs’ “Devote Yourself to the Public Reading of Scripture.” Reading Scripture *well* can’t be overemphasized!! Correspondingly, I think it’s best to read pericopes (units of thought) and trust that reading the stories (or texts) in and of themselves *is* transformational as the Spirit works through Scripture. Christians have included Scripture reading as part of their liturgies for 2,000 years and Jews did it long before in the Old Testament…

Second, much of what is called “expository” preaching is actually *not* what good expository preaching is. A common mistake I often hear from new “expositors” is that they will read a text of Scripture and then tell you exactly what you just read and basically provide a surface rereading. My homiletics professors used to always remind us, somewhat jokingly, that if the person listening to the sermon could get what you are saying simply by staying home and reading the passage to themselves, you need to rethink some things. I agree. (By the way, you can be exegetical and theological in sermons that are “topical” and textual, so don’t let the Fundies make you feel guilty if you don’t preach like Martyn Lloyd-Jones and hang in Romans for 30 years). Anyway, read the text and then *build* from it! This leads me to my third thought…

Third, you need to have a proportional amount of exposition, illustration, and application. If these three homiletics ingredients aren’t in proportion, you will either fail to ground people in Scripture, fail to give imagery and pictures so people can better understand Scripture, or fail to help people understand how to *live* out what’s revealed.

Fourth, you need to spend a significant amount of time exegeting your culture if you want to effectively understand what is *needed* and what will serve toward provoking hearts and minds toward Christ. Get out of your office and prepare your sermons where people hang out. Get. Out. Of. Your. Office.

Fifth, I believe that all sermons should have one primary “big idea” yet also encourage people in their spiritual formation, serving, missional activity, and over all devotion to Jesus and the kingdom. You can do it. Just be creative and thoughtful and prayerful.</opinion>”

Originally posted on Facebook on Feb 24, 2017. Shared with permission.


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