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Sunday School: Mark I: Intro and Expository Preaching

April 23, 2017 Speaker: John Bell Series: Sunday School: What is a Healthy Church?


Nine Marks of a Healthy Church

Mark 1: Expositional Preaching
Mark 2: Biblical Theology
Mark 3: The Gospel
Mark 4: A Biblical Understanding of Conversion
Mark 5: A Biblical Understanding of Evangelism
Mark 6: A Biblical Understanding of Church Membership
Mark 7: Biblical Church Discipline
Mark 8: A Concern for Discipleship and Growth
Mark 9: Biblical Church Leadership

Mark 1 of a Healthy Church: Expository Preaching

What is it? “An expositional sermon takes the main point of a passage of Scripture, makes it the main point of the sermon, and applies it to life today. At its best, it is preaching which, however dependent it may be for its content on the text or texts at hand, draws attention to inner-canonical connections that inexorably (inevitably) move to Jesus Christ.”

There are a number of reasons why expository preaching deserves to be our primary method of proclamation

1. It is the method least likely to stray from Scripture. If you are preaching on what the Bible says about self-esteem, for example, undoubtedly you can find some useful insights. But even when you say entirely true things, you will likely abstract them from the Bible's central story line. Expository preaching keeps you to the main thing.

2. It teaches people how to read their Bibles. Especially if you're preaching a long passage, expository preaching teaches people how to think through a passage, how to understand and apply God's Word to their lives.

3. It gives confidence to the preacher and authorizes the sermon. If you are faithful to the text, you are certain your message is God's message. Regardless of what is going on in the church—whether it is growing or whether people like you—you know you are proclaiming God's truth. That is wonderfully freeing.

4. It forces the preacher to handle the tough questions. You start working through text after text, and soon you hit passages on divorce, on homosexuality, on women in ministry, and you have to deal with the text.

5. It enables the preacher to expound systematically the whole counsel of God. In the last 15 years of his life, John Calvin expounded Genesis, Deuteronomy, Judges, Job, some psalms, 1 and 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, the major and minor prophets, the Gospels in a harmony, Acts, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, and the pastoral epistles. I'm not suggesting we organize ourselves exactly the same way. But if we are to preach the whole counsel of God, we must teach the whole Bible. Other sermonic structures have their merits, but none offers our congregations more, week after week, than careful, faithful exposition of the Word of God.

What is a Healthy Church Member?

Mark 1: A Healthy Church Member Is an Expositional Listener
Mark 2: A Healthy Church Member Is a Biblical Theologian
Mark 3: A Healthy Church Member Is Gospel Saturated
Mark 4: A Healthy Church Member Is Genuinely Converted
Mark 5: A Healthy Church Member Is a Biblical Evangelist
Mark 6: A Healthy Church Member Is a Committed Member
Mark 7: A Healthy Church Member Seeks Discipline
Mark 8: A Healthy Church Member Is a Growing Disciple
Mark 9: A Healthy Church Member Is a Humble Follower

Question: How can each member of a local congregation contribute to the collective and functional health of their local church? Expositional Listening.

The first and most important mark of a healthy church is expositional preaching. Expositional preaching is preaching which takes for the main point of a sermon the point of a particular passage of Scripture.

Therefore, listening for the meaning of a passage of Scripture, and accepting that meaning as the main idea to be grasped for our personal and corporate lives as Christians, is what we mean by “expositional listening.”

What are the benefits of expositional listening?

1) It cultivates a hunger for God’s word.

2) It helps us to focus on God’s will and to follow Him.

3) It protects the gospel and our lives from corruption.

4) It encourages faithful pastors.

How can church members cultivate the habit of expositional listening?

1. Invest in a good set of commentaries

2. Talk and pray with friends about the sermon after church

3. Listen to and act on the sermon throughout the week.

4. Develop the habit of addressing any questions about the text itself.

5. Cultivate humility.

More in Sunday School: What is a Healthy Church?

March 4, 2018

Sunday School: Elder-Led Congregationalism (Pt. 7)

February 18, 2018

Sunday School: Elder-Led Congregationalism (Pt .6)

February 11, 2018

Sunday School: Elder-Led Congregationalism (Pt. 5)