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Every Sunday, CrossPointe gathers corporately to sing praise to Jesus, pray together, fellowship with one another, and hear the Bible preached. This particular style of preaching is “expositional,” which means that CrossPointe typically exposes a Biblical book from start to finish as opposed to selecting portions of Scripture to explain a specific topic, a style known as “topical” preaching.
While topical preaching often pinpoints issues beneficial for the church itself to hear, it can also present some problems which expositional preaching naturally avoids.
First, expositional preaching places trust in the Holy Spirit’s wisdom, not the preacher’s. CrossPointe acknowledges the sufficiency of Scripture, which presents a large variety of topics in a particular context. Tailor-made sermons based on various texts regardless of context risk disregarding a book as a whole. By contrast, expositional preaching considers the whole book or portion of Scripture within its context and purpose. Exposition seeks to follow the Bible by the Holy Spirit’s intent rather than man’s selection. Though topical preaching can remain faithful to the whole of Scripture, CrossPointe expositionally studies entire books of the Bible to avoid unwise reliance on human wisdom over the Holy Spirit.
Similarly, this can protect a preacher’s heart from despair if he does not know what to preach or pride if he thinks he knows better than God himself, who inspired the Bible in its entirety and has made it more practical to simply read page by page.
Second, expositional preaching forces us to examine texts and subjects we might be tempted to skip. Topical preaching and even some textual preaching, which features a portion of Scripture taken from a larger context or book, can ignore controversial or seemingly irrelevant points. But preaching through books follows the text rather than what is more easily understood, less uncomfortable, or more “relevant” to the church body.
Third, expositional preaching increases our familiarity with the Bible. Preaching and teaching through the Bible builds on the themes of individual books and the Bible itself. Rather than a pastor’s easily forgotten hand-picked topics, the Bible’s themes, which have stood the test of centuries, will hopefully penetrate our hearts according to the Spirit’s purpose. Expositional preaching does not use the Bible to point out loveable truths; instead, it follows the Bible to present its own divinely inspired theme.
Fourth, expositional preaching helps us avoid consumerism. Sermons should proclaim the gospel in such a way that the audience sees its importance for themselves. But at the end of the day sermons should preach the gospel before they guide us to successful or strategic living in this world. Too often, topical sermons cater to an audience’s felt needs based on a pragmatic approach, which disregards the Bible and, consequently, the gospel only to terminate on itself and produce a Christian cul-de-sac, where everyone is more concerned with himself than the gospel that Jesus saves the world from sin in all its inconvenient, ugly, painful, and easily ignored forms.
In the end, we prefer expositional preaching, because this style adheres more closely to the Scriptures, which present the gospel in its entirety, not topics chosen by sinful men and often at the expense of ignoring God’s written counsel.