Expository preaching (preaching that takes as its main point the main point of the Scripture that is being preached upon) is defended in the Bible itself, and there are both benefits from it for the pastor and for the church. Things that are a good thing sometimes takes a lot of effort. It is in expository preaching that we really flex our pastoral muscles.
Often it seems that many in our churches expect that we can feed them from the Word of God without actually preparing for it. This is both a crime for the preacher and for the congregation.
The fact that we’re almost at Thanksgiving made me think about this illustration. I have a friend, Heinz Dschankilic, who is a wonderful servant of Christ and Executive Director of Sola Scriptura Ministries International, who offers an excellent analogy about sermon preparation. He explains that there is quite the difference between a microwave dinner and Thanksgiving dinner. The microwave dinner is quick but rarely tasty and frankly, far from filling. Thanksgiving dinner though is delicious and highly filling, but it takes substantial time. For a shepherd to effectively feed his flock, he needs to take time to prepare the feast for the flock. Isn’t a feast better than a Hungryman TV dinner?
In an issue of Preaching magazine Stan Toler has an excellent article called “Leading from the Pulpit.” He offers the story of Pastor W. A. Criswell of First Baptist Church in Dallas, TX and the importance of study in preparation of Sunday. He writes that Criswell,
… used to stay away from the “office” during the weekday morning hours. He was home in his study–pouring over the Scriptures, seeking the Spirit’s leadership in putting the menu together for a sheep-feeding the following Sunday. Criswell said in his autobiography, Standing on the Promises, “If you want to succeed in ministry… keep your heart fixed on Jesus and your mind centered on God’s Word.” His afternoons were given to the church business, but his mornings we devoted to Bible study.”
It is important as shepherds to feed our flocks. If I want you to to be healthy and to live according to the glory of God, I need to feed you what they need, a steady diet of the Word of God. And before I can feed you, I need to prepare the feast. This takes time and effort on behalf of the preacher, but the rewards for both the pastor and the flock are extraordinary. It doesn’t mean I’m only stuck in my study. I’m out and about visiting people, evangelizing, and other pastoral elements. But it’s helpful to know that the time spent in my study, hopefully helps to make me a more effective preacher.
So, for all you at Cornerstone BFC, know that I want the best for you and I intend to prepare feasts for you each week from the Word of God. This means that it will take me time each week to prepare the meal for Sunday. It means I need dedicated time to study the Scriptures, to apply them to my own life, so I can proclaim them to you. But in the end, this dedicated time of study will pay off as you are able to experience a steady diet of the Word of God. I intend to feed you and feed you well. So, I must prepare the meal well!